Update 02/16/2021 2:07 p.m. Central: Check out Tuesday’s edition of College Basketball Coast 2 Coast, where I joined TJ Rives to chat about the Selection Committee’s bracket and the changes since Saturday, who’s in and who’s out, and the midweek schedule. You can catch a stream at the top of each half-hour on TAG Sports Group’s TuneIn channel or subscribe to the podcast, so you can listen at your convenience.
On Saturday, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee revealed its projected top four seeds for each of the four (still unnamed) regions for the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Their choices weren’t all that different from the top four lines of my projected bracket from Friday. The Committee’s top 10 matched my Friday top 10—in order—and my top 16 was off by just one team—Tennessee instead of Wisconsin.
Of course, with a full slate on both Saturday and Sunday, along with a reduced Big Monday schedule, today’s bracket features a few deviations from the Committee’s list.
- While the names of the bracket’s top eight teams remain the same, there’s been a slight change in the two line’s order. Villanova slipped down to the eighth spot overall—behind Illinois, Alabama, and Houston—following Saturday’s loss at Creighton.
- The Wildcats were set to slip to the three line—had Virginia defeated Florida State on Monday night. Of course, the Cavaliers were blown out in Tallahassee, 81-60. So, not only did Tony Bennett’s team not become a No. 2 seed, it slipped to the third-ranked No. 3, behind West Virginia and Oklahoma and ahead of only Tennessee, who lost at LSU on Saturday.
- As for the Seminoles, they’re now on the No. 4 seed line, replacing Missouri. The Tigers have dropped two straight—at Ole Miss and against Arkansas in Columbia.
Once again, the Selection Committee’s emphasis on marquee wins heavily influenced its top 16 choices and have been reflected in the remainder of this bracket. That’s bad news for the assorted mid-majors fighting for an at-large bid, as truncated non-conference schedules this fall reduced their opportunities to grab those types of victories, particularly on neutral floors.
- Drake, blown out by Loyola Chicago on Saturday before salvaging a home win over the Ramblers on Sunday, is a victim of this phenomenon.
- UConn, victorious at Xavier without James Bouknight, replaces the Bulldogs, as the Huskies were able to add that road win over the Musketeers to a neutral-site win over Pac-12-leading USC.
- Boise State also dropped out, thanks to VCU’s return to the field as the Atlantic 10 auto bid holder.
Of the teams within eight spots of the cut line, Minnesota has perhaps the most puzzling profile. The Golden Gophers have three victories against the NET top 10, but they’re also 0-7 in true road games, with Sunday’s loss at Maryland being the latest example of their road struggles. If Richard Pitino’s squad cannot win one of its final two scheduled road games, starting at Indiana on Wednesday, it might leave the door open for one of the mid-majors to grab its bid.
After today’s full bracket and rundown, I’ll take a look at the midweek schedule, one that’s been jumbled because of weather-related postponements.
Stars (✴️) indicate new entrants, while arrows (⬆️ ⬇️) indicate movement up and down the seed list when compared to Friday’s bracket.
IN (9): Colgate (Patriot), James Madison (CAA), Mount St. Mary’s (NEC), North Texas (C-USA), South Dakota State (Summit), UC Santa Barbara (Big West), UConn, VCU (Atlantic 10), Vermont (America East)
OUT: Boise State, Bryant (NEC), Drake, Navy (Patriot), Northeastern (CAA), South Dakota (Summit), UAB (C-USA), UC Irvine (Big West), UMBC (America East)
Last Four Byes: Minnesota, North Carolina, San Diego State, Colorado State
Last Four IN: Saint Louis, Stanford, UConn, St. Bonaventure
First Four OUT: Drake, St. John’s, Richmond, Ole Miss
Next Four OUT: Maryland, Boise State, Western Kentucky, Syracuse
Bids by Conference
*: auto bid holder
One-bid conferences: 22
Big Ten (9): 1. Michigan*, 1. Ohio State, 2. Illinois, 4. Iowa, 5. Wisconsin, 7. Purdue,
7. Rutgers, 10. Indiana, 11. Minnesota
Big 12 (7): 1. Baylor*, 3. West Virginia, 3. Oklahoma, 4. Texas Tech, 4. Texas, 6. Kansas, 8. Oklahoma State
ACC (6): 3. Virginia*, 4. Florida State, 6. Virginia Tech, 6. Clemson, 8. Louisville, 11. North Carolina
SEC (6): 2. Alabama*, 3. Tennessee, 5. Missouri, 6. Florida, 8. LSU, 9. Arkansas
Big East (5): 1. Villanova*, 5. Creighton, 7. Xavier, 9. Seton Hall, 12. UConn (First Four)
Pac-12 (5): 5. USC*, 6. Colorado, 8. UCLA, 9. Oregon, 12. Stanford (First Four)
Atlantic 10 (3): 9. VCU*, 12. Saint Louis (First Four), 12. St. Bonaventure (First Four)
Mountain West (3): 10. Utah State*, 11. San Diego State, 11. Colorado State
West Coast (2): 1. Gonzaga*, 10. BYU
Games are presented in relative order of importance. All times are Eastern. All times and broadcast information is CoVID-dependent. I’ll try to keep this section updated, but if I don’t, check out MattSarzSports.com’s weekly and daily schedules for the latest information.
Afternoon and early evening
Florida at Arkansas, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Michigan State at Purdue, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Missouri at Georgia, 6:30 p.m. (SECN)
Providence at UConn, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
Iowa State at Oklahoma State, 4 p.m. (ESPN+ ($))
Nebraska at Maryland, 7 p.m. (BTN)
Dayton at Rhode Island, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
In the SEC, Florida returns from a CoVID pause just in time to visit a dangerous Arkansas squad, while Missouri and Georgia meet with both in need of victories following Saturday defeats. In the Big Ten, Michigan State travels to Purdue following Saturday’s home blowout loss to Iowa, a result that pushed the Spartans even further from the cut line. Maryland, on the other hand, took care of Minnesota on Sunday night, and the Terps will look to do the same to visiting Nebraska, fresh off its first conference win of 2021. Providence-UConn is suddenly a major Big East bubble contest, while Oklahoma State and Dayton both face squads that aren’t part of the at-large picture.
Mid to late evening
Xavier at St. John’s, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
La Salle at Saint Louis, 8 p.m. (FS Midwest/ESPN+ ($))
Northwestern at Illinois, 9 p.m. (BTN)
Winter weather wiped out the bulk of tonight’s late evening schedule, including Tuesday’s biggest game— the rematch of Oklahoma’s 80-79 victory over Texas from January 26th. But the Big East contest in Queens is a decent consolation, as its importance has grown slightly, thanks to the losses Xavier and St. John’s took last week. Illinois and Saint Louis, meanwhile, have winnable home contests awaiting them.
Afternoon and early evening
Texas at Oklahoma, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Richmond at VCU, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
Syracuse at Louisville, 6:30 p.m. (ACCN)
Clemson at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ACC RSNs)
Nebraska at Maryland, 7 p.m. (BTN)
Northeastern at North Carolina, 7 p.m. (ACCNX)
NC State at Pittsburgh, 4:30 p.m. (ACCN)
Boston College at Georgia Tech, 12 p.m. (ACCN)
Duquesne at Davidson, 7 p.m. (ESPN+ ($))
Marquette at Butler, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, Maryland is really hosting Nebraska for the second time in as many nights. That’s the lone Big Ten matchup in the early Wednesday window, one that features that rescheduled Texas-Oklahoma game and many ACC and Atlantic 10 matchups. Richmond, not the at-large shoo-in it appeared to be back in January, visits archrival VCU, now atop the league standings following an impressive Friday win over St. Bonaventure. Syracuse visits Louisville for one of its last shots at a win over a team currently in the field. Clemson travels to improving Notre Dame, while Georgia Tech hosts a struggling BC squad that just fired Jim Christian in a matinee. Then there’s NC State-Pitt, a potential bubble elimination matchup. The Wolfpack’s Triangle rivals, UNC, scheduled a late non-conference game against CAA power Northeastern in a bid to boost its at-large hopes. In the A 10, Davidson must defeat visiting Duquesne to keep its hopes alive, while Big East rivals Marquette and Butler both have a long way to go before they reach relevance.
Mid to late evening
Utah State at Boise State, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
Minnesota at Indiana, 9 p.m. (BTN)
Arizona State at USC, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
South Carolina at Tennessee, 9 p.m. (SECN)
Kansas at Kansas State, 8 p.m. (ESPN+ ($))
Drake at Northern Iowa, 8 p.m. (ESPN+ ($))
Duke at Wake Forest, 8:30 p.m. (ACCN)
Valparaiso at Loyola Chicago, 8 p.m. (FS Midwest/NBCS Chicago Plus/ESPN+ ($))
Tulane at SMU, 8 p.m. (ESPN+ ($))
DePaul at Seton Hall, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
Two of the top teams in the Mountain West, Utah State and Boise State, finally meet tonight for the first of a pair in Idaho’s capital. That contest is the centerpiece of a geographically diverse Wednesday night window that also includes crucial games in the Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC—as the South Carolina-Tennessee game originally scheduled for Tuesday slots in here to replace the Alabama-Texas A&M contest that’s now on Thursday. The Missouri Valley’s top two are also in action following their weekend split, with Loyola and Drake taking on its typical travel partners in midweek showdowns.
Afternoon and early evening
Iowa at Wisconsin, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Houston at Wichita State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
LSU at Ole Miss, 5 p.m. (SECN)
Texas Tech at TCU, TBA (ESPN/2/U)
Alabama at Texas A&M, 3 p.m. (SECN)
Texas at Iowa State, 7 p.m. (ESPN+ ($))
Vermont at UMBC, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Mississippi State at Auburn, 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
The Thursday late afternoon slate features three rescheduled SEC games, with bubble team Ole Miss’s home contest against LSU being the most important from a bracket perspective. But the game of the early evening is in the Big Ten, as Iowa (one of the Selection Committee’s four seeds) and Wisconsin (just outside of the top 16) meet in Madison. There are also serious postseason implications for current two seed Houston’s trip to Wichita State, a squad that’s in dire need of a marquee win for its own postseason hopes. Texas and Texas Tech both hit the road for rare Thursday night Big 12 games. In the America East, the top two teams play the first of back-to-back games in Catonsville.
Rutgers at Michigan, 9 p.m. (FS1)
Arizona at UCLA, 9 p.m. (ESPN/2)
Saint Mary’s at Gonzaga, 9 p.m. (ESPN/2)
Ohio State at Penn State, 8 p.m. (BTN)
BYU at Pacific, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
Jacksonville State at Belmont, 8 p.m. (ESPN+ ($))
Winthrop at High Point, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Utah at Oregon State, 8:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
With Saint Mary’s struggling and Arizona postseason-ineligible, Rutgers-Michigan is the only game in this window featuring a pair of teams in the field. You might want to take this opportunity to check out Belmont, currently steamrolling through the Ohio Valley, and Winthrop, still a one-loss team in the Big South, as they both work toward securing a spot on the 12 line.
Colorado at Oregon, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
San Diego State at Fresno State, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)
Stanford at Washington, 11 p.m. (FS1)
California at Washington State, 10 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
While Stanford and San Diego State will need to take care of business on the road, Colorado faces the stiffest away test in this window. In the midst of a four-game road swing, the Buffaloes visit dangerous Oregon after losing at Cal on Saturday night.
On Friday, I’m changing things up a bit by taking my first look at the bid and bubble picture for the 2020-21 season.