Saturday, February 28, 2009

Okay, Here's The Deal!

This bubble has tightened up considerably. You don't have so many teams with the ridiculous amount of needle to thread for them to get into the tournament for this plain and simple fact. It's get the tournament or bust. As we go into the last week of Regular season play for the larger conferences as well as the Championship week for the mid to developing majors. We need to double check where we stand.

Could the ACC get 8 bids? It's a serious question. Duke, UNC, Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida State and Boston College are all locks. As for the three remaining bubble potentials? Miami has the best computer numbers (45/11) and with games @ Georgia Tech and versus North Carolina State left? They would be the best of the bubble. Maryland does have some tremendous wins (UNC, Michigan State) and their road games are quite winnable (North Carolina State, Virginia). But like Miami, they would probably need to get one tournament win to do it right.

One team would get North Carolina State, one team would get Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech can still make a case. But they have to hit a runner-runner of North Carolina and Florida State in Tallahassee to make their statement. It's long odds in Hokie Town.

Big East
The question for the Big East to start the year was if they could swing a new record for a conference tournament berths. Now the question is, can they even get 8? UConn, Pitt, Villanova, Louisville, and Marquette are pretty sureshot locks. West Virginia and Syracuse are likely in. They just need to get their 20th win.

For Providence? It boils down to their final game at Villanova. They win there? It's two major wins in their last three and the computer numbers (69/37), while mediocre, would not matter. They beat Cincinnati twice. The Bearcats have somewhat of a better resume. Wins over West Virginia and UAB and at UNLV with a (51/20) mean good things. The Bearcats will also get likely get 10 conference wins. If they beat Syracuse? It may be a case of Providence having a legitimate gripe come selection sunday.

And let Georgetown go. They play St. Johns and Miami. The RPI is going to fall into the 50's. That's killer.

Big Ten
And the Big Ten can also get eight teams if everything breaks right. Sure, Illinois, Michigan State, and Purdue are in. Minnesota needs one more win to feel safe. Ohio State needs one more win to feel safe. Wisconsin's strength of schedule is good enough to get them in if they hold serve at home. Beyond that?

Penn State has a shot to lock it in if they can get one more, damning the RPI in the 60's. But like Providence? The 11th conference win is the key. Illinois comes into State College. If Nittany wins here? They would move off the bubble.

The shambling corpse of Michigan keeps avoiding the perceived headshot to their NCAA tournament chances. They do have to go to Wisconsin and Minnesota. Get both? Then we can talk. But you need to get both.

Big 12
The bad play of Texas aside, they just need to beat Baylor in Austin to feel safe. Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri are in. Kansas State's RPI is a joke and like Arizona State last season? They won't make it because of it. So what's left?

Texas A&M has both an RPI and an SOS in the 30's. They will very likely get 21 wins and a .500 conference record. Oklahoma State is going to have the strength of schedule top 15. They will have 20 wins and 9 in conference. If the Cowboys can win versus Kansas State? They have the best shot for five bids. A&M would need to beat what would likely be Nebraska in the first round to get another chance.

It's kind of locked in. UCLA, Cal, Washington, and Arizona State are certain berths. Arizona needs too sweep Cal and Stanford or take one with a tournament win to get a berth. Anybody else needs to run the table. Easy.

They'll likely get five. LSU is in. Florida needs one more to get in. Tennessee should try and get two to get in. South Carolina needs to win their last home game and not roll craps against Georgia. Kentucky's computer numbers suck again (66/63). If they lose at Florida, would the selection committee have the balls to leave them home if they don't at least get one in the tournament?

No. And that's why they'll get five.

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