Mid-Week Bubble Watch : February 23rd, 2011

Today I’d like to glance over how the bubble teams are fairing this week, and give an update on who’s in, and who’s out as a result.

Monday, Oklahoma State lost a chance to pick up a big win at Kansas, and they remain off the bubble for now. UCF picked up a big win at UTEP, putting the Miners in trouble. The Knights remain a long shot with their collapse in conference play.

Tuesday Michigan State went to Minnesota and came away with a big win, putting the Spartans solidly in for now, but the Gophers are now in trouble as they continue to fall.

Memphis took care of Houston after a very bad loss to Rice this weekend, and for now might be on the right side of the bubble despite it.

Tennessee picked up a big win at Vanderbilt, solidify them for now after a recent slip in the seed lines.

Mississippi missed their chance at a late run by losing at South Carolina, and Virginia Tech took care of Wake Forest on the road.

Tonight has been pretty wild with all sorts of upsets and close calls going on.

It all started with Wisconsin narrowly escaping Ann Arbor. Michigan needed a big win and missed out on the opportunity, leaving them on the outside looking in with time running out. Next Miami used a huge first half to upset Boston College in Chestnut Hill. Miami is out of it at this point, but they are still a decent team and they’ve put Boston College in trouble, as their record drops to 16-11.

East Carolina continued the bad week for UTEP when they upset the Miners. UTEP is now far outside the tournament and will probably have to win the CUSA tournament in order to dance.

Rhode Island upset Duquesne and put them quite a bit outside the bubble as well. They also will probably need an Atlantic Ten conference championship to make the tournament at this point.

After a big win at Wichita State on Friday, VCU fell on the road to Drexel and stops the momentum. VCU isn’t out of it yet, but will need to pick up some big wins, particulary from ODU and/or George Mason. It might be another team that needs to win the conference now.

One team that isn’t out of it yet is Colorado. They picked up another win at Texas Tech and are now 6-7 in the Big 12. With remaining games of Texas, at Iowa St and Nebraska. Its not hard to think they could finish at 8-8 in the Big 12. That’s impressive but not good enough, they’ll need a run and a huge win to make it, but its not impossible. For now though they are just worth mentioning.

Tonight I took the time to watch the Alabama-Auburn game and it further cemented my thoughts on the Tide. What are they doing in the tourney conversation. Joey Brackets has them far in at a 10 seed. What the hell? As I’ve read a million times, conference record doesn’t matter. The Tide have three top 100 wins, home vs. Mississippi and Kentucky, and on the road at Tennessee. That’s it. Then bad losses to Providence(137), Iowa (172), and St. Peter’s(119). The Tide are in the worst division of basketball I’ve ever seen in the SEC. Auburn, we all know, is the cream of the crappy. The Tide needed four Tigers to foul out, Auburn to shoot 50% from the line, and a buzzer beater to win at HOME this evening. Of course its only one game, but people this is no coincidence. Alabama finishes with three more competitive games down the stretch with road trips to Mississippi and Florida, before concluding at home vs. Georgia. In my opinion Alabama needs to win at worst one, probably two of these games, and also win one in the SEC tournament where they’ll have a nice seeding. The Tide don’t belong in the tournament over many many many of the bubble teams I’ve mentioned in my opinion, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them prove it by faltering down the stretch.

Colorado State went to Provo this evening and stayed competitive which is probably enough right now to slip from the loss. I’m not a huge fan of the Rams resume, as it only has one win that interests me, a road win at UNLV. They’ll also get a pat on the back for beating Southern Miss, another bubble team, on a neutral floor.

Although its not really a bubble game, I’d like to point out Kentucky’s loss at Arkansas. Another game that further cements my question, why the hell is Kentucky ranked still. That’s a bad loss, no if ands or buts, even for a team that’s not in the tourney. The Cats are 7-6 in the mediocre SEC with remaining games of Florida, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Kentucky is staring down a 8-8, 9-7 record and people still have them rated high. I’m embarassed to say I had them as a 5 this week when I’ve been calling them out for weeks. Hopefully somebody will start listening and they will drop to their more proper seeding of somewhere in the 6-8 range. They are talented, no doubt, but Calipari can’t live off one and doners, even the best of the best. Perhaps he should try recruiting someone who isn’t going to leave before finals of freshman year.

Maryland got a win I actually expected them to get tonight when they handily beat Florida State. This is Maryland’s best win actually, but they are an underrated club. They still have plenty of work to do to earn a seed, but they stayed alive by beating the Noles at home tonight. Florida State should hold their breathe, because without Chris Singleton they are not scary. Their resume is good enough that it will take a few more losses to get them out, but I could see them losing any game from here on. They need to beat Miami at home this weekend, and could use that road win at NC State the following weekend. They are 9-4 in the ACC, but losing say 4 of the last 5 might not be good enough come selection Sunday.

Baylor couldn’t get a big win at Missouri, as they fell hard to the Tigers. Baylor is still in it, but with tough remaining contests, they’ll need to take two of the last three and probably win a few in the Big 12 tourney with their very weak RPI hovering around 80 right now.

Cincinnati has just about clinched their spot as they went to Georgetown and won this evening. I have to admit I thought the Bearcats were headed towards a nosedive at the end, but they have shocked me with the big wins the last couple weeks since losing to St. John’s. Cincinnati isn’t on the same level of the big boys of the Big East, but they’ve proved they belong in the dance.

Nebraska lost out on their opportunity to pick up another big win against Kansas State at home tonight. The Huskers don’t have a great resume, but the Texas win is big. The Huskers need to win the last three Big 12 games now, they get Missouri at home, and go to Iowa State and Colorado. All are possible, but that’s what it’s going to take with the weak RPI they have right now. Kansas State is back in good position and barring a collapse should dance.

Alright so where does this all leave us?

Let’s look at seed lines 10 thru 13, and who’s on the outside looking in:

10 Seeds:

Illinois

Kansas State

St. Mary’s

Georgia

11 Seeds:

Marquette

Virginia Tech

Memphis

Butler

12 Seeds:

Boston College

Minnesota

Richmond

Colorado State

Clemson

UAB

13 Seeds:

Missouri State

Harvard

Belmont

Charleston

Last Four In:

Clemson

Boston College

Colorado State

UAB

First Four Out:

Southern Miss

Gonzaga

Alabama

Nebraska

Next Four Out:

Penn State

VCU

Cleveland State

Baylor

Others Considered:

Maryland

Michigan

Wichita State

Valpariaso

Duquesne

Oklahoma State

Dayton

Wichita State

UTEP

Washington State

Marshall

Princeton

New Mexico

Colorado

More Bubble Games Coming Up this Week:

Thursday:

Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Cleveland State

Georgia at Florida

Marquette at UConn

Loyola Chicago at Valpo

Penn State at Northwestern

Gonzaga at St Mary’s

Friday:

Cornell at Princeton

Harvard at Brown

Saturday:

Missouri at Kansas State

James Madison at VCU

Texas Tech at Oklahoma State

Wichita State at Missouri State

Boston College at Virginia

Nebraska at Iowa State

Loyola Chicago at Butler

Miami at FSU

Memphis at UTEP

Alabama at Mississippi

Wake Forest at Clemson

Texas at Colorado

Michigan at Minnesota

Columbia at Princeton

UAB at Houston

Colorado State at Air Force

South Carolina at Georgia

Iowa at Illinois

Southern Miss at UCF

Richmond at Charlotte

Duquesne at St Louis

New Mexico at TCU

Duke at Virginia Tech

Texas A&M at Baylor

Portland at St. Mary’s

Sunday:

Xavier at Dayton

Providence at Marquette

Maryland at UNC

Washington State at Washington

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