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Bracketology 2024: Arizona Defeats Utah After 3 OTs And Jumps To The Top Line

The Wildcats’ 105-99 victory in Salt Lake City was buried on Pac-12 Network, so not many people got to see it. Of course, next year, with both teams moving to the Big 12, this matchup is likely to be buried behind the ESPN+ paywall.

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A throwback look at the top four seeds in each region for the projected NCAA men’s tournament bracket as of February 9, 2024.
Graphic by Chris Dobbertean using logos (primarily) from 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 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 (7)

In: Cincinnati, Green Bay (Horizon), Nevada, North Dakota (Summit), South Florida (American), Troy (Sun Belt), UNCW (CAA)
Out: App State (Sun Belt), Charlotte (American), Drexel (CAA), Oakland (Horizon), Richmond (A 10), South Dakota State (Summit), St. John’s

Lowest-ranked NET at-large: Ole Miss (60)
Lowest-ranked KenPom at-large: Ole Miss (60)
Highest-ranked NET exclusion: Gonzaga (25)
Highest-ranked KenPom exclusion: Gonzaga (22)

24 single-bid conferences

Yes, that is the South Florida Bulls in the field—with the new American Athletic Conference leaders aiming for their first bid since 2012—thanks to their win over Charlotte on Tuesday and Florida Atlantic’s loss at UAB last night. On this week’s episode of College Basketball Coast to Coast, it was a bit of a Tampa party with T.J. Rives, stalwart of the Bay Area college sports broadcast scene chatting about the Bulls with their play-by-play announcer Jim Lighthall alongside my bracket analysis and George Ofman joining to offer some Big Ten insights.

Be sure to subscribe to College Basketball Coast to Coast on Spreaker, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and anywhere else you get your podcasts.

Looking Ahead

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

Friday

Dayton at VCU, 7 (ESPN2/ESPN+ ($))
San Diego State at Nevada, 8 (CBSSN)
San José State at Colorado State, 9:30 (FS1)

This is a very busy weekend—as again, just two of the many, many teams still under consideration for an at-large bid will be idle over the next four days. Saturday is particularly packed, thanks to many conferences wanting to avoid Super Bowl Sunday. This is not the case for the American, however!

Friday night’s schedule only totals three games, but the top two are particularly significant. Dayton is back as the lone Atlantic 10 rep today, as the Flyers are a half-game up on Richmond. However, the Spiders’ crosstown rivals, the VCU Rams, are playing their best basketball of the season, and their matchup with Anthony Grant’s squad might just be an A 10 semifinal or championship preview.

Later, Nevada—the last team in today’s bracket—has a huge opportunity against San Diego State, a team on the cusp of cracking the top 16.

Saturday

Alabama at LSU, 12 (ESPN)
Clemson at Syracuse, 12 (ESPN2)
UConn at Georgetown, 12 (FS1)
Wisconsin at Rutgers, 12 (BTN)

Creighton at Xavier, 12:30 (Fox)

Vanderbilt at South Carolina, 1 (SECN)
FDU at Central Connecticut, 1 (YES/ESPN+ ($))
High Point at Gardner-Webb, 1 (ESPN+ ($))
Vermont at UMBC, 1 (ESPN+ ($))
Samford at VMI, 1 (ESPN+ ($))
Toledo at App State, 1 (ESPN+ ($))

Green Bay at Youngstown State, 1:30 (ESPN+ ($))

Illinois at Michigan State, 2 (CBS)
Boston College at Duke, 2 (ESPN)
TCU at Iowa State, 2 (ESPN2)
Providence at Butler, 2 (FS1)
Indiana State at Missouri State, 2 (Bally Midwest and SW/NBCS Chicago/ESPN+ ($))
La Salle at Richmond, 2 (Monumental SN/ESPN+ ($))
Cornell at Yale, 2 (ESPN+ ($))

The early afternoon window features several “teams safely in play bubble teams on the road” contests, though Providence-Butler is more of an all-bubble matchup and TCU-Iowa State is a battle for seeding. Then there’s the contest for the Ivy lead in New Haven. This afternoon’s winner will be one of two remaining teams who can complete a perfect conference season. The other is Saint Mary’s from the WCC.

West Virginia at Texas, 3 (LHN)
South Florida at Rice, 3 (ESPN+ ($))

Auburn at Florida, 3:30 (SECN)
Drexel at Charleston, 3:30 (FloHoops ($))
Eastern Illinois at Morehead State, 3:30 (ESPN+ ($))

Gonzaga at Kentucky, 4 (CBS)
North Carolina at Miami, 4 (ESPN)
Houston at Cincinnati, 4 (ESPN2)
Maryland at Ohio State, 4 (FS1)
NC State at Wake Forest, 4 (ACCN)
Oral Roberts at South Dakota State, 4 (CBSSN)
Quinnipiac at Mount St. Mary’s, 4 (ESPN+ ($))
UNC Asheville at USC Upstate, 4 (ESPN+ ($))
UCF at Texas Tech, 4 (ESPN+ ($))

Eastern Kentucky at Stetson, 4:45 (ESPN+ ($))

Washington State at Oregon, 5 (Pac-12 Networks)
Colgate at Loyola Maryland, 5 (ESPN+ ($))
A&M-Corpus Christi at McNeese, 5 (ESPN+ ($))
Western Kentucky at Jacksonville State, 5 (ESPN+ ($))

The late afternoon window features several opportunities for bubble squads to make a statement against top flight competition at home—particularly in Gainesville, Coral Gables, and Cincinnati. Gonzaga, still not within sight of the Cut Line, can get closer by winning in Lexington—a result that would be the Bulldogs’ first Quad 1 win of the season. Later in the window, Washington State, now above the First Four grouping, visits Oregon, another team looking to climb its way up the very crowded bubble.

Baylor at Kansas, 6 (ESPN)
Akron at James Madison, 6 (ESPN2)
St. John’s at Marquette, 6 (FS1)
Virginia Tech at Notre Dame, 6 (CW)
Drake at Bradley, 6 (ESPNU/ESPN+ ($))
Georgia at Arkansas, 6 (SECN)
Penn at Princeton, 6 (ESPN+ ($))

Michigan at Nebraska, 6:30 (BTN)

Washington at Oregon State, 7 (Pac-12 Networks)
Oakland at Wright State, 7 (ESPN+ ($))
Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, 7 (ESPN+ ($))

Idaho at Eastern Washington, 7:30 (SWX/ESPN+ ($))

Sure, Baylor and Kansas has plenty of protected seed intrigue in the early evening window, but the Sun Belt-MAC series gives us one of the last meaningful non-conference games of the season, as Akron visits a JMU squad that needs a quality victory to get back into the at-large frame. Elsewhere, Marquette, a new 2 seed today, hosts St. John’s, who dropped out of the bracket, in a crucial Big East showdown.

Indiana at Purdue, 8 (Fox)
Tennessee at Texas A&M, 8 (ESPN)
Arizona State at Utah, 8 (ESPN2)
Virginia at Florida State, 8 (CW)
Louisiana Tech at Liberty, 8 (ESPNU/ESPN+ ($))
UNLV at New Mexico, 8 (CBSSN)
UC Irvine at UC Riverside, 8 (ESPN+ ($))

Mississippi State at Missouri, 8:30 (SECN)
Saint Mary’s at Portland, 8:30 (ESPN+ ($))

Tennessee, the top 2 seed today, visits Texas A&M in the top matchup of the 8 Eastern window, but La. Tech’s visit to Liberty may very well be a CUSA championship preview.

Arizona at Colorado, 10 (ESPN)
Boise State at Utah State, 10 (FS1)
Kansas State at BYU, 10 (ESPNU)
Santa Clara at San Francisco, 10 (ESPN+ ($))

UC Davis at Hawai’i, 12 a.m. (Spectrum Hawai’i/ESPN+ ($))

Colorado is perfect at home this season—and still on the outside looking in. A Buff win over Arizona might very well change that—while potentially dropping the Wildcats back down to the 2 line. Boise State-Utah State will help temporarily clear the four-team logjam at the top of the Mountain West, while K-State could use a nice road win for what’s currently a home-heavy profile.

Sunday

Florida Atlantic at Wichita State, 12 (ESPN2)
Seton Hall at Villanova, 12 (CBSSN)

Penn State at Northwestern, 2 (BTN)
Tulane at Memphis, 2 (ESPN2)
North Texas at SMU, 2 (ESPNU)
UAB at Tulsa, 2 (ESPN+ ($))
Charlotte at Temple, 2 (ESPN+ ($))

Minnesota at Iowa, 3 (BTN)

While the American and Big Ten take center stage on Sunday afternoon, the lone Big East game on the schedule is a vital one for two teams just on the wrong side of the Cut Line.

Monday

Wake Forest at Duke, 7 (ESPN)

McNeese at Houston Christian, 8 (ESPN+ ($))
West Virginia at TCU, 8 (ESPN+ ($))

Kansas at Texas Tech, 9 (ESPN)

Big Monday sees Wake—still looking for a Quad 1 win—visit Duke, and Kansas—now the final No. 2 seed—visiting Texas Tech, who is looking to improve its middling seeding.

Notable Byes

ACC: Pitt

SEC: Ole Miss

So, yes, those are the only two teams under consideration for an at-large who are off over the next few days. As one of the last teams in the field, Ole Miss, is in danger of being passed and vanishing from Tuesday’s projection.

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