It’s never too early to start trying to find the magic number

Every year, there’s a point when someone asks me what the magic number will be to get into the NCAA Tournament without an AQ. I decided this weekend that is is never too early to try and figure out what that number will be.

Of course the tournament brackets will be announced on Tuesday, May 2. When they are announced, 31 schools will receive AQs into the draw on both the men’s and women’s. So with that being said, we know the top-33 get in.

As of this morning, these are the top-ranked schools in each men’s conference, based on my extended live rankings.

American Athletic Conference University of Memphis 28
Atlantic 10 Conference George Washington University 76
Atlantic Coast Conference Wake Forest University 1
Atlantic Sun Conference University of North Florida 52
Big 12 Conference University of Texas 4
Big East Conference Butler University 90
Big Sky Conference University of Idaho 114
Big South Conference Campbell University 80
Big Ten Conference Ohio State University 2
Big West Conference Cal Poly 45
Colonial Athletic Association UNC Wilmington 115
Conference USA Old Dominion University 38
Horizon League Conference Valparaiso University 84
Ivy League Cornell University 17
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Marist College 100
Mid-American Conference University at Buffalo 97
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conf. Florida A&M University 169
Missouri Valley Conference Drake University 55
Mountain West Conference Utah State University 48
Northeast Conference St. Francis Univ. (Pennsylvania) 112
Ohio Valley Conference Tennessee Tech University 88
Pacific-12 Conference University of Southern California 7
Southeastern Conference Texas A&M University 11
Southern Conference Mercer University 82
Southland Conference Lamar University 95
Southwestern Athletic Conf. Jackson State University 96
Summit League University of Denver 153
Sun Belt Conference Georgia State University 36
The Patriot League Colgate University 146
West Coast Conference Santa Clara University 57
Western Athletic Conference New Mexico State University 119

So how many of these teams fall in that top 30-40 range to extend the field?

Memphis, Wake Forest, Texas, Ohio State, Cornell, USC, Texas A&M are comfortably within the range. They bump the number up to 40.

Georgia State and Old Dominion in, bumping it to 42.

So 42 is the magic number. That means that schools that like Rice, Washington, Ole Miss, South Alabama and Tulsa, currently in the 40-44 range are in the danger zone.

Of course a lot changes between now and the end of April, but this is a good first run through the current state of affairs.


1 Wake Forest University
1 Ohio State University
1 University of Virginia
1 University of Texas
1 Oklahoma State University
1 North Carolina
1 University of Southern California
1 Baylor University
1 University of Oklahoma
1 Texas A&M University
1 California
1 University of Florida
1 University of Georgia
1 University of Michigan
1 Georgia Tech
2 Cornell University
2 Northwestern University
2 University of Kentucky
2 Columbia University
2 Mississippi State University
2 Stanford University
2 University of Illinois
2 University of Oregon
2 University of South Carolina
2 Florida State University
2 University of Memphis
2 Tulane University
2 University of Wisconsin
2 University of South Florida
2 University of Minnesota
3 Vanderbilt University
3 University of Louisville
3 Georgia State University
3 Indiana University-Bloomington
3 Old Dominion University
3 University of Notre Dame
3 Rice University
3 University of Mississippi
3 University of Washington
3 Cal Poly
3 Utah State University
3 University of North Florida
3 Santa Clara University
3 Drake University
3 George Washington University
4 Campbell University
4 Butler University
4 University of Idaho
4 UNC Wilmington
4 Valparaiso University
4 Marist College
4 University at Buffalo
4 Florida A&M University
4 St. Francis Univ. (Pennsylvania)
4 Tennessee Tech University
4 Mercer University
4 Lamar University
4 Jackson State University
4 University of Denver
4 Colgate University
4 New Mexico State University

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