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Illinois jumps over Ohio State in the latest Ferris Mowers Men’s Basketball Coaches Poll
USA TODAY Sports’ Scott Gleeson breaks down the latest Ferris Mowers Men’s Basketball Coaches Poll.
The Duke Blue Devils have used the past two games to play themselves into the projected field of 68 after their postseason was in jeopardy just a week ago.
Saturday’s Quadrant 1 victory over then No. 8-ranked Virginia vaulted Duke back onto the bubble to resuscitate the blue-blood program’s NCAA Tournament aspirations. Then on Monday, the Blue Devils cruised to a 85-71 win over fellow ACC bubble team Syracuse.
Uniquely, it’s Syracuse’s place in the forecasted field that Duke is taking as the “last team in.”
It’s been a whirlwind season for this Duke team that was the preseason No. 8 team in the Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll. Coach Mike Krzyzewski announced the departure of five-star freshman Jalen Johnson last week and while that might’ve seemed like the nail in the coffin, instead the Blue Devils have surged and found their identity just at the right time as March nears.
The Blue Devils (11-8, 9-6 ACC, 47 NET) have won four in a row, but they face a murderer’s row of games to close out the regular season — hosting Louisville on Saturday and then drawing Georgia Tech and North Carolina on the road. Those are all opportunities to improve their chances of hearing their name called on Selection Sunday.
Selection Sunday is March 14. The NCAA Tournament tips off March 18.
BRACKETOLOGY: Big 10 teams battling for final No. 1 seed
No. 1 seeds
Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan, Ohio State.
Last four in
Seton Hall, Maryland, Minnesota, Duke.
First four out
Indiana, Syracuse, Connecticut, Georgia Tech.
Next four out
St. John’s, Stanford, Ole Miss, Utah State.
Others considered for at-large bids (no particular order): Memphis, Southern Methodist, Richmond, Saint Louis, Pittsburgh, Alabama-Birmingham, Georgia.
On life support: Texas Christian, Marquette, Providence, Marshall, Utah, Arizona State, Oregon State, Mississippi State, Kentucky, South Carolina, Texas A&M, St. Mary’s, San Francisco, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Dayton, Davidson, Nevada, Penn State.
Multi-bid conferences: Big Ten (9), Big 12 (7), ACC (6), SEC (6), Pac-12 (4), Big East (4), Mountain West (3), Atlantic 10 (2), Missouri Valley (2), West Coast (2).
Leaders or highest NET from projected one-bid conferences – (20 total): America East – UMBC, Atlantic Sun – Liberty, Big Sky – Eastern Washington, Big South – Winthrop, Big West – UCSB, CAA – Northeastern, C-USA – UAB, Horizon – Wright State, MAAC – Siena, MAC – Toledo, MEAC – Norfolk State, Northeast – Bryant, OVC – Belmont, Patriot – Navy, Southern – UNCG, Southland – Sam Houston, SWAC – Prairie View A&M, Summit – South Dakota, Sun Belt – Texas State, WAC – Grand Canyon.
- Banned from participating: Alabama State, Alabama A&M, Delaware State, Auburn, Arizona
- Transition schools, ineligible for the tournament: Cal Baptist, North Alabama, Merrimack, Dixie State, Tarleton State, Bellarmine, UC San Diego
- COVID-19: Ivy League, Bethune-Cookman, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Howard, Maine
NCAA Tournament language explainer:
- NET stands for the NCAA Evaluation Tool, which is the barometer for the selection committee. It includes game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin (capping at 10 points per game), and net offensive and defensive efficiency.
- Quadrant 1 wins: Home games vs. 1-30 NET teams; Neutral-site games vs. 1-50 NET; Away games vs. 1-75 NET
- Quadrant 2 wins: Home games vs. 31-75 NET; Neutral-site games vs. 51-100 NET; Away games vs. 76-135 NET
- Quadrant 3 wins: Home games vs. 76-160 NET; Neutral-site games vs. 101-200 NET; Away games vs. 136-240 NET
- Quadrant 4 wins: Home games vs. 161-plus NET; Neutral-site games vs. 201-plus NET; Away games vs. 241-plus NET
About our bracketologist: Shelby Mast has been projecting the field since 2005 on his website, Bracket W.A.G. He joined USA TODAY in 2014. In his eighth season as our national bracketologist, Mast has finished as one of the top three bracketologists in the past seven March Madnesses. He’s also predicted for The Indianapolis Star, collegeinsider.com and is an inaugural member of the Super 10 Selection Committee. Follow him on Twitter @BracketWag.
Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson