We will be posting an updated bracket every morning until Selection Sunday, March 17. Click here to find our latest March Madness bracket projection.
[Correction: An earlier version of the projection below was published with an error in the 8-vs.-9 matchups that affected Iowa, Washington, Baylor and Wofford. It has been updated.]
N.C. State vs. Virginia (ACC quarterfinal, 12:30, ESPN/Raycom): The Wolfpack (22-10) rallied from an 18-point deficit to get past Clemson in Wednesday’s second round. That should be enough to get N.C. State into the field regardless, but it would be just like the mercurial Wolfpack to pull a surprise against the ACC’s top seed.
Bracket impact: Virginia probably isn’t falling off the No. 1 line regardless. A victory would probably bump N.C. State up a seed, perhaps to 8-9 territory.
Indiana vs. Ohio State (Big Ten second round, 12:30, BTN): Indiana’s weird regular season concluded with four consecutive victories to get to 17-14. The Hoosiers must contend with an 18-13 Buckeyes team headed in the opposite direction. Ohio State has lost three in a row and six of eight.
Bracket impact: Indiana is probably safely inside the field because of its six Quadrant 1 victories, but another win couldn’t hurt. The Buckeyes are a quintessential borderline case and probably need the victory more.
Creighton vs. Xavier (Big East quarterfinal, 2:30, Fox Sports 1): Winner of five in a row, Creighton (18-13) went from far outside the conversation to credible at-large candidate. Xavier’s hot, too, having won six of seven to get to 17-14. Both teams went 9-9 in the Big East.
Bracket impact: Effectively an at-large eliminator, though Xavier’s hopes of snagging one aren’t particularly great to begin with.
Alabama vs. Mississippi (SEC second round, 7, SEC Network): The Crimson Tide (17-14) tried to live off its January defeat of Kentucky. Considering its best victories outside of Tuscaloosa came against Liberty, Missouri and South Carolina, it’s safe to say there’s still work to do.
Bracket impact: Alabama is playing to remain in the at-large picture. Mississippi (20-11) is safely inside the field.
Minnesota vs. Penn State (Big Ten second round, 7, BTN): The seventh-seeded Golden Gophers (19-12) locked up a vital victory in the final week of the season, getting past Purdue in their home finale. Minnesota is a bit vulnerable to chaos, so defeating a resurgent Penn State bunch (which has won seven of 10) could actually be of use.
Bracket impact: A loss probably doesn’t knock the Gophers from the field, but does make them more likely to land in Dayton to begin their tournament stay.
St. John’s vs. Marquette (Big East quarterfinal, 7, Fox Sports 1): After dusting off DePaul in the first round, St. John’s (21-11) isn’t going to get dinged for losing to Marquette. Still, a third victory over the Eagles can only help.
Bracket impact: St. John’s is probably safe, but adding another quality victory would be a fine insurance policy.
Arizona State vs. UCLA (Pac-12 quarterfinal, 9, Pac-12 Network): The second-seeded Sun Devils (21-9) are hoping some notable nonconference victories (Mississippi State and Utah State on neutral floors, Kansas at home) stand out to the committee. It needs to avoid adding more setbacks that attract attention for the wrong reason. The Sun Devils have a combined four Quadrant 3 and 4 defeats.
Bracket impact: Arizona State stays in the hunt for an at-large with a victory. The Sun Devils have little else to gain beyond playing another day, which counts for something.
Utah State vs. New Mexico (Mountain West quarterfinal, 9): Utah State has won 14 of 15, and it would be a frightening team for a No. 5 or No. 6 seed to deal with. The Aggies also got a bump this week when Saint Mary’s — a team they beat on a neutral floor Nov. 19 — upended Gonzaga.
Bracket impact: Utah State (25-6) remains in the at-large picture with a victory, and could well tumble out of the field with a loss to the Lobos.
Kansas vs. Texas (Big 12 quarterfinal, 9:30, ESPN2): The last of the day’s quadruple-header in Kansas City features Texas, which looks good on nearly every metric the committee looks at but is also 16-15.
Bracket impact: Would the committee include a .500 team as an at-large? It’s never happened before, but Texas would have some hope it could make history even if it falls to the Jayhawks.
Georgetown vs. Seton Hall (Big East quarterfinal, 9:30, Fox Sports 1): Seton Hall has nothing to worry about after closing with defeats of Marquette and Villanova. Georgetown (19-12), on the other hand, is a more fringy at-large candidate in a league filled with borderline NCAA tournament teams.
Bracket impact: Georgetown is playing to stay in the conversation. It probably needs multiple victories in New York to have a shot at an at-large.
Oregon vs. Utah (Pac-12 quarterfinal, 11:30, ESPN): The Ducks (20-12) pounded Washington State on Wednesday for their fifth victory in a row. There probably aren’t enough quality victories available this week in Las Vegas for Oregon to get into the field without claiming the Pac-12 tournament, but the Ducks are close enough to include as the faintest of possibilities.
Bracket impact: Oregon still has ultra-slim at-large hopes with a victory.
Last four included: Utah State, Texas, TCU, Creighton
First four on the outside: Clemson, Arizona State, Temple, Belmont
Next four on the outside: Alabama, Oregon, Georgetown, Xavier
Moving in: Creighton
Moving out: Clemson
Conference call: Big Ten (9), ACC (8), Big 12 (8), SEC (7), Big East (5), American Athletic (3), Mountain West (2), West Coast (2)
East Region vs. West, South vs. West
(1) ACC/Virginia vs. winner of (16) METRO ATLANTIC/Iona vs. NORTHEAST/Fairleigh Dickinson
(8) PAC-12/Washington vs. (9) Oklahoma
(5) MOUNTAIN WEST/Nevada vs. (12) Ohio State
(4) Kansas State vs. (13) BIG WEST/UC Irvine
(3) Purdue vs. (14) CONFERENCE USA/Old Dominion
(6) Marquette vs. (11) WEST COAST/Saint Mary’s
(7) Louisville vs. (10) Central Florida
(2) Tennessee vs. (15) SOUTHLAND/Sam Houston State
So what will Virginia’s choice be for a first weekend site? Columbia, S.C., was the default all along, but maybe the Cavaliers would rather head somewhere else? … UC Irvine and Nevada both begin conference tournament play Thursday. …
Marquette draws St. John’s in its Big East quarterfinal. The Eagles have lost four in a row entering the conference tournament. … Louisville handled Notre Dame, so the Cardinals will make it out of the ACC tournament without a silly loss.
Salt Lake City
(1) Gonzaga vs. winner of (16) MID-EASTERN ATHLETIC/Norfolk State vs. SUMMIT/North Dakota State
(8) ATLANTIC 10/VCU vs. (9) Florida
(5) Virginia Tech vs. (12) Creighton-Texas winner
(4) Wisconsin vs. (13) COLONIAL/Northeastern
(3) BIG 12/Texas Tech vs. (14) IVY/Yale
(6) Maryland vs. (11) OHIO VALLEY/Murray State
(7) Mississippi vs. (10) Minnesota
(2) Duke vs. PATRIOT/Colgate
Whether it is a No. 1 or No. 2 seed, Gonzaga will probably be quite angry when it takes the floor sometime next week in its first game since losing the West Coast Conference title game. … Virginia Tech would have a player availability question with regard to senior guard Justin Robinson, but two of the Hokies’ best victories (Duke and at N.C. State) came without him. …
All eyes on Duke on Thursday for freshman forward Zion Williamson’s scheduled return from injury. The Blue Devils went 3-3 over the last six games with Williamson sidelined (he played less than a minute in the first of those contests). … Colgate won three home games to lock up the Patriot League tournament. The Raiders are off to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1996.
(1) Kentucky vs. (16) SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC/Prairie View A&M
(8) Baylor vs. (9) SOUTHERN/Wofford
(5) MID-AMERICAN/Buffalo vs. (12) TCU-Utah State winner
(4) Florida State vs. (13) AMERICA EAST/Vermont
(3) AMERICAN ATHLETIC/Houston vs. (14) HORIZON/Northern Kentucky
(6) Auburn vs. (11) Indiana
(7) BIG EAST/Villanova vs. (10) Syracuse
(2) Michigan vs. (15) BIG SKY/Montana
Plenty of teams in the upper half of this draw begin conference tournament play Thursday, including Buffalo, Florida State and Washington. … Vermont will face UMBC at home the day before Selection Sunday with an NCAA bid at stake — exactly the same scenario as last year.
Rest easy, Syracuse fans. This Selection Sunday isn’t going to be a mystery. Barring a deep ACC tournament run, the Orange will be in a 7-10 or 8-9 game. … Michigan has one of the longest waits before finally taking the floor this week. The Wolverines won’t play their Big Ten quarterfinal until about 9:30 p.m. Eastern time on Friday.
(1) North Carolina vs. (16) BIG SOUTH/Gardner-Webb
(8) Iowa vs. (9) Seton Hall
Salt Lake City
(5) Mississippi State vs. (12) ATLANTIC SUN/Liberty
(4) Kansas vs. (13) WESTERN ATHLETIC/New Mexico State
(3) SEC/LSU vs. (14) SUN BELT/Georgia State
(6) Iowa State vs. (11) St. John’s
(7) Cincinnati vs. (10) N.C. State
(2) BIG TEN/Michigan State vs. (15) MISSOURI VALLEY/Bradley
North Carolina’s path to a No. 1 seed could well be making it to Saturday at the ACC tournament. Of course, that means going through Louisville and either Duke or Syracuse. … A good Big 12 tournament showing could get Kansas into the Tulsa or Des Moines subregional rather than a spot further west.