clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bracketology 2024: If You’re Late To The College Hoops Party, Welcome!

You picked a great weekend to jump into men’s college basketball, as some of the sport’s greatest rivalries and newest marquee matchups are on show this weekend.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

A throwback look at the top four seeds in each region of the projected men’s tournament bracket for Friday, February 2, 2024.
Graphic by Chris Dobbertean using logos from (primarily) SportsLogos.net.

Before we get to a loaded weekend schedule, it’s time for the bracket projection, which features a new No. 1 seed in Houston, who replaces North Carolina following the Tar Heels’ loss at Georgia Tech. Tennessee hangs on to the fourth 1 seed after losing at home to South Carolina—thanks in no small part to Nebraska’s Thursday night OT win over Wisconsin, who was next in line.

There are two new at-large teams, both from the SEC, Ole Miss and Florida. They replace Cincinnati, who lost at West Virginia, and Memphis. The Tigers’ home loss to Rice on Wednesday night extended their skid to four games.

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 Tuesday’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 (3)

In: Colgate (Patriot), Florida, Ole Miss

Out: Cincinnati, Lafayette (Patriot), Memphis

Lowest-ranked NET at-large: Seton Hall (66)

Lowest-ranked KenPom at-large: Ole Miss (61)

Highest-ranked NET exclusion: Gonzaga (26)

Highest-ranked KenPom exclusion: Gonzaga (19)

Looking Ahead

On Thursday, I joined T.J. Rives for another episode of College Basketball Coast to Coast—with a heavy focus on the stacked weekend schedule.

You can listen to College Basketball Coast to Coast on Spreaker, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and anywhere else you get your podcasts.

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

Friday

St. Bonaventure at Dayton, 7 (ESPN2/ESPN+ ($))
Ohio State at Iowa, 7 (FS1)
Princeton at Yale, 7 (ESPNU/ESPN+ ($))
Cornell at Dartmouth, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
Toledo at Akron, 9 (ESPN2/ESPN+ ($))
Butler at Creighton, 9 (FS1)
San José State at Nevada, 11 (FS1)

The weekend begins with key matchups at the top of the Atlantic 10, Ivy League, and MAC. The Big East matchup deserves some of your attention too, as Creighton is looking like a solid 3 seed, while Butler is one of the many, many teams who are bubbling under the “First Eight Out” group.

Saturday

UConn at St. John’s, 12 (Fox)
Virginia Tech at Miami, 12 (ESPN)
Arkansas at LSU, 12 (ESPN2)
Penn State at Indiana, 12 (FS1)
Navy at Colgate, 12 (CBSSN)
George Mason at UMass, 12 (NESN/ESPN+ ($))
Wichita State at Memphis, 1 (CBS)
Legacy Classic (Newark, N.J.): Grambling vs. Jackson State, 1 (TNT)
South Carolina at Georgia, 1 (SECN)

Virginia at Clemson, 2 (ESPN)
Texas at TCU, 2 (ESPN2)
Marquette at Georgetown, 2 (FS1)
Northwestern at Minnesota, 2 (BTN)
East Carolina at Charlotte, 2 (ESPNU)
Sam Houston at FIU, 2 (ESPN+ ($))
Binghamton at Vermont, 2 (ESPN+ ($))
Kansas State at Oklahoma State, 2 (ESPN+ ($))
California at Arizona State, 3 (Pac-12 Networks)
Central Connecticut at Merrimack, 3 (NESN+/NEC Front Row)
App State at Georgia Southern, 3 (ESPN+ ($))

Legacy Classic (Newark, N.J.): Hampton vs. Howard, 3:30 (TNT)
Utah State at San Diego State, 3:30 (Fox)
Houston at Kansas, 4 (ESPN)
Florida at Texas A&M, 4 (ESPN2)
Rutgers at Michigan, 4 (BTN)
Richmond at VCU, 4 (ESPNU/ESPN+ ($))
Air Force at Boise State, 4 (MWN)
Morehead State at Tennessee Tech, 4 (ESPN+ ($))
Oklahoma at UCF, 4 (ESPN+ ($))
Old Dominion at James Madison, 4 (ESPN+ ($))
Grand Canyon at Utah Valley, 4 (ESPN+ ($))
Coppin State at NC Central, 4 (NCCU stream)
Delaware State at Norfolk State, 4 (NSU stream)
McNeese at Southeastern Louisiana, 4:30 (ESPN+ ($))
Samford at Chattanooga, 4:30 (ESPN+ ($))
Colorado at Utah, 5 (Pac-12 Networks)
Eastern Kentucky at Kennesaw State, 5 (ESPN+ ($))
New Hampshire at UMass Lowell, 5 (ESPN+ ($))

Get whatever you need to do on Saturday done before 4 Eastern/1 Pacific because that’s when it’s time to lock in to college hoops. The headliner is obviously new No. 1 seed Houston’s trip to Lawrence, where the Cougars will meet the Jayhawks for the first time as Big 12 rivals. But there’s also a crucial SEC matchup between Florida and Texas A&M. The Gators are coming off an unexpected overtime win at Kentucky and head to College Station having lost their last five meetings against the Aggies—by a combined total of 9 points.

There’s also a Utah State-San Diego State matchup that’s been the championship game of four of the last five Mountain West Tournaments, a crosstown showdown in the Atlantic 10 between undefeated league-leading Richmond and archrival VCU, a crucial Pac-12 bubble showdown in Salt Lake City, and crucial road tests for the leaders of the Atlantic Sun, Ohio Valley, SoCon, and Southland in this window.

Maryland at Michigan State, 5:30 (Fox)
Georgia Tech at NC State, 5:30 (CW)
Drake at Indiana State, 6 (ESPN2/ESPN+ ($))
Auburn at Ole Miss, 6 (SECN)
Notre Dame at Pitt, 6 (ACCN)
Princeton at Brown, 6 (NESN+/ESPN+ ($))
Lafayette at Army West Point, 6 (ESPN+ ($))
Tulsa at Florida Atlantic, 6 (ESPN+ ($))
South Florida at North Texas, 6 (ESPN+ ($))
Cincinnati at Texas Tech, 6 (ESPN+ ($))
BYU at West Virginia, 6 (ESPN+ ($))
Duke at North Carolina, 6:30 (ESPN)
Presbyterian at High Point, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
Cornell at Harvard, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
Penn at Yale, 7 (ESPN+ ($))

Duke-North Carolina—the matchup that the promos will tell you “always delivers”—highlights the early evening ET window. But you should also keep an eye on the matchup in Terre Haute between defending Missouri Valley champion Drake and Indiana State. The Bulldogs topped the Sycamores 89-78 in Des Moines on January 10th, but there might very well be a rubber match at Arch Madness one week before Selection Sunday. Also, Auburn can pick up its first Quad 1 win (0-4) by knocking off bracket newcomer Ole Miss in Oxford.

Syracuse at Wake Forest, 7:45 (CW)
Iowa State at Baylor, 8 (ESPN2)
Florida State at Louisville, 8 (ACCN)
Tennessee at Kentucky, 8:30 (ESPN)
Mississippi State at Alabama, 8:30 (SECN)
Washington State at Washington, 9 (Pac-12 Networks)
Eastern Washington at Montana, 9 (ESPN+ ($))

The marquee matchups continue as Saturday evening rolls on. The Tennessee-Kentucky showdown at Rupp lost a little bit of luster with both squads dropping home games midweek, but the Vols are still in the hunt for a No. 1 seed, while the Wildcats need a win to get back on the top four seed lines. Elsewhere, Iowa State heads to Waco with the Cyclones on the verge of passing the Bears (who snapped a three-game skid at UCF on Wednesday) on the seed list, Mississippi State looking to pick up its first true road win on its visit to SEC-leading Alabama, and an Apple Cup matchup with bubble implications in Seattle.

Xavier at DePaul, 9:30 (FS1)
Oregon at UCLA, 10 (ESPN2)
Colorado State at Fresno State, 10 (CBSSN)
Hawai‘i at UC Irvine, 10 (ESPN+ ($))
Pacific at San Francisco, 10 (ESPN+ ($))
Saint Mary’s at Gonzaga, 10:30 (ESPN/ESPN+ ($))

Speaking of teams that need quality wins—Gonzaga currently sits nine spots below the Cut Line, thanks to a subpar 2-5 mark in Quad 1 and 2 games that includes an 0-4 mark against the top group. The Zags’ best opportunities to get back in the thick of the at-large front come over the next two Saturdays—tonight against WCC-leading Saint Mary’s at home and next week at Rupp Arena. The Bulldogs travel to Moraga for the rematch with the Gaels on March 2nd, and there’s a good chance the pair will play again for the WCC auto bid a week and a half later.

Sunday

Purdue at Wisconsin, 1 (CBS)
Temple at Tulane, 4 (ESPNU)
South Dakota at South Dakota State, 5 (CBSSN)
UAB at SMU, 6 (ESPN2)
Providence at Villanova, 6 (FS1)
Nebraska at Illinois, 6:30 (BTN)
Stanford at Arizona, 8 (FS1)

With Wisconsin’s loss to Nebraska, Purdue is back in the Big Ten lead by a mere half-game. But the Badgers can reclaim the baton with a home win to start a relatively thin Sunday slate. In the evening, there’s a crucial Big East bubble tilt in Philadelphia, while the aforementioned Huskers look to follow up their Thursday win by pulling off an even bigger shock—winning in Champaign.

Monday

Miami at Virginia, 7 (ESPN)
Howard at Delaware State, 7:30 (DSU stream)
Morgan State at NC Central, 7:30 (NCCU stream)
Norfolk State at Maryland-Eastern Shore, 8 (Delmarva Sports Network)
A&M-Commerce at McNeese, 8 (ESPN+ ($))
Kansas at Kansas State, 9 (ESPN)
Southern at Jackson State, 9 (ESPN2/ESPN+ ($))
Eastern Washington at Portland State, 10 (ESPN+ ($))

The bubble takes center stage on Big Monday, as Miami and Virginia both have a lot to do in the ACC and a K-State win over Kansas would vault the Wildcats into consideration.

With Saturday’s monster schedule and a few other intriguing matchups to follow, Tuesday’s projection should be fascinating.

Keep up with Blogging the Bracket: