Bracketology: Last Look Before Selection Sunday

Doug Upstone

Friday, March 9, 2018 3:47 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 9, 2018 3:47 PM UTC

As Championship Week has moved forward, frankly, it is hard to think any team that does not make the field of 68 has a legitimate complaint after squandering real opportunities.

This week, several bubble teams were awarded chances in conference tournaments to make good on past sins, and they failed. Granted, the NCAA basketball odds were stacked against them based on who they had to play in some cases, but like life sometimes you have to make your own way and find a path to success.

As we head into the final days of the conference tournaments and are making our NCAA basketball picks, let's talk about who should make the field, who will not and how the First Four games are shaping up for Tuesday and Wednesday.

First Four Out (And Other Thoughts)

The lens I use to determine what teams do and don't make the field is different than the Bracketology guys, and even they have varying opinions on whom should in or out. If you are Louisville, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Oklahoma State, Arizona State or a couple of Big Ten teams that were on the bubble, you had your chance and did not finish the deal.

Some think Louisville might sneak in but if you cannot win a game with a four-point lead with 0.9 seconds to play at home (vs. Virginia), that is not anyone else's fault. Arizona State played its way out and lost in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament as a seven-point favorite against Colorado. The Fighting Irish are a Top 35 team with Bonzie Colson, but they needed to beat Duke in a very difficult circumstance in the ACC quarterfinals and could not.

Whether you believe in the RPI rankings or the Bald Dome Index (Dick Vitale's creation), the 'Cuse has 13 losses and Okie State 14, and it's impossible to feel sorry for them.

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— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) March 8, 2018

Last Four In (At This Moment)

Because the smaller conferences have less of a say, there is the chance the 'Ville and the Orange might make the tournament. This points to 68 teams being more than enough if you do not want to be the NBA and have a group of clubs that have zero chance of winning anything.

Not that USC or UCLA should have not already made the tournament, but both solidified their positions with Pac-12 quarterfinals victories.

Alabama was in but lost their last five SEC contests to work their way out. As opposed to the Sun Devils, the Crimson Tide beat Texas A&M at the buzzer Thursday to give themselves a chance. If they were to upset top-seeded Auburn they are in, anything else is a maybe.

Though Middle Tennessee lost to Southern Miss in OT as the top seed in quarters of the Conference USA tourney, if you look at what the Blue Raiders have accomplished, they should sneak in. C-USA has five 20-win teams, and one could make the argument at the top of the league it is very close to the A-10 in terms of quality. This year, C-USA should get two bids.

Potential First Four Matchups

The 16 seeds appear to be Radford, LIU-Brooklyn and the winners of the MEAC and SWAC tournaments, and they should face off in Tuesday and Wednesday games, with the winners facing No. 1 seeds.

As far as the last four at-large schools that will be 11 seeds and be in the First Four, at this moment, let's go with Louisville, Oklahoma, USC and Middle Tennessee. If Alabama were to upset Auburn, the Tide roll in and the Cardinals fly out.

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