Portland’s upset win bumps UCF out of the field
This is the time of year that the bubble shrinks rapidly. Not because schools can’t pick up big wins during championship week — just look at Iowa State — but because there are almost always at least a couple bid-stealers that win their conference tournaments and eliminate spots at the end of the at-large field.
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That’s why it’s so much easier to fall out of the bracket than to claw into it in March.
If my bracket is to be believed (and why wouldn’t it be?!), UCF is the first victim of conference tournament bid thievery. The Knights fell to Cincinnati in the AAC semifinals to drop to the last team in, then fell out when Portland upset Gonzaga in the WCC tournament. That puts San Diego into the field as the presumed auto-bid, with Gonzaga safe as an at-large selection.
The Bulldogs did have to pay slightly for their loss — they dropped to a 4 seed, but it shouldn’t matter much. They’re still a safe bet to be sent to the Portland regional as long as the committee doesn’t punish them too much. DePaul took their spot on the 3 line behind another Big East Tournament title and its second win over Marquette (RPI 24) this season.
You can find the updated bracket below, but keep this in mind: The smaller conferences mostly still have to play their tournaments. There’s a good chance that a couple more at-large teams will fall out of the field in the process. If you’re a fan of a bubble team, you should be rooting for the following teams:
Central Michigan (MAC)
Missouri State or Drake (MVC)
South Dakota (Summit)
James Madison (CAA)
Here’s the full bracket:
Bids by conference:
Big Ten: 8
Big 12: 4
Big East: 3
Missouri Valley: 3
West Coast: 2
Last 4 in:
Still in the mix:
*Posting teams who could still get at-large bids here. This replaces the First Four and Next Four out because, based purely on resume, there are teams that are done playing that are listed higher than some of these teams below, but will not have the chance to play themselves in or are not high enough on the seed list to benefit from someone falling.
Arkansas from a 7 to an 8
Rutgers from an 8 to a 7
FGCU from a 7 to an 8
Arizona State from an 8 to a 7
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