Thanks to easy victories for Duke, Pittsburgh, and Texas (over Oklahoma State, which dumps the Cowboys further from the field), there were no changes to the top line on a typically busy Wednesday night, but that pattern didn't hold throughout the bracket. There's even one more at-large team in the field thanks to one change in league leadership. The full S-curve and details after the jump.
Teams marked with an asterisk (*) own their respective conference's automatic bid at the moment.
|1 line||1. Ohio State*
|2 line||8. San Diego State*
||7. Notre Dame
||6. BYU||5. Kansas
|3 line||9. Florida*||10. Connecticut
||11. Georgetown||12. Wisconsin|
|4 line||16. Syracuse
||15. North Carolina
|5 line||17. Kentucky
||19. Arizona*||20. Texas A&M
|6 line||24. Vanderbilt||23. Temple
||22. Xavier*||21. Missouri|
|7 line||25. St. John's
||26. West Virginia||27. Washington||28. UCLA|
|8 line||32. UNLV||31. Illinois||30. George Mason*||29. Florida State
|9 line||33. Tennessee||34. Minnesota||35. Old Dominion||36. Utah State*|
|10 line||40. Boston College||39. Cincinnati||38. Richmond||37. St. Mary's*|
|11 line||41. Wichita State*||42. Memphis*||43. Virginia Tech
|12 line||48. Butler
|46. Colorado State||45. Kansas State|
|13 line||49. Michigan State
|51. Cleveland State*
(13 seeds begin)
|14 line||56. Oakland*
||55. Coastal Carolina*
(14 seeds begin)
|54. College of Charleston*
|15 line||57. Montana*
||58. Miami (Ohio)*
(15 seeds begin)
|16 line||64. Hampton*
||63. Murray State*
(16 seeds begin)
|62. Long Island*||61. Fairfield*
|65. Florida Atlantic*
||66. Long Beach State*
||67. Texas State*
||68. Texas Southern*
|First Four Out
||69. Gonzaga||70. VCU||71. Colorado||72. Washington State|
|Next Four Out
||73. Missouri State
||74. Southern Miss.||75. Duquesne
||76. Oklahoma State|
Purdue held off Wisconsin, 70-62, to pass them in the Big Ten race, but I still have the Badgers a little higher on the S-curve because of a better record against the top 50. The profiles are very close, so expect to see these two flip at least once before the end of the season. Meanwhile, Illinois survived a visit from Michigan, 54-52, thanks to 18 from Demetri McCamey.
Just when you thought it was time to write Connecticut off and crown Georgetown as a a potential two seed, the Huskies gut out a 78-70 win in Hartford, thanks to Kemba Walker (26 pts., 11 assists) and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel (22 pts.).
At the bottom of the at-large pool, Georgia, a team desperate for quality wins, didn't hit a field goal in the final 10 minutes of its 64-56 loss to Vanderbilt, a team themselves in need of a road win. That defeat drops the Bulldogs', whose profile I'll discuss in more detail in Bubble Watch tomorrow, down to the First Four.
UAB's chances of making it as an at-large took a likely fatal hit when they fell at Memphis, 62-58, giving the Tigers a season sweep over the Blazers. Mike Davis' team had their chances at the end, especially since Memphis decided to get foul happy in the final minute, but to no avail.
Memphis' win, combined with UTEP's 64-51 loss at Southern Miss, means Conference USA is back to being a one-bid league. (I still think the league can put two teams in, but either the Golden Eagles will need to keep winning or the Miners will have to win the conference tournament at home for that to happen.) Baylor, the first team out yesterday, slides into the First Four to replace UTEP.
St. Mary's' profile took a hit when they lost at travel partner San Diego in West Coast play 74-66. The Gaels still lead Gonzaga by a game (in the loss column) in the WCC race with the Bulldogs hosting Santa Clara and San Francisco, two teams they fell to on the road, this weekend. Meanwhile, St. Mary's BracketBuster against Utah State on Saturday has become even more important with the loss. Remember that Gonzaga visits St. Mary's next Thursday as part of the final weekend on WCC play.
The Horizon League race continues to be one of the most interesting in the country. Cleveland State (12-4) moved back into first place with a 74-72 victory at Wright State. That's because former leader Valparaiso (11-4) lost at Milwaukee, 79-76. The Panthers are tied for third with Butler at 11-5, but they own the tiebreaker over the Bulldogs thanks to a season sweep. Remember, the top two teams in the Horizon earn a bye to the conference semifinals with the top seed hosting the bulk of the tournament. So the teams' final two or three conference games will be worth a watch, plus the Vikings and Crusaders have key BracketBusters this weekend, against Old Dominion and Missouri State, respectively.
Miami (Ohio) handed Kent State its third MAC loss of the season, 86-80 after overtime, to move a half-game up on the Golden Flashes in the standings and take the conference's lone bid in this projection.
Vermont clinched the America East regular season crown with a 73-57 win over Maine. The early rounds of the conference tournament will be at Hartford, but if the Catamounts survive them, they'll host the final in Burlington on Selection Eve.
With Friday being a Bubble Watch day, my next update will come via that format. NCAA Bracket 2012 is here.