It has been a busy Thursday at the bottom of the bracket, but the real stunner was to a team that was not really considered to be in a lot of trouble.
Middle Tennessee may not get a chance at a third straight year with an NCAA Tournament win after a shocking 71-68 overtime loss to eighth-seeded Southern Miss in the Conference USA Tournament. That is easily the worst loss of the season for the Blue Raiders because the Golden Eagles RPI is below 200. They also have two home, Quadrant 3 losses to Belmont and Marshall. The latter was on the final day of the regular season, meaning that MTSU ended the year with its two worst losses of the season. They do not have a win over an at-large quality team. The Blue Raiders are now my second team out, but they could move back in.
Alabama is now the first team out after a much-needed win over Texas A&M in the second round of the SEC Tournament. The Crimson Tide is now 18-14 and at four games above .500, the historic minimum record to get an at-large bid. In order to stay four games above .500, Alabama will need to beat Auburn in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Also among the last four in: Oklahoma, Syracuse, Louisville, a loser to Virginia on Thursday, and USC, which plays Oregon State on Thursday night. Marquette and Texas, which also lost Thursday, are a little further into the bracket.
After Alabama and Middle in the last four out: Notre Dame, which fell to Duke in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament on Thursday, and Arizona State. Also a little further out are Utah, Oklahoma State and Baylor.