Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Heading Into Wednesday: Where The Bubble Stands

I talked yesterday about how the bubble has seemingly been weakening each of the last few days. But we all knew that once the big boys starting playing their conference tournaments that the bubble would strengthen, as it does every season, and I do think that the bubble strengthened a little bit today. We saw a couple of teams blow their chances (UConn and Charlotte), but we also saw several bubble teams strengthen their resumes (Rhode Island, Dayton, South Florida and Seton Hall).

For now, here's how I see the bubble looking (remember that two of those eight bubble spots will go to the C-USA and WAC tournament champions, meaning that all bubble teams are rooting for UTEP and Utah State to lock up those auto bids):

Teams definitely in the bracket... for now:
Marquette, Wake Forest, UTEP, Oklahoma State, UNLV, Clemson

The Bubble: 14 teams playing for 8 spots:
Georgia Tech, Florida, Washington, San Diego State, Memphis, Utah State, Notre Dame, Wichita State, Illinois, UAB, Arizona State, Ole Miss, Rhode Island, Seton Hall

The best of the rest:
Dayton, South Florida, Cincinnati, Mississippi State, Minnesota, Saint Louis

Seton Hall was moved up to the bubble with their win today. Charlotte and UConn were dropped from consideration with their losses. Minnesota and Marshall were added to consideration without playing, but both teams still have a lot of work to do just to get onto the bubble.

Championship Week will get even better tomorrow, with the Big 12 and Conference USA tournaments getting under way. And the Big East tournament will feature a quadruple header of bubble games.

Here is a complete listing of bubble games that will be played Wednesday:

Noon Eastern Time (ESPN): South Florida vs Georgetown: Georgetown will just be playing for seed, but this is a must-win for South Florida. I can't see them making the Tournament without winning this one.
2PM ET (ESPN): Marquette vs St. John's: Marquette is most likely in the NCAA Tournament no matter what, but a win here would seal it.
7PM (Big 12 Network/ESPN360): Oklahoma vs Oklahoma St.: Like Marquette, a win here would seal for Oklahoma State an at-large bid that would be very likely even with a loss here.
7PM (ESPN): Seton Hall vs Notre Dame: This is probably the most important game of the day. Seton Hall needs a win here to keep their realistic at-large hopes alive. A win would not seal an at-large bid, but would give them a very good chance. For Notre Dame, a win will definitely put them in the bracket for the time being. But with a loss, Notre Dame is probably headed to the NIT.
7PM: Tulsa vs Rice: Tulsa doesn't have much hope of getting an at-large bid, but there's no question that they've got to win this game to keep their NCAA chances alive.
9PM (ESPN): Cincinnati vs Louisville: Cincinnati has to win this game to have any hope of an at-large bid. They probably would need to not only win this game, but to also topple West Virginia on Thursday night. But they've got to start with this one.


Hubbo said...

South Florida's toast now. Marquette just punched its ticket officially I think. I also think the loser of Seton Hall-Notre Dame is out.

Jeff said...

I agree that South Florida is toast, and I agree that Marquette punched its ticket officially. The Seton Hall-Notre Dame loser is probably out, although I'd argue that if Notre Dame loses that they'd still have a shot of getting in if there's a really weak bubble. Seton Hall is probably done with a loss, though.