Michigan State barely makes cut

The Michigan State Spartans are trying to right the ship and make the NCAA tournament. Lance King/Icon SMI

This edition of "Bracket Math" includes all games through Thursday, March 10. Rankings reflect an up-to-date S-curve from yours truly, posing as one hypothetical member of the NCAA men's basketball committee.

Colorado was the big winner on Thursday, pulling away from Kansas State to all but cement its first NCAA bid since 2003. Meanwhile, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Michigan State won the games they needed to stay on the board.

Friday, typically the craziest of day of Championship Week, features likely do-or-die scenarios for a number of teams: the four above plus Alabama, Southern Cal, Penn State and all remaining Conference USA hopefuls. Meanwhile, UAB joins Missouri State on the list of worthy regular-season champions who figure to fall just short.

Then again, Saturday morning is when I usually do a last in-depth review of all selection and seeding decisions. So, if you don't like where your team is right now, here's hoping for a change of heart (if not by me, then by the actual selection committee!).

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 85 percent or better through games of March 8.

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)

ORANGE: "Next four out" (teams 73-76 on the S-curve)


Take our "solid" at-large candidates (current Tournament Odds at 90 percent or better) and you have exactly 39 teams in the field. Add in the remaining automatic qualifiers and that's another 19 spots. All told we have 58 of the 68 spots accounted for, with only 10 up for grabs among current "Bubble" teams.

"BUBBLE" (18 teams for 10 spots)

IN (10, in S-curve order): 40-St. Mary's, 41-Richmond, 42-Villanova, 43-Colorado, 44-Michigan, 45-Clemson, 46-Boston College, 47-Virginia Tech, 48-Georgia, 49-Michigan St.

OUT (8, in S-curve order): 69-UAB, 70-Southern Cal, 71-Alabama, 72-Missouri St., 73-UTEP, 74-Memphis, 75-Penn St., 76-New Mexico


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


• Charleston (Southern)

• Coastal Carolina (Big South)

• Fairfield (MAAC)

• Florida Atlantic (Sun Belt)

• Milwaukee (Horizon)

• Missouri State (MVC)

• Murray State (OVC)

• UAB (Conference USA)

• Vermont (America East)