March Madness is already delivering a smorgasbord of upsets, and we haven’t even reached Selection Sunday yet. 

Ups and Downs of Bubble teams leading into March Madness



Conference championship week saw several blue-blood programs – Duke, Virginia and Kansas – call it quits in order to meet COVID-19 protocols. If that didn’t make it strange enough, consider the fact that there are 15 of 31 Division I men’s college basketball conferences in which the No. 1 seed did not win in the league tournament. And we’ve still got one day left. 

Baylor Bears guard Davion Mitchell (45) reacts after a foul call during the second half against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at T-Mobile Center.

© Jay Biggerstaff, USA TODAY Sports
Baylor Bears guard Davion Mitchell (45) reacts after a foul call during the second half against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at T-Mobile Center.

In the power conferences, the reigning national champion Cavaliers notably didn’t get a chance to defend their top seed in the ACC Tournament due to a positive COVID-19 test. Baylor, the Big 12’s No. 1 seed, bowed out of its league tournament with an upset loss to Oklahoma State in the semifinals Friday.

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Playing without its best player – Collin Gillespie – top-seeded Villanova was ousted by Georgetown in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament. In the Pac-12, No. 1 seed Oregon was upset by Oregon State on Friday in the quarterfinals. 

Wichita State, the top seed in the American Athletic Conference, almost added to that list before shaking off bottom-feeder South Florida for a 68-67 win. They play another potential bid thief in Cincinnati on Saturday. In total, four of the seven power conferences won’t have a No. 1 seed as their tournament winner and auto-bid for the NCAAs. 

The trend is just the same in mid-major leagues. No. 1 seeds Toledo (MAC) and Belmont (Ohio Valley) are among the most notable to fall in some of the smaller conferences in which only the automatic bid goes dancing. So even though Toledo and Belmont could’ve been No. 11 seed Cinderella candidates in March Madness, instead they’ll play in the NIT. 

Below is a full run-down of all the conference No. 1 seed upsets so far: 

  • America East: No. 1 Vermont lost in semis 
  • ACC: No. 1 Virginia out before semis to meet COVID protocols 
  • Big 12: No. 1 Baylor lost in semis
  • Big East: No. 1 Villanova lost in quarters
  • Big Sky: No. 1 Southern Utah lost in semis
  • CAA: No. 1 James Madison lost in quarters
  • C-USA: No. 1 (West) Louisiana Tech lost in semis
  • MAAC: Siena lost in quarters
  • MAC: Toledo lost in semis
  • MEAC: No. 1 (North) Coppin State lost in semis
  • MEAC: No. 1 (South) North Carolina A&T out before semis due to COVID
  • Northeast: No. 1 Wagner lost in semis
  • Ohio Valley: No. 1 Belmont lost in final
  • Pac-12: No. 1 Oregon lost in semis
  • Patriot: No. 1 Navy lost in quarters
  • Summit: No. 1 South Dakota State lost in semis
  • Sun Belt: No. 1 (East) Georgia State lost in final
  • Sun Belt: No 1 (West) Texas State lost in quarters

Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson. 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: In COVID-19-marred conference championship week, nearly half the No. 1 seeds didn’t win

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