Bracket Watch: Will Clemson’s last-minute losses bump them out of the bracket?

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Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, I asked my Twitter followers whether they’d be OK handing out an at-large berth right now to Clemson, a Top 40 team on KenPom but one that’s now just 13-11 overall and 3-9 in the ACC. Their overwhelming response: No way!

I agree in theory. And yet the Tigers are still my first team out of the field. Which speaks to how deceiving the bubble picture is at this point in the season. By the time the conference tournaments end, a team with Clemson’s profile would not be close to getting in. But right now the field is very much still open.

Clemson is not the only team that’s faded after a strong start — you’ll notice Indiana no longer appears in my bracket; Pittsburgh was part of it not too long ago. But I’m still waiting on a new wave of contenders to step up in their place.

One possibility: Texas Tech. The 17-9 Red Raiders stunned projected No. 1 seed Baylor on Monday for their fourth win over an RPI Top 50 foe (West Virginia, TCU and Kansas State are the others.) But it’s going to take a heck of a finish for Tech to overcome a non-conference schedule ranked in the 300’s nationally.

A reminder: Selection Sunday is March 12, and the tourney begins March 14. The Final Four is April 1-3 in Phoenix.

* — Denotes projected conference champion, automatic berth

This edition’s bracket is East vs. South and Midwest vs. West in the national semifinals, based on the order of my No. 1 seeds.

 

BRACKET WATCH

EAST REGION (NEW YORK)
Seed Team Location
1 Villanova* at Buffalo
16 Mount St. Mary’s*/UC Davis*
8 Oklahoma State
9 VCU
4 West Virginia at Buffalo
13 Princeton*
5 Wisconsin*
12 Vermont*
6 Maryland at Orlando
11 Wake Forest/Arkansas
3 Florida*
14 Bucknell*
7 SMU* at Indianapolis
10 Miami
2 Louisville
15 UNC Asheville*
SOUTH REGION (Memphis)
Seed Team Location
1 Baylor at Tulsa
16 New Orleans*/Texas Southern*
8 Minnesota
9 Marquette
4 UCLA at Sacramento
13 Cal State Bakersfield*
5 Creighton
12 Middle Tennessee*
6 Saint Mary’s at Indianapolis
11 Syracuse/Cal
3 Kentucky
14 Furman*
7 Xavier at Greenville, SC
10 Michigan
2 North Carolina*
15 Florida Gulf Coast*
MIDWEST REGION (KANSAS CITY)
Seed Team Location
1 Kansas* at Tulsa
16 NC Central*
8 Dayton*
9 Michigan State
4 Butler at Milwaukee
13 Belmont*
5 Purdue
12 UNC Wilmington*
6 Notre Dame at Salt Lake City
11 Tennessee
3 Arizona*
14 Valparaiso*
7 Northwestern at Orlando
10 Kansas State
2 Florida State
15 Monmouth*
WEST REGION (SAN JOSE)
Seed Team Location
1 Gonzaga* at Salt Lake City
16 Weber State*
8 USC
9 Iowa State
4 Duke at Milwaukee
13 Boise State*
5 Cincinnati
12 UT Arlington*
6 South Carolina at Greenville, SC
11 Wichita State*
3 Virginia
14 Akron*
7 Virginia Tech at Sacramento
10 TCU
2 Oregon
15 North Dakota State*

LAST FOUR IN: Syracuse, Cal, Wake Forest, Arkansas

FIRST FOUR OUT: Clemson, Providence, Texas Tech, Seton Hall

NEXT FOUR OUT: Indiana, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Georgia

MULTIPLE BID CONFERENCES: ACC (10), Big Ten (7), Big 12 (7), Big East (5), Pac-12 (5), SEC (5), A-10 (2), American (2), WCC (2)