Bracket watch: Bubble teams will make their case during championship week
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 (*).