We are less than 24 hours until the most wonderful time of the year, and everyone is thrilled about it (except Vanderbilt, probably).
Selection Sunday starts at 6 p.m. ET tomorrow, but we’ve got plenty to work out before that — like who the No. 1 overall seed will be, and where they’re going to play. The overall No. 1 seed location will dictate where everyone else goes, and a lot can happen on championship Sunday, when conference tournament titles will be awarded in the SEC, Big 12 and AAC, among others.
A lot can happen between now and when the bracket goes from pencil to pen. But for now, these are Saturday’s winners and losers. Kansas might be kicking itself for awhile after no showing against the Longhorns, but a run to the Final Four will make everyone feel better and forget about this performance.
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With a 72-61 win over Missouri in the SEC tournament semifinals the No. 5 Tide remain in contention for the No. 1 overall seed. That becomes even more likely with a win over Texas A&M in Sunday’s SEC final but given their No. 2 NET ranking — only Houston is in front of Alabama in the NET — they are basically a lock for the South 1 seed anyway, which means Tide fans will only have to drive six hours to Louisville (that’s a short trip considering the potential reward). Status: Almost certainly a No. 1 seed
A 69-48 thumping of Cincinnati in the AAC semifinals has put Houston in great position to be a 1 seed when the selection committee shares the final bracket tomorrow. The Cougars are likely frustrated that they won’t get the Kansas City Regional, but if they take care of business they’ll get to play for a national championship in front of a friendly home crowd. Life is about tradeoffs. Status: In contention for the No. 1 overall seed
The Aggies are on a great run, having won 10 of their last 11, with their latest an 87-75 victory over Vanderbilt in the other SEC semifinal (and it wasn’t as close as the score indicates). Don’t be surprised if TAMU beats Alabama in Sunday’s SEC championship. If that happens, Alabama will still be a 1 seed, but Houston, another 1 seed, would probably take over the South region and bump Alabama to the East. Status: Moving up the seed line
The Bison won a crazy game in the final 23 seconds, earning their first bid to the NCAA tournament in 31 years, the last time Howard also won the regular season championship. Only one player, Jelani Williams, scored in double figures (20 points) but it was just enough as Howard edged Norfolk State 65-64. Status: Dancing
The Jayhawks had a terrific opportunity to wrap up the No. 1 overall seed and instead laid a major egg against No. 7 Texas, getting drilled 76-56. What does that mean for their seeding? Kansas is still almost certainly a No. 1 seed – KU plays in the best league in the country and has the No. 6 NET ranking – but losing out on the overall No. 1 means the Jayhawks probably won’t get to be in Kansas City, which would certainly be their choice. Status: No. 1 seed but questionable what region
The Commodores’ bubble is almost certainly burst after a loss in the SEC semifinals to Texas A&M in a game where they looked significantly overmatched for stretches. The loss, coupled with a NET ranking in the 80s (yikes) almost certainly means Vanderbilt, with a 20-14 season record, is headed for the NIT. Status: First four out
The Spartans lost a heartbreaker in one of Saturday’s first games and with it, an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Up 64-60 with 23.7 seconds to play, everything unraveled. Marcus Dockery of Howard hit a 3 — his first in six attempts — to bring the Bison within one, and then Norfolk State threw the ball away on the ensuing possession with 13.2 to go. Howard responded by driving, being fouled and hitting both foul shots. Howard deserves kudos for making plays under pressure, but it was a rough end for Norfolk State. Status: Not participating in Selection Sunday
Follow Lindsay Schnell on Twitter @Lindsay_Schnell