Bracket Watch: Who’s on the Bubble, What to Look for on Selection Sunday

With a few final conference tournaments before the selection show, there are a lot of moving pieces before the NCAA Tournament field is set.

Welcome to Selection Sunday! A season’s work comes to a head today as the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee selects the 68 teams that will continue their seasons in March Madness next week.

Before the selection show at 6 p.m. ET, five final conferences have automatic bids to the Big Dance up for grabs, so check out some notes from Saturday’s games and some thoughts on what to watch on Sunday. Once these results are final, SI will have a final predicted bracket with all automatic bids calculated correctly, so stay tuned.

Notes from Saturday’s Games:

  • Kansas’ Big 12 title game loss to Texas means the Jayhawks remain as SIThe projected No. 3 overall team, with Alabama holding serve at No. 1 overall and Houston right behind them at No. 2. He had Kansas won, the Jayhawks likely would have jumped both and become the projected No. 1 overall pick. It wouldn’t be a surprise for any of these three teams to take that top spot. Kansas has the most to gain given the big advantage a potential regional could provide in Kansas City on the second weekend.
  • In the meantime, Purdue reclaims fourth No. 1 seed from UCLA after the Bruins lost a heartbreaker to Arizona. The committee is likely to look for reasons to justify dropping UCLA given Jaylen Clark’s absence for the rest of the season, but it’s possible they’re playing contingencies to upset the Bruins over Purdue if the Boilermakers lose Sunday to Penn State.
  • There will officially be no bid stealer this year, as FAU handled the C-USA Tournament duties and stunning runs by Vanderbilt and Ohio State in their respective tournaments came to an end on Saturday. That’s good news for Pittsburgh, Oklahoma and Nevada, the three teams fighting for the last spot in the SIof the intended field.
  • Penn State will be a good test of how much the committee values ​​conference tournaments and late season results in general. The Nittany Lions have picked up five Quad 1 wins since March 1, turning their resume from average to pretty strong. SI has Penn State as the No. 9 seed, but there’s a chance it could be higher.
  • Generally, the 12-14 seed rows are the strongest I have seen in several years. Even in leagues that didn’t send a No. 1 seed to the NCAA Tournament, we often had strong teams with rosters capable of winning a game. That continued Saturday with Kent State, Iona and UCSB punching tickets to the Big Dance.

Texas handed Kansas its biggest-ever Big 12 tournament loss Saturday.

William Purnell/USA TODAY Sports

Notes for Sunday’s Matches:

  • In general, it’s best not to read too much into the results of Sunday’s conference championship games from a bracket perspective. A few possible tweaks are possible, but don’t expect any big moves as the committee works to finalize the seed list.
  • Three of the four projected No. 1 seeds are in action. As mentioned above, SI currently projects Alabama as the No. 1 overall seed and would guarantee that spot in our final projection with a win over Texas A&M. Meanwhile, Houston faces Memphis for the third time and Purdue gets a tear at Penn State.
  • The other two remaining games are for automatic bids in single bid leagues. VCU’s winner against Dayton will enter his No. 12 streak SIof the intended arm. There could be a bit more of a gap between Yale and Princeton given the wide difference in NET rankings for the two teams, with Yale likely No. 13 and Princeton straddling the No. 14 and No. 15 lines.

On the Bubble:

Last four bye

Boise State

Mississippi State


Utah State

Last Four In


NC State

Arizona State


First four out

Oklahoma State




The next four come out

North Carolina



North Texas

* = indicates the team is expected to win their conference’s automatic bid

** = indicates that the group has already closed the automatic offer

Southern Region

No. 1 Alabama* vs. No. 16 FDU**/Howard**

No. 8 Illinois vs. No. 9 West Virginia

No. 5 Iowa State vs. No. 12 Oral Roberts**

No. 4 Virginia vs. No. 13 Iona**

No. 6 Missouri vs. No. 11 Arizona State/NC State

No. 3 Marquette** vs. No. 14 UC Santa Barbara**

No. 7 Creighton vs. No. 10 USC

No. 2 Baylor vs. No. 15 Montana State**

Midwest Region

No. 1 Houston* vs. No. 16 SEMO**/Texas South**

No. 8 Arkansas vs. No. 9 Iowa

No. 5 Duke** vs. No. 12 VCU*

No. 4 Indiana vs. No. 13 Yale*

No. 6 Saint Mary’s vs. No. 11 Providence

No. 3 Kansas State vs. No. 14 Louisiana**

No. 7 Kentucky vs. No. 10 Boise State

No. 2 Arizona** vs. No. 15 Kennesaw State**

Western Region

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi**

No. 8 Maryland vs. No. 9 Penn State

No. 5 San Diego State** vs.No. 12 Charleston**

No. 4 Xavier vs. No. 13 Kent State**

No. 6 Texas A&MNo. Vs. No. 11 Rutgers/Pittsburgh

No. 3 Gonzaga** vs. No. 14 Grand Canyon**

No. 7 Northwestern vs. No. 10 Mississippi State

No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 15 Vermont**

Eastern Region

No. 1 Purdue* vs. No. 16 Northern Kentucky**

No. 8 Florida Atlantic** vs. No. 9 Memphis

No. 5 TCU vs. No. 12 Drake**

No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 13 Furman**

No. 6 Miami vs. No. 11 Utah State

No. 3 UConn vs. No. 14 Colgate**

No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 10 Auburn

No. 2 Texas** vs. No. 15 UNC Asheville**

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