NCAA Bracket Breakdown – A.Scott’s Bracketology Volume 4

Judgement day, also known as Selection Sunday, is finally here in college basketball. Programs across the country have grinded for the past four months, trying to impress the selection committee and earn a bid into the NCAA Tournament. Some teams wake up today with a pit in their stomach, others are just curious to see where they will be seeded. Hearts will be broken, but dreams will come true as 68 tickets are punched to the Big Dance.

Heading into Selection Sunday, 26 bids had already been awarded to teams that won their conference tournaments. By the time the brackets roll out at 7 p.m., a total of 31 automatic bids will be awarded.

Automatic Bids decided on Selection Sunday:

  • American Athletic: Houston vs. Cincinnati
  • Atlantic 10: St. Bonaventure vs. VCU
  • Big 10: Illinois vs. Ohio St. 
  • Patriot League: Colgate vs. Loyola-Maryland
  • SEC: Alabama vs. LSU

Bubble teams will have their eyes squarely on the American Athletic Conference Championship because Cincy is the last team capable of “stealing” a bid. Cincinnati is not projected to make the field of 68. So, if they earn an automatic bid into the tourney, the last at large team would fall out. Who is the last team in?

A.Scott’s Bracketology Volume 4: The Final Countdown (Hit the music.)

#1 Seeds

  • Gonzaga – AQ (#1 Overall Seed)
  • Baylor – AL 1
  • Michigan – AL 2
  • Illinois – AQ 

#2 Seeds

  • Alabama – AQ
  • Oklahoma St. – AL 3
  • Ohio St. – AL 4 
  • Iowa – AL 5

#3 Seeds

  • Texas – AQ
  • Kansas – AL 6
  • Florida St. – AL 7 
  • Arkansas – AL 8

#4 Seeds

  • Houston – AQ
  • Purdue – AL 9
  • Virginia – AL 10
  • West Virginia – AL 11

#5 Seeds

  • Clemson – AL 12
  • Oregon – AL 13
  • Creighton – AL 14
  • Colorado – AL 15

#6 Seeds

  • Villanova – AL 16
  • UNC – AL 17
  • Missouri – AL 18
  • USC – AL 19

#7 Seeds

  • Texas Tech – AL 20
  • BYU – AL 21
  • San Diego St – AQ
  • Wisconsin – AL 22

#8 Seeds

  • LSU – AL 23
  • Oklahoma – AL 24
  • Georgia Tech – AL AQ
  • Rutgers – AL 25

#9 Seeds

  • Tennessee – AL 26
  • Virginia Tech – AL 27
  • Florida – AL 28 
  • St. Bonaventure – AQ

#10 Seeds

  • Michigan St. – AL 29
  • UCONN – AL 30
  • Louisville – AL 31
  • Loyola Chicago – AQ

#11 Seeds

  • VCU – AL 32
  • Syracuse – AL 33
  • Maryland – AL 34/ Ole Miss – AL 37 
  • UCLA AL 35 / Drake – AL 36 

#12 Seeds

  • Oregon ST – AQ
  • Georgetown – AQ
  • Colgate – AQ
  • Winthrop – AQ

#13 Seeds

  • UC Santa Barbara – AQ
  • North Texas – AQ
  • Liberty – AQ
  • Ohio – AQ

#14 Seeds

  • Abilene Christian – AQ
  • UNC Greensboro – AQ
  • Eastern Washington – AQ
  • Drexel – AQ

#15 Seeds

  • Iona – AQ
  • Grand Canyon – AQ
  • Morehead State – AQ
  • Cleveland St. – AQ

#16 Seeds

  • Oral Roberts – AQ
  • Mount St. Mary’s – AQ
  • Hartford / Texas Southern – AQ
  • Norfolk State / Appalachian St. – AQ

First 4 Out:

  • Wichita St.
  • St. Louis
  • Utah St.
  • Duke

Next 4 Out:

  • Colorado St.
  • SMU
  • Seton Hall
  • Memphis

What-if scenarios for Sunday’s conference championship games:

American Athletic:

If Houston wins: The Cougars would move up to the 3 seed and the bubble remains unchanged.

If Cincinnati wins: Cincy would earn an automatic bid and earn a 12 seed. The Bearcats would essentially steal a bid from Ole Miss, and the Rebels would become my first COVID-19 replacement team.

Atlantic 10:

If St. Bonaventure wins: The Bonnies can’t earn a better seed than a 9. I also do not think the Rams would fall any positions if they lost.

If VCU wins: The Rams would move all the way up to the 9 seed if they capture a conference championship Sunday. If the Bonnies lose, they would fall to a 10 seed, and Michigan St. would move to an 11 seed. Loyola Chicago is locked in as a 10 seed; there’s just no way the committee would put Drake and Loyola on the same seed line.

Big 10:

If Illinois wins: Illinois is looking for their 14th win in their last 15 games Sunday, and a #1 seed could be on the line. If the Illini beat the Buckeyes, Illinois would overtake Michigan as the 3rd overall seed. Michigan would remain a 1 seed even if Alabama were to win the SEC Championship. Ohio State remains a 2 seed no matter the outcome Sunday.

If Ohio State wins: If Illinois loses, they could fall back to a 2 seed. However, if LSU upsets Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, Illinois remains a 1 seed. Ohio State isn’t playing for anything Sunday.

Patriot League: 

If Colgate wins: Loyola Maryland is out of the tournament and the Red Raiders earn a 12 seed.

If Loyola Maryland wins: Colgate is out of the tournament and the Greyhounds earn a 15 seed.

SEC:

If Alabama wins: Alabama can earn a 1 seed with a win and an Illinois loss Sunday. LSU would not move from an 8 seed with a loss.

If LSU wins: The Tigers could make the biggest jump with a win Sunday. LSU is currently an 8 seed, but a victory over a top opponent like Alabama could move the Tigers to a 6 seed. This is the difference between potentially playing a 3 seed in the second round compared to a 1 seed. Alabama would remain a 2 seed with a loss.

As you can see, a lot is still up for grabs in terms of seeding, but I think it’s pretty clear who is in and who is out in the bubble. After Syracuse I think there is a large gap, and then it’s almost a coin flip for the last three spots. I think it really comes down to five teams fighting for three spots. Comparing Drake, Ole Miss, UCLA, WIchita State and St. Louis is like splitting hairs. If Cincinnati wins Sunday, it becomes five teams fighting for two spots, and I think UCLA gets left out. 

When you compare my bracket to Joe Lunardi’s there is only one team that separates us. Joey Brackets loves Utah State, but I don’t see the Aggies getting in. Ole Miss has seven wins that either qualify as Quad 1 or Quad 2 while Utah State has four. The Rebels may have some bad losses, but so does Utah State. The Aggies have lost games to both UNLV and South Dakota State. I really can’t fathom how USU is in the tournament, and I will be shocked if I hear their name called later tonight. But if Cincy wins their conference tournament, my bracket and Joe Lunardi’s bracket would only have the seedings different and all 68 teams would be the same. Maybe Lunardi does know what he’s talking about…

READ MORE: Ronaldo and Juventus Crash out of the Champions League, Again.

The bracket is scheduled to be announced at 6 p.m., immediately following the American Athletic Conference Championship Game. It’s the first step in a three-week journey to crown a college basketball national champion. The teams will be bubbled up in Indiana, and I pray we can make it through all 67 games without a COVID-19 cancellation. It’s been a grueling season, both mentally and physically, for everyone involved, and no one deserves to have their dreams crushed for potentially the second time by a virus. Fingers crossed.

After the bracket is announced, head to @Calitocuse on Twitter for live analysis at approximately 9 p.m.

A.Scott, Deputy Editor for The Challenge. Lifelong Jets, Mets, Nuggets and Flyers fan still looking to celebrate his first pro sports championship. Retired degenerate sports gambler who likes to come out of retirement. Learned how to count cards at the age of 18, but has yet to put the skill to good use. Primarily writes about the MLB, but will dip his toes into the NFL, NBA, college basketball and UFC. When I’m not writing for The Challenge or for a local news station in Syracuse, you can catch me either on the golf course or pounding brews with bros. “Don’t worry, be happy!” R.I.P. Mac Miller

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