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Saturday, March 10, 2012

March 10th, 2012 Madness (updated)

The Buffaloes have found greener pastures in the Pac 12 - ask Nebraska how their
move to the BIG went. Will they finish their impressive run to the conference tournament
final today and secure an automatic bid?

This is the final weekend before the bracket is announced. I've done a comprehensive check of all the teams who hope to avoid the NIT and play for the national title.  Here are a few notes followed by how everything looks at 1:30 pm today.
  • Texas' win over Iowa St. pushes them into the "Should be In" category.  Despite a 1-8 record vs. the top 25, they're 48 in RPI meaning the committee will likely select them as an at-large team.
  • The lack of upsets in the mid-majors means the bubble remains large (or soft in you prefer ESPN's lingo) enough for multiple power conference bubble teams to qualify.  West Virginia and Seton Hall send their thanks.
  • It looks like the Pac 12 will only get two bids this year. Cal is a lock and with Arizona and Colorado playing in the conference tournament, the winner will likely steal a bid and push Washington off the bubble.
  • As much as I'd like to see Drexel (27-6) and Iona (25-7) in the tournament there's just a noticeable lack of good wins for both programs.  I can see Drexel squeaking in but Iona's loss in the second round if their conference tournament was probably a death blow.
  • I forgot to include Long Beach St. in the bubble team section earlier.  They are definitely in the hunt for an at-large bid if they fail to win their championship game tonight. Win, however, and the point is moot.
  • Kentucky's win today assured them of getting the number one seed in the Louisville region.  I don't care who they play, getting that kind of advantage in the first weekend's games makes them a lock for the Sweet 16.
  • Xavier's big win over St. Louis should be enough to get them in.  They've got quality wins but were on the bubble thanks to losing five out of six games after their brawl with Cincinnati.
  • By advancing to the championship game of the Big Ten Tournament, Michigan St. stays in the hunt for a number one seed.  I've got them #5 on the S-curve right now behind Kansas and just ahead of Missouri.  These three teams are so tightly bunched right now that their final game will determine how they're seeded.
  • Ohio St.'s win over Michigan locks them up at a 2 seed.  Duke's loss means they may have fallen behind Ohio St. on the S-curve and if OSU wins tomorrow they'll definitely be ahead of the Blue Devils.
  • Bubble teams everywhere let out a sigh of relief when Vanderbilt finished off Ole Miss today.  That's another potential bubble spot that remains open for an at-large team.
  • Keep your eye on the Pac 12 tonight.  Whichever team wins is going dancing and the loser likely goes to the NIT.
Updated at 6:25pm.

Automatic Bids (20/31)
America East: Vermont
Atlantic 10: TBD
Atlantic Sun: Belmont
Big 12: TBD
Big East: TBD
Big Sky: Montana
Big South: UNC-Asheville
Big Ten: TBD
Big West: UC-Santa Barbara
Colonial: VCU
Conference USA: Memphis
Horizon: Detroit
Ivy: Harvard
MAAC: Loyola-Md.
MEAC: Norfolk St.
Missouri Valley: Creighton
Mountain West: TBD
Northeast: Long Island
Ohio Valley: Murray St.
Pac 12: TBD
Patriot: Lehigh
Southern: Davidson
Southland: Lamar
Summit: South Dakota St.
Sun Belt: Western Kentucky
West Coast: St. Mary's

Locks (31)
Syracuse, Marquette, Louisville, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Missouri, Kansas, Baylor, Kansas St., Iowa St., Ohio St., Michigan St., Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue, Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt, Duke, UNC, Florida St., Virginia, California, Wichita St., Temple, St. Louis, New Mexico, San Diego St., UNLV

Should Be In (8)
Connecticut, Alabama, North Carolina St., Southern Mississippi, BYU, Colorado St, Texas, Xavier

Bubble (6 spots to fill)
South Florida, Seton Hall, West Virginia, Northwestern, Tennessee, Mississippi St., North Carolina St., Miami, Arizona, Washington, Colorado, Long Beach St. Drexel, Iona

Fallen Off the Bubble
Stanford, George Mason, Oregon, Marshall, UMass, Ole Miss

Ranking the Bubble (first 5 are in):
1. South Florida: 12-6 record in Big East but just 2-9 vs. top 50 in RPI
2. Long Beach St: #1 in non-conference strength of schedule but only 1-6 vs top 50
3. Seton Hall: 3-7 vs. top 50
4. North Carolina St.: finished - 0-6 vs. top 25, 2-2 vs. 26-50
5. West Virgininia: finished - 4-8 vs. top 50
6. Drexel: CAA regular season champ, conference tourney runner up 
7. Washington -finished - 69th in RPI, 0-4 vs. top 50
8. Iona: finished - 42 in RPI but 0-2 vs. top 50
9. Mississippi St.: finished 6-6 in final 12
10. Arizona: vs. Colorado in Pac12 Champ game
11. Tennessee: finished - 2nd in SEC
12. Northwestern: finsihed - 1-11 vs. top 50
13. Colorado: vs. Arizona in Pac 12 Champ game
14. Miami: finished - 58 in RPI, 51 in strength of schedule

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