10 Days to Brackets

March 2, 2023

By: Carlos Alvarez

Good Morning,

You want March? We’ve got March. The NCAA Tournament begins two weeks from today, which means Selection Sunday and bracket takeover is just ten days out. Almost all of the regular-season conference titles are in the bag (sans ACC), and the bubble is getting ready to pop.

Plus, Kevin Durant made his Suns debut. One of the NFL\’s top prospects is leaving the combine for legal reasons. And there’s no slowing down the NHL trade deadline. Enjoy…

Letter Rip!


Bubble Watch: 10 Days to Brackets

Photo: Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Epic Night of College Hoops Brings More Regular-Season Conference Champs While Bubble Teams Begin to Panic

Ah, March. Welcome back, our old friend. The annual tradition of brackets and bubbles is finally upon us, and a few teams are sweating more than normal this time of year. A series of conference-altering games have brought us regular season conference titles this week, but last night’s chaos was a first step in solidifying March and the brackets-to-be.

Who Won Conference Titles?

Three teams were conference champs prior to last night, but we now have five (sort of). #1 Houston (American), #4 UCLA (Pac-12) and #6 Marquette (Big East) claimed regular season crowns earlier in the week, and last night’s loss by #9 Texas to #22 TCU handed #3 Kansas the Big 12. #2 Alabama needed a 17-point comeback and double overtime to outlast Auburn (90-85, 2OT) and capture their second SEC title in three years. #5 Purdue has at least a share of the Big Ten title after Northwestern’s loss, and they can win it outright tonight against Wisconsin. That leaves the ACC still searching after last night’s drama…

Regular Season Conference Champs

American: #1 Houston

Big 12: #3 Kansas

Big East: #6 Marquette

Big Ten: #5 Purdue (Share)

Pac-12: #4 UCLA

SEC: #2 Alabama

Still Undecided

ACC: #25 Pittsburgh (14-5), #16 Miami (14-5), Virginia (14-5)

ACC Final Weekend: Pittsburgh looked to take hold of the ACC on Wednesday night, but Notre Dame — in head coach Mike Brey’s final home game — upset the Panthers (88-81) to send Pitt into a three-way tie with Miami and Virginia. That opens the door for UVA when they face lowly Louisville (4-26) this weekend while Pitt and Miami face off on Saturday. If Virginia wins, the winner of the Pitt-Miami game will join them for a share of the ACC crown. If UVA loses, the Pitt-Miami winner takes the conference outright.

Bubble Teams to Watch

Two blue bloods in Kentucky and North Carolina have been on the bubble ever since the calendar turned to 2023. Kentucky is now firmly in the field, and last night’s upset loss to Vanderbilt (68-66) shouldn’t change that. UNC is still the biggest bubble team to watch as they fight for their NCAA Tournament lives in the ACC Tournament. Here are all the bubble teams (and our projections) to keep an eye for the next 10 days before Selection Sunday

Last Four Byes: Boise State, Memphis, Nevada, West Virginia

Last Four In: Auburn, Mississippi State, Arizona State, Michigan

First Four Out: North Carolina, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, Clemson

Next Four Out: Penn State, Texas Tech, Utah State, Vanderbilt

NCAA Tournament Breakdown of Teams by Conference

American: 2 Teams

ACC: 5 Teams

Big 12: 7 Teams

Big East: 5 Teams

Big Ten: 9 Teams

Mountain West: 3 Teams

Pac-12: 4 Teams

SEC: 8 Teams

NCAA Men’s Scoreboard (Wednesday, March 1)

#2 Alabama def. Auburn (90-85, 2OT)

#22 TCU def. #9 Texas (75-73)

#10 Gonzaga def. Chicago State (104-65)

#11 Kansas State def. Oklahoma (85-69)

#14 UConn def. DePaul (88-59)

#19 Xavier def. #20 Providence (94-89)

Ohio State def. #21 Maryland (73-62)

Vanderbilt def. #23 Kentucky (68-66)

Notre Dame def. #25 Pittsburgh (88-81)

*Women\’s NCAA conference tournaments begin this weekend.



Carter\’s Combine Catastrophe

Photo: Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Top NFL Prospect & Georgia Star DL Jalen Carter Charged With Reckless Driving in Fatal Car Crash

Crushing news hit one of the top prospects in this year’s NFL Draft during the combine yesterday. Georgia’s star defensive lineman Jalen Carter was charged with reckless driving in connection to a crash that killed teammate Devin Wilcock and recruiting staff member Chandler LeCroy after the Bulldogs won the National Championship in January. The reports say that Carter was present at the scene of the crash before leaving and later providing shifting accounts to police.

Go Deeper: Carter was present at the NFL Combine Wednesday in Indianapolis, but he was made unavailable for media after making arrangements to turn himself in. He posted a statement saying: “There is no question in my mind that when all of the facts are known that I will be fully exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing.”

Carter was projected to be a top-five pick in this year’s draft, potentially going as high as No. 1 overall. He recorded 32 tackles, 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles for Georgia in 2022 while anchoring the defensive line in their championship run.

Additional Storylines

Yahoo! Sports: What NFL Teams Are Saying About Jalen Carter’s Draft Stock After Alleged Involvement in Tragic Crash

USA Today: Georgia LB Nolan Smith Breaks Down at NFL Combine Talking About Death of Teammate



Phoenix Rising

Photo: Jacob Kupferman / Getty Images

Kevin Durant Scores 23 in Suns Debut as Phoenix Looks to Take Over the West

Devin, meet Kevin. The new-look Phoenix Suns only have a month to gel before the playoffs, but their offensive firepower may be unmatched. Kevin Durant scored 23 in his Suns debut on Wednesday night as Phoenix beat Charlotte (105-91). Durant went 10-for-15 and looked comfortable in his role as the Suns’ No. 2 scoring option. That may change as time goes on, but Devin Booker (37) is still the primary scoring option, for now. The Nuggets still own the West, but Phoenix is rising with Durant healthy down the stretch.

Watch: Kevin Durant Scores 23 in Suns Debut

Other NBA Highlights

Bucks Streak Hits 16 StraightThere’s a new top team in the NBA standings. The Bucks won their 16th straight game last night against the Magic (139-117) behind Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 31-point night. Milwaukee (45-17) has officially overtaken Boston (45-18) for the best record in the NBA.

Knicks Knock Nets in New YorkThe battle of New York lost a little flash after the departures of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant from the Nets, and it showed on Wednesday. The Knicks shredded the Nets (142-118) behind a monster night from Jalen Brunson (39-6-5). Brunson shot 15-for-18 from the field and 5-for-6 from deep to lead the Knicks in a 3-point sharp-shooting performance (20-for-35, 57.1%).

Celtics Clip Cavs: With the Bucks taking over the top spot in the East, the Celtics held off the Cavs last night (117-113) to keep pace with Milwaukee. Cleveland rallied in the fourth quarter but came up short while Jayson Tatum (41-11-8) and Donovan Mitchell (44 points) put on a show in the potential Eastern Conference playoff matchup.

Updated NBA Standings



Trade Tracker: Quick Leaves L.A.

Photo: Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Blue Jackets Acquire Jonathan Quick, Senators Nab Jakob Chychrun & More Moves Before NHL Trade Deadline

Nine more trades went down on Wednesday as the whacky and wild NHL trade deadline market continues. Among the biggest movers were Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (Blue Jackets) and Coyotes’ defenseman Jakob Chychrun (Senators). There are still another 32 hours before the deadline (Friday, 3:00 pm ET). Here are the latest names on the move.

Latest NHL Trade Tracker

G Jonathan Quick (Kings)  Blue Jackets

Kings Get: 2 Players, 1st & 3rd-Round Picks

D Jakob Chychrun (Coyotes)  Senators

Coyotes Get: 1st, 2nd & 2nd-Round Picks

F Lars Eller (Capitals) → Avalanche

Capitals Get: 2nd-Round Pick

D Shayne Gostisbehere (Coyotes) → Hurricanes

Coyotes Get: 3rd-Round Pick

D Filip Hronek (Red Wings) → Canucks

Red Wings: 1st & 2nd-Round Picks

F Mikael Granlund (Predators) → Penguins

Predators Get: 2nd-Round Pick

Additional Storylines

ESPN: NHL Trade Tiers: From Elite Game-Changers to Bargain Beauties

CBS Sports: NHL Trade Deadline: Senators Win Chychrun Sweepstakes, Jonathan Quick Era Ends in Los Angeles



 Strange NCAA Tournament Resumes of 2023

Our month of magic, madness, mania and ever-changing unchecked chaos has returned. We\’ve got 11 days until we find out who\’s in the bracket. Metrics and analytics are suggestive. Let’s flip through a few files, shall we? (CBS Sports)

 Biggest 2023 Spring Training Storylines

The short answer to the question of what\’s going on in the early days of Major League Baseball\’s spring training season is \”a lot.” Let\’s break down the eight biggest storylines that have emerged so far. (Bleacher Report)