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Bracketology 2021: So, with Georgetown in, who drops out?

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The Hoyas just claimed the Big East’s automatic bid with a resounding win over Creighton. That knocked some unlucky team out.

NCAA Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Creighton vs Georgetown
Georgetown started slowly, but ran away from Creighton by halftime.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Selection Eve 6 p.m. Eastern window provided plenty of bubble drama with someone definitely losing out on a bid, while the American semifinal provided a temporary reprieve.

  • Georgetown is in at 13-12 following an emphatic 73-48 Big East Tournament title win over Creighton.
  • San Diego State took the Mountain West crown by preventing Utah State from recording its third straight triumph, 68-57. The Hoyas did not pop the Aggies’ bubble, however. Craig Smith’s team remains just in.
  • In a closely-fought American semifinal, Houston set up a Sunday contest with Cincinnati by topping Memphis, 76-74. Remember that the Bearcats will not earn an at-large, so bubble teams should cheer hard for the Cougars tomorrow afternoon.

And with that, let’s take a look at the revised cut line heading into tonight’s seed scrub. (In other words, don’t expect this to be the same on Sunday morning.)

Last Four Byes

Michigan State, UCLA, VCU, Drake

Georgetown’s win led to a shift from earlier this evening, so Michigan State drops back down here, while Syracuse is back in the “First Four” group.

NET info is current as of the morning of Saturday, March 13, 2021. All data reflects games against Division I opposition only and originates from WarrenNolan.com’s selection sheets. WAB info from BartTorvik.com. Logos from SportsLogos.net. All times are Eastern.

Syracuse

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: 40
Strength of Record (SOR): 42
KenPom: 41
Sagarin: 34
Wins Above Bubble (WAB): 0.6 (45th)

Syracuse’s advanced metrics rose after Thursday’s loss to Virginia at the buzzer. (Of course, the Cavaliers’ positive CoVID test could end up affecting the Orange’s postseason fate.) With Seton Hall on the outside looking in and Duke’s season over (also on the wrong side of the cut line), Jim Boeheim’s squad owns one more win over teams in the field than ACC rival Louisville. Much like the Cardinals, all of the Orange’s quality wins came at home. While Syracuse could have really used a victory over a Virginia, leaving the Selection Committee with a strong final impression might just be enough. With archrival Georgetown in, Orange fans will be cheering hard against Oregon State and Cincinnati the rest of the way.

Louisville

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: 56
SOR: 35
KenPom: 54
Sagarin: 41
WAB: 1.4 (38th)

For a team that many of us in the bracketology racket had safely in the field just as a week ago, I still cannot understand why that was really ever the case. Not only does Louisville have a middling 7-6 record in games against Quad 1 and 2 opponents, but just two of those victories came against teams currently projected in the field—Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. Plus, both 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 over the next two days.

Wichita State

Record: 14-5 (11-2 American); 6-3 R/N; 2-3 vs. Quad 1; 2-1 vs. Quad 2
Quality Wins: Houston (1-1 HW), Ole Miss (A)
Bad Losses: Cincinnati (N)
NET: 64
SOR: 32
KenPom: 70
Sagarin: 60
WAB: 1.3 (39th)

Wichita State played with fire on Friday, when the Shockers defeated USF by just one, and got burned today, losing to Cincinnati by the same margin. Despite their performance in Fort Worth, Issac Brown’s first Shocker team is within striking distance of a bid, thanks to a good home win over Houston, a potential tie-breaking win at Ole Miss, and a general lack of bad losses. Wichita State’s metrics are all over the place, with Wins Above Bubble and strength of record having the Shockers as a solid at-large pick (though the Shockers’ WAB place has dropped eight spots after today’s loss), while NET, KenPom, and Sagarin are more sanguine. Regardless, the American’s regular-season champs will be pulling for Colorado and Houston tonight and tomorrow.

Utah State

Record: 19-8 (15-5 MW); 10-7 R/N; 2-5 vs. Quad 1; 2-1 vs. Quad 2
Quality Wins: San Diego State (2-1 2 H W, 1 N L), Colorado State (2-1 1 H W, N)
Bad Losses: South Dakota State (N), UNLV (2-1 A)
NET: 37
SOR: 59
KenPom: 38
Sagarin: 49
WAB: -0.7 (58th)

Utah State could not claim its third straight Mountain West title, so the Aggies now have an anxious 20 or so hours ahead of them. Will a pair of home wins over San Diego State and home and neutral-site wins be enough for Craig Smith’s team?

If Utah State ends up out, a home loss to BYU and a disappointing 1-2 trip to Sioux Falls to start the season might have combined to cost the Aggies a bid.

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: 62
KenPom: 47
Sagarin: 53
WAB: -0.7 (60th)

Over the past few days, there were rumors that Travis Ford was trying to line up a non-conference game to bolster Saint Louis’s case. Well, the NCAA put the kibosh on that. So, the Billikens are stuck with the profile they have. Thus, their 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.

Colorado State

Record: 17-6 (14-5 MW); 8-5 R/N; 2-4 vs. Quad 1; 1-2 vs. Quad 2
Quality Wins: San Diego State (1-1 A), Utah State (1-2 1 W A), Boise State (1-1 H)
Bad Losses: Nevada (A)
NET: 51
SOR: 57
KenPom: 63
Sagarin: 67
WAB: 0.3 (50th)

After Friday’s loss to Utah State, Colorado State owns a 3-4 record against its 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. Still, Georgetown’s success in the Big East Tournament might just have ended CSU’s hopes.

Ole Miss

Record: 16-11 (10-8 SEC); 6-7 R/N; 3-5 vs. Quad 1; 4-4 vs. Quad 2
Quality Wins: Tennessee (H), Missouri (H, A)
Bad Losses: Georgia (0-2), Mississippi State (1-1, A win), Dayton (A), Wichita State (H), Vanderbilt (A)
NET: 53
SOR: 64
KenPom: 48
Sagarin: 56
WAB: -1.2 (68th)

For a time on Friday night, it looked like Ole Miss was going to leap into the field by toppling LSU. The Rebels ended up falling, but since the Tigers only won by a 76-73 score, the result didn’t do too much damage to Mississippi’s metrics. If the Selection Committee puts extra weight on computer numbers in this most disjointed of seasons, the Rebels might end up as a surprise at-large. But if the Committee leans on quality wins, Ole Miss might have just come up short.

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: 50
SOR: 68
KenPom: 60
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. However, after Thursday’s 89-82 loss to Nevada—the Broncos’ third to the Wolf Pack—that’s no longer the case. While Leon Rice’s squad owns the best win of any of the three Mountain West teams hanging around the cut line— at WCC runner-up BYU, and a sweep of Utah State, the Broncos also own four of the worst losses.

Boise State has 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 Four Out

Memphis, Duke, Seton Hall. St. John’s

Memphis hangs around despite its close loss to Houston, knocking Xavier off this list. And Duke is back, as the News & Observer reported that the Blue Devils will accept an NCAA bid, either as an at-large or virus-replacement squad, if offered. So, the Blue Devils (13-11, 49 NET, -1.7 WAB (76th)) are back on the bubble.