Bracketology: Saturday Afternoon Bubble Update

    
March 3rd, 2012
At this point in the season, a few hours can make or destroy a team's season. Besides conference titles on the line, at-large bids, NIT invites, and seeding remain up in the air. Since yesterday's Bracketology projection, here are the results that matter and how the impact postseason hopes:

Saturday Afternoon
 

Cincinnati 72 - Villanova 68
Having beaten Marquette last time out, Cincinnati seemed safely in the tournament for the first time in weeks. However, a loss to Villanova followed by a loss in the Big East Tournament could have pushed them right back to the edge. Instead, Cincy picked up a road win and a probable NCAA bid.

Cincinnati's projected seed: 10-11

 

Marquette 83 - Georgetown 69
Both of these teams were 3 seeds in my latest projection. Georgetown could certainly drop into the 4 seed range depending on how the likes of Wisconsin and Indiana fare over the weekend.

Marquette's projected seed: 2-3
Georgetown's projected seed: 3-4
 

Memphis 78 - Tulsa 66
With a win, the Tigers locked up the CUSA regular season title. With the tournament being held in Memphis, they have a great shot to win the postseason tournament as well. With a Top 25 RPI and a string of wins, Memphis is approaching a 6 seed.

Memphis' projected seed: 6-7


Murray St 54 - Tennessee St
It wasn't easy, but Murray St escaped with a 2-point win in the OVC Finals to lock up a bid. As a neutral bracketologist, a win by Tennessee St would have been much more interesting. Murray has a wider range of seeds compared to most teams considering their unique situation.

Murray St's projected seed: 4-6

 

Northwestern 70 - Iowa 66

Nothing comes easy for Northwestern. Wildcats trailed by a bunch, then led by a bunch, then escaped with a nail-biting win. As it is, Northwestern is still in the field, but a lot can change over the next week. A first-round exit in the Big Ten tournament could be enough to knock them right back out. (Iowa could have finished an impressive 9-9 with a win, but their best case postseason scenario is hosting an NIT first round game.)

 

Northwestern's projected seed: 11-13
 

Marshall 79 - Southern Miss 75
Southern Miss showed a lot of toughness fighting back from multiple deficits, but the Eagles could never pull away. A win would have no doubt locked up a bid for Southern Miss, but instead they drop closer to the bubble. I think they're still in, but there are a lot of analysts who question how good this team really is. (Marshall is fighting for an NIT bid, and this win certainly helped.)

Southern Miss projected seed: 11-12

 

UCONN 74 - Pittsburgh 65
The Huskies looked dominant in the first half, almost blew the lead, and then ended up pulling out a 9 point win. A loss would have 100% eliminated UCONN from NCAA Tournament contention. As it is, they exemplify what it means to be a bubble team. South Florida's loss to West Virginia definitely helped UCONN's cause.

UCONN's projected seed: 13 or NIT.

 

UNC-Asheville 80 - VMI 64
After a tight first half, VMI ran out of gas and UNC-Asheville cruised to the Big South title. Despite a solid 24-9 season and dominant Big South record, UNCA will most likely be looking at a 16 seed.

UNCA's projected seed: 16 (potentially in First Four game.)

 

UCLA 75 - Washington 69
While I question why the Pac-12 deserves more than one bid, you can rest assured the league will at least get 2 bids. This loss not only prevented the Huskies from locking up the regular season title, it also pushes them down out of a single-digit seed.

Washington's projected seed: 10-11
 

West Virginia 50 - South Florida 44
In an offensively inept game between bubble squads, West Virginia pulled out a huge road win. The Mountaineers once looked like a tourney lock, but needed two wins to close the season to remain in the field. As it is, they're in for now but can't be considered a 100% lock. After South Florida finally worked their way into my projected field of 68, they're back on the outside now. They certainly still have a chance to work their way back in, but if USF loses their first game at the Big East Tournament, they'd officially be toast.

West Virginia's projected seed: 11-12
South Florida's projected seed: NIT

 

Illinois St 65 - Wichita St 64

The Shockers have certainly locked up a bid, but this loss may have knocked them back from the lofty 4 seed I had them pegged at. More importantly, it opens the possibility that Illinois St could win the MVC title tomorrow over Creighton/Evansville and steal a bubble bid. Should be fun to watch tomorrow.

 

Wichita St's projected seed: 4-5

Xavier 72 - Charlotte 63
With 8 minutes to go, Charlotte led by 4 and Xavier's NCAA hopes were on the verge of collapsing. Tu Holloway scored 10 points in the final 8 minutes to spearhead a Xavier run that might have saved their season.

Xavier's projected seed: 12-13

 

Friday Night
 

BYU 73 - San Diego 68
The Cougars were pushed from the opening tip by San Diego, but escaped with a much-needed win. BYU's spot in the tournament is far from certain. Only if they go on to beat Gonzaga tonight would I say they're safe.

BYU's projected seed: 10-11

 

Creighton 68 - Drake 61
Doug McDermott's 26 points helped Creighton escape with a win over a pesky Drake squad. While Creighton is a tourney lock, a loss last night could have potentially dropped them as far as an 8 or 9 seed.

Creighton's projected seed: 6-7
 

Harvard 77 - Columbia 70 (OT)
While most have assumed for months that Harvard would win the Ivy League, they're only a half-game up on Penn. Not only would a lost last night have put Harvard's Ivy hopes in danger, it would have been crippling for their at-large hopes as well. There's no way the committee puts a 3-loss Ivy team into the tournament.

Harvard's projected seed: 11