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Bracketology 2021: Michigan State grabs big win, Maryland records bad loss, Drake must wait

The 8 vs. 9 game in the Big Ten Tournament got a whole lot more interesting, thanks to Sunday evening.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Michigan State
On Sunday at the Breslin Center, Michigan State did what it needed to do to extend its NCAA Tournament streak.
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Missouri Valley champion Loyola Chicago Ramblers and Big South’s Winthrop Eagles join the Liberty Flames, who did win the ASUN title game yesterday afternoon, and Morehead State Eagles in seeing their names bathed in gold in today’s bracket. Two more teams will join them at around 9 p.m. Eastern tonight after the Southern and Sun Belt title games. Beyond Sunday’s three title games, the smattering of regular-season finales on the slate led to some changes in the bracket when compared to Sunday’s:

  • Drake’s 75-65 loss to Loyola dropped them to 23-4 in games against Division I opposition and 47th in the NET. Given the Selection Committee’s recent history of power-conference bias, Bulldog fans are going to have to hope that the bubble teams in action as the week progress record costly late losses.
  • Houston broke Memphis hearts with a buzzer-beater to cap a crazy finish to what ended as a 67-64 Cougar win.
  • Michigan State (15-11) got itself out of the “First Four” grouping by handling Michigan in East Lansing, 70-64. That’s the Spartans’ third victory against a NET Top 10 team.
  • Maryland (14-12 vs. Division I opposition) sits just above that quartet, on the other hand, thanks to a 66-61 home loss to Penn State, in a game the Terps led by 16 at one point. That collapse followed Maryland’s five-point loss at Northwestern on Wednesday. Up next for Mark Turgeon’s squad, Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament’s 8 vs. 9 game on Thursday morning in Indianapolis. If the Terrapins drop that one, they’re likely bound for the NIT.
  • Wisconsin (16-11 after a 77-73 loss at Iowa) and Florida (13-8 thanks to a 65-54 defeat at Tennessee) saw their seeding slip a bit, while the victorious Volunteers and newly-crowned Pac-12 regular-season champ Oregon (80-67 winners at Oregon State) saw their places improve by a seed line.

The Bracket

Stars (✴️) indicate new entrants, while arrows (⬆️ ⬇️) indicate movement up and down the seed list since Sunday. In a change for this season, teams that have won their auto bids are in gold-colored cells.


IN (1): Northeastern (CAA)
OUT: James Madison (CAA)

Last Four Byes: Michigan State, Maryland, VCU, Louisville
Last Four IN: Colorado State, Drake, Boise State, Xavier,
First Four OUT: Saint Louis, Syracuse, Utah State, St. John’s
Second Four OUT: Ole Miss, SMU, NC State, Seton Hall
Third Four OUT: Memphis, Richmond, Stanford, Belmont

Locks and Bubble by Conference

For Monday, March 8, 2021

Conference (Bids) Locks (55) Bubble IN (5) Last Four Byes/ Last Four In (8) Bubble Out (12)
Conference (Bids) Locks (55) Bubble IN (5) Last Four Byes/ Last Four In (8) Bubble Out (12)
Big Ten (9) 6: 1. Michigan*,
1. Illinois,
2. Iowa,
2. Ohio State,
4. Purdue,
8. Wisconsin
1: 10. Rutgers 2: 10. Michigan State,
11. Maryland
ACC (7) 4: 4. Virginia*,
6. Florida State*,
6. Clemson,
7. Virginia Tech
2: 9. Georgia Tech,
10. North Carolina
1: 11. Louisville Syracuse (First 4 Out), NC State (Second 4 Out)
Big 12 (7) 7: 1. Baylor*,
3. West Virginia,
3. Texas,
4. Oklahoma State,
4. Kansas,
6. Oklahoma,
6. Texas Tech
SEC (6) 6: 2. Alabama*,
3. Arkansas,
5. Tennessee,
8. Missouri,
8. LSU,
9. Florida
Ole Miss (Second 4 Out)
Big East (4) 3: 3. Villanova*,
5. Creighton,
7. UConn
1: 12. Xavier
(First Four)
St. John's (First 4 Out), Seton Hall (Second 4 Out)
Pac-12 (4) 4: 5. Colorado,
6. USC,
7. Oregon*,
Stanford (Third 4 Out)
Mountain West (3) 1: 8. San Diego State* 2: 11. Colorado State
(First Four),
12. Boise State
(First Four)
Utah State (First 4 Out)
Atlantic 10 (2) 1: 10. St. Bonaventure* 1: 11. VCU Saint Louis (First 4 Out) Richmond (Third 4 Out)
American (2) 1: 2. Houston 1: 12. Wichita State* SMU (Second 4 Out), Houston (Third 4 Out)
Missouri Valley (2) 1: 9. Loyola Chicago* 1: 11. Drake
(First Four)
West Coast (2) 2: 1. Gonzaga*,
7. BYU
One-Bid 20 conference tournament winners Belmont (Third 4 Out)

Don’t expect any major changes to the bracket on either Tuesday or Wednesday morning. The only caveat I have for that statement is if both Gonzaga and BYU lose their respective WCC Tournament semifinals this evening (9 p.m., ESPN and 12 a.m., ESPN2) because that would create a surprise third bid for the conference.

But once things get going on Wednesday afternoon, watch out.