Update 2:20 p.m. And now we’ve got another one. No. 8 Texas A&M knocks off No. 1 Auburn 67-62 in the SEC quarterfinals. It’s a massive win for a team with what was a thin resume, and now it might be hard to leave them out of the field.
If you’re Wake Forest, BYU, Michigan, or plenty of other major programs that have no more season remaining, you might feel like you’re on life support now. The thieves are out here, and their taking spots in droves this Friday.
Update 1:50 p.m. No. 9 Indiana knocks off No. 1 Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament. That’s going to most likely secure an at-large bid, and force someone else to the NIT. The Hoosiers should go back to the tournament for the first time in five seasons.
Michigan fell in the second round of the Big Ten tournament, 74-69 against Indiana. This gives them an overall record of 17-14 and they went 11-9 in the Big Ten. Conference play will continue without them and now they have to wait and see what the Committee rules about their fate. With the Wolverines on the bubble and unable to punch their ticket, what other teams could step up and take their spot in the Big Dance?
Lock At-Large Teams: Illinois, Wisconsin, Purdue, Rutgers, Iowa, Iowa State,
Bubble At-Large Teams: Michigan State, Michigan
Bid Stealer: Indiana
In the latest Bracketology projection, Michigan was looking at a 10-seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Wolverines just fell to the Hoosiers in the second round of the Big Ten tournament, and that head-to-head tournament win could be the cherry on top of the cake that keeps Michigan out. Right now the Wolverines should be happy to go to Dayton for the First Four.
Indiana probably needs another win against Illinois in the B1G quarterfinals to snag an at-large bid. Penn State could also win the Big Ten Tournament, but you could also have someone knock on your door and hand you a billion dollars this morning.
Lock At-Large Teams: Duke, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Miami
Bubble At-Large Teams: Wake Forest
Potential Bid Stealer: Virginia Tech
The Hokies are right on the line right now, but beating Notre Dame on Thursday night certainly will have them in the conversation the rest of the way. A win over North Carolina to reach the ACC Final would probably eliminate all doubt, but also knock someone else off their perch.
All Wake Forest fans can do is pray, and as a Baptist-founded institution that’s a likely outcome. But their case after losing to a bad Boston College team doesn’t look great, and they should probably be asking who on staff can put the oversized NIT stickers on the court next week.
Projected At-Large Teams: Auburn, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, LSU
Potential Bid Stealers: Texas A&M
The Aggies went into the conference tournament as a Next Four Out team. They picked up a big win against Florida and they could ride that momentum in a quarterfinal game against Auburn. The teams only met once in the regular season, so if the Aggies can pull out the improbable win, they would seem to be headed for Dayton while someone else sits home.
Projected At-Large Teams: Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas, TCU, Iowa State
Potential Bid Stealers: Oklahoma
Oklahoma wasn’t even on the NCAA Tournament radar for some analysts heading into the Big 12 Tournament but a 72-67 upset of Baylor in the quarterfinals turned some heads. The Sooners mostly struggled in conference play throughout the season but managed to finish the slate off with a three-game winning streak. If they can pull off another upset on Friday against Texas Tech and make it into the championship game, they’d easily push someone out of the field.