Friday, March 14, 2014

Sportz Assassin Bubble Watch - March 14

As conference tournament time continues, so does the bubble bursting.  For a full recap of who I think are locks, please check out my main Bubble Watch page.  Below is what the bubble teams are doing.  Just like before, the blue teams are who I think are looking good for a bid, orange teams are on the good side of the bubble to get in and the red are teams that I think are currently out:

CAME IN THURSDAY AS BLUE (Near lock status):  

Arizona State:   Well, the Sun Devils certainly didn't impress.  But if as a member of the near lock club, they could kinda-sorta afford to lose like this.  I think they are safe, but a win would have made them a certain lock.

George Washington:  GW is all but locked in.  I just want to make sure they don't tank against the UMass-Rhode Island winner.  Even if they lost that game, they should be fine.

Pittsburgh:  Pitt just spanked Wake Forest, which will probably be all they need to get their locked status.  They get North Carolina again, and barring a 61 point Tar Heel win, I don't see the Panthers missing out on the NCAAs.

Colorado: The Buffaloes got a huge win over bubble team California which sets up a matchup with Arizona.  That helps their RPI and SOS.  I think I'm moving them to a lock status now.  
Xavier:  Key close win over Marquette should make them safe as well.  Again, these blue teams just need to avoid disaster, not making statements.  Xavier should be fine.  

CAME IN THURSDAY AS ORANGE ("in" side of the bubble):  

Nebraska:  I like them a lot to get in.   But beating Ohio State in the Big Ten tourney would go a long way in making it official.  

Providence:  Well, well, well.  Not only did Providence get a huge win over fellow bubbler St. John's, they also get to miss out on Villanova.  While playing Nova shoots up their numbers as well as give them the opportunity to pull off one more big win, Providence could spank Seton Hall who is playing their 3rd straight day and find themselves in the Big East title game against Creighton ... which would give them that big-win opportunity anyway which would get them an automatic bid.  Maybe that was the longest sentence I've written in my 10-year blogging history.  

 Stanford just spanked Arizona State, who was a near lock.  Stanford has teetered all over the bubble in recent weeks but that win should vault them ahead of other bubble wannabes.  I've moved them up to the blue. 

 This is a team that really needed to impress during the conference tournament.  They don't have the sexy record, but they have some nice wins.  However, they have some really bad losses.  This close loss to Colorado pushes them off to the dark side of the bubble to me.  They needed to beat Colorado, especially with some other bubble teams making nice moves on Thursday.  

Tennessee:  Even though the Vols didn't play on Thursday, they were impacted.  South Carolina upset Arkansas which means (a) Tennessee gets what should be an easy win in the SEC quarterfinals, but it doesn't help their RPI at all.  If Arkansas would have beat the Gamecocks, it would have set up a better game for Tennessee to impress the Selection Committee.  Now they absolutely cannot lose to the (usually) lowly Gamecocks or the Vols could be toast.  

Dayton:  The Flyers have a big opportunity against fellow bubble team St. Joe's on Friday.  I like what Dayton has done and with the destruction around them on the bubble, they should like what they've done as well.  Still, winning this game ... while not an elimination game ... certainly would be a nice light on their resume and *gasp* a possible NCAA tournament game in their own gym.

CAME IN THURSDAY AS RED ("out" side of the bubble):

St. Joseph's:  The Hawks are, to me, the epitome of a bubble team.  Of all the teams fighting for a bid, they are sitting as either the last team in or first team out.  It is that close to me.  Over the last few weeks, I've changed their status more than anyone, sometimes just because of all the chaos around them.  Like you will see below, they've had more success than the other "out" bubble teams but need to see some of the "in" bubble teams fall.  California has done that, so I now have St. Joe's up in the orange.  How long will that last?  

 This stings.  Arkansas couldn't afford to lose to South Carolina ... yet they did.  Despite their nice movement at the end of the season and their sweep of Kentucky (which looks less impressive as the season moved on), the Razorbacks won't see their name on Selection Sunday.  

 Wednesday's just horrible loss to DePaul knocks them right out.  The bubble is down one member.  

St. John's:
 In a quasi-elimination game, the Providence loss probably knocks the Red Storm out of the Dance.  In a Big East tournament ripe with upsets, you can either surmise that the league is good top to bottom or the league really isn't that tough.  I believe the latter (Seton Hall over Nova????).  Sorry St. John's.  

Minnesota:  The Gophers just need to look around them.  Arkansas, Georgetown, St. John's and Utah all got beat.  Minnesota's win over Penn State just doesn't do-it for anyone, but they stay above that mess.  Them, along with St. Joe's and Mizzou are all that remain on the back side of the bubble.  Beating Wisconsin would certainly help, but they may need some bad losses above them as well.  

Mizzou got the win over Texas A&M which, by itself, won't get them into the Dance.  However, it pits them against No. 1 ranked Florida.  Beat Florida, and they will turn a lot of heads.  Lose in a dignifying manner won't totally hurt.  Getting spanked will.  To be honest, I think it may take an upset of the Gators to move them into the orange in my book.

Utah:  The Utes got spanked by Arizona by 32 points.  Whatever miracle Utah had to get in is gone.  They are done.  

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