The Tuesday and Wednesday of Championship Week are a peculiar time. There are just a smattering of conference tournaments with title games over these days, so most of the lower-level bid thievery has concluded. Meanwhile, it’s early enough in the major conference tournaments that there’s not a lot of action with NCAA bracket implications (NIT implications, sure).
That said, we did have a few moves of note. Gonzaga’s win over Saint Mary’s is probably a bigger deal than the Zags are getting credit for. They jumped to an 8 from an 11, mostly thanks to a good RPI boost from a neutral-court win over the RPI #36 Gaels (who remain a 7 here). Texas Tech dropping its Big XII tourney opener to TCU, meanwhile, was a disappointment. The Red Raiders’ 8-spot KenPom hit fueled their slide from the 7-line to the 9-line, but they’re still safe on Sunday.
Although the effect seems delayed, Valparaiso finally took its hit from the Crusaders’ defeat to Green Bay on Monday, falling to an 11 from an 8. EBS does have a soft spot for small-conference cream-of-the-crop types–the RPI eats up their win totals and KenPom may struggle to peg these teams precisely when they have very little exposure to top-level competition. That said, of the prominent potential Cinderellas, Valparaiso appears to be the EBS’s dividing line–Monmouth is in Next Four Out territory, while the likes of Arkansas-Little Rock, Stephen F. Austin, and Akron will realistically have to take their conference tournament titles to make the field.
Here’s the bubble lineup as of Thursday morning:
Last Four Byes: Colorado, USC, Valparaiso, Pittsburgh
First Four: Connecticut, Tulsa, Providence, St. Bonaventure
First Four Out: Florida, Princeton, South Carolina, Syracuse
Next Four Out: Monmouth, Houston, Michigan, Georgia Tech
Twelve of these teams are playing this week, so this will be a dynamic race to the finish, as usual.
For more details, check out the spreadsheet here or check out the seed list after the break.
1s: Kansas, Virginia, Villanova, Oklahoma
2s: North Carolina, West Virginia, Michigan State, Miami
3s: Oregon, Xavier, Kentucky, Indiana
4s: Purdue, Utah, Maryland, California
5s: Iowa State, Arizona, Duke, Iowa
6s: Texas A&M, Texas, Baylor, Wisconsin
7s: Wichita State, Seton Hall, Saint Mary’s, Cincinnati
8s: Gonzaga, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, VCU
9s: Texas Tech, Dayton, Butler, San Diego State
10s: Saint Joseph’s, Yale, Oregon State, Colorado
11s: USC, Valparaiso, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Tulsa
12s: Providence, St. Bonaventure, Arkansas-Little Rock, South Dakota State, UNC Wilmington
13s: Stephen F. Austin, Akron, Northern Iowa, Iona
14s: Stony Brook, Chattanooga, UC Irvine, UAB
15s: New Mexico State, Green Bay, UNC Asheville, Weber State
16s: Texas Southern, Florida Gulf Coast, Austin Peay, Hampton, Fairleigh Dickinson, Holy Cross