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With conference tournaments in full swing around the country, we will be updating our projections daily leading up to Selection Monday. As we enter Thursday’s action, there are two big storylines: Will the ultra-soft bubble harden a little bit today? Which teams in the 13-16 range will bolster their hosting chances today?
Looking at the top eight seeds, there’s no change in terms of the eight teams. However, we did flip Clemson and Stanford after the two teams won games on Wednesday. The Tigers are five spots ahead of the Cardinal and the metrics continue to be in their favor. But again, that’s a minor change.
In terms of the 9-16 hosts, we continue to feel like Auburn and Alabama are helping their jockeying positions with impressive showings so far this week in Hoover, while Kentucky remains in the Top 16 with its superior RPI of 2 and strong across the board metrics. The Big 12 continues to be a mess with all three contenders — West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Texas — dropping into the 20s. The Longhorns might be in the worst spot at 27, while OSU and WVU actually play in an elimination game on Thursday. All three of those teams need wins. We inserted South Carolina and Indiana State. The Gamecocks need to beat A&M this morning to feel confident, while Indiana State is an interesting test case. The committee loves schedule intent, and the Sycamores scheduled the No. 3 non-conference strength of schedule to go with a Top 10 RPI. That sparks this question: If Indiana State can’t host with those two metrics in their favor, when will it ever host? With no other contenders standing out right now, the Sycamores could end up being in a strong position with more Big 12 carnage today.
The SEC has the most projected bids with 10. The ACC is next with 9, followed by the Big 12 with seven of nine teams making the field. The Pac-12 is next up with six bids, while the Sun Belt and Big Ten each have three teams in the field, with the Big West having two in UCSB and UC Irvine. The Colonial is the only other league with multiple bids, and that’s with two in Northeastern and UNC Wilmington (the projected auto bid winner).
Mark Etheridge, Kendall Rogers and Aaron Fitt assembled the postseason projections. Make sure you check out more postseason analysis with our daily Postseason Buzz, here.
Last four in, first four out, from strongest to weakest:
61. UC Irvine
62. Kansas State
63. Arizona State
64. Notre Dame
66. Texas State