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Acknowledgements: NET rankings and records are accurate as of Thursday, March 10, 2022. Both reflect only games against Division I teams. Selection Sheet info is from WarrenNolan.com. Team logos are from Chris Creamer’s SportsLogos.net.
Teams with a gold background have secured automatic bids.
✴️ = new bracket entrants
⬆️ and ⬇️ = bracket returnees’ seed movement relative to Wednesday’s bracket
(#) = Overall rank of the top 16 teams (top four seeds in each region)
In this space tomorrow, I’ll take a quick look at where the No. 1 seed race stands as well as point out any potential surprise auto bid winners who are still alive as of Friday, since everyone will be in at least the quarterfinal round then.
Key Bubble Games for Thursday
Big Ten Second Round: (9) Indiana (18-12, 9-11) vs. (8) Michigan (17-13, 11-9), 11:30 a.m. (BTN)
The Wolverines should be okay win or lose, but could slip to Dayton with an Indiana win. The Hoosiers must win this one to stay alive. Winner gets Illinois in the Friday late morning window in Indy.
SEC Second Round: (9) Florida (19-12, 9-9) vs. (8) Texas A&M (20-11, 9-9), 12 p.m. (SECN)
A straight elimination game with Auburn awaiting the winner tomorrow in the same slot. Note that the Aggies defeated the Gators by a point in College State, but UF forward Anthony Duruji only played seven minutes in that game due to injury.
Big 12 Quarterfinals: (5) TCU (19-11, 8-10) vs. (4) Texas (21-10, 10-8), 12:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
The Horned Frogs should be fine after defeating both Texas Tech and Kansas in their last four games. but consecutive losses at Kansas (fine) and West Virginia (not so much) leave them needing to defeat the Longhorns for the first time this season to be sure.
Big East Quarterfinals: (5) Marquette (19-11, 11-8) vs. (4) Creighton (20-10, 12-7), approx. 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
It’s a similar story for the Bluejays, who have defeated the Golden Eagles twice. Creighton’s quality wins should push them past the finish line, and a loss to Marquette wouldn’t be a bad one. It’s a matter of final perception. Xavier didn’t understand that yesterday afternoon.
Atlantic 10 Second Round: (12) La Salle (11-18, 5-13) vs. (5) Saint Louis (21-10, 12-6), approx. 2:30 p.m.
If the Billikens drop this one, they will (deservedly) fall off the bubble’s fringe.
SEC Second Round: (10) Mississippi State (17-14, 8-10) vs. (7) South Carolina (18-12, 9-9), 6 p.m. (SECN)
Another straight elimination game in Tampa, though neither team is as well positioned as either Florida or Texas A&M.
Mountain West Quarterfinals: (5) UNLV (18-13, 10-8) vs. (4) Wyoming (24-7, 13-5), approx. 5:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
The Cowboys lost to the Runnin’ Rebels at the Thomas & Mack last Wednesday, 64-57. If Wyoming repeats that performance, a long wait until 4 Mountain on Sunday will be in the cards.
Pac-12 Quarterfinals: (5) Oregon (19-13, 11-9) vs. (4) Colorado (20-10, 12-8), approx. 5:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
Yet another straight elimination contest, with the winner likely needing to make it to Saturday’s final to have any chance.
Big 12 Quarterfinals: (7) Oklahoma (17-14, 7-11) vs. (2) Baylor (26-5, 14-4), 7 p.m. (ESPN)
The Sooners can get themselves right back in the thick of it with a win over the Bears. A Baylor loss would also shake up the race for a No. 1 seed nationally.
ACC Quarterfinals: (6) Virginia (19-12, 12-8) vs. (3) North Carolina (23-8, 15-5), approx. 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Both the Hokies and Cavaliers survived close calls on Wednesday night to put themselves in position to grab crucial wins tonight—and set up a HUGE all-Commonwealth semifinal on Friday night in Brooklyn.
Mountain West Quarterfinals: (6) Fresno State (19-12, 8-9) vs. (3) San Diego State (21-7, 13-5), approx. 11:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
I think the Aztecs are safer than many, but that could change with a loss to the Bulldogs, a team SDSU swept during the regular season.