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Bracketology: Will we have a bid thief?

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It’s the Saturday before Selection Sunday and teams hovering at the cutline will be watching to see what happens in the Atlantic 10, Atlantic Coast (ACC), and Southeastern (SEC) conference tournaments.  The reasons: St. Bonaventure, North Carolina State, and Georgia.  Should any of the three win two more games, a potential at-large berth disappears.

In other words, a team currently headed to Dayton for the First Four, could be headed to the NIT, instead.

RELATED: How did the teams on the bubble do on Friday?

As additional resumes complete, the Selection Committee in Indianapolis will also be dissecting and comparing resumes from teams such as Green Bay, Southern Mississippi, and perhaps Toledo or Louisiana Tech – if either of those loses in their conference tournament final.  We have one day to go, but all is not settled.

Teams most concerned about what happens today and Sunday: BYU, SMU, Nebraska, and Xavier.  They are among the Last 5 IN and all four have completed their profiles.  Providence (slotted in the First Four) and Tennessee (just above it) are still playing.

MORE: Are we overlooking Arizona right now?

Here’s what we do know … Florida, Arizona, and Wichita State should be locked-in as No. 1 seeds.  With Villanova idle, Michigan and Wisconsin are the next challengers for the final No. 1 slot.  Virginia is also in the mix, but probably has to win the ACC tournament and have Michigan and/or Wisconsin lose.    That seems about it – unless the Committee has a collective viewpoint that Louisville, ranked highly in both polls and routing teams left and right, is the fourth best team.  Assuming the Cardinals capture the American Conference tourney, we’ll see how it plays out.

UPDATED: March 15, 2014

Teams in CAPS represent the AUTOMATIC bid based on tournament results. Exceptions are made for teams that use an abbreviation (UCLA, BYU, etc).

MORE: At what point does Kansas’ defense become a major red flag?

Several new bracketing principles were introduced after last year’s tournament. You can read them for yourself at http://www.ncaa.com. For example: teams from the same conference may now meet before a Regional final, even if fewer than eight teams are selected. The goal is to keep as many teams as possible on their actual seed line.

FIRST FOUR PAIRINGS – Dayton (First Round)

  • Nebraska vs. Providence | South Region
  • SMU vs. BYU | West Region
  • Texas Southern vs. CS Northridge | Midwest Region
  • MOUNT ST. MARY’S vs. COASTAL CAROLINA | East Region

BRACKET PROJECTION …

SOUTH – Memphis WEST Anaheim
Orlando San Diego
1) Florida 1) Arizona
16) WOFFORD 16) Weber State
8) Kansas State 8) George Washington
9) Colorado 9) Pittsburgh
San Diego Spokane
5) New Mexico 5) Oklahoma
12) Louisiana Tech 12) BYU / SMU
4) Michigan State 4) San Diego State
13) S.F. Austin 13) NORTH DAKOTA ST
San Antonio San Antonio
6) UCLA 6) Connecticut
11) Nebraska / Providence 11) Xavier
3) Creighton 3) Iowa State
14) NC-Central 14) MERCER
St. Louis Raleigh
7) VCU 7) Kentucky
10) Iowa 10) Saint Joseph’s
2) Kansas 2) Virginia
15) MILWAUKEE 15) New Mexico State
EAST – New York MIDWEST – Indianapolis
Buffalo St. Louis
1) Villanova 1) WICHITA STATE
16) CO CAROLINA / MT ST MARY’S 16) Texas Southern / CS Northridge
8) Oklahoma State 8) Memphis
9) GONZAGA 9) Oregon
Orlando Spokane
5) Ohio State 5) Baylor
12) HARVARD 12) Toledo
4) Cincinnati 4) Duke
13) DELAWARE 13) MANHATTAN
Buffalo Raleigh
6) North Carolina 6) Texas
11) Tennessee 11) Dayton
3) Syracuse 3) Louisville
14) Georgia State 14) EASTERN KENTUCKY
Milwaukee Milwaukee
7) Saint Louis 7) Massachusetts
10) Stanford 10) Arizona State
2) Michigan 2) Wisconsin
15) Stony Brook 15) AMERICAN

NOTES on the BRACKET: Florida remains the overall No. 1 seed followed by Arizona, Wichita State, and Villanova.

Last Five teams in (at large): Xavier, Nebraska, SMU, BYU, Providence

First Five teams out (at large): Florida State, Minnesota, Arkansas, California, Missouri

Next five teams out (at large): NC State, Green Bay, Georgia, Southern Miss, Illinois

Breakdown by Conference …

Big 12 (7): Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma State

Pac 12 (6): Arizona, UCLA, Stanford, Arizona State, Oregon, Colorado

Atlantic 10 (6): Massachusetts, VCU, Saint Louis, George Washington, Saint Joseph’s, Dayton

Big Ten (6): Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska

ACC (5): Duke, Virginia, Syracuse, North Carolina, Pittsburgh

American (5): Louisville, Memphis, Connecticut, Cincinnati, SMU

Big East (4): Creighton, Villanova, Xavier, Providence

SEC (3): Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee

Mountain West (2): New Mexico, San Diego State

West Coast (2): Gonzaga, BYU

Missouri Valley (1): Wichita State

Conference Automatic Qualifiers … Louisiana Tech (C-USA), EASTERN KENTUCKY (Ohio Valley), Georgia State (Sun Belt), AMERICAN (Patriot), NORTH DAKOTA STATE (Summit), MILWAUKEE (Horizon), WOFFORD (Southern), New Mexico State (WAC), MANHATTAN (MAAC), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), Toledo (MAC), MERCER (A-Sun), HARVARD (IVY), Cal-Northridge (Big West), DELAWARE (Colonial), Stony Brook (American East), Weber State (Big Sky), NC-Central (MEAC), COASTAL CAROLINA (Big South), MOUNT ST. MARY’S (NEC), Texas Southern (SWAC)

Brandone Francis-Ramirez transferring out of Florida

Florida State center Jean Marc Christ Koumadje (21) fouls Florida guard Brandone Francis-Ramirez (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla. (Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
(Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
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Brandone Francis-Ramirez is transferring out of the Florida program, the school announced on Wednesday.

A former top 40 recruit, Francis-Ramirez had his two seasons in Gainesville ruined by an academic issues and a loss of confidence. He was academically ineligible in 2014-15, practicing with the team during the second semester. He was granted a redshirt for the year, but he struggled to find any kind of a rhythm this past season. There was a two-month stretch in the middle of the year where he shot 6-for-58 from the floor and 2-for-31 from three.

On the season, he shot 20.2 percent from the floor and 16.9 percent from three.

“I want it to work out for him,” Gators coach Mike White said in a release. “We really appreciate what Brandone did here and wish him the best.”

One of Villanova’s title game stars undergoes knee surgery

Phil Booth, Jack McVeigh
(AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
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The forgotten star of the national title game underwent an arthroscopic on his left knee on Wednesday.

Phil Booth, who scored a season-high 20 points in the 2016 National Title game, will be a junior next season and one of the guys called upon to help replace Ryan Arcidiacono, who graduated. He should be ready to go by the middle of the summer; according to a statement put out by the program, Booth will need 6-to-8 weeks to heal.

“Phil is as mentally tough a young man as we have had at Villanova,” head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “He continually impresses our coaching staff with his outstanding attitude. Phil will attack this recovery challenge with great determination, as he does everything in life.”

Booth averaged 7.0 points and 2.2 assists this past season.

Jennings becomes seventh player to transfer from Kentucky

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell watches his team during the team's regional semifinal in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament against Washington in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 25, 2016. Washington won 85-72. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
(AP Photo/James Crisp)
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell has announced that sophomore forward Alexis Jennings will transfer, the seventh Wildcat to leave the program since last fall.

Jennings’ departure comes a week after Mitchell publicly addressed the mass exodus of players and assistant coaches and stressed the need for building stability. Jennings figured to be part of that process and the coach said in a release Wednesday night that “it saddens us that Alexis did not see a path for her at Kentucky. … She felt it was in her best interest to finish her career elsewhere and we owe her that opportunity.”

The 6-foot-2 Jennings started 18 of 33 games last season and averaged 10 points and 7.1 rebounds.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.