2024 NCAA Tournament Bracket Watch: James Madison and Samford make the field – The Athletic

By Brian Bennett3h agoSupported By

(Editor’s note: This is part of the Bracket Central Series, an inside look at the run-up to the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments, along with analysis and picks during the tournaments.)

Monday was a quiet day in terms of bracket impact — unless you’re a fan of James Madison and Samford, in case it was one of the loudest days in recent memory.

James Madison, which opened the season with a win at Michigan State, started 14-0 and now has the nation’s longest winning streak at 13. The 31-3 Dukes were flirting with single-digit seeding territory back in early January, when they also cracked the top 20 of the AP poll. We’ve got them as a No. 12 seed — 22 of those wins were in Quad 4, and another came against a non-Division I team — and if that’s the case, the Dukes could end up being one of the trendiest first-round upset picks of all time. Right now we have James Madison matchup with Clemson; other teams on the No. 5 line who wouldn’t want to see the Dukes include South Carolina, Auburn and Utah State.


Samford is another team that’s won a lot of games. The Bulldogs are 29-5 and have lost just three times since Nov. 10. They’re also coming out of the SoCon, which has been frisky in the NCAA Tournament many years. That’s the league that produced Furman, which upset Virginia in the first round last year, and Wofford, which gave Kentucky a second-round test in 2019, among many others. Samford’s pressing, fast-paced Bucky Ball isn’t the type of style that usually powers Cinderellas in March, but this team could be a very confident No. 13 seed.

Monday was also a happy day for bubble teams like Indiana State and others. James Madison’s outside chance at an at-large bid is moot, and there will be no bid thieves out of the WCC. Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga will meet for the title there for what feels like the 97th consecutive season. Both teams are in the field regardless, of course, but Gonzaga could continue to improve its seeding.

Four other leagues besides the WCC will award their bids on Tuesday: the CAA, the Horizon, the Summit and the NEC. And we get afternoon power-conference basketball as both the ACC and Big 12 begin their tournaments.


Championship week conference tournament guide, Vol. 2: The Power 6 takes center stage

Bracket Watch will appear daily between now and Sunday, with a short update before the 6 p.m. ET selection show if warranted.

First Four Dayton 16 Stetson 16 Grambling Dayton 11 Virginia 11 Indiana State Dayton 16 Merrimack 16 Norfolk State Dayton 11 St. John’s 11 Texas A&M Midwest Region (Detroit) Indianapolis 1 Purdue 16 South Dakota State Indianapolis 8 Nevada 9 Oklahoma Pittsburgh 4 Kentucky 13 Samford Pittsburgh 5 Clemson 12 James Madison Indianapolis 3 Marquette 14 Oakland Indianapolis 6 Saint Mary’s 11 Indiana State Virginia Memphis 2 Baylor 15 Montana Memphis 7 Boise State 10 Mississippi State South Region (Dallas) Memphis 1 Houston 16 Merrimack Norfolk State Memphis 8 Northwestern 9 Florida Atlantic Spokane 4 Illinois 13 Toledo Spokane 5 South Carolina 12 McNeese State Pittsburgh 3 Creighton 14 Morehead State Pittsburgh 6 Washington State 11 Richmond Charlotte 2 North Carolina 15 Longwood Charlotte 7 Gonzaga 10 Drake West Region (Los Angeles) Charlotte 1 Tennessee 16 Stetson Grambling Charlotte 8 Wisconsin 9 Colorado State Salt Lake City 4 BYU 13 UC Irvine Salt Lake City 5 Auburn 12 Grand Canyon Omaha 3 Kansas 14 Charleston Omaha 6 San Diego State 11 Texas A&M St. John’s Salt Lake City 2 Arizona 15 Sam Houston State Salt Lake City 7 Texas 10 Seton Hall East Region (Boston) Brooklyn 1 Connecticut 16 Quinnipiac Brooklyn 8 Texas Tech 9 Nebraska Spokane 4 Alabama 13 Princeton Spokane 5 Utah State 12 South Florida Brooklyn 3 Duke 14 Vermont Brooklyn 6 Florida 11 TCU Omaha 2 Iowa State 15 Colgate Omaha 7 Dayton 10 Michigan State

First Four Out Next Four Out Last Four In Last Four Byes
Villanova Providence Virginia Florida Atlantic
New Mexico Pitt St. John’s Seton Hall
Colorado Kansas State Indiana State Michigan State
Wake Forest Iowa Texas A&M TCU

Multi-bid leagues

League Bids
Big 12 9
Big Ten 6
Big East 5
Mountain West 5
Pac-12 2
A10 2
Missouri Valley 2

Seed list

1 Purdue AQ
2 Houston AQ
3 UConn AQ
4 Tennessee AQ
5 North Carolina AQ
6 Arizona AQ
7 Baylor
8 Iowa State
9 Marquette
10 Creighton
11 Kansas
12 Duke
13 Kentucky
14 Illinois
15 BYU
16 Alabama
17 Auburn
18 South Carolina
19 Utah State AQ
20 Clemson
21 Florida
22 San Diego State
23 Washington State
24 Saint Mary’s AQ
25 Gonzaga
26 Dayton
27 Boise State
28 Texas
29 Nevada
30 Texas Tech
31 Wisconsin
32 Northwestern
33 Nebraska
34 Colorado State
35 Florida Atlantic
36 Oklahoma
37 Mississippi State
38 Seton Hall
39 Michigan State
40 Drake AQ
41 TCU
42 Virginia
43 St. John’s
44 Indiana State
45 Texas A&M
46 Richmond AQ
47 South Florida AQ
48 James Madison AQ
49 Grand Canyon AQ
50 McNeese Sate AQ
51 Samford AQ
52 UC Irvine AQ
53 Princeton AQ
54 Toledo AQ
55 Vermont AQ
56 Charleston AQ
57 Oakland AQ
58 Morehead State AQ
59 Colgate AQ
60 Sam Houston State AQ
61 Montana AQ
62 Longwood AQ
63 Quinnipiac AQ
64 South Dakota State AQ
65 Stetson AQ
66 Merrimack AQ
67 Norfolk State AQ
68 Grambling AQ

The Bracket Central series is part of a partnership with E*TRADE.

The Athletic maintains full editorial independence. Partners have no control over or input into the reporting or editing process and do not review stories before publication.

(Top photo of Samford’s A.J. Staton-McCray: Kathy Kmonicek / AP)

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Brian Bennett is a senior editor for The Athletic covering college basketball. He previously wrote about college sports for ESPN.com for nine years and The (Louisville) Courier-Journal for nine years prior to that. Follow Brian on Twitter @GBrianBennett