USC Trojans cling to final at-large berth

Alex Stepheson and the Trojans are barely hanging on to an at-large berth. Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

UPDATED: Saturday, March 12, 7 p.m. ET

This edition of "Bracket Math" includes all games through Saturday, March 12, 6 p.m. ET. Rankings reflect an up-to-date S-Curve from yours truly, posing as one hypothetical member of the NCAA men's basketball committee.

There are a few remaining questions heading into Saturday's later games:

• How should we separate the ACC bubble teams (Clemson Tigers, Virginia Tech Hokies and Boston College Eagles)?

• Are the Penn State Nittany Lions really in the field after knocking off the Wisconsin Badgers and Michigan State Spartans back-to-back?

• Can the USC Trojans hold the final at-large spot (the Utah State Aggies and Dayton Flyers will have the most to say about that, as it turns out)?

• Is it bracket suicide to leave both the Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs out of the projected field?

• Can the ACC tournament winner be a No. 1 seed? If so, who drops?

The S-curve

*: Clinched regular-season title and NIT automatic bid if needed

Bold: Projected conference winners (highest remaining conference tournament seed)

CAPS and BOLD: Clinched automatic bid

GREEN: Teams with tourney odds of 90 percent or better through games of March 11.

YELLOW: "Last four in" (will play March 15-16 in Dayton, Ohio)

GOLD: Lowest four auto-bids (will play March 15-16 in Dayton, Ohio)

RED: "First four out" (teams 69-72 on the S-curve)


Take our "solid" at-large candidates (current Tournament Odds at 90 percent or better) and you have exactly 42 teams in the field. Add in the remaining automatic qualifiers and that's another 19 spots. All told we have 60 of the 68 spots accounted for, with only eight up for grabs among current "Bubble" teams.

BUBBLE (13 teams for 7 spots)

IN (7, in S-curve order): 43-Illinois, 44-Clemson, 45-Saint Mary's, 46-Colorado, 47-Penn State, 48-Virginia Tech, 49-Southern Cal

OUT (6, in S-curve order): 69-Boston College, 70-Alabama, 71-Georgia, 72-UAB, 73-Harvard, 74-Missouri St.


Big East (11), Big Ten (7), Big 12 (6), ACC (5), Pac-10 (4), SEC (4), Atlantic 10 (3), Mountain West (3), Colonial (2), West Coast (2)


• Bethune-Cookman (MEAC)

• Charleston (Southern)

• Coastal Carolina (Big South)

• Fairfield (MAAC)

• Florida Atlantic (Sun Belt)

• McNeese St. (Southland)

• Milwaukee (Horizon)

• Missouri State (MVC)

• Murray State (OVC)

• Texas Southern (SWAC)

• UAB (Conference USA)

• Vermont (America East)