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Bracketology 2024: So Much To Play For As January Closes

An exceptionally busy final weekend of 2024’s initial month led to yet another Cut Line shakeup. February’s first weekend might just have more impact on the top of the bracket, however. But teams just have to get through the midweek window first.

A throwback look at the top four seeds in each region for the projected men’s tournament bracket of Tuesday, January 30th.
Graphic by Chris Dobbertean using logos from (primarily) SportsLogos.net.

Text-Only Bracket for Screen Readers and Seed List

Key:

  • Conference logos indicate auto bid holders.
  • Colors next to seed numbers represent movement relative to Friday’s bracket: gold (new entrant), green (up 1+ seed line), red (down 1+ seed line)

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

Ins and Outs (8)

In: Cincinnati, Cornell (Ivy), Grambling (SWAC), North Carolina Central (MEAC), Providence, Richmond (A 10), TCU, UC Irvine (Big West)

Out: Delaware State (MEAC), Jackson State (SWAC), Nevada, Oregon (Pac-12), Princeton (Ivy), UC Davis (Big West), Virginia Tech, Washington State

The span between Friday’s projection and now was an unbelievably busy one in men’s college basketball. In the spreadsheet I use to track results between brackets, there are currently 117 teams (conference leaders plus teams in the NET 100 who are over .500). Typically, there are anywhere between 8 and 12 teams who are off during a particular bracket window and are marked in light blue to signify their idleness.

Unbelievably, only three teams on this bracket’s spreadsheet were off over the last four days. That’s almost as wild as Gonzaga still being out of the bracket.

It was a good week for the Big 12, which is back to 10 teams in the projected field, with TCU and Cincinnati returning and Texas hanging around despite Monday night’s overtime loss to Houston. The Big East also saw its total increase, as Providence is on a three-game winning streak. Sure, the Friars’ wins over Georgetown and DePaul didn’t do much to move the needle, but Wednesday’s victory at Seton Hall did. Of course, Kim English’s club has lots of work to do and this week’s road games at UConn and Villanova will be real hurdles to navigate.

Lowest-ranked NET at-large: Seton Hall (74)

Lowest-ranked KenPom at-large: Seton Hall (68)

Highest-ranked NET exclusion: Colorado (29)

Highest-ranked KenPom exclusion: Gonzaga (22)

23 single-bid conferences

With Richmond’s home win over Dayton, the Spiders—undefeated in Atlantic 10 play—moved into the conference’s auto bid spot. The Pac-12 dropped down to a two-bid league, thanks to Arizona’s win over Oregon (which gave the Wildcats’ the auto bid) and Washington State being squeezed out by Richmond’s win in the A 10.

The ACC and Mountain West both saw an at-large team drop out. Virginia Tech’s Big Monday home loss to Duke saw the Hokies slide out, while Nevada’s blowout loss at New Mexico on Sunday night helped push the Wolf Pack out.

The American is in real danger of becoming a one-bid league, thanks to Memphis and its struggles. The Tigers have dropped three straight and are now projected as a First Four team. While Florida Atlantic is still safely in the field, the competition at the top of the league—also represented by co-leader Charlotte today—could result in some bid cannibalization. Don’t forget that South Florida is currently a half-game back—as the Bulls are making real strides in Amir Abdur-Rahim’s first season—and 2023 NIT champ North Texas is also within striking distance.

Looking Ahead

All times are p.m. Eastern. My viewing picks in bold.

Tuesday

South Carolina vs. Tennessee, 6:30 (SECN)
North Carolina at Georgia Tech, 7 (ESPN)
Texas Tech at TCU, 7 (ESPN2)
Marquette at Villanova, 7 (FS1)
Iowa at Indiana, 7 (BTN)
Syracuse at Boston College, 7 (ACCN)
VCU at St. Bonaventure, 7 (CBSSN)
George Washington at Dayton, 7 (Spectrum News 1/ESPN+ ($))
Illinois at Ohio State, 7 (Peacock ($))

Oklahoma at Kansas State, 8 (ESPN+ ($))
Mississippi State at Ole Miss, 8:30 (SECN)
Oklahoma State at Kansas, 9 (ESPN)
Miami at NC State, 9 (ESPN2)
Seton Hall at DePaul, 9 (FS1)
Louisville at Clemson, 9 (ACCN)
San Diego State at Colorado State, 9 (CBSSN)
San José State at Utah State, 9 (MWN)
Michigan at Michigan State, 9 (Peacock ($))

Loyola Marymount at Gonzaga, 11 (ESPN/ESPN+ ($))

Wednesday

St. John’s at Xavier, 6:30 (FS1)
Northwestern at Purdue, 6:30 (BTN)
Alabama at Georgia, 6:30 (SECN)
Notre Dame at Virginia, 7 (ESPN2)
Wake Forest at Pitt, 7 (ACCN)
South Florida at East Carolina, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
Richmond at Fordham, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
George Mason at Saint Joseph’s, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
Baylor at UCF, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
Cincinnati at West Virginia, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
Indiana State at Belmont, 7:30 (ESPN+ ($))
Wofford at Samford, 7:30 (ESPN+ ($))

Florida at Kentucky, 8 (ESPN)
Northern Iowa at Bradley, 8 (CBSSN)
Valparaiso at Drake, 8 (MC-22/ESPN+ ($))
Rice at Memphis, 8 (ESPN+ ($))
Providence at UConn, 8:30 (FS1)
Penn State at Rutgers, 8:30 (BTN)

Vanderbilt at Auburn, 9 (ESPN2)
UAB at North Texas, 9 (ESPNU)

Boise State at New Mexico, 10:30 (FS1)
Santa Clara at Saint Mary’s, 11 (ESPNU/ESPN+ ($))

Thursday

IUPUI at Green Bay, 12 (ESPN+ ($))

St. Francis at Central Connecticut, 6 (NEC Front Row)

Tulane at SMU, 7 (ESPN2)
Longwood at High Point, 7 (ESPNU/ESPN+ ($))
Drexel at Monmouth, 7 (NBCS Philadelphia/SNY/FloHoops ($))
Louisiana Tech at FIU, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
UAlbany at Vermont, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
App State at Georgia State, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
Coastal Carolina at James Madison, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
UNCW at Charleston, 7 (FloHoops ($))

North Dakota State at South Dakota State, 8 (Midco Sports/Summit League Network ($))
Eastern Kentucky at Queens, 8 (ESPN+ ($))
Wisconsin at Nebraska, 8:30 (BTN)
California at Arizona, 8:30 (Pac-12 Networks)
Morehead State at Tennessee State, 8:30 (ESPN+ ($))

Stanford at Arizona State, 9 (ESPN2)
Sam Houston at Western Kentucky, 9 (CBSSN)
Seattle U at Grand Canyon, 9 (ESPN+ ($))
Liberty at New Mexico State, 9 (ESPN+ ($))
Eastern Washington at Montana State, 9 (ESPN+ ($))

UC Irvine at Cal Poly, 10 (ESPN+ ($))
Oregon at USC, 10:30 (ESPN)
San Diego at San Francisco, 11 (CBSSN)

The first weekend of February features a massive tripleheader on Saturday—Houston at Kansas, Duke-North Carolina I, and Tennessee-Kentucky. While the Cougars and Blue Devils both took care of their early week opposition yesterday, the other four teams won’t want to be caught looking ahead during this midweek window. We’ll check in on them all again in Friday’s projection.