Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sportz' Bubble Watch 2013 Edition [Updated: Conference Tournaments]

Okay. I've been doing my whole Sportz' Bubble Watch for a few years now and I think it is time to start back up. With only a few weeks left in the season before conference tournaments, let's see how the bubble looks.

So, here are my locks ... yes, by conference. The ones in green are spot on, no doubt locks. The ones in blue are pretty much in, too, though they can't afford to go in a tailspin. The ones in orange are smack dab on the bubble but would be in if the selections were being made today. Every team in red are on the wrong side of the bubble right now and would miss the dance.  Any strikethrough means I think their bubble has popped.

EAST (Washington):  Indiana
SOUTH (Arlington):  Kansas
MIDWEST (Indianapolis):  Louisville
WEST (Los Angeles):  Gonzaga

A big shakeup among the No. 1 seeds on Saturday.  Duke lost on Friday, opening up their hold on a top seed.  Louisville won the Big East title convicingly, meaning they should land a top seed.  Kansas did the same in the Big 12.  Both jump Duke for that No. 1 line, knocking them down to most likely the top No. 2 seed.  The other big news was Indiana losing to Wisconsin in the Big Ten semis.  While the loss won't knock the Hoosiers off that top line, it may knock them off of the Midwest bracket.  Louisville could be the higher top seed and would get to go to Indianapolis ahead of Indiana.

ATLANTIC COAST: Miami, Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Maryland, Virginia

Maryland hung tough, but couldn't topple North Carolina.  Despite their two wins over Duke, the Terps just won't make it in.  They've had equally bad losses and a poor non-conference slate.  As for Virginia, they will be biting their nails on Selection Sunday.  They've done some nice things to get in, but they've also struggled over the last month of the season.  Their RPI and SOS is bad and it will cost them a bid.

BIG EAST: Georgetown, Louisville*, Syracuse, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Villanova, Cincinnati.

Really, nothing is at stake here.  These eight schools are in and everyone else is either done or will be in one of the other postseason tournaments.

BIG TEN: Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa

Despite Minnesota's flaws, they've got the numbers and the wins to get into the dance.  Iowa doesn't.  The Hawkeyes just didn't play as big a non-conference slate and that is costing them on Sunday.  

BIG XII: Kansas*, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Baylor.

Kansas blew out Iowa State on Friday.  Now, I don't think that hurts Iowa State to the point they fall off the bubble, but it wasn't like it made a good impression.  Still, I think the Big 12 is set with who is in and who is out.

PAC-12: Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, UCLA, California, Arizona State.

Arizona State lost a close one to UCLA, but that may kill their at-large hopes.  The numbers just aren't good. 

SEC: Florida, Missouri, Ole Miss, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, LSU.

Ole Miss beat Missouri and Alabama to get to the SEC Championship game.  I think that has clinched their NCAA tournament spot.  In a tournament filled with bubble teams, they proved they belonged.  The story here is Kentucky getting nailed by Vanderbilt.  Losing stings, but getting blown out by a below mediocre Vandy squad smacks the Wildcats down to emergency status.  Alabama made an effort but just hasn't done enough to warrant a bid.  Same with Tennessee, who I have on the bubble a bit more squarely but I think they just miss out.

MOUNTAIN WEST: New Mexico*, Colorado State, UNLV, San Diego State, Boise State.

Boise State lost to San Diego State, putting them in a tough spot on Selection Sunday.  Boise has 10 losses which isn't sexy when you are a Mountain West team ... but this is a very good league this year.  Their RPI is in range and they have the look of a team that should be in.  They'll be sweating on Sunday. 

A-10: Butler, Saint Louis, VCU, Temple, LaSalle, UMass.

LaSalle's loss to Butler may put them out.  I've been bouncing them all over the bubble of late -- it is that close.  UMass got an enormous win over Temple to move on in the A-10, but losing to VCU ended any hope. 

C-USA: Memphis*, Southern Miss
MVC: Wichita State
SUN BELT:  Middle Tennessee State
WCC: St. Mary's

To the delight of every bubble team, Memphis beat Southern Miss for the CUSA title.  However, Southern Miss is also a bubble team and that 2OT showing against Memphis may get them in anyway.  Wichita State and St. Mary's lost their title games as well and I have them in right now.  MTSU sits and waits as a dominant Sun Belt team that slipped in their conference tournament.  Their RPI somehow says they should be in despite nothing exciting on their resume.


Albany-America East

Florida Gulf Coast-Atlantic Sun
Montana-Big Sky
Liberty-Big South
Pacific-Big West
James Madison-Colonial

Harvard-Ivy League

Missouri Valley

LIU Brooklyn-Northeast

Northwestern St-Southland
South Dakota State-Summit
Western Kentucky-Sun Belt

New Mexico St-WAC

-West Coast

There are still some landmines out there, of course. But as of now, here is how I see the bids going.

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