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Bracketology 2021: Bracket for Friday, February 19, 2021 and Weekend TV Preview

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For more analysis, check out today’s bubble post.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Michigan
Franz Wagner and Michigan prepared for Sunday’s showdown with Ohio State by taking down Rutgers on Thursday night.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Bracket

Stars (✴️) indicate new entrants, while arrows (⬆️ ⬇️) indicate movement up and down the seed list.

Rundown

IN (4): Maryland, St. John’s, Wagner (NEC), Wichita State (American)
OUT: Colorado State, Mount St. Mary’s (NEC), Richmond, St. Bonaventure, Saint Louis

Last Four Byes: Indiana, UConn, San Diego State, Maryland
Last Four IN: Stanford, Minnesota, North Carolina, St. John’s
First Four OUT: Saint Louis, Drake, St. Bonaventure, Richmond
Next Four OUT: Colorado State, Utah State, Ole Miss, Western Kentucky

Bids by Conference

*: auto bid holder

One-bid conferences: 22

Big Ten (10): 1. Michigan*, 1. Ohio State, 2. Illinois, 3. Iowa, 6. Wisconsin, 6. Purdue, 7. Rutgers, 10. Indiana, 11. Maryland, 12. Minnesota (First Four)
Big 12 (7): 1. Baylor*, 3. West Virginia, 3. Oklahoma, 4. Texas, 4. Texas Tech, 6. Kansas, 8. Oklahoma State
ACC (6): 3. Virginia*, 4. Florida State, 5. Virginia Tech, 6. Clemson, 9. Louisville, 12. North Carolina (First Four)
Big East (6): 2. Villanova*, 5. Creighton, 6. Xavier, 8. Seton Hall, 10. UConn, 12. St. John’s (First Four)
SEC (6): 2. Alabama*, 4. Tennessee, 5. Missouri, 7. LSU, 7. Arkansas, 8. Florida
Pac-12 (5): 5. USC*, 8. UCLA, 9. Oregon, 9. Colorado, 12. Stanford (First Four)
American (2): 2. Houston, 12. Wichita State*
Mountain West (2): 10. San Diego State, 11. Boise State*
West Coast (2): 1. Gonzaga*, 10. BYU

Weekend Lineup

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.

Friday

Utah State at Boise State, 10 p.m. (FS1)
Saint Louis at Dayton, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Winthrop at High Point, 7 p.m. (ESPN+ ($)
Vermont at UMBC, 5 p.m. (ESPN3)
Monmouth at Iona, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
South Dakota State at North Dakota State, 8:30 p.m. (Midco SN/ESPN3)
Toledo at Buffalo, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Old Dominion at UAB, 7:30 p.m. (Stadium/Marquee)
Cal Baptist at Grand Canyon, 9 p.m. (ESPN3)
Cal State Bakersfield at UC Santa Barbara, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)

With the Championship Fortnight rapidly approaching, there are numerous important contests in mid-major conferences that will help determine seeding for tournament play—something that will be particularly important in conferences that have adjusted their formats to be more pandemic-friendly, like the America East and Big South.

Saturday

Early afternoon

UConn at Villanova, 1 p.m. (Fox)
Michigan State at Indiana, 12 p.m. (ESPN)
Kentucky at Tennessee, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Vanderbilt at Alabama, 1 p.m. (SECN)
Georgia Tech at Miami (Fla.), 12 p.m. (ACC RSNs)
South Florida at SMU, 12 p.m. (ESPNU)
Navy at American, 12 p.m. (ESPN+ ($))
Boston U. at Colgate, 1 p.m. (CBSSN)

The most intriguing noon Eastern matchup is set for the Pavilion, where UConn will look to grab a huge win over host Villanova. The Huskies have won two in a row, with the second of those victories—over Providence on Tuesday—saw the return of James Bouknight. Otherwise, Michigan State heads to Bloomington aiming to end a two-game skid that’s pushed the Spartans down the bubble pecking order, while the top teams in the Patriot League’s two temporary geographic divisions begin their respective weekend series.

Mid-afternoon

West Virginia at Texas, 3 p.m. (ABC)
Texas Tech at Kansas, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
Missouri at South Carolina, 2 p.m. (ESPN2)
Notre Dame at Syracuse, 2 p.m. (ACCN)
George Mason at VCU, 2:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
BYU at Loyola Marymount, 2 p.m. (CBSSN)
NC State at Wake Forest, 2 p.m. (ACC RSNs)
Eastern Washington at Montana, 2 p.m. (SWX/Pluto.tv)

The 2–3 Eastern window features a handful of teams who were unable to play their midweek games due to either CoVID issues (Syracuse) or, more prominently, weather (Texas, Texas Tech). The Longhorns were supposed to play Oklahoma in a top 16 showdown, but they’ll get another opportunity this afternoon against visiting West Virginia. In the other Big 12 matchup in this window, Kansas hosts Texas Tech in a showdown of teams with five league losses, though the Jayhawks have four more Big 12 wins, thanks to fewer postponements.

Missouri travels to South Carolina having dropped three in a row to fall to .500 in SEC play. BYU, VCU, and to a lesser extent, NC State, face must-wins from a bubble perspective.

Late afternoon

Illinois at Minnesota, 3:30 p.m. (Fox)
Stanford at Washington State, 4 p.m. (ESPNU)
Georgia at Florida, 3:30 p.m. (SECN)
Auburn at LSU, 4 p.m. (ESPN)
Florida State at Pittsburgh, 4 p.m. (ACC RSNs)
Kansas State at TCU, 5 p.m. (ESPN+ ($))
Duquesne at Richmond, 4:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Old Dominion at UAB, 4 p.m. (Stadium/Marquee)
Tennessee Tech at Belmont, 5 p.m. (ESPN+ ($))

Saturday’s late afternoon ET window is shaping up to be a bubble showcase, as Minnesota, Stanford, Georgia, TCU, and Richmond all face near must-win situations. There is also the conclusion of the ODU-UAB series in Conference USA matchups; however, the scheduled series between co-leaders WKU and North Texas in Denton was postponed due to the winter storm.

Early evening

Louisville at North Carolina, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Arizona at USC, 6 p.m. (Fox)
Seton Hall at Georgetown, 5:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Purdue at Nebraska, 5:30 p.m. (B1G Network)
Oklahoma at Iowa State, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Mississippi State at Ole Miss, 6 p.m. (SECN)
Monmouth at Iona, 7 p.m. (ESPN+ ($))

With Seton Hall, Purdue, Oklahoma, and Ole Miss favored to add to their respective win totals, the top two matchups in the early evening Eastern window see UNC hosting Louisville needing another quality win for what’s a thin profile and USC welcoming Arizona to the Galen Center. The Trojans have won seven straight to take control of the Pac-12 race.

Mid-evening

Virginia at Duke, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
DePaul at St. John’s, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
Colorado at Oregon State, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
San Diego State at Fresno State, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Arkansas at Texas A&M, 8:30 p.m. (SECN)
San Diego at Gonzaga, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
South Dakota State at North Dakota State, 8:30 p.m. (Midco SN/ESPN3)

Like their Research Triangle rivals, the now Jalen Johnson-less Duke Blue Devils get a chance to get their at-large hopes back on track when they host Virginia. Gonzaga welcomes San Diego to the Kennel aiming to keep rolling, while St. John’s, Colorado, Arkansas, and San Diego State all face intriguing tests, though only the Red Storm will be playing on their own floor.

Late evening

Utah at Oregon, 9 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Arizona State at UCLA, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Cal Baptist at Grand Canyon, 9 p.m. (ESPN3)
Cal State Bakersfield at UC Santa Barbara, 10 p.m. (ESPN3)

While Oregon and UCLA will look to complete weekend sweeps with the goal of keeping pace with USC in the Pac-12 race, the WAC and Big West leaders wrap up key home series that are scheduled to begin on Friday night.

Sunday

Michigan at Ohio State, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Maryland at Rutgers, 3 p.m. (B1G Network)
Davidson at St. Bonaventure, 3:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Cincinnati at Houston, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Penn State at Iowa, 5 p.m. (FS1)
Wisconsin at Northwestern, 7 p.m. (B1G Network)
Butler at Xavier, 7 p.m. (FS1)
Evansville at Drake, 4 p.m. (FS Midwest/NBCS Chicago/ESPN+ ($))
Boston U. at Colgate, 1 p.m. (ESPN+ ($))
Navy at American, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)

Sunday is a Big Ten-heavy day of basketball, with the marquee matchup set for Columbus, where a pair of current No. 1 seeds will meet for the first time this season. In the second most important B1G contest of the day, Maryland can improve its bubble positioning by winning at Rutgers. However, other conferences offer contests that deserve attention, including the Missouri Valley, where Drake needs to keep winning to remain under at-large consideration, including against Evansville today and Patriot League, where a pair of showcase series wrap up this afternoon.

Monday

Texas Tech at Oklahoma State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Stanford at USC, 9 p.m. (FS1)
Syracuse at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Oregon State at Utah, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Evansville at Drake, 7 p.m. (MC-22/ESPN+ ($))
Pepperdine at Saint Mary’s, 7 p.m. (WCC RSNs/WCCN)

Two years ago, Syracuse won a Big Monday game at Duke that helped nudge the Orange into the 2019 field of 68. Winning at Cameron probably won’t do the same for them this year, but a loss would further damage the Blue Devils’ hopes. In the Big 12 half of the doubleheader, Oklahoma State can pick up a seed boost by knocking off Texas Tech in Stillwater. Remember that the Cowboys already defeated the Red Raiders in Lubbock. There are also a couple of unusual Monday Pac-12 games on the schedule, with Stanford’s visit to USC being the most notable. Evansville and Drake complete their Valley series, while Saint Mary’s hosts Pepperdine in WCC play.

My next full update will come on Tuesday. In the meantime, check out today’s look at the lock and bubble picture.