NCAA Tournament Bracket Watch: Kansas, Marquette injuries complicate seeding – 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.)

Fourteen automatic bids to the 2024 NCAA Tournament have now been awarded, and 33 teams are in. Here’s how that math makes sense:

The selection committee began its work on Wednesday and voted 19 teams into the field. Though we don’t know which those are, their names wouldn’t be surprising, as we’re talking about the cream of the crop here. But there is one thing that will complicate the seeding of at least two of these shoo-ins: injuries.

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Kansas went into the Big 12 tournament without its two best players — Kevin McCullar Jr. and Hunter Dickinson — and promptly got blown out by Cincinnati. Meanwhile, Marquette announced that All-America point guard Tyler Kolek wouldn’t play in the Big East tournament with his lingering oblique injury. Both teams expressed confidence that their stars would be back and healthy for the NCAA Tournament. But how can we know for sure?

The committee is undoubtedly getting all the latest information on these and other injuries through its conference reporting system. It’s possible, likely even, that Kansas and Marquette have given them more details and assurance than the public has received. Still, this is a tough place to be. Both teams’ losses down the stretch — the Jayhawks lost by 30 at Houston in the regular-season finale and have dropped four of their past five, while the Golden Eagles have lost two of their last three without Kolek — can be attributed partially if not substantially to the injuries. But clearly, neither team is the same without their stars. And the committee won’t have proof that they will in fact be back to full strength before Selection Sunday.

Nor do we have a great idea of what to do here. With the Jayhawks suffering their 10th loss amid such uncertainty, we bumped them down to a No. 4 seed during our fresh scrub of the bracket. But a full-bore Kansas team is deserving of at least a No. 3 seed. Luckily, we’ve got a few more days to think this over.

Staying in the Big 12, TCU helped itself with a win over injury-riddled Oklahoma. The Horned Frogs probably weren’t in any real danger of missing the NCAA Tournament, but now they’re safely away from First Four territory. Texas, on the other hand, lost to Kansas State. The Longhorns are also fine — but every loss shines a brighter light on their weak nonconference schedule. New Mexico, Providence and Wake Forest avoided bad losses and lived to fight for their bubble lives another day. Villanova also barely avoided what would have been one of the all-time flops against DePaul, but if the selection committee was watching that one — and they probably were — then that’s almost as bad as a loss for the Wildcats’ hopes.

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Meanwhile, Clemson dropped its ACC tournament opener to Boston College; the Tigers moved back a couple spots but didn’t lose a seed line. Yet. The door is open for a team like Washington State, Florida or Saint Mary’s to pass by in the next couple of days.

And the really good stuff hasn’t even started yet. Buckle up.

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

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

Multi-bid leagues

League Bids
Big 12 9
SEC 8
Big Ten 6
Big East 5
Mountain West 5
ACC 4
Pac-12 2
A10 2
AAC 2
Missouri Valley 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 Baylor
8 Iowa State
9 Marquette
10 Creighton
11 Duke
12 Kentucky
13 Kansas
14 Illinois
15 BYU
16 Alabama
17 Auburn
18 South Carolina
19 Utah State AQ
20 Clemson
21 Washington State
22 Florida
23 San Diego State
24 Saint Mary’s AQ
25 Texas Tech
26 Gonzaga
27 Boise State
28 Nevada
29 Texas
30 Dayton
31 Wisconsin
32 Northwestern
33 Nebraska
34 Colorado State
35 Florida Atlantic
36 TCU
37 Oklahoma
38 Seton Hall
39 Michigan State
40 Drake AQ
41 Mississippi State
42 Virginia
43 St. John’s
44 Indiana State
45 Texas A&M
46 James Madison AQ
47 Richmond AQ
48 South Florida AQ
49 Grand Canyon AQ
50 McNeese Sate AQ
51 Samford AQ
52 Princeton AQ
53 UC Irvine 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 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 TCU’s Emanuel Miller: Jon Robichaud / 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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