There is only one day to go before Selection Sunday, and the bracket is starting to take shape. There are 26 games left to be played, 20 of which will decide automatic qualifiers.
That is assuming we can play all those games, which has not been a given the last couple of days. Friday, Virginia and Kansas had to drop out of their respective conference tournaments due to players testing positive for COVID-19. It is not yet known if those teams will have to drop out of the NCAA Tournament as well, but Kansas has indicated it hopes to travel to Indianapolis on Monday without those who have tested positive while Virginia's situation is less clear.
There is an 11:59 p.m. ET deadline on Saturday to let the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee know if a team needs to withdraw before the bracket is announced on Sunday. If a team has to withdraw after that, but before 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday, it will be replaced by one of the first four teams out of the committee's bracket.
In my bracket today, Oklahoma State has moved up to a 2-seed after beating Baylor 83-74 in the lone Big 12 semifinal game. The Cowboys have won eight out of nine while storming up the bracket for a month. This is the ceiling for them, though. Oklahoma State will play Texas -- who advanced after Kansas was forced to bow out of the tournament -- for the Big 12 title tonight
Bracketology top seeds
Check out Palm's latest bracket, full field of 68 and all the teams on the bubble on the Bracketology hub.
Georgia Tech was also given a pass to its tournament final as the Yellow Jackets moved up when Virginia had to drop out of the ACC Tournament Friday morning. They will play Florida State, which beat North Carolina in the semifinal
It has been an especially bad year for top seeds in conference tournaments. Out of the 31 tournaments, only seven top seeds have won and 10 more still have a chance. Of the 14 that were eliminated, 12 teams lost while Virginia and North Carolina A&T had to drop out due to positive COVID tests. None of the 16-seeds in my bracket were the top seed in their conference tournaments.
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Teams on that last four in list will be rooting hard for Colorado and Creighton on Saturday. Oregon State and Georgetown will be playing for conference titles in the Pac-12 and Big East, respectively. If either team wins, a bid will be stolen from the bottom of the bracket. People typically think of bid-stealers as coming from non-major conferences, but it can happen in the majors as well.
People often ask what is the most difficult thing about doing bracket projections in a season affected by COVID. It is the disparate number of games teams have played. For example, this morning I was comparing Wichita State, which has played 18 games, with North Carolina, which has 18 wins … and 10 losses. The committee can only judge teams by what they did with the opportunities they had, but comparisons like this are tough.