of the Bubble
shrinking over the last couple of weeks, it has actually grown.
Former locks like West Virginia, UCONN, and Mississippi St have struggled, while
hot teams like Drexel and VCU have joined the fray. Thus, despite being less
than two weeks away from Selection Sunday, the NCAA Tournament Bubble is as
uncertain as ever.
Tuesday night, there were a couple of important bubble results: UCONN lost to
Providence and Xavier fell at Saint Louis. (UCF also got crushed by Memphis, but
I didn't have the Knights within ten spots of a bid coming into the night,
although others did.) The Xavier loss is not crushing. Teams rarely win road
games against Top 50 opponents, so the committee can't hold it against them.
However, they did get knocked down to a 12 seed and in a First Four game. (Note
that other Bracketologists such as Joe Lunardi had Xavier as a 12 seed coming
into the night, so they'd presumably be out in those projections.)
The UCONN loss is more damaging. There's really no excuse losing to a 4-13 Big
East team when they're playing for nothing but pride. UCONN is now the last team
in the field, whereas coming into the today, they were somewhat sturdy 11 seed.
A win by UCONN over Pitt to close the regular season doesn't really change their
fate much. They need a good showing in NYC and other teams to falter.
Since the last Bubble Watch update, Arizona moved into the field, replacing NC
state. NC State has been replace by Miami as the ACC's fifth and likely final
bid. While the RPI is not in love with Arizona, other computer rankings don't
love the alternatives like Dayton or St. Joseph's.
Long Beach St moved into a 12 seed, the highest they've been seeded in a couple
of months. This means that they can still get a potential at-large bid even if
losing in the Big West tournament. On the flip-side, Middle Tennessee has been
taken out of at-large contention due to another loss.
Illinois is not completely dead yet. The Illini can make up a lot of ground in
their final regular season games, not to mention the Big Ten tournament. Also in
the Big Ten, Northwestern faces the reverse scenario.. they're in for now but
have many chances to play their way out of the Dance. They host Ohio St tomorrow
in a game that could end their lengthy Tournament drought.
take into account my latest
Bracketology Projection, as well as Tuesday night's action. **=Potential
Conference Champions. Teams below the cut line would not make the field as an
Above is Safe -------
------- Cut Line -------
Just Out (in
order of likelihood)
teams with a chance of playing their way into the tournament with a strong
finish, in no particular order: Ole Miss, Colorado, LSU, Stanford
NITology for the other teams bringing up the rear. For questions, post a
comment below or join the discussion @collegehoopsnet.