Friday, February 24, 2012

NCAA Tournament bids...

With March coming next week, it is time to see what teams are "in" the tourney, and who is on the "bubble." More importantly for the bubble teams, who do you need to root for in the conference tournaments that start next week?

Teams that have secured a spot as of now, with their always-important RPI in parentheses:

SEC - Kentucky (4), Florida (17), Vanderbilt (26)
ACC - UNC (5), Duke (3), Florida St (18), Virginia (37)
Big 10 - Michigan St (2), Ohio St (7), Michigan (10), Indiana (19), Wisconsin (22)
Big East - Syracuse (1), Marquette (8), Georgetown (15), Louisville (21), Notre Dame (33)
Big 12 - Baylor (9), Kansas (6), Missouri (13), Kansas St (41)
Missouri Valley - Creighton (28), Wichita St (11)
Mountain West - UNLV (12), SDSU (30), New Mexico (29)
WCC - Gonzaga (20), St Mary's (34)
Pac 12 - California (32)
Conf-USA - Southern Miss (16), Memphis (27)
A-10 - Temple (14), St Louis (23)
Ohio Valley - Murray St (39)

Add to the list 19 other conferences that will get Auto-Bids, and assuming one of the teams from each of the conferences listed wins the conference tournament, we have 15 bids left.

Your bubble teams:

UConn - (24, 17-10) - Under .500 in the Big East right now, the Huskies have work to do...They are 3-7 their last 10 and host Syracuse Saturday night. They have some good wins over Florida St, Harvard, WVU, Seton Hall, and Notre Dame, but can lock up a spot with a win over the Orange. Lose, and the need to win their final 2 Big East games and at least 1 in the Big East Tournament. Prediction: In

Colorado St (25, 17-9) - Only on the list due to the RPI number, the Rams just picked up their signature win this week against New Mexico. Lots of losses to high ranked RPI teams have helped their number. Prediction: Out

Seton Hall (31, 19-9) - After a 6 game losing streak, the Pirates have rebounded nicely and are in position to grab a bid. Win at home against Rutgers Saturday and then on the road against Depaul next week and their 10-8 conference record looks pretty good. Prediction: In

Alabama (38, 17-9) - They fought through their suspensions and still have a pretty good shot at a bid. Early season wins over Wichita, VCU, and Purdue will help along with some quality wins against Oklahoma St and Maryland. Prediction: In

Middle Tennessee St (40, 23-4) - The Blue Raiders don't really have any wins to speak of, but beating Belmont and Ole Miss isn't bad. Prediction: Must win conference tourney

Iowa St (43, 20-8) - The Mayor's squad has been hot as of late but has a tough finish to the conference schedule. The Kansas win looks great, but they can't lose all of their final 3 games at Kansas St, at Missouri, or at home vs Baylor. Prediction: In

West Virginia (44, 17-11) - WVU is your classic bubble team...They are 3-6 their last nine, play in a big-time conference, have some good wins mixed in, but don't really know their fate yet. If they can beat Marquette this weekend at home and follow it up with a home win against Depaul and can win at USF, they have an excellent shot. Slip up and they will need a deep run in the Big East tournament to get in. Prediction: In

BYU (46, 21-6) - Their best wins are Gonzaga, Oregon, and Nevada, and they got swept by St Mary's. The Baylor and Wisconsin losses aren't bad, but getting one of those would have put them "in" by now. Prediction: Must get to conference title game

Northwestern (47, 16-11) One team I really hope gets in is Northwestern, as they have never gotten in...The Cats don't really have a bad loss, and that Michigan State win looks better each week. But, I still think they need to win either at home against Ohio St or at Iowa (which has shown is a very tough place to win lately) to get on the right side of the bubble. Prediction: In

Miami (49, 16-10) - Miami has the Duke win, and that is why they are on the bubble. Their 5-game stretch in December where they lost to Ole Miss, Purdue, Memphis, and West Virginia really hurt. Any one of those wins would really help their case right now, especially after losing their last game to Maryland. I think Miami needs to get to 20 wins, either by winning out (FSU, at NCSU, vs BC) or making a conference tourney run. Prediction: Out

Purdue (50, 18-10) - What Purdue has going for them is that they have a lot of wins over other bubble teams (Miami, NW x2, Illinois x2, Iowa x2). They have lost most of their big games against the top of the Big 10, but do have a quality win over Temple. They need to win at Indiana or at Michigan to really put themselves into a good spot. Prediction: In

Oregon (51, 19-8) - The Ducks have played 8 teams that have or are going to be mentioned here and are 1-7 in those games. The lack of quality wins and the lack of good teams in the Pac-12 will make it tough on Oregon. They need to win their last 3 (@OSU, Col, Utah) and probably get to the conference championship game. Prediction: Out

Washington (52, 19-8)- Washington split with Oregon, and is in basically the same position as the Ducks. The Huskies are hot, winning 8 of their last 9, but they squandered their big chances in December. They need to win their final 3 games (@UCLA, @WSU, @USC) and make a conference tourney run to get in. Prediction: In

Xavier (53, 17-10) - Xavier is a tough team to gauge due to their early-season shenanigans. They were on a real run early in the year with consecutive wins over Vanderbilt, Purdue, Butler, and Cincinnati. Since then, they were knocked off several times after a few key players were suspended, and have turned out to be a pretty good team in a better A-10. They really need to win at Saint Louis next week to help their resume, but a run in the conference tourney can help as well. Prediction: In

Texas (55, 17-11) - Good wins against Temple, Iowa State, and Kansas State, but they have lost most of their other big games. They need to win at Texas Tech and beat Oklahoma before we put them in. Prediction: In

Arizona (67, 19-9) - The Cats are usually a lot higher on the RPI list with their record, but their only win of note is at Cal. Another Pac-12 team that needs to win out and make a conference tourney run. Prediction: In

Mississippi State (60, 19-9) - Even with their recent stumbles, MSU has a good shot at an at-large bid if they finish strong. Early in the season, they beat Arizona, WVU, and TAMU. Their Vanderbilt win is solid, but they need to get going quickly as they have lost 4 straight. Win at least 2 of 3 and get a couple in their conference tourney, and I think MSU has a shot. Prediction: In

NC State - (62, 18-10) - Six conference wins, none against teams with a .500 record or better in the ACC. Only win against team mentioned here was early in the year against Texas. Prediction: Out

Cincinnati (82, 19-8) - The Bearcats have a pretty tough stretch to end the season (@USF, vs Marq, @Nova), but at 10-5 in the conference, they can really lock up a bid by ending the season strongly. They have wins against 5 of the top Big East teams and have moved into the final spot of the bracket by beating Louisville this week. Prediction: In

All teams on this list need to make sure they are rooting for Creighton/Wichita in the Valley, MTSU in the Sun Belt, Long Beach State in the Big West, Iona in the MAAC, and Oral Roberts in the Summit, just to be safe...

Selection Sunday Predictions 2 weeks early...

1. Kentucky, Syracuse, UNC, Ohio State
2. Michigan St, Kansas, Missouri, Duke
3. Marquette, Michigan, Georgetown, Florida St
4. Louisville, Florida, Wichita St, UNLV
5. Baylor, Wisconsin, Murray St, Temple
6. Indiana, Creighton, Southern Miss, Vanderbilt
7. New Mexico, Notre Dame, Gonzaga, Virginia
8. Alabama, San Diego St, Kansas St, St Mary's
9. Cal, St. Louis, Harvard, Iowa St
10. WVU, Memphis, Xavier, UConn
11. Purdue, Texas, Seton Hall, BYU
12. Long Beach St, Harvard, Arizona, Cincy/Washington
13. Miss St/NW, Iona, Oral Roberts, MTSU
14. Davidson, VCU, Belmont, Nevada
15. Akron, Valpo, UNCA, Weber St
16. LIU, UTA, Savannah St/Bucknell, MVSU/Vermont