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Acknowledgements: NET rankings and records are accurate as of Friday, March 11, 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 Thursday’s bracket
(#) = Overall rank of the top 16 teams (top four seeds in each region)
The No. 1 Seed Race
- Gonzaga can rest easy, as the Bulldogs are likely to be No. 1 overall no matter what happens this weekend.
- Arizona, which might be without point guard Kerr Kriisa due to an ankle injury, is now in line to be No. 2 overall following Baylor’s Thursday loss to Oklahoma. That’s subject to change depending on the result of the Wildcats’ Pac-12 semifinal against Colorado (9 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).
- Kansas, victorious over West Virginia in the Big 12 quarterfinals, passed Baylor for No. 3 overall. The Bears are likely to drop to the 2 line if either Auburn or Kentucky wins the SEC Tournament.
Potential Surprise Auto Bids
With the Mountain West and Big East Tournaments going chalk, keep an eye on these potential surprise winners in the other multi-bid leagues’ conference tournaments.
- Big Ten: 11th-seeded Penn State (and 4th-seeded Rutgers for that matter, since the Scarlet Knights are not a lock)
- SEC: No. 8 Texas A&M, No. 10 Mississippi State, and No. 11 Vanderbilt are all alive. The latter two must win the auto bid to qualify.
- Atlantic 10: No. 4 St. Bonaventure, No. 5 Saint Louis, No. 6 Richmond, No. 8 Fordham, and No. 10 UMass (Davidson will lock up a bid by beating Fordham. Likely just one of Dayton and VCU could join the Wildcats.)
- American: Only Houston and Memphis are locks, so the remaining six quarterfinalists could all complicate the Cut Line picture.
- ACC: Virginia Tech
- Big 12: Oklahoma, as TCU is now a lock
- Pac-12: Colorado
Key Bubble Games for Friday
In Friday’s episode of College Basketball Coast to Coast TJ Rives and I covered a lot of bubble ground in an eight-minute segment.
Big Ten Quarterfinals: (9) Indiana (19-12, 9-11) vs. (1) Illinois (22-8, 15-5), 11:30 a.m. (BTN)
The Hoosiers would be well advised to add a win over the Fighting Illini to their Thursday triumph over Michigan.
SEC Quarterfinals: (8) Texas A&M (20-12, 9-9) vs. (1) Auburn (27-4, 15-3), 12 p.m. (ESPN)
An Aggie loss will burst their bubble. The Tigers need a win, on the other hand, for their 1 seed hopes.
Atlantic 10 Quarterfinals: (8) Fordham (16-15, 8-10) vs. (1) Davidson (25-5, 15-3), 12 p.m. (USA)
The Wildcats will have a nervous weekend if they lose to the Rams.
Conference USA Semifinals: (3W) Louisiana Tech (23-9, 12-6) vs. (1W) North Texas (24-5, 16-2), 12:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
While the Mean Green will be on the at-large board with a loss, they’ll have a better chance (though still a slim one) by reaching tomorrow’s final.
American Athletic Quarterfinals: (8) Cincinnati (18-14, 7-11) vs. (1) Houston (26-5, 15-3), 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
Not a bubble game per se, but the Bearcats can cause some heartburn around the cut line by beating the Cougars.
Big Ten Quarterfinals: (5) Iowa (23-9, 12-8) vs. (4) Rutgers (18-12, 12-8), approx. 2 p.m. (BTN)
The Scarlet Knights should be okay win or lose, but they might not want to tempt fate against a Hawkeye team that looked exceptionally dangerous last night.
Atlantic 10 Quarterfinals: (5) Saint Louis (22-10, 12-6) vs. (4) St. Bonaventure (20-8, 12-5), approx. 2:30 p.m. (USA)
A straight elimination game featuring teams who once had higher hopes.
Conference USA Semifinals: (2W) UAB (25-7, 14-4) vs. (1E) Middle Tennessee (23-9, 13-5), approx. 3 p.m. (CBSSN)
The Blazers will also get a look with a loss, though their chances are even more slender than those of North Texas.
SEC Quarterfinals: (10) Mississippi State (18-14, 8-10) vs. (2) Tennessee (23-7, 14-4), 6 p.m. (SEC Network)
A must-win for the Bulldogs, who need the SEC Tournament title to qualify.
Atlantic 10 Quarterfinals: (10) UMass (15-16, 7-11) vs. (2) Dayton (22-9, 14-4), 6 p.m. (USA)
A loss to the Minutemen will most assuredly pop the Flyers’ bubble.
American Athletic Quarterfinals: (10) Tulsa (11-19, 4-14) vs. (2) SMU (22-7, 13-4), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
The Mustangs’ at-large chances would have been better served by a matchup with Wichita State, now a bad late loss opportunity lurks.
Atlantic 10 Quarterfinals: (6) Richmond (20-12, 10-8) vs. (3) VCU (21-8, 14-4), approx. 8:30 p.m. (USA)
It’s a similar story for the Rams, who meet their crosstown rivals for a third time. VCU won both prior meetings.
Pac-12 Semifinals: (4) Colorado (21-10, 12-8) vs. (1) Arizona (29-3, 19-2), 9 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
The Buffaloes must win both today and tonight to make the field. Their last matchup with the Wildcats was a win, albeit in Boulder.
ACC Quarterfinals: (7) Virginia Tech (21-12, 11-9) vs. (3) North Carolina (24-8, 15-5), approx. 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
The Hokies really need this one, but the Tar Heels are playing their best basketball of 2021-22 at the right time.
Big 12 Quarterfinals: (7) Oklahoma (18-14, 7-11) vs. (3) Texas Tech (24-8, 12-6), approx. 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
The Sooners grabbed the biggest win of the week so far last night. Can they win their rubber match with the Red Raiders to move further up the Seed List?
American Athletic Quarterfinals: (6) UCF (18-11, 9-9) vs. (3) Memphis (19-9, 13-5), approx. 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
The Tigers look like a lock, but going 1-2 against the Knights might make the Committee reconsider.
Mountain West Semifinals: (4) Wyoming (25-7, 13-5) vs. (1) Boise State (25-7, 15-3), 9:30 p.m.
By beating UNLV yesterday, the Cowboys should be in. Defeating the Broncos and reaching Saturday’s final would seal it, however.