Welcome to the big stage, Iona, UNC-Wilmington, and East Tennessee State.
Not much bracket movement sans a few one-big leagues shuffling their AQ bids due to tournament upsets.
|LAST FOUR IN: Syracuse, Illinois State, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest|
FIRST FOUR OUT: Iowa, Rhode Island, California, Kansas State
NEXT FOUR OUT: Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, Houston
USC vs. ILLINOIS STATE: Sometimes, a little investigating changes one's mind. Initially, I thought USC's nonconference schedule was abhorred, much like some of the bubblicious team who saw their bubble's burst in recent years. That's not quite the case, however. Yes, 18 of USC's 23 wins are against sub-100 RPI teams, but USC's schedule is like many other bubble teams. The reevaluation moved USC out of a First Four game and dropped Illinois State into one. In terms of fairness, many would argue the Cardinals, if they do indeed belong in the bracket, should just win the First Four game. Illinois State might very well have to do that.
GONZAGA vs. ST. MARY'S: Both WCC teams are safely in this year's field. A No. 1 seed is on the for Gonzaga. A win and the Bulldogs will have locked up the No. 1 seed in the West. There will be plenty of talk this week - since there will be five days until the official selection - on whether the Pac-12 Tournament Champion, Louisville, Kentucky or Baylor can snatch the final No. 1 seed. It won't happen... if Gonzaga wins. St. Mary's looks like a formidable No. 6 seed. It doesn't appear the Gaels can move any higher, but a loss could potentially bump them down to a No. 7. Realistically, a No. 6 fits St. Mary's.