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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Conference Run-Down February 19, 2012

BracketBusters weren't as hyped this season as in seasons past but that doesn't mean teams weren't able to help their own cause.  Wichita St.,  Murray St., and the Colonial were the big winners while the Horizon League turned out to be a big loser. There was some shuffling among the big boys with teams moving up and others falling out. Scroll down to see the latest update.

The Sportstemps loved the Shockers reaction when we informed them they'd been
 elevated to "Lock" status.  We'll talk to the committee about a 5 seed for you.
Atlantic 10
Locks: Temple, St. Louis
Should be In:
Firmly on Bubble: Xavier, LaSalle, UMass
Despite Xavier's up and down play of late they still rank ahead of LaSalle and UMass thanks to each of them suffering losing streaks of their own.  The margin is slim here with UMass taking on Xavier Tuesday and LaSalle hosting Temple Wednesday.  If both schools lose they're off the bubble.

Atlantic Coast Conference
Locks: Duke, North Carolina, Florida St.
Should be In: Virginia
Firmly on Bubble: Miami, North Carolina St.
NC St. had a great opportunity to move up but lost to both Duke and FSU this week.  The same can be said for Miami who lost to FSU and UNC.  They're probably both in at this point but any stumbles can change that in a hurry.

Big 12
Locks: Kansas, Missouri, Baylor
Should be In: Kansas St., Iowa St.
Firmly on Bubble: Texas
Iowa St.'s strong performance in the Big 12 will put them in the tournament. Texas needs to finish with a winning record in conference play or finish .500 and win a conference tournament game. Both are doable at this point.

Big East
Locks: Syracuse, Georgetown, Marquette, Louisville, Notre Dame
Should be In: Cincinnati, West Virginia
Firmly on Bubble: UConn, Seton Hall, South Florida
Notre Dame's eight game winning streak moves them up a rung while Pitt's three game losing streak knocks them off the list completely.  UConn and Seton Hall continue to hang on though it's not yet clear if there will be room for both of them.  Their head to head record may be the deciding factor - each team has won once - with a possible conference tournament matchup looming.  South Florida has a decent conference record but also has the easiest conference schedule.  The committee will wait to see how they do in the conference tournament.

Big Ten
Locks: Ohio St., Michigan St., Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana
Should be In:
Firmly on Bubble: Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Minnesota
Michigan's big win over Ohio St. solidifies their position in the field while Indiana and Wisconsin each  got their 20th win which usually is good enough for a BCS conference team.  Purdue continues to hang on, Northwestern too, but Illinois and Minnesota have picked terrible times to start losing. Minnesota needs to go 3-1 in their last four or their bubble will burst.

Colonial Athletic Conference
Should be In: 
Firmly on Bubble: Virginia Commonwealth, Drexel, George Mason
George Mason has five in a row and 11 of their last 12.  VCU whipped Northern Iowa in BracketBusters and is 12-1 in their last 13 with their only loss coming at George Mason.  Drexel has won 15 in a row, has wins over VCU and George Mason, and absolutely crushed Cleveland St. in a road game. Are these teams better than someone like Texas?  The conference tournament will be huge.

Conference USA
Should be In: Southern Mississippi, Memphis
Firmly on Bubble: Tulsa
Tulsa's 2-2 in their last four which puts them at 16-11 overall.  They finish against Memphis and they'll need that win to have a chance to receive an at-large bid.

Horizon League
Should be In:
Firmly on Bubble: 
Cleveland St. suffered a crushing home loss to Drexel while Valpo lost at Loyola Marymount.  These losses assured the Horizon League of zero at-large bids this season. That stinks.

Ivy League
Locks: Harvard
Should be In:
Firmly on Bubble:
Jeremy Lin isn't on this team.

Missouri Valley Conference
Locks: Wichita St., Creighton
Should be In:
Firmly on Bubble: Missouri St.
Though it wasn't a good weekend for the MVC, Wichita St. made believers out of a lot of people this week, helping their stock more than any other single team.  Missouri St. losing to Old Dominion almost eliminates them from consideration.  One more loss - even in the conference tournament - and this team is out. 

Mountain West Conference
Locks: UNLV, San Diego St., New Mexico
Should be In: 
Firmly on Bubble: Wyoming, Colorado St.
Don't look now but New Mexico is the hottest team in the country.  I've been hot to trot for UNLV all season but New Mexico just killed them 65-45 right after winning at San Deigo St. this week.  Wyoming's three game losing streak means they'll need to go 3-1 in their last four and get to the conference championship game to have a hope.  Colorado St. needs to go 3-1 also but their final four games are New Mexico, SDSU, UNLV, and Air Force.  It's more likely they'll go 1-3.

Pacific 12
Should be In: California, Arizona
Firmly on Bubble: Washington, Colorado, Stanford
Cal is now 12-3 in the Pac 12 tying them with Washington for first place. Arizona's got a solid RPI and since the committee relies upon this tool too heavily it should put them in. I don't see more than three teams getting in so Colorado and Stanford will need to do something impressive to pass the teams ahead of them.  

Southeastern Conference
Locks: Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt
Should be In: Alabama, Mississippi St.
Firmly on Bubble: Mississippi, Tennessee
Mississippi missed a golden opportunity to get that signature win with Vanderbilt coming to town.  Vandy ran them out of the gym and nearly off the bubble.  Tennessee's overall record is unimpressive but in conference play they're 6-6 with two wins over Florida.  If they can go 9-7 and win a couple tournament games...well, stranger things have happened.

Western Athletic Conference
Should be In: Nevada
Firmly on Bubble: New Mexico St.
New Mexico St. beat Drake in BracketBusters to keep them on the bubble but as the bubble is starting to take shape it's tougher and tougher to see this team earning an at-large bid.

West Coast Conference
Locks: St. Mary's
Should be In: Gonzaga, BYU
Firmly on Bubble: Loyola Marymount
Gonzaga lost at San Francisco for the second straight year.  That loss keeps them out of "lock" status though they're still pretty darn close.  BYU's on a five game winning streak and is now 11-3 in conference play so they'll get in. Loyola sits at 10-4 and after winning their BracketBuster matchup can boast quality wins over St. Louis, BYU, St. Mary's as well as UCLA and Valparaiso.  That's a decent case.

Other Locks: Murray St. (Ohio Valley)
Other Should Be Ins: Belmont (Atlantic Sun), Long Beach St. (Big West)
Other Bubble Teams: Middle Tennessee (Sun Belt), Iona (MAAC), Akron (MAC), Oral Roberts (Summit), Davidson (Southern), South Dakota St. (Summit)

Number of Teams in Field: 68
Auto-bids: 31
At-large Berths: 37

Total Locks: 29
Teams that Should Be In: 16
Bubble Teams: 33

Estimated Size of the Bubble: 12

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