Wanna play in the NCAA tournament? Openings available

I never knew the NIT was so popular.  Nearly every team at or near the bottom of the bracket found a way to lose this weekend, sometimes in spectacular fashion, in an effort to play themseles into that tourament.

Where do we start?  How about in the SEC.

Ole Miss Rebels lost at rival Mississippi State Bulldogs .  The Bulldogs can barely field a team, but still beat the Rebels.  It's the second 200+ RPI loss for Ole Miss in two weeks.  That's a good way to avoid the NCAA field.

Alabama Crimson Tide had a lead at Florida Gators halfway through the second half, but couldn't hold on, losing a chance for a signature win.

Tennesse lost to Georgia Bulldogs for the second time this season.  Those are the Vols' two worst losses of the season.

Kentucky Wildcats lost at Arkansas Razorbacks , but who doesn't?  If the NCAA tournament was in Fayetteville, the Hogs would be a No. 1 seed.  Syracuse is the only team to win there this year.

Baylor Bears looked like it was going to overtime at home against Kansas State Wildcats , but still had a chance at a length-of-the-court pass to try for a final shot.  Instead, the pass went out of bounds at the other end untouched, meaning the Wildcats now got the ball under their own basket.  Well, you know what happened.  Rodney McGruder caught the inbounds, had a clean look at a 3, and sank it, sticking a dagger into the Bears' tournament hopes.

Virginia Cavaliers , the most schizophrenic team in America, followed up its win over Duke Blue Devils with a loss at Boston College Eagles .  One quick look at their tournament profile tells us we should have expected no less.  That is the Cavs seventh loss to a 100+ RPI team.  No team with that many bad losses has ever received a bid.

Iowa State Cyclones , which is the No. 2 Home Court Hero only behind Arkansas, got drilled at Oklahoma Sooners .

Villanova Wildcats led almost the whole way at Pittsburgh Panthers , but fell in overtime.  That would have been a huge win for the Wildcats.

Even Akron Zips , which was steamrolling the MAC, lost at 200+ RPI Buffalo Bulls .

It wasn't all bad though.  Boise State Broncos beat Colorado State Rams and Cincinnati Bearcats bounced back with a win over Connecticut Huskies .  Those teams still aren't out of the woods yet.

At the top of the bracket, there is yet another change.  Duke replaces Michigan State Spartans on the top line after Sparty lost at Michigan Wolverines and the Blue Devils showed that Ryan Kelly is healthy and can be effective (understatement of the year).

Conference tournaments start this week, so the bracket will be updated daily as needed from this point forward.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Jerry Palm started writing about sports on the Internet right after Al Gore invented it. He was the first to bring RPI out in the open and is one of the pioneers of predicting the March Madness bracket.... Full Bio

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