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NCAA Tournament 2018: Selection Sunday Schedule, Latest Bracketology

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistMarch 10, 2018

Louisville is one of several bubble teams awaiting its NCAA tournament fate on Selection Sunday.
Louisville is one of several bubble teams awaiting its NCAA tournament fate on Selection Sunday.Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The NCAA selection committee will give 68 men's basketball squads cause for celebration Sunday.

As juggernauts and conference champions await their March Madness seedings and opening matchups, other teams will simply hope to hear their school's name during TBS' unveiling. Even those with a doctorate in bracketology won't successfully prognosticate every decision.

Observers will inevitably shout about the shunned outfits and teams undeserving of joining the Big Dance. Those debates, however, won't last long once everyone shifts their focus to filling out tournament brackets.

             

Selection Sunday Schedule

When: March 11 at 6 p.m. ET

TV: TBS

Live Stream: NCAA.com

        

Bubble Teams

Trae Young's Oklahoma Sooners are on the bubble after their latest loss to Oklahoma State.
Trae Young's Oklahoma Sooners are on the bubble after their latest loss to Oklahoma State.J Pat Carter/Getty Images

In January, No. 9 Oklahoma improved to 14-2 with a 102-97 overtime win over TCU. The Sooners will now spend Selection Sunday holding their breath for a tournament invite.

After opening the Big 12 tournament with a 71-60 loss to Oklahoma State, Oklahoma has lost 11 of its past 15 games. Per ESPN.com's Jake Trotter, guard Trae Young is just as surprised as everyone else.

"I didn't expect to be in this position, by any means," Young said. "I obviously expected us to keep winning, hopefully to have a chance to get a 1-seed, 2-seed, up in that range."

Late swoon aside, the Sooners still rank No. 48 in KenPom.com's efficiency ratings and No. 44 in RPI, per ESPN.com. While they won't garner a top seed, a sensational start should ultimately save them from falling out of the tournament altogether.

ESPN's Joe Lunardi and CBS Sports' Jerry Palm each has Oklahoma among the last four to sneak into the March Madness picture. According to Palm, the selection committee won't let recency bias sway them into punishing "one of the most dramatic tank jobs in recent memory."

Bleacher Report's Kerry Miller, meanwhile, gives Young and Co. a No. 8 seed despite their collapse. He also made room for Oklahoma State, which promptly got stomped by Kansas after beating Oklahoma. In spite of their No. 85 RPI, Miller cited the Cowboys' two regular-season victories over the Jayhawks among their 22 games against top-50 KenPom teams.

Yet they didn't make the cut for Lunardi or Palm. On Friday, Lunardi agreed with Haslametrics.com's Erik Haslam's assessment that Oklahoma State's low RPI will go against it:

Erik Haslam @haslametrics

Some folks still have Oklahoma State in even though they're 87th in the RPI. The glass ceiling for the RPI has traditionally been around 70. I'm personally not seeing it for the Pokes.

Joe Lunardi @ESPNLunardi

We'll find out soon enough about that RPI phase-out. My own opinion is... https://t.co/ClKSsHIT9f

Before getting eliminated from the ACC tournament by the top-seeded Virginia on Thursday, Louisville kept its bubble from bursting with a 82-74 triumph over Florida State. Was that enough to advance? Miller said no, ejecting the Cardinals from his bracket following Thursday's 17-point loss. He explained that decision:

"They're just 5-13 vs. Quadrants 1 and 2, and those wins are Florida State (two), Virginia Tech (two) and a double-overtime win over Notre Dame sans Bonzie Colson. If one or two of those quality wins was over a great nonconference opponent or one of the top six teams in the ACC, it'd be a different story. As is, Louisville just has a few victories over bubbly teams and 13 losses. That's not a great combo."

While Miller made the Cardinals his first cut, Lunardi gave them his last March Madness ticket. Palm also slotted the 20-13 squad into his last four. Hovering right on the edge, they needed a statement win over the Cavaliers to rest easy Sunday. A 0-11 record against top-50 RPI opponents may instead prove their undoing.

Without the benefit of a first-round bye, Notre Dame also advanced to the ACC tournament's quarterfinals. Close wins over Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech keep the Fighting Irish in the running, but upsetting Duke could have bolstered their portfolio.

Ranked above Virginia Tech and Louisville at No. 31 on KemPom's team-efficiency leaderboard, Notre Dame would brandish sleeper appeal behind a healthy Colson. Don't anticipate that opportunity arriving. Lunardi, Palm and Miller all overlooked the club.

Even though the Fighting Irish are better with their star forward, the selection committee can't rule their seven-game losing streak without Colson as inadmissible evidence. It all counts, and it's likely the reason why they miss their second NCAA tournament in nine years.

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