Sunday, March 16, 2014

Bubble Watch Heading Into Selection Sunday

We had so much movement on Saturday that I can't even talk about every team that locked their way into the bracket. But some teams earned their way in by winning auto bids (Weber State, Albany, etc), while others earned their way in simply because a bunch of bid thief opportunities went for nigh (Pittsburgh, George Washington, etc).

In all we have 55 locks, and we'll pick up a 56th on Sunday when we get a Sun Belt champ. Throw in the safe teams (3) and the teams I think should get in also (4) and we're up to 63. That leaves 5 spots really on the bubble, with 9 teams competing for them.

I'll spend time Sunday afternoon scrubbing my bracket, going through each resume in detail and sliding teams around a bit in my bracket. And so in the end, I might change my mind on who is truly on the bubble. But in the end, expect as always that only two or three spots are really up for grabs.

Gun to my head, who do I take right now? I think I take Tennessee, BYU, Nebraska, Arizona State and Dayton. That would leave Minnesota, California, Southern Miss and Toledo out. But like I said, give me a chance to change my mind on Sunday afternoon. I'll have my final bracket posted right after the Big Ten title game is decided.

Teams that move up a group are colored green while teams that drop a group are colored red. Here is how the bubble stands as we head into Selection Sunday:

Tournament locks (55 teams):
Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, MemphisAlbany, Duke, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia, Mercer, George Washington, UMass, Saint Louis, VCU, Creighton, Providence, Villanova, Weber State, Coastal Carolina, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Cal Poly, Delaware, Tulsa, Milwaukee, Harvard, Manhattan, Western Michigan, NC Central, Wichita State, New Mexico, San Diego State, Mt. St. Mary's, Eastern Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado,  Oregon, UCLA, American, Florida, Kentucky, Wofford, Stephen F Austin, Texas Southern, North Dakota State, Gonzaga, New Mexico State

Automatic bids yet to be awarded (5, of which 1 is not projected to be won by teams currently locked into the Tournament):
ACC, A-10, Big Ten, SEC, Sun Belt

Teams that look safe (3):
Saint Joseph's, Kansas State, Oklahoma State

Teams definitely in the Tournament... for now (4):
SMU, Xavier, Iowa, Stanford

The Bubble (9 teams for 5 bids):
Dayton, Minnesota, Nebraska, Southern Miss, Toledo, Arizona State, California, Tennessee, BYU

Best of the rest (5):
Florida State, Georgetown, Louisiana Tech, Green Bay, Utah

Long shots (4):
NC State, St. John's, Arkansas, Missouri

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