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Bracketology 2021: Happy Selection Sunday!

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In a matter of hours, we will have a real bracket to analyze. For now, here’s my penultimate projection of the season, now with two surprise auto bid winners.

NCAA Basketball: PAC-12 Conference Tournament Championship Oregon State vs Colorado
Oregon State completed a surprise run to the Pac-12 Tournament title late Saturday. That’s a result that will leave a bubble team in tears not long after 6 p.m. Eastern tonight.
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

While Friday was a mixed bag, Saturday was a complete disaster for bubble teams. And guess what ... they’re not out of the woods today either. Here’s an updated look at the cut line picture.

  • First, Georgetown routed Creighton in the Big East Tournament final. Then, Oregon State hung on to upset Colorado in the Pac-12 title game a few hours later. That knocked two at-large bids off the table.
  • In the Mountain West, San Diego State took down Utah State to leave the Aggies, along with fellow intraconference bubble rivals Colorado State and Boise State to wait and hope.
  • Today’s American Athletic final (3:15 p.m. ET, ESPN) features a Houston team that’s a stone-cold lock, a likely three seed with an outside chance of earning a two, against Cincinnati. While this is the third meeting between the two teams in as many AAC finals, the Bearcats must win today to reach the field of 68. If John Brannen’s team wins a third consecutive tourney title, another at-large gets vaporized.
  • While Colgate and Loyola Maryland meet for the Patriot League’s lone bid (12 p.m., CBSSN), both VCU and St. Bonaventure should be in no matter what happens in their Atlantic 10 contest (1 p.m., CBS).
  • Today’s remaining two games will affect only seeding. And even then, the late tip time for the Big Ten championship between Illinois and Ohio State (3:30 p.m., CBS) might mean it will have little impact on the final bracket. I’ve moved the Fighting Illini up to the No. 3 spot overall following their impressive win over Iowa and Michigan’s close loss to Ohio State. The Wolverines’ lost that game by just one despite missing Isaiah Livers with a stress reaction in his foot. His health will go a long way to determining how far Juwan Howard’s team can go in the NCAAs.
  • Alabama meets LSU in the SEC final (1 p.m., ESPN) with the winner ending a very long conference tournament title drought. The Crimson Tide seem locked into the top spot on the two line, though they could slide a bit with a loss. LSU is trying to move up from the 6–7 range.

The Bracket

Stars (✴️) indicate new entrants, while arrows (⬆️ ⬇️) indicate movement up and down the seed list since Saturday. Teams that have won their auto bids are in gold-colored cells.

Rundown

IN (7): Abilene Christian (Southland), Georgetown (Big East), Iona (MAAC), North Texas (C-USA), Ohio (MAC), Oregon State (Pac-12), Texas Southern (SWAC)
OUT: Buffalo (MAC), Colorado State. Fairfield (MAAC), Nicholls (Southland), Prairie View A&M (SWAC), Western Kentucky (C-USA), Wichita State

Last Four Byes: Michigan State, UCLA, VCU, Maryland
Last Four IN: Syracuse, Louisville, Drake, Utah State
First Four OUT: Saint Louis, Wichita State, Ole Miss, Boise State
Next Four OUT: Duke, Colorado State, Memphis, Seton Hall

Bids By Conference

Big Ten: 9
ACC 8:
Big 12: 7
SEC: 6
Pac-12: 5
Big East: 4
Atlantic 10: 2
Missouri Valley: 2
MW: 2
WCC: 2
One-bid conferences: 21

Today, I will make one more run at scrubbing the field, with a little more focus on the bottom four seed lines, and will post my final bracket before the Selection Show at 6 p.m. (CBS).