Selection Sunday: What to expect during 2023 NCAA Tournament bracket reveal
Selection Sunday is finally here!
By Sunday evening, millions of brackets will be filled out across the nation, and none of them will be perfect (most likely).
There is still plenty of debate to be had. Résumés will be pored over. Bubbles will burst. Some fans will be elated to see their school pop up on the screen. Others will fire off angry tweets after being snubbed.
So what should we expect on Sunday evening? Let’s take a deep dive into what should happen on Selection Sunday in the SEC, Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12:
Tournament locks: Alabama, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Mizzou, Tennessee
Likely in: Auburn, Arkansas
On the bubble: Vanderbilt, Mississippi State
Alabama could potentially lock down the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. Even if the Tide don’t get that No. 1 spot and it goes to Kansas instead (which it all but certainly won’t after the Jayhawks’ blowout loss in the Big 12 Tournament final), it won’t change much.
Alabama, with a win on Sunday in the SEC Tournament title game, would be 1 of the top 2 seeds. Kansas is going to choose the Kansas City (Midwest) regional, while Alabama will pick the Louisville (South) regional. The only wrench that could be thrown into the system is if Alabama loses the SEC title game and Houston wins the AAC. Even that might not be enough for the Selection Committee to move the Cougars ahead of the Tide, considering Alabama has a head-to-head win over Houston this year.
Mississippi State picked up a victory in a must-win Round 2 game against Florida. All the Bulldogs really needed to do to potentially solidify their NCAA Tournament spot was not get blown out by Alabama in the quarterfinals.
Well, they got blown out by Alabama in the quarterfinals, 72-49. Now they’ll have to sweat out Selection Sunday.
Kentucky, Tennessee and Mizzou should all be 6-7 seeds. Auburn and Arkansas will likely be 8-9 seeds.
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Vanderbilt needs to hope its late-season dominance and 2 SEC Tournament wins were enough to impress the committee. Because, certainly, the Commodores’ blowout loss to Texas A&M in the SEC tourney semifinals didn’t do them any favors with the Committee.
Texas A&M has really helped itself by reaching the SEC Tournament final. If the Aggies win on Sunday? Even better. They should be a 5-seed with a loss on Sunday and a 4-seed with a win.
Tournament locks: Purdue, Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern, Iowa, Maryland
Likely in: Illinois, Penn State
On the bubble: Rutgers, Wisconsin, Michigan
Wisconsin and Michigan are probably out of the field of 68. It seems Penn State should be in, as there weren’t enough potential bid-stealers to bump the Nittany Lions to the wrong side of the bubble. Rutgers will be a very interesting case, though.
The Scarlet Knights’ résumé should be strong enough to get a spot, but they’ll definitely be sweating out the Selection show.
Illinois didn’t do itself any favors by losing to Penn State in its first game in the Big Ten Tournament, but the up-and-down Illini probably deserve a spot in the tournament field to take their roller-coaster act further into March.
Purdue and Indiana look like the true title contenders from this conference, which is looking to win its first national championship since Michigan State in 2000. However, even with Zach Edey (Purdue) and Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana), the Boilermakers and Hoosiers are going to have an uphill battle when it comes to cutting down the nets in Houston in early April.
Penn State is the real winner of this tournament, as the Nittany Lions advancing to the B1G Tournament title game on Sunday all but ensures they’ll be dancing.
Tournament locks: Virginia, Miami, Duke
Likely in: None
On the bubble: Pitt, NC State, Clemson, North Carolina
I personally believe Pitt should be solidly in the field, but most experts have the Panthers as 1 of the last 4 teams in the tournament, as of Saturday night, including ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. Jamarius Burton and Blake Hinson form a solid tandem.
Duke is playing like a Final Four contender lately, which is a scary thought for any team that is slated to take on the Blue Devils next weekend. Kyle Filipowski is a superstar. The Blue Devils have some veteran guards who won’t be fazed by big moments.
This is a team capable of a deep run. So is Miami, with its plethora of guards and ACC Player of the Year Isaiah Wong.
Clemson has fallen apart down the stretch. I’d still have the Tigers in the field of 68, but I’m not sure who I’d eliminate to give them a spot. They didn’t do themselves any favors in February and March.
Tournament locks: UCLA, Arizona
Likely in: USC
On the bubble: Arizona State, Oregon
The Pac-12 has 2 legitimate title contenders in UCLA and Arizona, who have battled it out 3 times this season. The Wildcats and Bruins are both capable of Final Four runs and of winning the title.
Arizona beat UCLA 2 of the 3 times they played, though, so the Wildcats are perhaps the league’s best bet to win the championship.
Outside of that duo, the Pac-12 is thin. USC is probably in the field of 68, but only barely. The Trojans will likely be somewhere in the 9-11 range when it comes to seeds. Oregon’s résumé isn’t particularly strong, so the Ducks will likely be heading to the NIT. Arizona State will almost certainly be a First Four team if it gets into the bracket.
When it comes to this year’s NCAA Tournament, the Pac-12 is top-heavy. It’s Arizona, UCLA or bust for the league this March Madness.