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Bracketology 2021: Friday’s Cut Line picture

There’s been one change since Thursday night, thanks to the Mountain West quarterfinals.

NCAA Basketball: Mountain West Conference Tournament- Nevada vs Boise St.
Nevada could potentially crash the party with two more wins in the Mountain West Tournament.
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s bracket

Today’s viewing guide

Last Four Byes

UCLA, Michigan State, VCU, Drake

The Rams are the only team from this quartet that still controls their own fate, as they’ll be in with a win over St. Bonaventure in Sunday’s Atlantic 10 final. I would still consider the Bruins and Spartans locks despite Thursday conference tournament losses, while the Bulldogs earn a bit of breathing room after another examination of the bubble’s membership.

Last Four In


Record: 13-7 (8-5 ACC); 5-4 road/netural (R/N); 1-6 vs. Quad 1; 6-0 vs. Quad 2
Quality Wins: Georgia Tech (H), Virginia Tech (H), Duke (H/A), Seton Hall (H)
Bad Losses: Miami (Fla.) (A)
NET: 57
Strength of Record (SOR): 36
KenPom: 55
Sagarin: 41
Wins Above Bubble (WAB): 1.3 (39th)

For a team that many of us in the bracketology racket had safely in the field just as a week ago, I’m not seeing why that was really ever the case. Louisville has a middling 7-6 record in games against Quad 1 and 2 opponents, with just two victories against teams currently projected in the field—Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. Both of those came on the Cardinals’ home floor. This is a squad that, should it qualify, looks destined to play an extra game. However, by losing to Duke on Wednesday, Chris Mack’s squad risks being passed by teams that will be in action between now and Selection Sunday.

Next game: None

Colorado State

Record: 17-5 (14-5 MW); 8-4 R/N; 2-3 vs. Quad 1; 1-2 vs. Quad 2
Quality Wins: San Diego State (1-1 A), Utah State (1-1 A), Boise State (1-1 H)
Bad Losses: Nevada (A)
NET: 48
SOR: 49
KenPom: 59
Sagarin: 67
WAB: 0.6 (46st)

The Rams own a 3-3 record against their Mountain West at-large rivals, with two of those three victories coming in two of the more difficult places to play in the entire country (even in a CoVID-impacted season), San Diego and Logan. Like Boise State, a loss in a makeup game last week threatened to derail Colorado State’s case, but that 85-82 defeat at Nevada is the only real blemish on the profile for Niko Medved’s team.

Next game: Utah State in the Mountain West Semifinals (12 a.m., CBSSN)

Utah State

Record: 18-7 (15-5 MW); 9-6 R/N; 2-4 vs. Quad 1; 1-1 vs. Quad 2
Quality Wins: San Diego State (2-0 H), Colorado State (1-1 H)
Bad Losses: South Dakota State (N), UNLV (2-1 A)
NET: 41
SOR: 66
KenPom: 39
Sagarin: 49
WAB: -1.1 (67th)

Following a dominant win over UNLV, Utah State’s second in three tries at the Thomas & Mack Center (and the loss was by just three), the Aggies rise up to replace Boise State today, despite a pair of losses to the Broncos. However, Craig Smith’s team is not riding a four-game losing streak and a boost in the Aggies’ computer metrics push them into the field for now.

However, if Utah State doesn’t claim the auto bid on Saturday afternoon, a home loss to BYU and a disappointing 1-2 trip to Sioux Falls to start the season might end up costing it a bid.

Next game: Colorado state in the MW Semifinals (12 a.m., CBSSN)


Record: 16-9 (9-7 ACC); 3-8 R/N; 1-7 vs. Quad 1; 6-1 vs. Quad 2
Quality Wins: North Carolina (1-1, H win), Clemson (1-1, H win), Virginia Tech (H)
Bad Losses: Pittsburgh (0-2)
NET: 39
SOR: 42
KenPom: 41
Sagarin: 34
WAB: 0.5 (47th)

Syracuse’s advanced metrics continue to rise even after yesterday afternoon’s loss to Virginia at the buzzer. Of course, the Cavaliers’ positive CoVID test could end up affecting the Orange’s postseason fate as well. With Seton Hall on the outside looking in still and Duke on the wrong side of the bubble even if the Blue Devils were still playing, Jim Boeheim’s squad owns one more win over teams in the field than ACC rival Louisville, even if all of those wins came at the Dome. Syracuse could have really used a victory over a Virginia, but leaving the Selection Committee with a strong final impression might just be enough.

Next game: None

First Four Out

Saint Louis

Record: 14-6 (6-4 Atlantic 10); 2-5 R/N; 2-3 vs. Quad 1; 2-1 vs. Quad 2
Quality Wins: Saint Bonaventure (H), LSU (H)
Bad Losses: Dayton (0-2), La Salle (A)
NET: 45
SOR: 60
KenPom: 48
Sagarin: 53
WAB: -0.8 (60th)

The Billikens’ inability to win away from Chaifetz Arena and scheduling issues created by CoVID look likely to conspire to keep SLU out. Sure, Saint Louis has Quad 1 wins over LSU and Saint Bonaventure, along with Quad 2 victories over Richmond and NC State, but road losses to Dayton (part of a season sweep), VCU, and (most damagingly) La Salle are all red flags. Plus, losing by 18 to the Bonnies in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals means Travis Ford’s club left the Committee with a lousy final impression. However, there are rumors the Billikens are trying to line up a late non-conference game, so watch this space.

Next game: None

Boise State

Record: 17-8 (14-6 MW); 7-7 R/N; 2-4 vs. Quad 1; 2-3 vs. Quad 2
Quality Wins: BYU (A), Colorado State (1-1 A), Utah State (2-0 H)
Bad Losses: Nevada (0-3), Fresno State (1-1 H)
NET: 51
SOR: 67
KenPom: 61
Sagarin: 58
WAB: -0.7 (59th)

Heading into Thursday, Boise State’s Wins Above Bubble mark was right at zero, making the Broncos the quintessential bubble team. As you can see, that’s no longer the case following their 89-82 loss to Nevada, a third loss to the Wolf Pack. While the Broncos have the best win of any of the three Mountain West teams hanging around the cut line— at WCC runner-up BYU, and they’ve swept Utah State, they also own four of the worst losses.

The Broncos have now dropped four straight, two of which did not feature forward Abu Kigab. However, the Selection Committee generally considers injuries only during seeding, not selection, which does not work to Boise State’s benefit.

Next game: None

Ole Miss

Record: 16-10 (10-8 SEC); 6-6 R/N; 3-4 vs. Quad 1; 4-4 vs. Quad 2
Quality Wins: Tennessee (H), Missouri (H, A)
Bad Losses: Georgia (0-2), Mississippi State (1-1, H loss), Dayton (A), Wichita State (H), Vanderbilt (A)
NET: 52
SOR: 58
KenPom: 47
Sagarin: 56
WAB: -0.8 (61st)

Ole Miss took care of its first objective in Nashville on Thursday, knocking off South Carolina to earn a quarterfinal date with LSU on Friday. The Rebels will need to win that one because while they own three wins over teams in the field, including a sweep of Missouri, and their “bad” losses aren’t all that terrible, there are still several of them when compared to other teams in the bubble picture.

Next game: LSU in the SEC Quarterfinals (9:30 p.m., SECN)

Seton Hall

Record: 14-12 (10-9 Big East); 7-8 R/N; 3-8 vs. Quad 1; 4-3 vs. Quad 2
Quality Wins: UConn (1-1 A win), Xavier (A), Saint John’s (2-1, H/N wins),
Bad Losses: Georgetown (1-1 A loss), Rhode Island (A), Butler (A), Providence (1-1 H loss)
NET: 55
SOR: 50
KenPom: 49
Sagarin: 46
WAB: -0.6 (56th)

On Thursday afternoon, the Pirates took care of business in their bubble showdown with St. John’s, winning after overtime to set up a Friday semifinal with ... Georgetown. That’s not the Quad 1 win opportunity against Villanova the Hall was hoping for, but it does set Kevin Willard’s team up well to at least make Saturday’s final. At that point, Seton Hall might as well just go ahead and claim the auto bid and remove all doubt.

As for the Pirates’ at-large case, while they have seven Quad 1 and 2 wins, they have just one victory over a team projected in the field, a seven-point victory at UConn when the Huskies were without James Bouknight. (The Pirates’ second-best NET win came against 42nd-ranked Penn State, who isn’t in the at-large picture.)

A one-point loss at Louisville on Thanksgiving Friday looks like a major missed opportunity, as does a two-point loss at Villanova when the Wildcats were healthy. The Hall also has two sub-100 road losses, at Rhode Island and Butler, weighing its profile down. So, much like Ole Miss above, the Pirates’ losses are what keep them below their bubble rivals.

Next game: Georgetown in the Big East Semifinals (Friday, 6 p.m., FS1)

Next Four Out

Memphis. St. John’s, Xavier, SMU

While St. John’s and Xavier are left to wait, both Memphis and SMU play in the American Athletic’s quarterfinals today. The Mustangs meet Cincinnati (3 p.m., ESPN2), while the Tigers meet UCF late (10 p.m., ESPNU). Note that this will be SMU’s first game since defeating East Carolina on Monday, February 8th.