Sunday, March 03, 2013

Bubble Watch: Heading Into March 4th

I always like to do a bubble watch in the final stretch of the season. I will try to do it daily, after each night's games are complete. This year I decided to start it two weeks prior to Selection Sunday.

I'm going to try things a little bit differently this year. I'm still going to list the teams into the same groups (as my regular readers know, I don't think it's useful to try to differentiate between "first team out" and "second team out", since nobody has that sort of accuracy, and I just break up my bubble teams into groups). The change this year will be how I move teams up and down from day to day. I'm going to plan on color-coding it. Teams that move up will be in green, while teams that move down will be in red. If those colors don't work out, I might switch it up. Or if you don't like the colors, let me know.

For those relatively new to my blog, please know that "Tournament locks" means something different from what it means on ESPN or CBS. To me, it means that even if that teams loses every remaining game and we have a really crazy Championship Week, there's still no possibility of that team missing the NCAA Tournament. On other websites you will see teams go from being "locks" to missing the NCAA Tournament. To me, that's not what the word "lock" means. So, yes, a team like North Carolina is almost certainly in the NCAA Tournament. But if they somehow lost out, it's not inconceivable that they could be a bubble team. So they are not a lock yet.

For all the talk about how wide open this season is, the reality is that the bubble is a little bit smaller than usual two weeks out from Selection Sunday. Considering locks, "safe" teams and one-bid leagues, there are only 18 Tournament spots truly left open. The bubble is, in my opinion, 19 teams fighting for 11 spots.

I will try my best to keep updating this daily, so look for it again tomorrow night, and every other night until Selection Sunday.

Tournament locks (19 teams):
Duke, Miami (Fl), Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, Gonzaga

Automatic bids yet to be awarded (31, of which 24 are not projected to be won by teams currently locked into the Tournament):
America East, ACC, Atlantic Sun, A-10, Big East, Big Sky, Big South, Big Ten, Big 12, Big West, Colonial, CUSA, Horizon, Ivy, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, MVC, MWC, NEC, OVC, Pac-12, Patriot, SEC, SoCon, Southland, Summit, Sun Belt, SWAC, WCC, WAC)

Teams that look safe (11):
North Carolina, NC State, St. Louis, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Memphis, Colorado State, UNLV, San Diego State, UCLA, Missouri

Teams definitely in the Tournament... for now (7):
Butler, VCU, Cincinnati, Illinois, Oklahoma, Creighton, Oregon

The Bubble (19 teams for 11 bids):
Maryland, Virginia, La Salle, UMass, Temple, Villanova, Iowa, Baylor, Iowa State, Wichita State, Boise State, California, Colorado, Alabama, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee, St. Mary's, Louisiana Tech

Best of the rest (5):
St. John's, Southern Miss, Akron, Arizona State, Arkansas

Long shots (14):
Charlotte, Richmond, St. Joseph's, Xavier, Florida State, Providence, UTEP, Air Force, Stanford, Washington, LSU, Texas A&M, Middle Tennessee, BYU

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