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Bracketology 2023: Waiting for Bubble Clarity

There’s just one new at-large team this week—with Oklahoma State replacing Oklahoma—thanks to a whole bunch of contenders failing to make an impact over the weekend.

The top four seeds in each region of Blogging the Bracket’s NCAA Men’s Tournament projection for Tuesday, February 7, 2023.
Graphic by Chris Dobbertean using logos from

The biggest change in this week’s bracket is the elevation of Arizona to the top line, replacing Tennessee—now a 2 following a week that saw the Volunteers lose at Florida and respond by taking out Auburn at Thompson-Boling Arena.

That victory wasn’t enough for the Gators to enter, as they couldn’t follow it up by beating Kentucky at Rupp. So, Todd Golden’s club is now the third team out, following Wisconsin—who lost a bubble battle of its own to Northwestern on Sunday, after disposing of Ohio State Thursday night—and the Texas A&M squad that narrowly defeated UF twice.

With four Quad 1 wins, the Badgers should be okay in the end, though their predictive metrics aren’t great (all in the 60s) and their results-based metrics are just slightly better (in the mid-40s). Wisconsin would have been in today’s field, for instance, had Clemson finally fallen out of the ACC lead. But so many of the teams near the Cut Line have a similar problem, while their metrics may be worthy of selection, the quality wins just aren’t there yet. North Carolina, for example, is now the second-to-last team in, and the Tar Heels’ current single Quad 1 win came against 11-12 Ohio State. Then, you have teams like Oklahoma, who followed a potentially season-making win over Alabama with consecutive losses to bracket newcomer Oklahoma State (in Norman) and at West Virginia. Now, the Sooners are 12-11 and sit outside of the First Eight Out.

After a week away, my appearance on this Tuesday’s episode of College Basketball Coast to Coast focused on the mess of the bubble and the opportunities that await in the midweek window.

Be sure to subscribe to College Basketball Coast to Coast wherever you get your podcasts.

Then, on Tuesday night, I discussed brackets with Terrance Biggs on the Add/Drop podcast. We covered a lot of ground in a relatively short amount of time.

More specific details on the busy midweek slate follows today’s bracket.

Text-Only Bracket for Screen Readers and Seed List


  • Conference logos indicate auto bid holders.
  • Numbers in red squares indicate team’s position in the bracket’s top 16 (top four seed lines).
  • Colors next to seed numbers indicate bracket movement: yellow (new), green (seed up), red (seed down) relative to last Tuesday’s bracket.

Graphics by Chris Dobbertean using logos from either, Wikimedia Commons, or the institutions’ websites.

Lowest-ranked NET at-large: Penn State (58)
Lowest-ranked KenPom at-large: Pittsburgh (61)

Highest-ranked NET exclusion: Utah State (33)
Highest-ranked KenPom exclusion: Ohio State (35, under .500)/Texas A&M (38)

Bids By Conference

24 one-bid conferences

Ins and Outs (10, 1 at-large)

New Entrants: Akron (MAC), Alcorn State (SWAC), Drake (MVC), Hofstra (CAA), Morehead State (OVC), Oklahoma State, Rider (MAAC), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Southland), VCU (A 10), Youngstown State (Horizon)

Out For Now: Charleston (CAA), Kent State (MAC), Milwaukee (Horizon), Oklahoma, Saint Louis (A 10), Siena (MAAC), Southeastern Louisiana (Southland), Southern (SWAC), Southern Illinois (MVC), UT Martin (OVC)

The Games Ahead: Midweek

Of the nine games in the midweek window that pair teams in this projected field, seven are tonight, with five in the late evening and late night windows. Three of these games have high seeding stakes—Marquette/UConn, Rutgers/Indiana, and TCU/K-State. On the other hand, Tuesday night’s slate also features opportunities for bubble teams like Wake Forest (hosting fellow bubble team UNC) and Texas A&M (hosting Auburn) with Arkansas/Kentucky and Nevada/New Mexico fitting featuring duels between teams currently on the right side of the Cut Line.

Seton Hall (hosting Creighton), Florida (at Alabama), and Utah State (hosting San Diego State) will all take the floor for huge opportunities on Wednesday night, as does West Virginia, who can earn a little more breathing room by taking care of Iowa State at home. Charleston, meanwhile, now out of the bracket following consecutive losses to Hofstra and Drexel, hosts travel partner UNCW needing a victory to keep pace with the Pride in the CAA race and the rest of their bubble rivals in the national picture.

Thursday’s headliner sees No. 1 overall Purdue host Iowa, with the Boilermakers looking to rebound from Saturday’s road loss to Indiana. Two other games to keep an eye on will be Northwestern’s trip to an Ohio State squad that’s fallen off the bubble of late and Oregon’s visit from USC—a game the Ducks need for their own fading hopes.

All times are p.m. Eastern.

Tuesday, February 7

Marquette at UConn, 6:30 (FS1)
Rutgers at Indiana, 6:30 (BTN)
North Carolina at Wake Forest, 7 (ESPN)
Auburn at Texas A&M, 7 (ESPN2)
SoCon: ETSU at UNCG, 7 (ESPNU/ESPN+ ($))
Louisville at Pittsburgh, 7 (ACCN)
A 10: Dayton at VCU, 7 (CBSSN)
Cincinnati at Tulane, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
MAC: Bowling Green at Kent State, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
MAC: Toledo at Akron, 7 (ESPN+ ($))

MVC: Drake at Murray State, 8 (ESPN+ ($))

Minnesota at Illinois, 8:30 (BTN)
Arkansas at Kentucky, 9 (ESPN)
Maryland at Michigan State. 9 (ESPN2)
TCU at Kansas State, 9 (ESPNU)
NC State at Virginia, 9 (ACCN)
A 10: Rhode Island at Saint Louis, 9 (CBSSN)
Nevada at New Mexico, 10:30 (FS1)

Wednesday, February 8

CAA: Hofstra at Northeastern, 6 (CBSSN)
Creighton at Seton Hall, 6:30 (FS1)
Nebraska at Michigan, 6:30 (BTN)
Big South: Winthrop at UNC Asheville, 6:30 (ESPN+ ($))
Iowa State at West Virginia, 7 (ESPN2)
Syracuse at Florida State, 7 (ESPNU)
Tennessee at Vanderbilt, 7 (SECN)
Boston College at Virginia Tech, 7 (ACCN)
MVC: Belmont at Missouri State, 7 (Bally Sports SE and Midwest/NBCS Chicago/ESPN+ ($))
SoCon: Furman at VMI, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
SoCon: Samford at Mercer, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
Patriot: Lehigh at Colgate, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
America East: Vermont at Maine, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
Memphis at South Florida, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
UNCW at Charleston, 7 (FloHoops ($))

Georgetown at Providence, 8 (CBSSN)
Texas Tech at Oklahoma State, 8 (ESPN+ ($))
Tulsa at Houston, 8 (ESPN+ ($))
UCF at Wichita State, 8 (ESPN+ ($))
MVC: UIC at Southern Illinois, 8 (ESPN+ ($))
MVC: Bradley at Illinois State, 8 (ESPN+ ($))
WAC: Cal Baptist at Utah Valley, 8 (ESPN+ ($))

Wisconsin at Penn State, 8:30 (BTN)
Florida at Alabama, 9 (ESPN2)
Oklahoma at Baylor, 9 (ESPNU)
LSU at Mississippi State, 9 (SECN)

San Diego State at Utah State, 10 (CBSSN)
UNLV at Wyoming, 10:30 (FS1)

Thursday, February 9

Iowa at Purdue, 7 (ESPN2)
Big South: Gardner-Webb at Radford, 7 (ESPNU/ESPN+ ($))
NEC: Fairleigh Dickinson at LIU, 7 (NEC Front Row)
Rice at Florida Atlantic, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
ASUN: Bellarmine at Liberty, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
OVC: Morehead State at Little Rock, 7:30 (ESPN+ ($))

Northwestern at Ohio State, 8 (FS1)
Horizon: Detroit Mercy at Milwaukee, 8 (ESPN+ ($))
UAB at North Texas, 8 (ESPN+ ($))
Summit: Oral Roberts at St. Thomas, 8 (St. Thomas stream)

Sun Belt: Louisiana at Southern Miss., 8:30 (ESPN+ ($))
Southland: Houston Christian at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 8:30 (ESPN+ ($))
San Francisco at Gonzaga, 9 (ESPN2)
UCLA at Oregon State, 9 (Pac-12 Network)

Arizona State at Stanford, 10 (FS1)
BYU at Pepperdine, 10 (CBSSN)
Saint Mary’s at Loyola Marymount, 10 (Bally Sports SoCal/Stadium College Pacific/WCCN)
USC at Oregon, 11 (ESPN2)
Big West: UC Santa Barbara at Long Beach State, 11 (ESPNU/ESPN+ ($))
Arizona at California, 11 (Pac-12 Networks)

On Friday, I will be back with a full bracket and bubble rundown heading into extremely busy Saturday and sparse Super Bowl Sunday slates.