By Kyle Beery
As forecasted in Thursday morning’s bracketology, Thursday was moving day. There were a handful of conference tournament upsets, and a few teams strengthened their spots on the bubble. A few teams also moved out of the field.
There is still a lot to play out before selection Sunday, but we’re getting closer. Here’s the field as it stands now.
(NOTE: CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS HAVE THEIR CONFERENCE IN PARENTHESIS. TEAMS THAT HAVE ALREADY WON CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS ARE LISTED IN ALL CAPS.)
EAST REGIONAL — New York City — Friday, March 24 & Sunday, March 26
- Villanova dominated St. John’s in the Big East Quarterfinals and moves into position to be the No. 1 overall seed after Kansas’ upset loss to TCU.
- West Virginia is the highest remaining seed in the Big 12 and has a chance to move up to a 3-seed if it wins the conference championship.
- Louisville was knocked out of the ACC Tournament by Duke. That’s not a bad loss, so they stay on the 2-line, but they’re in danger of dropping another line, especially if Duke or Florida State wins the ACC title.
- Vanderbilt got another win to keep its hopes alive. The Commodores should be in the field, but beating () on Friday would tie up any loose ends. A loss wouldn’t necessarily knock them out, but they would likely be looking at a spot in the First Four in Dayton.
WEST REGIONAL — San Jose — Thursday, March 23 & Saturday, March 25
- Gonzaga holds onto the final 1-seed and Oregon remains its biggest threat for that spot, but Kansas’ loss may have helped the Bulldogs.
- Purdue is potentially in a position to grab a 3-seed. If the Boilermakers win the Big Ten title, they have a shot.
- Marquette lost to a solid Seton Hall team, but that didn’t hurt the Golden Eagles’ chances too much. They are currently the last team receiving a bye out of Dayton.
SOUTH REGIONAL — Memphis — Friday, March 24 & Sunday, March 26
- UNC became the No. 2 overall seed when Kansas lost. They should get a 1-seed regardless of what happens this weekend, but winning the ACC could give them a shot at the No. 1 overall seed if Villanova doesn’t win the Big East.
- Baylor drops a line after suffering a loss to Kansas State and Arizona moves up to take over the final 2-seed.
- USC almost knocked off UCLA, which would have secured a bid. The Trojans remain in the “last four in” category. Wake Forest is still sweating things out, but their chances of snagging a spot in Dayton remain pretty good.
MIDWEST REGIONAL — Kansas City — Thursday, March 23 & Saturday, March 25
- Kansas stays a 1-seed, despite a bad loss against TCU, who now has an outside chance of stealing an at-large bid.
- Butler drops a line after losing to Xavier. The Musketeers look to be back to form and move up to a 10-seed, but are still receiving one of the last five byes out of Dayton.
- Kansas State moves into the field after getting a nice win against Baylor. Rhode Island is still in the field as of now, but a loss against St. Bonaventure on Friday would knock them out.
Last five at-large byes (avoiding Dayton): Marquette, Vanderbilt, VCU, Providence, Xavier
Last four in (First Four in Dayton): Wake Forest, Rhode Island, Kansas State, USC
First five out: California, Illinois State, Syracuse, TCU, Houston
Next five out: Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Georgia, Utah
California is just on the outside looking in. The Golden Bears will need to beat Oregon on Friday and hope for losses from the likes of Rhode Island and Kansas State.
Illinois State’s chances are fading, and they can’t do anything about it. The last thing the Selection Committee will remember about the Redbirds is their ugly 20-point loss against Wichita State in the MVC title game.
Indiana still has an outside chance at stealing a bid, thanks to a win over Iowa Thursday. The Hoosiers face Wisconsin Friday, which will be a must-win for them if they want to get a bid.