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Saturday, March 10, 2012

March 10th, 2012 Madness

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.

Automatic Bids (19/31)
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.
Missouri Valley: Creighton
Mountain West: TBD
Northeast: Long Island
Ohio Valley: Murray St.
Pac 12: TBD
Patriot: Lehigh
Southern: Davidson
Southland: Texas-San Antonio
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 (7)
Connecticut, Alabama, North Carolina St., Southern Mississippi, BYU, Colorado St, Texas

Bubble (6 spots to fill)
South Florida, Seton Hall, West Virginia, Northwestern, Tennessee, Mississippi St., Ole Miss, Miami, Arizona, Washington, Colorado, Xavier, Drexel, Iona, UMass, Marshall

Fallen Off the Bubble
Stanford, George Mason, Oregon, Marshall

Ranking the Bubble (first 6 are in):
1. South Florida: 12-6 record in Big East but just 2-9 vs. top 50 in RPI
2. Xavier: vs. St. Louis in A-10 semifinal
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. Ole Miss: vs. Vanderbilt in SEC semifinal
15. Miami: finished - 58 in RPI, 51 in strength of schedule
16. UMass: vs. St. Bonaventure in A-10 semifinal

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