Bracketology: Arizona State, Mississippi State Lose Big, Opening Door for Cowboys

Some bubble results broke Oklahoma State’s way on Friday, perhaps opening the door a little wider for the Cowboys to find their way into the Big Dance.

CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm and ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, though, still have the Cowboys as the first team out of the field of 68. Here is a look at their “Last Four In” and “First Four Out” in order.

Palm Lunardi
Mississippi State Mississippi State
Utah State NC State
Nevada Pitt
Rutgers Arizona State
Oklahoma State Oklahoma State
Vanderbilt Nevada
Arizona State Clemson
North Carolina Vanderbilt

Of that group, six played Friday with only Utah State and Vanderbilt winning. Rutgers kept things respectable with Purdue, falling 70-65 in the Big Ten quarterfinals. However, Arizona State, Mississippi State and Clemson got blasted Friday. The Sun Devils fell 78-59 to Arizona in the Pac-12 semis. Mississippi State fell to Alabama 72-49 in the SEC quarterfinals. And Clemson fell 76-56 in the ACC semis.

OSU didn’t end on a high, but its 14-point loss to Texas looks better on paper than losses of 19, 23 and 20 points.

Vandy’s win over Kentucky makes things interesting. The Commodores play Texas A&M at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. A win there would throw another team in that battle for the last few spots.

Lunardi wrote that the battle among Oklahoma State, Arizona State and Pitt is too close to call, with those three teams fighting for two spots. If that is the case, OSU is more than 20 spots higher in the NET ranking than Arizona State and Pitt. Meanwhile Palm has Pitt comfortably in. Lunardi has Rutgers comfortably in while Palm has the Scarlet Knights right on the edge.

Scoping in a little further than all the teams the pair of bracketologists have on the bubble, here is a look at the completed resumes of OSU, Mississippi State, Arizona State, Rutgers and Pitt.

NET Ranking Team Record Quad 1 Quad 2 Quad 3 Quad 4
40 Rutgers 19-14 5-7 5-3 2-4 7-0
43 Oklahoma State 18-15 6-12 4-2 3-1 5-0
49 Mississippi State 21-12 4-8 4-3 5-1 8-0
66 Arizona State 22-12 5-6 4-5 5-0 8-1
67 Pittsburgh 22-11 4-4 3-5 5-1 10-1

From that group, everyone has its blemishes. Rutgers has four Quad 3 losses while Oklahoma State, Mississippi State and Pitt all have one. Arizona State might not have a Quad 3 loss, but it does have a Quad 4 loss, as does Pitt.

OSU has the most Quad 1 wins of that quintet, but it had significantly more bites of that apple than any other team. The Cowboys played in 18 Quad 1 games, Rutgers and Mississippi State are the next closest with 12 Quad 1 games. Stepping away from the complexities of quadrants and everything else, the Cowboys’ overall record is the worst among that group, as well.

So it’ll all come down to what the selection committee values. Will it value the strength of OSU’s conference and schedule? Will it value how teams finished the year? It’s going to be tight. The selection show is at 5 p.m. Sunday on CBS.