Bracket watch: Bubble teams will make their case during championship week

Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie hopes the Huskies need just one win to get in.

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Championship Week is here! As such, I’ll be posting updated brackets daily beginning Thursday morning.

With SMU and Louisville ineligible for the tourney, two at-large teams will get in this year that otherwise wouldn’t have. Which means the barrier for entry is even lower than usual for this season’s bubble teams. Just win a couple of games in this week’s conference tournaments and it may well be enough.

As of this bracket, I have 35 teams as at-large locks, regardless of how they fare this week. The last of those teams are No. 9 seeds South Carolina, Syracuse and Vanderbilt. Everyone below that, you can pool into three groups.

Win one just to be safe: Connecticut, Butler, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh

Win two, and you’re probably through: Tulsa, St. Bonaventure, St. Joe’s, Florida, VCU, Michigan

Better hoist the trophy: Florida State, George Washington, Houston, Washington and everybody else (including you, LSU)

One other bubble team, Wichita State, can do no more but sweat between now and Selection Sunday after failing to win the Missouri Valley tourney. The Shockers are still my fifth-to-last team in, but if too many surprise teams steal automatic berths this week they could be in trouble.

NOTE: Teams in ALL CAPS have secured an automatic berth. For all other conferences, the highest remaining seed in this week’s conference tournaments is designated as the automatic berth (*).

Midwest Region (Chicago)
Seed
Team
Location
1
Kansas*
at Des Moines
16
AUSTIN PEAY*/Hampton*
8
Providence
9
Syracuse
4
Purdue
at Spokane
13
NORTHERN IOWA*
5
Texas A&M
12
Tulsa*/St. Joe’s*
6
Arizona
at Providence
11
Monmouth*
3
North Carolina
14
Akron*
7
Texas Tech
at St. Louis
10
Cincinnati
2
Xavier
15
IPFW*