NCAA Tournament 2021: Known Info for March Madness Bracket

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IMarch 12, 2021

Gonzaga guard Aaron Cook (4) carries the ball against Saint Mary's during the first half of an NCAA semifinal college basketball game at the West Coast Conference tournament Monday, March 8, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
David Becker/Associated Press

So far, 11 teams have secured their spots in the 2021 NCAA men's basketball tournament by winning their respective conference tourneys. There are other teams that are locks for the tournament even if they have disappointing showings in their conference tourneys because of how they fared in the regular season.

But the selection committee will still have some tough decisions to make before they announce the 68-team field for this year's NCAA tournament on Sunday evening. Some teams are on the tourney bubble, and how the next few days unfold could determine whether they will have an opportunity to try to play for the national championship or not.

By Sunday, the bracket will be set. And Bleacher Report has all your needs covered during the lead-up to this year's March Madness:

Here's everything else you need to know as Selection Sunday draws closer.


2021 March Madness Schedule

Selection Sunday: March 14

First Four: March 18

First Round: March 19-20

Second Round: March 21-22

Sweet 16: March 27-28

Elite Eight: March 29-30

Final Four: April 3

National Championship: April 5


Automatic Bids

Atlantic Sun: Liberty

Big South: Winthrop

Colonial: Drexel

Horizon: Cleveland State

Missouri Valley: Loyola-Chicago

Northeast: Mount St. Mary's

Ohio Valley: Morehead State

Southern: UNC-Greensboro

Summit: Oral Roberts

Sun Belt: Appalachian State

West Coast: Gonzaga


Bracket Outlook

By winning the West Coast Conference tournament, Gonzaga appeared to have secured its spot as the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA tourney. The Bulldogs are the only undefeated team in the country, having won their first 26 games of the season.

Several other teams appear to be on the path to earning No. 1 seeds, but that could change this weekend. It all depends on how the major conference tournaments unfold.

Baylor has lost only one game this season, and it's 22-1 after beating Kansas State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament on Thursday. The Bears will surely be a No. 1 seed if they win the conference tourney for the first time in program history, and they may be on their way to doing that.

If Baylor loses before then, though, could it still earn a No. 1 seed? That could be a decision the selection committee will have to make, and it may depend on how some other top teams fare.

There could be two Big Ten teams that earn No. 1 seeds, depending on how the conference tournament unfolds. Illinois, Michigan and Iowa are currently the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 teams in the country, respectively, and any of them could win the Big Ten tourney and secure a No. 1 seed.

Depending on which of these two teams face off in the Big Ten tournament championship game, it's also possible that they both go on to be No. 1 seeds for March Madness.

Alabama could also still be in the mix for a No. 1 seed, particularly if all of these Big Ten teams get upset and fall short of winning a conference tourney title. The Crimson Tide are the No. 1 seed in the SEC tournament and are set to face Mississippi State in the quarterfinals on Friday.

As for the other side of the spectrum, there are teams fighting just to earn a spot in March Madness.

ESPN's Joe Lunardi has Drake, Colorado State, Syracuse and Utah State as his last four teams in the tournament. His first four teams out are Ole Miss, Saint Louis, Boise State and Seton Hall. But the bubble picture could change depending on how things continue to unfold.

One team that won't be playing in March Madness is Duke, which last didn't play in an NCAA tournament in 1995. The Blue Devils got off to a strong start in the ACC tourney, beating Boston College and Louisville in the first two rounds, but the program announced Thursday that it is cancelling the rest of its season because of a positive COVID-19 test within the program.

It's possible that Duke wouldn't have done enough to get into the NCAA tournament anyway. The Blue Devils were 13-11 and likely needed to beat Florida State in the quarterfinals of the ACC tourney. Instead, the Seminoles advanced into the semifinals without having to play, and the Blue Devils are now done.