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Bracketology 2021: All quiet on the at-large front

However, Monday’s conference tournament action did lead to some shifts in the bracket’s lower reaches.

NCAA Basketball-WCC Tournament-BYU vs Pepperdine
Pepperdine made it interesting in Las Vegas, forcing BYU to overtime, but the WCC final will pit the conference’s two locks against one another tonight.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With both top-seeded Gonzaga and second-seeded BYU advancing to tonight’s WCC championship game (9 p.m. ET, ESPN), no one’s bubble was popped due to the unlikely event of both falling in Monday night’s semifinals (even though Pepperdine did push the Cougars to overtime in the nightcap). So, today’s last eight in and first eight out remain exactly the same as Monday’s. That will also remain the case for Wednesday, even with Duke’s involvement in the ACC’s First Round (4:30 p.m., ACCN). A win over last-place Boston College won’t do much to move the needle in the Blue Devils’ favor, even if one would get Duke back over .500.

Monday night’s conference tournament action did lead to some changes for seed lines 14 through 16, however.

  • While UNCG remained as a 13 following its win over Mercer in the SoCon final, the Sun Belt saw its seeding fortunes take a serious hit with its championship game result. Appalachian State, the East Division’s fourth seed, took down East No. 1 Georgia State, to earn its first NCAA bid in 21 years. Despite all of the jokes about pairing the Mountaineers against Michigan, in the spirit of 2007’s stunning football result, App State is one of the four 16 seeds bound for the First Four in this projection.
  • Cleveland State, the top seed in the Horizon League, was able to rally to defeat Milwaukee in the pair’s semifinal in Indianapolis. The Vikings will meet Oakland this evening (7 p.m., ESPN). CSU is now projected as a 15 seed, thanks to Monday’s results.
  • Those include the Summit League and CAA semifinals, which were not great for higher-seeded teams. In Sioux Falls, the top two seeds, in-state squads South Dakota State and South Dakota, lost thrillers to Oral Roberts and North Dakota State. As the No. 3 seed, the Bison hold the auto bid heading into tonight’s final (9 p.m., ESPN2). The Colonial final will feature the No. 8 seed, Elon, and sixth-seeded Drexel (7 p.m., CBSSN), who knocked off last season’s finalists, Hofstra and Northeastern, respectively.

The fifth bid on the line tonight comes from the Northeast Conference, where second-seeded Bryant and fourth-seeded Mount St. Mary’s meet in Smithfield, Rhode Island (7 p.m., ESPN2).

Tuesday could turn out to be a big night for the group of Division I teams that have never made the NCAAs, as both Bryant and Elon could secure their first-ever bids this evening.

The Bracket

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

Rundown

IN (3): Appalachian State (Sun Belt), Drexel (CAA), North Dakota State (Summit)
OUT: Georgia State (Sun Belt), Northeastern (CAA), South Dakota State (Summit)

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 Wednesday, March 10, 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*,
9. UCLA
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)

Wednesday will be the final “easy” bracket of the week, thanks to the flurry of conference tournament action that will tip later in the day.