Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sportz Assassin's Bubble Watch - 2/17

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.

I figure there are 21 conferences who are one-bid leagues and 11 conferences that could net multiple bids. So who should be going?

ATLANTIC COAST: Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Florida State, Clemson, NC State, Maryland, Wake Forest.

Usually in my first Bubble Watch of the season, I tend to put a lot of teams in the "out" category just because you really don't know who gets hot and could slide right onto the radar.  Teams like Wake Forest and Maryland aren't really close to the bracket right now, but a few nice wins (say if Maryland held on against Duke on Saturday) can put a team back on the watch.  So to split hairs, that's we shoot for a bigger pool.  However, I see the ACC as a 6-bid league.  Syracuse and Duke are in with Virginia looking very good.  Pitt has a few tough losses this past week which makes them a tad shakier.  UNC is on a roll.  After that, the game is on.

BIG BUBBLE GAMES LOOMING: North Carolina at Florida State, NC State at Clemson, Duke at North Carolina, Florida State at Pittsburgh. 

BIG EAST: Villanova, Creighton, Xavier, Providence, Georgetown, Marquette, St John's.

Nova and Creighton have their spots sewn up.  After that, it is a free-for-all.  Who knows?  One thing is for certain, while the new Big East will not get the same representation in the Dance that the old Big East did, they still have a lot of bubble-licious teams.

BIG BUBBLE GAMES LOOMING: Villanova at Providence, Xavier at Georgetown

 Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio State, MinnesotaPurdue, Indiana, Nebraska.

The Big Ten knows Michigan State will be and and should feel good about three or four other teams.  Minnesota is the definition of a bubble team.  Purdue, Indiana and Nebraska will need big runs to get themselves in.

BIG BUBBLE GAMES LOOMING: Iowa at Indiana, Michigan State at Purdue, Wisconsin at Iowa, Minnesota at Ohio State

BIG 12: Kansas, Iowa State, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Baylor.

The Big 12 looks like it will be the league that puts the most bids into the NCAA tournament.  What an interesting mix it is.  Kansas and Iowa State will be high seeds, Texas and Oklahoma are surging up while Oklahoma State's issues have been well documented.  West Virginia and Baylor look like they'll be fighting to slip into the tournament, though Baylor's woeful Big XII record will most likely haunt them.

BIG BUBBLE GAMES LOOMING: Oklahoma State at Baylor, Baylor at West Virginia, Kansas State at Oklahoma

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

Remember a couple years ago when the Pac-12 barely could get two teams into the tournament?  Well, times have changed.  The Pac-12 has a lot of teams that could play in March, though only a couple that may play deep into it.  Arizona is a top-tier seed with UCLA possibly reaching pod status.  The rest are on the bubble.

BIG BUBBLE GAMES LOOMING: Washington at Oregon, UCLA at Cal, Arizona State at Colorado, UCLA at Stanford, Arizona State at Utah

SEC: Florida, Kentucky, TennesseeMissouri, Georgia, Ole Miss, LSU, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Texas A&M.

Florida is a lock with Kentucky gaining a lock because, really, how will they falter in this league?  There are 8 teams trying to find a way into the Dance with only Tennessee and Missouri realistically on the bubble.  The SEC in basketball isn't anywhere near the SEC in football.

BIG BUBBLE GAMES LOOMING: Missouri at Georgia, Texas A&M at LSU, Arkansas at Kentucky, Vanderbilt at Tennessee, Georgia at Arkansas, Ole Miss at Texas A&M

AMERICAN ATHLETIC:  Cincinnati, UConn, Memphis, Louisville, SMU.

The AAC is pretty simple this year, unlike when many of these schools were in the Big East or Conference USA.  There are five teams in a good spot for a bid and no one else is close.  SMU should be in the blue, but I have them on the orange ranking just because they would be the one school that would be in trouble with a swoon. 

BIG BUBBLE GAMES LOOMING:  Louisville at Memphis, 

MOUNTAIN WEST: San Diego State, New Mexico, UNLV, Wyoming, Boise State, Utah State.
In recent years, the Mountain West has been a Bubble Watch favorite.  Four or so teams in the mix but always winning big games to lock up bids.  This year is a bit boring.  SD State is locked in no matter what with New Mexico the lone other to really be looking like a bid team.  The guys in red will really need to make a run to get themselves into a good look at the tournament.

BIG BUBBLE GAMES LOOMING: Utah State at New Mexico, Boise State at Wyoming

A-10: Saint Louis, VCU, UMass, George Washington, Richmond, St. Joseph's, Dayton, St Bonaventure.

Saint Louis leads a crop of A-10 squads that could do some damage in the tournament.  VCU has always been dangerous and UMass seems to be back.  This is a league that could surprise and sneak five or six teams in if the big boys can't take care of business.  This season, I wouldn't put it past anyone.

BIG BUBBLE GAMES LOOMING: Dayton at St Joseph's, UMass at Dayton, Saint Louis at VCU, St Joseph's at St. Bonnie

MVC: Wichita State, Indiana State.
WCC: Gonzaga, BYU

Wichita State is not only a lock, but fighting for a #1 seed and an undefeated season.  Barring anyone else winning the "Arch Madness", no one else from the MVC is getting in.  Over in the West Coast Conference, Gonzaga looks, again, like a tourney team while BYU is squarely on the bubble.  To be honest, every other mid-major is a one bid league.

BIG BUBBLE GAMES LOOMING: Indiana State at Illinois State, BYU at San Diego

ONE BID LEAGUES (21): America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Conference USA, Horizon, Ivy, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, SWAC, Summit, Sun Belt and WAC.

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