by Bruce Marshall, Goldsheet.com Editor

We’re at the end of the road for our “Bracketology” updates this season, as Selection Sunday looms this weekend. Thursday action provided the latest opportunity to update our projected field, with several developments. Boise State was at the top of the list of teams that hurt themselves on Thursday; the Broncos are now NIT-bound after the Mountain West quartefinal loss to Utah State. Middle Tennessee has put its bid in serious jeopardy by getting KO’d in the Conference USA quarters. The likes of Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas, Notre Dame, Louisville, and Marquette had chances at big wins, and while losses to their power team foes don’t necessarily hurt their profiles, given the timing they were huge opportunities missed. The biggest winner of Thursday was probably Alabama, which actually notched a road/neutral quality win over Texas A&M (in thrilling fashion) at the SEC Tourney to stay on the cut-line. Providence was not in as much risk as Bama but nonetheless should have cemented its place in the field of 68 with a Big East Tourney win over Creighton. Meanwhile, UCLA and Southern Cal avoided potential damaging losses in the Pac-12 Tourney, which was as good as either side could have done on Thursday.  

Potential bid thieves are still alive in many remaining tourneys save the ACC, Big East, and Big 12, and any ongoing low-major tourneys.  But into Friday, bid thieves still lurk in the Pac-12, SEC, A-10, American, Conference USA, and the Mountain West.  

To finish our ongoing Big Dance projections, one final look at how we believe the eventual seeds are going to sort out, as we see them on the evening of March 8. Teams with auto-bids as of Thursday night are noted by an *.

1-Virginia, Xavier, Villanova, Duke
2-Kansas, Michigan State, Cincinnati, Michigan*
3-North Carolina, Purdue, Tennessee, Gonzaga*
4-Arizona, Texas Tech, Auburn, Wichita State
5-Florida, Clemson, Ohio State, West Virginia
6-Nevada, Kentucky, Miami-Florida, Houston
7-Butler, Kansas State, Arkansas, Rhode Island
8-TCU, Seton Hall, Texas A&M, St. Bonaventure
9-Saint Mary’s, Creighton, Virginia Tech, Providence
10-Notre Dame, NC State, Missouri, UCLA
11-USC, Louisville, Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida State,
Middle Tennessee
12-Western Kentucky, Loyola-Chicago*, South Dakota State*, Charleston*
13-UL-Lafayette, Buffalo, Vermont, Bucknell*
14-Murray State*, NC-Greensboro*, New Mexico State, Iona*
15-Wright State*, Montana, UCSB, Lipscomb*
16-Harvard, LIU-Brooklyn*, Radford*, Texas Southern, Nicholls,
North Carolina A&T

Last four byes...Notre Dame, UCLA, Louisville, USC
Last four in...Oklahoma, Florida State, Alabama,
Middle Tennessee
First Four Out...Oklahoma State, Texas, Penn State, Arizona State
Next Four Out...Marquette, Baylor, Syracuse, Mississippi State

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