Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Today might be the best day of the year in college basketball. Even though there are no Automatic Bids given out today, there are 53 games that will be played in 15 conference tournaments. Every Conference tournament that hasn't already begun will begin today. Plus any conference tournament that has its championship game on Saturday will have it's quarterfinals today. So a lot of the big dogs will start playing today to try to boost up their seed in the dance.

In the previous post I had all of the Locks listed, Now we get to the BUBBLE MANIA. I have the bubble teams into 5 Categories

(5)-High Bubble or Almost Locks-These teams pretty much just need to not mess up and lose to team that they are better than in their conference tournament. Two teams, Ohio St. and Wisconsin will meet on Friday in the Big Ten Quarterfinals, the winner will be in while the loser will not necessarily be out, but they will be wondering on Selection Sunday. Dayton and Minnesota both have good RPIs and just need insurance wins to get them in. Boston College is a default high bubble team just because they are clearly in the best shape of any ACC bubble team, they also just need an insurance win and then a good showing against Duke in the ACC Quarterfinals.

Dayton, Ohio St., Wisconsin, Boston College, Minnesota

Key game-Wisconsin vs. Ohio St.-Friday-2:30

(7)-Prototypical Quintessential Bubble Teams-These teams are definition of a bubble team. There's 1 from the PAC-10, and 2 from the Big Ten, SEC, and MWC. They all have a good resume but there's not much separating the teams. Some teams have very similar resumes, like Michigan and Arizona or South Carolina and San Diego St. All 7 could end up getting in but likely 2 will fall out. I have each team listed with their resume:

Arizona, Michigan, Penn St., Florida, S. Carolina, San Diego St., UNLV

Arizona-(19-12, 9-9), RPI-54, key wins-Kansas, Gonzaga-Neut., S.D. St., UCLA, Washington,
(5-9) vs. RPI top 50, (8-4) in last 12, good SOS-32, bad road record (2-9).
Synopsis- Arizona's big non-conference wins should be enough to get them in the dance. A win today in the PAC-10 quarterfinals against their rivals Ariz. St. would be huge and could all but guarantee them a spot in the dance.

Michigan-(19-12, 9-9), RPI-42, key wins-Duke, UCLA-Neut., Illinois, swept MINN, (5-9) vs. RPI top 50 and (10-11) vs. RPI top 100. (6-6) in last 12, great SOS-10, bad road record (3-8)
Synopsis- Michigan's profile is identical to Arizona in some ways (overall and conference record, wins vs. RPI top 50 and they also have big non-conference wins). Michigan has a higher RPI and SOS but Michigan plays in a conference that has several other bubble teams trying to get those last spots in the dance. So the Big Ten tourney is key for Michigan in securing an at-large.

Penn St.-(21-10, 10-8), RPI-64, SOS-82, key wins-@ Mich. St., swept Illinois, split Purdue, (6-9) vs. RPI top 50 (7-5) in last 12, good record with a 21 win season
Synopsis-Penn St lacks key non-conference wins and they also have 2 losses to Atlantic 10 bubble teams Temple and URI. Their win @ Michigan St. will carry a lot of weight but Penn St is the #8 team in the Big Ten as far as the bubble is concerned. They are the #6 seed in the Big Ten tourney and have an easy first round game vs. Indiana today. After that they will play Purdue tomorrow, so Penn St. is not in bad shape but they still have some work to do in the Big Ten tourney.

Florida-(22-9, 9-7), RPI-48, key wins-Washington-Neut., split S. Car., (2-7) vs. RPI top 50, (9-8) vs. RPI top 100, (6-6) in last 12,good record and one big win, bad SOS-84
Synopsis-Two years removed from back to back National Titles, Florida is trying to get back in the dance after missing it last year. Florida plays in the first round against Arkansas tonight and if they win they will play against Auburn on Friday night. That could be a play-in game for both teams with Auburn surging as of late. If Florida wins both they will be in good shape but a loss and it could be another trip to the NIT for Florida.

South Carolina-(21-8, 10-6), RPI-49, key wins-split Florida, @ Baylor, swept Kentucky, (0-4) vs. RPI top 50, (7-7) vs. RPI top 100, good overall and recent record (8-4) in last 12, bad SOS-94 and lack key wins
Synopsis-S. Carolina played well in the SEC and now has the #2 seed in the East for the SEC tourney, however that really hurts them more than it helps them because they won't play a good team until the semis when they'd likely play LSU. They have a very good record and good RPI but due to their lack of key wins they are still on the bubble.

San Diego St.-(21-8, 11-5), RPI-43, key wins-swept UNLV, split Utah, (1-5) vs. RPI top 50, (4-7) vs. RPI top 100, (8-4) in last 12, decent SOS-66, 2 losses to fellow bubble teams ARZ and St. Mary's
UNLV-(21-9, 9-7)-RPI-56, SOS-86, key wins- @ Louisville, ARZ, swept BYU, (5-3) vs. RPI top 50, (7-5) in last 12
Synopsis-These two teams meet tonight for the third time this year. San Diego St. swept UNLV in the regular season and if they beat them again they should be in great shape to make the dance. If UNLV wins, San Diego St. could still make it but would likely need BYU or Utah to win the MWC tournament. UNLV has that big win @ Louisville which will carry a lot of weight, while San Diego St. has better computer numbers and oh by the way have already swept the Runnin' Rebs. One of the biggest mysteries on Selection Sunday will be how many MWC teams get. Utah and BYU are locks while both of these teams along with New Mexico are on the bubble. I'm thinking three teams but there is an outside chance the MWC could have a fourth team dancing.

Key Game-UNLV vs. San Diego St.-Thursday-5:30pm

(4)-Mid-Major Bubble X-Factors-These teams are not in the big conferences but still have a chance to make it as an at-large.

Creighton, UAB, St. Mary's, Utah St.

Creighton-(26-7, 14-4), RPI-39, SOS-107, Lost in MVC Semis (blown out), MVC conf. RPI-9, (11-1) in last 12 Key wins-Dayton, New Mexico, split UNI, (9-5) vs. RPI top 100.

UAB-(21-10, 11-5), RPI-44, SOS-75, USA conf. RPI-10, (9-3) in last 12, key win @ ARZ, very bad record vs. RPI top 100 (2-9)

St. Mary's-(25-6, 10-4), RPI-46, Lost in WCC Championship (blown out by Gonzaga), WCC conf. RPI-15, (7-5) in last 12 key wins-all vs. fellow bubble teams, S.D. St. and Providence both Neut. and Utah St. without star PG Patty Mills. (3-4) vs. RPI top 100, bad SOS-144

Utah St.-(27-4, 14-2), RPI-28, key win-Utah, (2-3) vs. RPI top 100 also bad SOS-137, WAC conf. RPI-11

Group Synopsis-Creighton is in the best shape of anyone in this group. That does not say much. Utah St. has a very good record but they would be wise to do like Siena and WKU and win their conference or else they will likely be in the NIT with Davidson and possible St. Mary's and UAB. UAB still can win the USA tournament all they have to do is beat Memphis. Sure they have chance to beat Memphis and I have a chance to date Carrie Underwood. But if they lose again they will be just like St. Mary's in that they were beat 3 times by the conference power. However I don't see how the selection committee could put in St. Mary's over UAB when UAB has a better SOS and plays in a better conference. Plus the best team in the WCC, Gonzaga, was blown out at home by Memphis. UAB played Memphis tougher both times than Gonzaga did. I think it is unlikely that either team will make the tournament unless their are some major meltdowns by the other bubble teams.

Key Games-Conference USA and WAC title games on Saturday, assuming UAB and UtahSt. get there.

(4)-Interesting Late Bloomers-These teams have come on strong as of late. All of them did especially well in their conference play and even though they all have RPI's below 50, they have an outside chance to make the dance.

Auburn, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Kansas St.

Auburn-(21-10, 10-6), RPI-66, SOS-71, (9-3) in last 12, key wins- Tennessee, LSU (5-9) vs. RPI top 100

URI-(22-9, 11-5), RPI-65, SOS-123, (10-2) in last 12, key wins-Dayton, Penn St.-Neut., VCU, split Temple, have 3 losses to teams with 100+ RPI, (3-4) vs. RPI top 50 (6-6) vs. RPI 100

New Mexico-(21-10, 12-4), RPI-58 SOS-80, (10-2) in last 12, key wins- split against 4 other top MWC teams-Utah, BYU, UNLV and S.D. St., (3-5) vs. RPI top 50 (5-7) vs. RPI top 100, 3 lossess to teams outside RPI top 100

Kansas St.-(21-10, 9-7), RPI-75, SOS-99, (9-3) in last 12, key wins-Mizzou, @ TEX, @ TEX A&M, @ Cleveland St., (3-5) vs. RPI top 50, (5-8) vs. RPI top 100, 2 losses to teams outside RPI top 100

Group Synopsis-All of these teams finished in the top 4 in their conference so none of them will play a first round game in their conference tournament. Yet all of them need to win some games in their confernce tournaments. KSU plays Texas today and will play Kansas-Baylor if they win. Auburn will likely play Florida tomorrow if Florida wins tonight, the winner of a Florida-Auburn game will likely make the tournament. New Mexcio and URI both need to make it to their confernce title game to have a good chance. Recent conference championship winners VCU and Cleveland St. help out URI and KSU respectively. Since the selection committee takes into consideration how teams have palyed recently all four teams have a decent shot to make it in the dance.

(6)-Need a huge win or huge run to have a chance-These teams will all get a chance to play a top team in their conference tournament. They likely need to beat that team to have a good shot at getting in. All of these teams play in pretty big conferences. They all have 11+ losses and all except Temple have an RPI over 50.

Providence, Temple, Maryland, USC, Virginia Tech, Miami-FL

Key Games: Miami-FL vs. Virginia Tech-today-Noon, the winner plays UNC tomorrow also at Noon.

Providence vs. Louisville-today-Noon

Maryland plays N.C. St. today, if they win they get WFU tomorrow at 7pm

Temple plays fellow Philly Big 5 school St. Joe's at 2:30, if they win, they play the Xavier-St. Louis winner tomorrow at 6:30.

USC plays California today at 9pm if they win they play the UCLA-WSU winner tomorrow at 11:30pm

Temple and USC likely need to at least get to the conference championship game to have a shot an at-large, while the other need to somehow upset the top 10 team that they will face. If any pull those upset then I will post their tournament resumes' in a new post.

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