The NCAA Tournament bubble is percolating in our updated bracketology, and right on time: Selection Sunday looms just around the corner and spots are filling up fast in the 68-team field.
Penn State? The Nittany Lions are looking good for the after a third win this season against Illinois, this time 79-76 in the second round of the Big Ten tournament.
Arizona State? An impressive win against Southern California has the Sun Devils back in for now and with an opportunity to solidify its place with a defeat of Arizona in Friday’s Pac-12 semifinals.
Clemson? Blowing out North Carolina State 80-54 in the ACC tournament gives the Tigers’ postseason odds a huge boost, but they are still stuck firmly on the bubble and trail Utah State, which joins the field after improving its profile by reaching the Mountain West semifinals.
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Oklahoma State? Just under a month after beating Iowa State to move to 16-9 and 7-5 in conference play, the Cowboys are tournament long shots after losing 60-47 to Texas in the Big 12 tournament to fall to 18-15.
Nevada? Not great, Wolf Pack. Facing off against San Jose State in the Mountain West quarterfinals, Nevada climbed out of an 11-point deficit in the second half but fell 81-77 in overtime for a third loss in a row to end the regular season.
Thursday also marked the end of North Carolina’s tournament hopes after the Tar Heels lost 68-59 to Virginia. After advancing all the way to the championship game last season, UNC will become the first No. 1 team in the preseason USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll to miss the tournament since the bracket expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
Last four in
Penn State, Arizona State, Mississippi State, Utah State.
First four out
Clemson, Oklahoma State, Oregon, North Carolina.
Next four out
Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, North Texas.
Multi-bid leagues: Big Ten (9), SEC (8), Big 12 (7), ACC (5), Big East (5), Pac-12 (4), Mountain West (3), American Athletic (2), West Coast (2).
Automatic NCAA Tournament bids
Kennesaw State (Atlantic Sun), Montana State (Big Sky), UNC Asheville (Big South), College of Charleston (Colonial), Northern Kentucky (Horizon), Drake (Missouri Valley), Fairleigh Dickinson (Northeast), Southeast Missouri State (Ohio Valley), Colgate (Patriot), Furman (Southern) Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Southland), Oral Roberts (Summit), Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt), Gonzaga (West Coast).