Friday, March 15, 2013

Bubble Watch: Heading Into March 15th

Thursday and Friday are the two peak days of Championship Week. I hope you enjoyed Thursday, and I'm all set for Friday. With so much action on Thursday we had a lot of movement in the bubble watch.

First, we had no automatic bids handed out, but NC State and Butler did move into the Tournament as locks. That moves us up to 39 locks, with 29 bids still to be handed out over the next three days. Meanwhile, Colorado and Illinois pulled themselves off the bubble in the right direction, while Baylor fell off the bubble in the wrong direction.

The net effect of that is to shrink the bubble to 11 teams fighting for 7 spots.

We do have a couple of true bubble battles coming up on Friday: Tennessee vs Alabama and UMass vs Temple. But close to a dozen other teams in the vicinity of the bubble will be in action. I will update with game recaps throughout the day, letting you know what I think the implications of each result are. And of course, those that follow me on twitter will get plenty of that as well.

Anyway, here is how the bubble stands as we head into Saturday, March 15th:

Tournament locks (39 teams):
Duke, Miami (Fl), North Carolina, NC State, Florida Gulf Coast, Butler, St.Louis, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Liberty, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, James Madison, Valparaiso, Harvard, Iona, Creighton, Colorado State, New Mexico, UNLV, LIU, Belmont, Arizona, Bucknell, Florida, Davidson, South Dakota State, Western Kentucky, Gonzaga

Automatic bids yet to be awarded (17, of which 10 are not projected to be won by teams currently locked into the Tournament):
America East, ACC, A-10, Big East, Big Sky,  Big Ten, Big 12, Big West, CUSA, MAC, MEAC, MWC, Pac-12, SEC, Southland, SWAC, WAC)

Teams that look safe (7):
VCU, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Memphis, San Diego State, UCLA, Missouri

Teams definitely in the Tournament... for now (7):
Villanova, Temple, Illinois, Minnesota, Wichita State, Colorado, Oregon

The Bubble (11 teams for 7 bids):
Virginia, La Salle, Iowa, Oklahoma, Boise State, California, Alabama, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee, St. Mary's

Best of the rest (4):
UMass, Baylor, Southern Miss, Arkansas

Long shots (9):
Florida State, Maryland, Charlotte, Akron, Arizona State, Stanford, LSU, Middle Tennessee, Louisiana Tech

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