A little bit of a shakeup this week, mainly due to the failures of 3 Big 10 teams…
(One question mark means you’re in, but shaky. Two question marks means you’re out, but can get in with a strong finish.)
ACC (7 teams in) – Duke, North Carolina St., Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Florida St., Maryland. Everybody’s still safe, although NC St. and Duke are the only teams above .500 in conference. The Pack and Devils are a combined 18-1 against the rest of the league.
SEC (7) – Mississippi St., Kentucky, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, LSU, Vanderbilt(?). Vandy has lost their last 5 on the road and present a weak portfolio unless they can pick up a road win in their remaining games against Alabama, Ole Miss and Georgia.
Big East (7) – Connecticut, Providence, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Boston College, Rutgers (?), Villanova(??). The ‘Nova loss to West Virginia puts them on the brink of not being mentioned. But they do play 4 tourney teams in their last 6 games, so there still is the chance for redemption.
Big 12 (5) – Kansas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma St., Texas, Oklahoma. Must…not…put…Missouri…back…on…the…bubble…
Big 10 (3) – Wisconsin, Michigan St., Illinois, Purdue(??), Indiana (??). The Big 10 has morphed into a three team league. Michigan had a horrible week with losses to Minnesota and Iowa. Indiana is on life support, but not dead yet.
Conference USA (5) – Louisville, Cincinnati, Charlotte, UAB, Memphis, DePaul(??). CUSA is almost as clear as the ACC. All 5 teams have done enough to get in. DePaul joins the list on a 5 game winning streak.
Atlantic 10 (3) – St Joseph’s, Dayton, Richmond (?), Xavier(??). Oh the home loss to Xavier hurt Richmond. Not only did it knock Richmond down a peg, it also brings the X-men into the discussion.
Pac 10 (2) – Stanford, Arizona. Oregon loses at Washington, and still has only 1 top 100 win.
Mountain West (3) – Air Force, Utah, BYU(?). BYU benefited because of bad basketball by the Big 10 bubble boys.
WAC (2) – Nevada (?), UTEP(?), Hawaii (??). UTEP was poised to take top WAC honors but then got schooled by Nevada. The team that wins the WAC regular season is in the best shape, with Nevada getting any tiebreakers due to the wins over Kansas and at UNLV.
44 bids are available from these 10 conferences, and I listed 50 teams. So that leaves 6 teams on the outside looking in.
Others: Gonzaga (a lock from the WCC), Southern Illinois (looking good from the MVC), Utah St. (Big West), Western Michigan (MAC). Utah State got the loss at Pacific on Saturday. It is not a horrible loss though, Pacific is 16-7, #76 in the RPI. Western Michigan was getting serious consideration until a loss at Marshall on Sunday. That is a bad loss, Marshall is 9-12, #146.
So here’s this week’s Doubting Dozen. The top six teams would be in, the bottom six are out. There’s a pretty big drop-off between Utah State and Richmond. Gonzaga, Southern Illinois, and Utah State are assumed to get the automatic bid from their conference. But if they don’t the bubble divider gets moved up one team. The same applies if a team not listed from the 50 teams above gets one of their conference’s automatic bids. That means that while UTEP is listed as in, they would only get in under the ideal and unrealistic scenario that nothing stupid happens in conference tournaments.
1 Vanderbilt (Utah St.) 2 Richmond 3 Nevada 4 Rutgers 5 BYU 6 UTEP ---bubble divider--- (Western Michigan) 7 DePaul 8 Purdue 9 Hawaii 10 Indiana 11 Villanova 12 Xavier