Bracketology: Northern Iowa protects a bubble team
When the First Four is revealed on Sunday, one of those teams might want to send a thank-you card to Northern Iowa. Trailing Illinois State at halftime in the Missouri Valley Conference finale, UNI rallied to beat the Redbirds and grab the Valley’s automatic bid. That saved at least one at-large position in the Field of 68.
Today, that team would be Texas; the Longhorns are paired with BYU in a First Four contest; with Indiana and Temple also slotted for a trip to Dayton.
The No. 1 seed line remains in tact: Kentucky, Virginia, Duke, and Villanova. Wisconsin and Arizona are next in line; the Badgers looked quite impressive Sunday in Columbus. It appears we have five teams for three spots. That noted, it’s hard to see both Duke and Virginia losing spots on the top line. We’ll see how the ACC tournament goes.
The middle of the bracket remains fluid in terms of final seed position; we could see teams move 1-3 lines over the next several days. And Championship Week will, as it turns out, be a decisive week for several bubble teams. We’re almost home.