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Saturday, March 10, 2007

3/10/07 - Bubble Watch

So far the Big Ten's "Bubble" teams have done what was needed to improve their chances of going dancing. Unfortunately for all teams on the bubble around the country other conference tournaments are not going as planned. The losses last night by Xavier in the A-10 Semifinals and Nevada in the WAC have really thrown a wrench in the plans of some "major" conference bubble teams. Nevada is in as an at-large for certain, and it seems that Xavier has done enough throughout the regular season to take an at-large bid as well. That shrinks the open spots for those nervous bubble teams by two more bids. With that being said, let's take another look at those teams from the Big Ten that will be sweating come tomorrow afternoon.

Indiana Hoosiers (RPI: 29 SOS: 44)
The Hoosiers suffered a tough overtime loss at the hands of Illinois last night in the Quarterfinals. If Indiana would have won that game they would not be on my list of "bubble" teams and even now some very crazy things would have to happen today and tomorrow for the Hoosiers to be left out of the field. I have Indiana IN.

Purdue Boilermakers (RPI: 41 SOS: 54)
I said yesterday that if Purdue defeated Iowa they would be in the Tournament. Well Purdue not only beat Iowa, they dominated the game from the opening tip and ended with a very impressive 19 point victory. Impressive enough for the Boilers to get a precious invite to the Big Dance. A win today over Ohio State would secure their bid, but unless Purdue really lays an egg in their Semifinal matchup they will be IN.

Michigan State Spartans (RPI: 23 SOS: 9)
The Spartans didn't do themselves any favors last night with a double digit loss to Wisconsin. I still think Michigan State's numbers are too good for them to be left out, but they are certainly one of the last teams in the field. Compared to Purdue and Illinois, MSU has played the toughest schedule (in and out of conference) and have the most "signature" wins. As of this morning I have the Spartans IN, but it's very close.

Illinois Fighting Illini (RPI: 31 SOS: 32)
Illinois gutted out an overtime win over Indiana when they needed it most. With a loss last night the Illini would have probably been heading to the NIT. They have now beaten Indiana twice on the year and have looked good coming down the stretch (something the committee always likes to see). However, the Illini lost their only contest this year with Purdue and are lacking any significant "quality" win. They can get that win today versus Wisconsin in the 2nd Semifinal. Right now I have Illinois as one of the very last teams IN the field.

If the field was set today, the Big Ten would get 6 teams into the Dance. But of course the field isn't being selected until tomorrow and a lot can change from now and then. Not only in the Big Ten, but as we saw yesterday, outcomes in other conferences can directly impact bubble teams all over the country. If you're a fan of one of these bubble teams here's who you are cheering against today:

ACC-NC State (if the Wolfpack can continue their magic and win the ACC Tournament, you can say good-bye to yet another at-large bid.)

Big XII-Oklahoma State (the Cowboys are creeping closer to a bid after a nice win over Texas A&M last night and a win today over Texas could be enough for them to take a bid.)

C-USA-Houston (a Houston upset of Memphis today in the Conference USA Final would make the C-USA a 2 bid league and knock another bubble team to the NIT.)

SEC-Everybody but Florida (Mississippi State, Arkansas and Mississippi are all trying to snatch up the SEC's automatic bid. Bubble teams would like to see Florida win the SEC tourney again this year and send the 3 teams from the SEC West home for good.)

Comments on "3/10/07 - Bubble Watch"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (March 10, 2007 at 11:31 AM) : 

Very good write up. I agree that as of right now the BT should have all 6 of those teams in. Good reminder on teams that are still out there trying to steal a bid from the teams on the bubble.


Blogger paulzy said ... (March 11, 2007 at 11:12 AM) : 

As a Big 10 fan, I hope you're right. However, the Illini just don't *feel* like an NCAA tournament team to me. But the numbers look great (stack their numbers up against tournament "lock" Louisville, for example) and they should good in.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (March 11, 2007 at 3:20 PM) : 

It will be very interesting to see what Big Ten teams make it in. Even MSU is nothing special.. they were 8-8 in conf and only have 1 road win all year long. So between ILL, Purdue, MSU.. we'll just have to see...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (March 11, 2007 at 6:36 PM) : 

Would you like to come work for me? You picked these DEAD ON! Big Ten got 6 teams just like you said.


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