COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 28 St. John's at Butler
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The 2024 NCAA Tournament bracket was revealed on Sunday, setting the stage for the best month in all of sports. All across the country, teams learned their seeds and bracket placement for March Madness, allowing the college basketball community to react to the selection committee's decisions in real time. 

This tournament is set up well with storylines and stakes in all four corners of the bracket, including favorable paths for some and some surprising seeding decisions for others. There is also the annual disappointment for those teams that did not hear their name called as one of the 68 in the field, where the committee's final calls at the cut line carry massive consequences for those teams who were hoping to be dancing this March. 

In the immediate wake of the bracket's release, we've identified some winners and losers from the Selection Sunday festivities, starting with those who finished on the outside looking in. 

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Losers: St. John's, Oklahoma, Seton Hall 

When Rick Pitino called out his team publicly, St. John's responded with six straight wins before coming up short in the Big East Tournament semifinals against No. 1 overall seed UConn. That streak included an upset win against Creighton and improved efficiency that led to a jump in the computer ratings. Left out of the 2024 NCAA Tournament, St. John's stands as the highest-ranked team (No. 25) in the KenPom ratings to not make the field. Most bracket projections had St. John's either in the field or right on the cut line, but when the selection committee's final list was released, the Johnnies were not only absent from the bracket but not even listed as one of the first four out. Pitino's rollercoaster first season with St. John's made them one of the great stories in the sport. Now, their tournament snub becomes one of the biggest stories of Selection Sunday. 

Oklahoma and Seton Hall, teams that were listed among the first four out, are also included as losers; they will each argue for their case in comparison to those teams that barely made the cut. Playing in the Big 12 and Big East, respectively, set up for a brutal conference-season grind that, on one hand, delivered opportunities for quality wins but also made it easy to pile up losses. 

Winners: Virginia, Colorado 

Virginia making the field is one of the big shockers for fans after the Cavaliers were backsliding in field projections over the last month. The Wahoos enter the tournament with a 4-5 record over their last nine games, including an 0-3 record against NCAA Tournament teams in that stretch. An unexpected overtime defeat to NC State in the ACC Tournament put Virginia right on the edge of the field, but the committee rewarded the quality wins Tony Bennett's crew picked up in the early months of the season. 

Colorado's inclusion stands out as a big winner when you consider how close the Buffaloes were to securing the Pac-12 automatic bid in Saturday night's championship game against Oregon. For that narrow defeat to have cost them a spot in the Big Dance would only pour salt in the wound, so now a veteran-led group striving to get back to the tournament has its opportunity -- even if it starts in Dayton, Ohio. 

Loser: Iowa State 

One of the hottest debates Saturday night into Sunday morning was what to do with the fourth No. 1 seed after North Carolina fell to NC State in the ACC Tournament final. A big point of friction as we made our CBS Sports expert predictions ahead of Selection Sunday was not the overall No. 1 seed, rather it was whether North Carolina or Iowa State would claim the fourth No. 1 seed. The Cyclones' draw was revealed first on Sunday night, landing in East Region with the UConn. So, not only did the selection committee not consider putting Iowa State ahead of North Carolina, but it felt comfortable slotting the Big 12 Tournament champions behind multiple candidates who did not win their conference tournament. 

Defeating Houston -- the second No. 1 seed in the eyes of the committee -- by 28 points was apparently not enough to change the tiebreakers that had already been set in stone. The committee referenced Iowa State's nonconference strength of schedule rating, which is among the worst in the country, but the top-end wins the Cyclones picked up throughout their 27-7 campaign gave them as much ammunition at the top of the resume as North Carolina, Arizona or anyone else on the 2-seed line. So, Iowa State not only takes a loss for not getting a 1-seed, but it catches an even bigger obstacle for Final Four hopes by getting placed in the same region as UConn. 

There's also an argument for UConn getting the short end of the stick having to deal with Iowa State -- a 1-seed caliber team -- in their region, but most of the disappointment is coming from Ames, Iowa. 

Winner: Kentucky 

The ups and downs with Kentucky in 2024 include the ability to notch wins against multiple top seeds in the tournament while also taking losses to unranked teams that fell well outside the tournament field. When the selection committee put it all on the scale, the Wildcats ended up as a No. 3 seed, which in and of itself is not going to garner a big reaction. But the draw that John Calipari's group received in the South Region provides a path for this volatile group to make a run well into the second weekend and maybe further. 

The Wildcats will start in Pittsburgh with a first-round matchup against Oakland and an opportunity against either No. 6 seed Texas Tech or No. 11 seed NC State in the second round. The rest of their corner in the South Region includes a No. 2 seed in Marquette that has been without its point guard and star player Tyler Kolek because of an injury, a Florida team that it knows well after splitting the season series and a winner from Dayton. If Kentucky can play three decent games of defense, that could set up for an all-time clash of styles with Houston. There's a scenario where Kentucky, like Miami last season, could overwhelm the Cougars with offense in a high-level tournament setting. Houston's not the most ideal No. 1 seed for Kentucky to be matched up with (that would be North Carolina, a team it beat earlier in the season), but the entire picture does provide a favorable path for this high-powered offensive attack. 

Loser: Mountain West 

The good news is the Mountain West got all six of their teams into the field that were in the mix on Selection Sunday. The bad news is that two of those teams are starting their NCAA Tournament campaign in the First Four while other MW teams find themselves seeded lower than expected in the bracket. Boise State being announced as a First Four team in the South Region was a big surprise as the Broncos' status in the field seemed much more certain coming into the day, and while Colorado State also getting the Dayton treatment might be less of a surprise, it speaks to the larger trend of how the committee viewed the conference. 

Of the six teams from the Mountain West that made the field, only two of them are the higher seed in their first-round matchups. San Diego state is the highest, drawing a No. 5 seed in the East Region, and Utah State is the other, checking in as the No. 8 seed in the Midwest Region opposite No. 1 seed Purdue. Nevada is a No. 10 seed and New Mexico, the automatic bid from the conference, is a No. 11 seed. It was a league of bubble teams heading into the weekend, but the bracket reveal showed just how clustered those squads were at the cut line. 

Winner: Michigan State 

Tom Izzo extended his all-time record by guiding Michigan State to a 26th consecutive NCAA Tournament as the Spartans were introduced as the No. 9 seed in the West Region. Michigan State faces Mississippi State in the first round with a possible matchup against No. 1 seed North Carolina in the second round. Last season, Izzo became the first men's basketball coach in NCAA history to lead his team to 25 straight NCAA Tournaments, breaking the previous record held by Duke's Mike Krzyzewksi. That historic streak remains alive despite some rocky play down the stretch in the regular season, but Michigan State's best wins (Illinois, Baylor) helped balance a profile that was loaded up with 14 losses coming into Selection Sunday.