2024 NCAA Tournament Bracket Watch: New Mexico’s in, Indiana State is out – The Athletic

By Brian BennettMar 15, 2024Supported 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.)

Usually, right around this time, we find ourselves saying, “Do any of these bubble teams actually want to play in the NCAA Tournament?”

Not this season. In six years of doing Bracket Watch, we can’t remember a time when the cutline has been this competitive two days before Selection Sunday. Consider teams that were just outside our field before Thursday:

• Providence, which beat Creighton in the Big East tournament for its sixth Quad 1 win.

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• Colorado, which entered the day 26th in KenPom, blew out Utah in the Pac-12 tournament.

• New Mexico, which beat Boise State in the Mountain West tournament for its fourth Q1 win after entering the day 25th in the NET.

That doesn’t even count Pitt, which knocked Wake Forest out of the ACC tournament as part of its late surge. Meanwhile, three teams in our First Four — Virginia, Texas A&M and St. John’s — all won too, as did the team with the last bye, Mississippi State. Imagine if Villanova managed to beat Marquette in overtime.

It looked like an extra spot in the field would open up when the top two seeds in the Atlantic 10 lost in the quarterfinals, but then Dayton went ahead and lost too, assuring that the league gets two bids. In this game of musical chairs, the tune is winding down, and the seats are rapidly diminishing.

And we think that’s bad news, sadly, for Indiana State.

The Sycamores are a great story, but the resume remains awfully thin. They get bumped in favor of New Mexico, which improved to 7-7 in the first two quads and rose to 23rd in the NET and 27th in KenPom. It’s hard to see a team with those numbers being left out. Colorado is 26th in the NET with no losses outside of the first two quads. But dig a little deeper on the Buffaloes. While clearly talented, they haven’t beaten a team in the top 40 of the NET all season. Their two Quad 1 wins came against Washington and Oregon, neither of whom is sniffing tournament consideration. Colorado has beaten just one team in the field — Washington State, at home — and has a losing record in the first two quads and on the road. Those are giant red flags.

There’s still basketball left to be played — chances for teams like Providence (vs. Marquette) and Pitt (against North Carolina) to boost their resumes or for teams like Texas A&M (against Kentucky) and Mississippi State (vs. Tennessee) to play themselves out of the field with poor showings on Friday. Colorado gets another shot at Washington State in Las Vegas and perhaps can solidify its standing. Another at-large spot could open up if Florida Atlantic wins the AAC tournament; the Owls open the postseason on Friday. Unfortunately for Indiana State, all it can do is wait.

A few good teams likely will miss the tournament. It’s almost an argument for expanding the field … except the exclusivity is what makes the drama of Championship Week so compelling.

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

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

Multi-bid conferences

League Bids
Big 12 9
SEC 8
Big Ten 6
Mountain West 6
Big East 5
ACC 4
Pac-12 2
A10 2
AAC 2
WCC 2

Seed list

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

(Photo of Virginia’s Reece Beekman: Nick Wass / 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

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