Half-heartedly, I provide another look at the bubble. I’m getting the impression that folks out there care as little as I do. Last week I left Saint Mary’s off the bubble list and received no complaints, despite the fact that nearly every other projection has them in.
The Gaels have two top 100 wins to go with five losses outside the top 100, and there aren’t any more good wins to be had before a possible date with Gonzaga in the WCC championship. It’s an ugly portfolio, but I suppose being the second place team in the seventh best conference will count for something.
I’ve dropped one team from the lock list I produced last week:
Wichita State – suffered their third loss in a row by losing at Miami Ohio on Saturday. None of the three losses are horrible, but collectively they mean WSU must win this Saturday at Southern Illinois if they plan to make an early exit from Arch Madness.
Once again, Georgia Tech stays on this list against my better judgment. On Saturday, they needed a friendly call to win at Florida State.
The additions are Iowa State, Texas, LSU, Nevada, and Pacific. The Big XII and ACC contingents are booked.
ACC – UNC, Wake, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland
Pac 10 – Washington, Arizona, UCLA
Big East – BC, Syracuse, Pitt, UConn, Villanova
Big XII – Kansas, Oklahoma St., Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Texas
Big Ten – Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan St.
SEC – Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi St., Florida, LSU
WCC – Gonzaga
MVC – Southern Illinois
CUSA – Louisville, Cincinnati, Charlotte, DePaul
MWC – Utah
WAC – Nevada
Big West – Pacific
And now for the rest of the teams with a legitimate chance to play their way into an at-large bid. The principle here is similar to the locks – I am not listing every team with a glimmer of hope of getting a bid. I’m listing the teams I feel have the ability to play their way in with a minimum degree of competence.
Teams dropped from last week – UAB (home loss to East Carolina, ugh!),
Stanford – on the cusp of lock-land. Win one on the Oregon/Oregon State trip this week and they’ll get promoted.
Arizona State – needs a split on the UW/WSU trip this week and I’m not sure they have it in them.
Notre Dame – ready to promote them to a lock, but a four game losing streak to finish the season is not out of the question. Coupled with only one non-conference win in the top 130, and I have to continue a wait-and-see approach.
Georgetown – Not competitive in a loss at St. John’s. Could be the quintessential bubble team this year. Can hang their hat on road wins against Pitt and Villanova, but probably need to win one of their last three and another one at MSG.
Minnesota – Three more wins and they should be safe. Can’t take them for granted with this bunch, though.
Iowa – Awful 4-8 Big Ten record, but a bevy of quality non-conference wins keeps them in the hunt.
Indiana – Reluctantly, the Hoosiers have been added to the bubble list. A 3-1 finish would make them look very good. The committee would have to like their brutal non-conference schedule.
South Carolina, Vanderbilt – hot finish required by both to get in.
Saint Mary’s – Last two regular-season games are at San Fran and San Diego. Win those and get to the WCC championship and they are probably get in.
Wichita State – with three remaining regular season games against top 100 teams, the Shockers control their own destiny.
Memphis – we can get serious about Memphis (RPI 108) if they win at Charlotte on Wednesday.
Marquette – The game at Cincinnati on Thursday is huge. The Golden Eagles are probably out if they can’t win at the Shoe.
George Washington – GW has won five in a row and has a couple of great non-conference wins over Michigan State and Maryland. But they are sitting two games behind 11-1 Saint Joe’s in conference record, so they need to keep winning and must beat the Hawks on March 1 in DC.
Miami – I really wanted to bump them to a lock, but there are enough trap games left that I’ll wait another week.
Vermont – Also tempted to boost to a lock. Their RPI can’t fall below 25 unless they lose again in the regular season and in the first round of the AE tournament.
Old Dominion – really hurt by Kent State’s slide because that was previously their only top 50 win. Probably has to win CAA championship, but may get an at-large with a CAA championship loss and poor play from mid-level power conference teams.
If you do the math, counting automatic bids, at least four of the teams mentioned above will not get it.