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Bracketology 2022: A Few Games of Bubble Interest for Your Wednesday

Today’s action is a mere appetizer for what’s to come on Thursday and Friday.

Syndication: The Enquirer
Xavier beat Georgetown on Saturday to end a five-game skid. However, a loss to Butler in today’s Big East first round might be fatal to the Musketeers’ at-large chances.
Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

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Acknowledgements: NET rankings and records are accurate as of Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Both reflect only games against Division I teams. Selection Sheet info is from Team logos are from Chris Creamer’s

Teams with a gold background have secured automatic bids.
✴️ = new bracket entrants
⬆️ and ⬇️ = bracket returnees’ seed movement relative to Tuesday’s bracket
(#) = Overall rank of the top 16 teams (top four seeds in each region)

Six teams secured automatic bids on Tuesday night: Jacksonville State (ASUN), thanks to Bellarmine’s win over Jacksonville in the title game; Bryant (NEC); Delaware (CAA); Wright State (Horizon League); Gonzaga (WCC, though Saint Mary’s will be an at-large); and South Dakota State (Summit League).

Bryant’s 70-43 win over Wagner in the Northeast Conference title game opened with a 36-6 Bulldog run, but the school earning its first Division I NCAA Tournament appearance was marred by fighting in the crowd that led to a long delay before the teams could complete the final segment of the game.

As a palate cleanser, here’s Bellarmine’s CJ Fleming making an insane shot that served as an early dagger in the Knights’ win over Jacksonville.

Today’s Key Games

All times are Eastern.

Just one bid is on the line tonight, as Navy visits Colgate in the Patriot final (7:30 p.m., CBSSN). The Raiders can earn their second consecutive NCAA bid and third in four years, while the Midshipmen last qualified in 1998.

Today’s bubble lineup is limited, but it will help set up a blockbuster Thursday and Friday.

ACC Second Round: (13) Boston College (12-19, 6-14) vs. (5) Wake Forest (23-8, 13-7), approx. 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Wake can’t lose this one, and beating Miami in tomorrow’s quarterfinals wouldn’t be a terrible idea either.

Big East First Round: (9) Butler (13-18, 6-14) vs. (8) Xavier (18-12, 8-11), 4:30 p.m.

The Musketeers are a dreadful 2-7 in their last nine. Moving to 2-8 in their final 10 would be a bad final impression with so many teams still in the running.

Pac-12 First Round: (12) Oregon State (3-27, 1-19) vs. (5) Oregon (18-13, 11-9), approx. 5:30 p.m.

The Ducks will have to try to win the Pac-12’s automatic bid without a 14-point per game scorer in an ill Will Richardson. Sure, Oregon should defeat its in state rival with ease, but a potential quarterfinal elimination game with Colorado tomorrow is a different matter entirely.

ACC Second Round: (10) Clemson (17-15, 8-12) vs. (7) Virginia Tech (19-12, 11-9), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

The Hokies’ chances took a hit with Saturday’s road loss to the Tigers. Losing to Clemson again In Brooklyn will likely close the door on Tech, no matter their computer metrics.

ACC Second Round: (11) Louisville (13-18, 6-14) vs. (6) Virginia (18-12, 12-8), approx. 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

Similarly, this is another immediate rematch, with the Cavaliers looking to defeat the Cardinals for a third time to keep their slim at-large chances alive. An opportunity against UNC would be waiting in tomorrow’s quarterfinals with a win.

Big East First Round: (11) Georgetown (6-24, 0-19) vs. (6) Seton Hall (20-9, 11-8), approx. 9:30 p.m.

The Pirates are quite safe, but giving the Hoyas their first Big East win of the season might make the Committee break out a collective side-eye.

Note that Georgia Tech, last season’s surprise ACC Tournament winner, is already out of this season’s event. Will the other two surprise power champs of 2021, Oregon State and Georgetown, follow them tonight?

As for me, now that I am away from work for the rest of the week, I will be taking a good hard look at things today, including fully scrubbing the seed list from top to bottom, so don’t be surprised if Thursday morning’s bracket reflects more changes than expected after a light schedule. I will also do another countdown of the lock/bubble picture.