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Bubble Watch: 2/26/08

by David Mihm | February 26th, 2008

First, the recap:

Big Ten: Ohio State. The Big Ten’s weekly entrant in this column is one loss away from dropping out of the bracket. OSU is an abysmal 1-8 against the RPI Top 50. Fortunately, or unfortunately, for them they still have three opportunities to improve that record: @Indiana, H-Purdue, and H-Michigan State in the last two weeks of the regular season.

Pac 10: Arizona Wildcats. Arizona actually got a better split in Washington by losing to the Huskies but beating the Cougars. Folks, there is no way the #4 non-conference RPI team is not getting in with a .500 Pac-10 record. That means a win against Southern Cal at the McKale Center on Thursday and another in Corvallis next week.

SEC: Mississippi State Bulldogs. MSU is probably two wins away from lock status, despite losing to rival Ole Miss last week. They’re still only 2-7 against the RPI Top 50, but a win in either Nashville or Gainesville will erase any doubt still lingering in the Committee’s minds.

Big XII: Oklahoma Sooners. Got a critical season sweep of Baylor last week, but still not in the clear. The remaining schedule is not exactly easy, except for the home finale against Mizzou.

Big East: West Virginia Mountaineers. This team’s profile looks a lot like Syracuse’s 2007 profile to me. Two quality wins at home in early January, but no bad losses against a soft Big East schedule. The ‘Eers should take their first two contests in the Big East Tournament very seriously to avoid being passed by other Bubble teams.

ACC: Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The loss to UNC over the weekend put the Deacs at just 2-8 on the road–enough to keep them out of the bracket…for now. The home wins over BYU, Miami, and Duke are all going to get better, and with a road sweep of GaTech and VaTech, Dino Gaudio’s team may be Dancing.

A-10: Massachusetts Minutemen. One cannot underestimate the importance of UMass’ win at URI last week. Now back above .500 in the Atlantic 10, Travis Ford’s team has a fairly unstressful slate of games remaining and should head into the A-10 Tournament on a six-game winning streak.

Other: South Alabama. If any team’s fans have reason to gripe about this week’s bracket, it is those from USA. There simply should not be three seeding lines difference between Davidson and the Jaguars, although I suspect Bob McKillop’s team is playing slightly better ball right now. USA is dicey as an at-large, but looks good to win the Sun Belt Tournament regardless.

And now for this week’s teams:

People know where I stand on Ohio State, the Big Ten’s only Bubble team, so we’re going to add a second “wildcard” the rest of the way in 2008.

Pac-10: Arizona State Sun Devils. Herb Sendek’s team notched a very important blowout of Washington last weekend to get back to .500 in Pac-10 play. Despite a terrible RPI that has come about as a result of a dismal non-conference slate, ASU would be tough to deny if they can keep an even number of wins and losses. Impressive victories over two protected seeds (Xavier and Stanford) separate the Sun Devils from the rest of the Bubble.

SEC: Kentucky Wildcats. UK keeps racking up the impressive home victories in SEC play (Arkansas was the latest victim), but its non-conference RPI remains mired below 200 (the ‘Cats best victory prior to SEC play is #252 Liberty). A mediocre 3-6 R/N record is also troublesome. But completing a season sweep of #1 seed Tennessee in Knoxville Sunday would leave NO doubt that this is a different Wildcats team in March than it was in December.

Big XII: Texas A&M. Just when it looked like the Aggies were out of the woods, they head right back to the forest. Now 6-6 in conference play, the Aggies could very easily end up 7-9. Still remaining are trips to Oklahoma and Baylor, and a home finale against Kansas. And the Aggies’ only non-conference win over an at-large team may be slipping away as well, as Ohio State’s own chances of making the Tournament are plummeting.

Big East: Villanova Wildcats. Normally, I’m a completely unbiased observer, but it would be a terrible shame if the late-game call in D.C. affected a team’s entire postseason outlook. Jay Wright’s team dropped a critical home game to Marquette last night, and without a win at Louisville this weekend, their chances of an at-large bid are not good. But with a win, and two more to close the season, the ‘Cats would finish with a 7-3 record in their last 10 games.

ACC: Maryland Terrapins. Maryland has exactly one win over a proven Tournament team. Luckily for the Terps, it’s an awfully big one, and it happened in Chapel Hill. Now at 7-6 in the ACC, the Terps need to sweep their remaining slate (@Wake Forest, H-Clemson, @Virginia) to feel safe on Selection Sunday.

A-10: Dayton Flyers. Dayton will be one of the toughest teams for Committee members to vote on in three weeks. First, the good: non-conference wins AT Louisville, and over Pittsburgh and Akron, leading to a #6 non-conference RPI. Now, the bad: no Tournament-caliber wins since January 9, three sub-100 losses, and a 5-8 conference record. Even taking Chris Wright’s injury into account, the home game against Saint Joseph’s is a must-win, and a trip to the A-10 final is essential to be considered a strong at-large candidate.

Wildcard 1: Kent State Golden Flashes. As I sort of predicted three weeks ago, Kent got both the matchup and the win it needed in the BracketBuster. Now a strong 7-3 against the RPI Top 100, KSU needs to avoid bad losses at Bowling Green or at home to Miami. As long as the Flashes make the MAC Final, even a loss at rival Akron in the last game of the regular season would not doom their at-large hopes.

Wildcard 2: New Mexico Lobos. There’s a lot of buzz around Steve Alford this week, and it’s not just surrounding rumors about the open coaching position at Indiana. New Mexico has played itself back into Bubble consideration with a 9-4 Mountain West record, and home games still upcoming against UNLV and BYU. If UNM can win both, they’ll be a strong candidate. 1-1 would put them in the projected bracket next week, but probably not the most important one on Selection Sunday, unless they can beat either one AGAIN at the MWC Tournament.

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68 Responses to “Bubble Watch: 2/26/08”  

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  1. John Says:

    @ David Mihm. The MAC is interesting. I think they along with the Missouri Valley, came out the biggest winners overall of this year’s BracketBusters. Ohio has a better profile than Akron, but the Zips are ahead of them in the standings. I know Akron plays both Ohio and Kent State. So my question is this for all 3 teams:

    Kent State: They either win out and make the MAC final or lose a close one to Akron and they get an at-large?

    Akron: They sweep Ohio and Kent State, make the MAC final, and they are in good shape?

    Ohio: They defeat Akron, get to the MAC final and they get an at-large?

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  2. Joe Says:

    Big weekend for the Pac-10. The LA schools at the Arizona schools. The Cats are better at home even though they have had better road wins this year. I don’t think they can beat rival UCLA at McKale. It would be nice if they steal a win like the Dawgs did in Seattle against the Bruins.

    The USC-ASU game will be a bubble game. Even though I think both teams have good resumes and will ultimately make the tournament.

    I’m still surprised at Florida in, instead of Oregon. Oregon also has a great chance to get into the tournament. Sweeping Arizona this year and that wins at K-State and vs. Stanford is still good. That loss at St. Mary’s and at Nebraska is not looking so bad now.

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  3. Christian Says:

    The Pac-10 is looked at as being the best of all conferences. I find it troublesome that there are so many teams muddle in the middle. Some people look at that as a strength of a conference. I see it as a conference’s mediocrity. Everyone seems to love Arizona. The Wildcats are so talented have have good wins — but just as many bad losses. Oregon has beaten Arizona twice, as has Arizona State. If Arizona is so good, a 2-2 record in those games would be the floor. The fact that, outside of UCLA and Stanford, no team has been dominant in the conference makes me wonder how the Pac-10 will do in the big dance. For one, I would much rather see a team like Davidson or Kent State or Southern Illinois in the tournament over a team in the Pac-10 like Cal or Oregon that has just as many bad wins as good wins.

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  4. Joe Says:

    @ Christian

    Oregon plays Arizona in Eugene this next weekend. Please look at the schedule. Oregon could sweep Arizona, but they both could split. Arizona has 10 top 100 wins and a great RPI and SOS. They only need 2 more wins for a lock.

    USC destroyed Southern Illinois in Carbondale. Arizona won at Houston and at UNLV. For being quite mediocre within the conference, they seem to do damage against some of the good mid-majors Davidson will probably win the Southern Conference. Kent State played UNC well, but didn’t win. Their best non-conference win is probably at St. Mary’s this past Bracket Buster weekend.

    It all depends on what you prefer. Butler losing at home to Drake did not get them any more respect. Even though it was a good game.

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  5. Dex Says:

    Is Florida not a bubble team? Wow. Let’s take a little look at what the Gators have going for them: home wins vs. Vandy (who’s best win is at home vs. S. Alabama) and Arkansas (who is a stunning 7-5 in SEC play). As far as this year goes, that’s about it. You could say that they lost all of their best players and that they’ve won two national championships in a row, but who cares? Ohio State lost Oden, Cook, and Conley, should they get a free pass?

    Now let’s take a gander at the negatives:
    1. Strength of Schedule of 114 (solid)
    2. Best pre-conference foes: Florida St. and Ohio St. (lost both of those)
    3. Best and ONLY road wins: Alabama (tied for last in the conference) and S. Carolina (tied for second to last in the conference)
    4. loss to LSU (also tied for last in the conference)

    Of their remaining games, they’ll beat Georgia and maybe Miss. St. They better have one heck of a run in the SEC tournament. Should they make the field? No. Will they? Sadly, they probably will. I don’t think the Committee can keep a team out that has a chance to three-peat. I think they’ve done well with what they’ve got to work with, but to say that they should be judged differently because they lost their starters is something that a loyal fan would say, not someone thinking objectively.

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  6. John Says:

    @ Joe. The USC-Southern Illinois game was in Anaheim.

    @ Dex. Yes. As much as I think that Ohio State was overrated last year and they annoy me, yes they should get a free pass. However there is a difference:

    Florida beat a Top 15 team this year(Vanderbilt) by 22, and that team just defeated the #1 team in the country. Ohio State has had 7 chances(vs Texas A&M, @Butler, North Carolina, @ Purdue, Indiana, @Michigan State) they lost ALL of those games. The Big Ten at the top is much stronger than the SEC, so therefore Ohio State had more chances, yet did nothing with them.

    The question I would like anybody to answer is if any team other than St. Mary’s or Gonzaga wins the WCC Tournament, does the WCC get 3 teams in?

    And there is a mid-major that really does not get the attention it deserves. Let’s see if you guys can guess:

    Record: 22-3
    RPI: 46(ahead of Bubble Teams like Syracuse, Villanova, Ohio State, Oregon.)
    Key Wins: @ Oklahoma, @ San Diego(a team Kentucky could not beat AT HOME.)

    This is not overwhelming, yet I think they should be in the discussion if they fail to win their conference tournament.

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  7. Larry Says:

    WOW!! Tennessee loses to Vandy!!

    So much for staying on Top the rest of the Season. So who is # 1 now??

    Kansas?? Texas?? UCLA?? or will it be UNC or DUKE.

    So no I still do not think Florida should make the Tourney. If they do, fine. They may win the first round but will lose the 2nd unless the precious Committee gives them two patsies!

    And I do not think Ohio St. should make it either. They had their run last year. Let’s move forward.

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  8. John Says:

    @ Larry. I think the new #1 will either be North Carolina or Memphis. I

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  9. John Says:

    Whoops. Hit Submit at the wrong time. I was merely stating the facts(how good does that Vanderbilt win look now?) All I want is two wins in the tournament. That would give us the longest winning streak in the tournament(14) since the great UCLA teams of Walton and Alcindor. And, Larry, can you guess who you think the mystery mid-major team is?

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  10. Bryce Says:

    @ John:

    You’ve gotta be talking about SFA.

    And they do rock. They’d be projected in without that loss to Nicholls ST.

    Realistically, though, I think SFA needs to win out until the Southland Championship, and then lose close to SHSU to get an at-large bid. And that still might not be enough

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  11. Matt Says:

    Arizona State just needs to find a way to split at home and split on the road and you are right, there is no way they get left off. How about they just take 3 of the 4 so there isn’t any question of if they get it in.

    Can the Devils get in with a win over UCLA on Thursday even if they lose out?

    http://devilscountry.wordpress.com/

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  12. John Says:

    @ Bryce. Yup, you got it. It is Stephen F. Austin. That is exactly the plan. I think they’ll win the Southland Tournament, but in case they don’t, the only team they could absorb a loss to in the Southland final would be Sam Houston State. And everybody talks about ”watch out for the bubble teams from major conferences pulling off upsets”. No. It’s more like watch out for the mid-majors that are locks to get upset in their conference tournament. Teams like Drake, Butler, Saint Mary’s, Gonzaga and Kent State. And one thing I think will help SFA is that the Southland final is on Sunday at 1PM, a few hours before the Selection Show. At that point, unless some unexpected team is in the SEC, Big Ten, ACC or Big 12 Championship Games, there could be a spot available for SFA, provided they don’t get blown out in the Southland final. All I know is it would be hard to keep a 27-4 team out of the NCAA Tournament. Also, does anybody know why the Southland stopped hosting the championship game on the highest seed’s home floor?

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  13. Christian Says:

    @ John – I’m no expert but if another team – say San Diego – won the WCC Tournament, i think the WCC WOULD get 3 teams in the field. Although, I think Gonzaga COULD be the odd team out. The Zags are a great story — one that is getting pretty old now though. Every year, they play a tough nonconference schedule and maybe pick up a solid win (this year, that would be @Connecticut before the Huskies got hot!). However, other than that win, what has Gonzaga done? Lost to Texas Tech, won at St. Joes, lost to Washington State, lost at Oklahoma, lost to Tennessee, beat Utah and beat Georgia and lost to Memphis). Now, there are some solid games in there, but the only wins aren’t overly impressive. And, an 11-1 record in the WCC isn’t that special when the 1 loss is to, in all reality, the only other team that’s tournament worthy. If Gonzaga loses to St. Mary’s in the rematch and doesn’t play the Gaels again in the WCC final, I could see a case where Gonzaga falls off the bubble. Anyone else think that’s possible?

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  14. Dex Says:

    Christian, I agree. I think that they probably need to win vs. St. Mary’s. The game is in Spokane so there is a good chance that will win, but if they don’t, then they may be in trouble.

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  15. Joe Says:

    With that Tennessee loss to Vandy, Florida controls it’s own destiny in the SEC. The team that lost to Gardner-Webb and San Diego at home and got blown out by Vandy on the road.

    Wow.

    If that’s any indication about the weakness of the SEC this year, I don’t know what is.

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  16. Joe Says:

    With that Tennessee loss to Vandy, Kentucky controls it’s own destiny in the SEC. The team that lost to Gardner-Webb and San Diego at home and got blown out by Vandy on the road.

    Wow.

    If that’s any indication about the weakness of the SEC this year, I don’t know what is.

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  17. Eric Says:

    What do you think of Southern Illinois. They have been looking really strong lately and their 74-49 win over Nevada was very impressive. Their road record isn’t very good, but you have to remember that they have beat Mississippi State, Drake, Nevada, and St. Mary’s. They also played Butler down to a last second shot. Their strength of schedule is one of the top in the nation. Do they have to win the MVC tournament to get in?

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  18. John Says:

    @ Christian. Yes. If that happened, I think Gonzaga could and would be left out. Remember, the last time Gonzaga lost in the WCC Tournament was the 2003 championship game to……….San Diego in the Jenny Craig Pavilion(site of this year’s WCC Tournament.) I also agree they are getting old. Other than the Sweet 16 appearence in 2006, they have not really performed in the tournament.

    @ Eric. Yes. I think they do have to win the MVC Tournament, or at least get to the final. That Bradley win last night kept the Salukis on the bubble(and took the Braves off of it.) Their non-conference resume is impressive, but they did also get blown out on a neutral floor by USC and lost at home to Indiana.

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  19. Terry Says:

    I see SIU is on your “last four out” list but you don’t mention them on your bubble watch…odd….show me another team thats 9-8 in top 100 games and not IN.

    SIU should be ahead of Maryland, UMass, Syracuse, Florida, Western Kentucky, Arkansas, Rhode Island, Dayton, California, UAB, Houston, New Mexico, and Kentucky.

    Also…@ Joe….The USC-SIU game was a “Neutral Site” game….though SIU was considered home due to a higher seed. The game was actually played in Anaheim (30 minutes from USC)…so it was more like a home game for USC than any “Neutral Site” game in history. The game was sold out….I wonder where all those people came from? Not Carbondale…that’s for sure.

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  20. Dex Says:

    I’m starting to wonder how good of a seed Drake can get. If they don’t win the MVC tournament (which I think SIU has a very good shot at, being the #2 or #3 seed), I don’t think that they could be seeded higher than an 8 or 9. Maybe I’m wrong but their only really good win is at Butler. Illinois St., SIU, and Creighton are solid but the rest of the conference is pretty weak. What kind of seed do any of you think they could snag?

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  21. John Says:

    @ Dex. As high as 5 if they win the MVC Tournament, as low as 8 if they fall in the 1st Round.

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  22. Jake Says:

    @David Mihm I’m a little curious how Villanova sneaked into the bubble. They’re 4-6 against the RPI top 50, 60th. Only 2 100 or lower RPI losses. They seem to be a lock in my mind if they beat SOuth Florida and Providence or if they can sneak one out against the Cardinals.

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  23. Jake Says:

    I don’t even see why Butler gets a 6. They are 1-1 against the top 5, They haven’t beaten a team in your projected bracket and don’t play another.

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  24. John Says:

    @ Jake. Until last week, Butler was in or around the Top 10 for about half of the season. How can they be that low? On your Villanova point: Are you serious?

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  25. Mike Says:

    Interesting discussion about the mid majors. I’ve got a few questions surrounding them as well.

    1) How about Illinois State in the MVC? They already have 20 wins and are second in the conference (not S. Illinois) at 10-7.

    2) Another one nobody is talking about is Wright State- Sitting at 22 wins, and a 2nd place finish in the Horizon League (only behind Butler). By the way the two meet on Thurs. on Wright’s court. If they pull out the victory, shouldn’t they be feelin’ bubbly.

    3) The loser of the Sun Belt conference. W. Kentucky & S. Alabama are mentioned here, and most presume that W. Kentucky will win and that S. Alabama is bubbly, but what would happen if S. Alabama wins? Should W. Kentucky be an at-large?

    @ John- I too like S.F. Austin, but due to the split leagues, it isn’t SHSU that will pose a problem it is the Southland conference powerhouse Lamar (12-1 in conference play)- interestingly their only loss was AT S.F.A!!!

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  26. Mike Says:

    @ Dex

    Drake: As I see it if they don’t secure the MVC, they could fall all the way down to 8. With the win they could only see up to a 5, more likely a 6. There are a lot better teams out there, and Drake is VERY defeatable in conference play.

    You could also make a case for Bradley as a decent team in the MVC. I agree that the 4 you mentioned are the best in the conference (with Creighton ahead of S. Illinois) but Bradley has been taking advantage of every oppurtunity to play spoiler this year in the conference with wins AT Drake and VS Creighton. Potential sleeper in the MVC tourney- dangerous team!

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  27. Larry Says:

    I think every game played from now until SECLECTION SUNDAY there are teams fighting to get into the NCAA Tournament.

    Over the last few games I think these teams are playing there way OUT of the Tournament.

    OKLAHOMA
    OHIO ST
    RHODE ISLAND
    ARKANSAS
    MARYLAND

    (Arizona and Ariz St) Both teams should not make it.

    These teams are making there case to put slotted in:
    Southern Illinois
    Kentucky
    West Viriginia
    Stephen F. Austin
    Western Kentucky

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  28. Christopher Mackinder Says:

    Guys, I have to say that the more I watch Kentucky, the more I feel the Wildcats are going to make the tournament, right or not.

    It appears Big Blue will finish 12-4 in the SEC – only behind Tennessee and tied with Vandy Miss State. The only out-of-conference loss that is terrible is Gardner-Webb (and yes, that is pretty bad). But the losses to UConn, IU, at Houston, UAB, Louisville are all either tourney-bound teams or good bubble teams.

    In conference, Kentucky has slayed Tennessee and Vanderbilt and is 3-3 on the road (that should end up 4-4 w/ a loss @ Tennessee and win @ S.Carolina). I’m the biggest proponent of NOT looking at a team’s great conference season and, assuming UK finishes 2nd, saying “This team has to be in… it finished 2nd in the SEC!” while all of a sudden ignoring the nonconference season.

    I parallel this UK team with MSU’s team in 2004. That was the year Izzo nonconference schedule included 6 marquee games (all losses for Sparty) at Kansas, N-UK, at UCLA, at Syracuse, vs. Duke, N-Oklahoma. MSU also lost to a ranked Wisconsin team 3 times that year as well at a ranked Illinois team. Looking over that schedule, I’m NOT sure how the Spartans not only made the tournament, but how MSU received a No. 7 seed. MSU’s best win was either at Minnesota or at Ohio State. It lost ALL marquee games that season. Granted, there wasn’t a Gardner-Webb style loss, but MSU finished 12-4 in the Big Ten that season (1 game out of a tie for first) and, despite a 5-6 nonconference record, entered the NCAA Tournament with an 18-11 record.

    Assuming UK finishes 2-1 (loss to Tenn, win vs. SC and Florida — and i’m not saying this will happen, just predicting), that would put UK at, guess what, 18-11 overall, 12-4 in the SEC w/ the SEC Tourney upcoming. (In the Big Ten Tourney, MSU won in the quarterfinals before losing in the semis to Wisconsin for the 3rd time that season).

    Now that you have the stats, let the Kentucky debate rage on some more… I’m thinking that Kentucky NOT only will make the tournament this year, but might be in the 8-10 range…. (And this is as an objective post as they come)

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  29. Larry Says:

    My Selections:
    #1′s Tennessee, Texas, Memphis, UCLA

    #2′s N. Carolina, Duke, Kansa, Xavier

    #3′s Wisconsin, UCONN, Vanderbilt, Georgetown

    #4′s Indiana, Purdue, Notre Dame, Louisville

    #5′s Stanford, Mischigan St. Wash St.

    #6 Texas A & M, Butler, Clemson, Marquette

    #7′s St.Mary’s USC, Drake, Baylor

    #8′s Gonzaga, Kentucky, Miss St., Florida

    #9′s UNLV, Kent St, South Alabama, Villanova

    #10′s Davidson, VCU, West Virginia, Arizona

    #11′s Ariz St.,BYU, St. Joseph’s, Arkansas

    #12′s S. Illinois, Syracuse, Umass, Western Kentucky

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  30. Joe Says:

    @ Larry

    Kentucky and Florida are more deserving of births than Arizona and ASU? I seriously hope you took into account SOS, RPI, home/road wins, neutral road wins and conference strength. If not, thanks for the laugh.

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  31. LARRY Says:

    all four teams are in my selections.

    however I think one of the two Arizona schools will play themselves out of the tournament. My bet is Arizona.

    That entire Conference is up and down. Some say cuz it is strong across the Board. Well, we will see about that soon enough.

    I will be willing to bet that the BIG EAST will have more teams in the Elite 8 than the Pac 10.

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  32. John Says:

    Guys, if you look at the projected bracket, it’s not the Arizona schools vs Kentucky and Florida. It’s more like Kentucky against Rhode Island and Ohio State and West Virginia. The reason for that is that the other three you are arguing about are in whereas Kentucky is not.

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  33. Larry Says:

    I do not think Rhode Island or Arizona should make the Tournament.
    I do like Houston. They are getting no respect.

    Kentucky needs to just keep winning and they will be in, pretty much the same with Arizona, Ariz St, Ohio St. and Florida.

    Every game is their elimination game.

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  34. John Says:

    @ Larry. I agree on Arizona but disagree on Rhode Island. I think Ohio State is finished.

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  35. Joe Says:

    @ Larry and John

    I guess if Arizona having 10 top 100 wins isn’t good enough for the Selection Committee. Then that leaves these teams out with less than 10 top 100 wins (Drake, Georgetown, Wisconsin, UConn, Louisville, Marquette, Michigan State, Indiana, Butler, Notre Dame, Pitt, Purdue, Miami (FL), Kent State, UNLV, St. Mary’s (CA), Oklahoma, South Alabama, Baylor, West Virginia, etc.)

    Arizona beat Houston at Houston. Arizona should not be punished for playing a tough schedule.

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  36. Larry Says:

    There are four solid teams from the Pac 10. UCLA, Stanford, USC and Wash St. (Ariz and Ariz St should be bubble teams)

    Dayton, Oklahoma, Wake Forest and UMASS should not make it in. Not should New Mexico.

    Maryland needs to win both games vs Clemson and Virginia. Would make them 10-6 Conference and 20-11 overall.

    Miami/Fl needs to Finish 3-0 to be 9-7 in Conference and 22-8 overall. I am not a believer in Va Tech.

    Atlanyic 10 Teams-Umass, Dayton and Rhode Island. Nothing to get too excited about with any of them. Rhode Island….maybe!

    West Virginia is in a tough spot. 3 games left and play at Uconn, Pitt at home then St. Johns. Must win 2 of 3 at least.

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  37. Dex Says:

    Larry, I disagree about UMass. If I had to choose between RI and UMass, UMass would definitely make it over the Rams. UMass won at Syracuse, at BC, vs. Houston, and has beaten RI twice. They’ve had a pretty tough schedule considering how solid the A10 is throughout the whole conference, 7-6 isn’t too bad. The A10 should get 4 teams as of right now: Xavier, UMass, and probably St. Joe’s and Rhode Island. As for Arizona, I’m seeing their chances dwindle every day. But, I think the Pac 10 will get 6: UCLA, Stan., Wazzou, Arizona, USC, and Zona St. The strength of Arizona’s and the Sun Devils’ schedules will get them through. Also, I think Kentucky makes it.

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  38. Steve Says:

    How can you have Syracuse in over WVU? That makes no sense at all.

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  39. John Says:

    @ Joe. I understand that Arizona defeated Texas A&M and Washington State twice. They also got swept by Arizona State and Stanford. I’ve always been critical of Arizona being in the tournament every year, but this is the best schedule they’ve played in a while. Also, do you count close losses? I don’t.

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  40. Sam Says:

    @Steve: I agree that it makes no sense to have Syracuse in over West Virginia. I’d like an explanation on that. Last year, they were both left out of the tournament even though it was clear to me that they both should’ve been in.

    @David Mihm: Another thing that makes no sense to me is how American is projected to play in the opening round game??? They have an RPI of 111, which is better than two of the projected 15 seeds. They lead the Patriot league, which is 16th in the RPI, better than the conferences for any of the projected 14, 15 and 16 seeds. And they won at Maryland, the 4th team in the ACC. Although I’ll agree that Maryland wasn’t playing nearly as well then as they are now, most of the 15 and 16 seeds lack a key non-conference win. So what makes American not as good as the other 15 and 16 seeds?

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  41. John Says:

    @ Sam. It’s pretty simple. The two lowest rated RPI teams usually come from the SWAC and MEAC, but for obvious reasons, the commitee will never put them in the Opening Round Game for fear of backlash. It just so happens American is the unlucky team to get stuck in the game(much like Niagara last year.)

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  42. d. Higgins Says:

    You left Gonzaga off the team profiles. Georgia Tech is included?

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  43. Larry Says:

    With Kentucky’s big man sidelined for the year they are gonna have a hard time getting in the tournament.

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  44. John Says:

    Congratulations to Cornell. They are the Ivy League Champions for 2007-08. It’s the first time in 20 years that a team other than Pennsylvania and Princeton have represented the Ivy League in the NCAA Tournament. They are also the 1st team into the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

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  45. Dex Says:

    I’d like to see the Ivy League adopt a conference tournament. Not having one takes a little of the mystery away from the whole seeding/selection process. Just my opinion.

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  46. John Says:

    @ Dex. I’d like to see that as well, but I think this year not having one helps. Cornell was by far and away the best team in the Ivy League, that it wouldn’t be right if they didn’t go. It’s not like the other one-bid conferences(Ohio Valley, SWAC, etc.) where all the teams are pretty much even. It’s also nice to see a different Ivy team in.

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  47. Dex Says:

    John, in certain situations I think that it would be best to not have conference tournaments, like when teams such as Davidson or Cornell dominate their conferences. Although I nearly always root for the underdog if I do not have a personal interest in one of the teams, I hate to see a team that deserves a bid lose to a team that just happens to rally at the end of the year. I agree, I’m happy that Cornell is in, they deserve it.

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  48. Eric Says:

    @ Larry,

    While you say with Kentuckys big man sidelined do you mean the commitee wont let them in b/c of it, or are you saying they wont win enough games going down the strech?

    The reason I ask people this is b/c if injuries are being taken into account at the end of the season then they should be taken into account at the begining of the season as well i.e. Gar Webb and San D with two returning starters out with injury for 11 and 14 + games (jasper & meeks) during our whole non conf sche. Patterson did not play against Houston as well.

    So with saying all of this UK has really showed they can play with who ever is on the floor i.e TN @ TN. I think it says a lot of for any team considering the point production they lost due to injury and still are in the hunt of getting in.

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  49. Dex Says:

    What about St. Joe’s after the win last night? I think if they win out in the regular season and win 1 or 2 in the A10 tourney, it’s going to be hard to keep them out. And I’ve seen a couple places where VT is on the bubble. I think that is rediculous. The bubble’s weak, but not that weak.

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  50. John Says:

    I’m not sure how we move behind Southern Illinois if they didn’t play a game. What I am hoping for is SIU to lose to Bradley today in the MVC quarterfinals or we win @ Kentucky, seeing as how we cannot be left out for Kentucky if we sweep them. I always hear about how teams get credit for good, close losses. i want that for this last game vs Tennessee. One final thing, and I ask this to all who read these comments:

    Big South Championship Game
    Winthrop at North Carolina-Asheville 11:30am ESPN2

    I’m going with Asheville. Who’s your pick?

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  51. Kevin Says:

    Kentucky should be in at 11-4 in conference even with a loss to Florida @ 8-7. Ky’s overall record includes early losses that came with a new coach and significant injuries. They have really overcame some major adversity. Don’t forget KY nearly swept Tenn. Unfortunately, now they will have to play Florida @ home without Patterson. Obviously they are in with a win vs Fla. But if they lose to Florida and can get one win as a 2 or 3 seed in the SEC tourney, they shoudl still get in. At 8-7 in the SEC, Florida is out unless they win the Tournament.

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  52. Kevin Says:

    One more thing .. SIU over Kentucky? … SIU is 3rd @ 11-7 in the MVC!

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  53. Joe Says:

    @ SEC fans

    Kentucky has not beaten one top 50 RPI team on the road. Their last 10 wins have not been against top 50 RPI opponents. The SEC is not good.

    Ole Miss, Florida and Kentucky need a lot of help. The loser of Florida and Kentucky will clearly be out. While the others will need to make a run in the SEC tournament or win it to be in March.

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  54. Will Says:

    Sure, UK does not have any true road wins over top 50 teams. But neither does Mississippi State, West Virginia, New Mexico, Saint Joseph’s, Illinois State, Arkansas, VCU, Gonzaga or St. Mary’s. Admittedly those teams have better road wins than UK and a few have good neutral wins.

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  55. Will Says:

    Think about this when you’re filling out your bracket as well:

    Vanderbilt’s best road/neutral win is over Utah State.

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  56. John Says:

    @ Kevin. If we sweep Kentucky, how can they make it over us? And injuries and a new coach are no excuse.

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  57. Dex Says:

    It’s more of an excuse than losing all of your players to the draft.

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  58. Ryan Says:

    @Dex. I think if Saint Joseph’s can make it to the semi-finals and can win @ Dayton today, it will be tough to keep them out. The A-10 looked very hopeful to send 3-4 teams before the inner-conference cannibalism started. With SJU splitting games with both Xavier and Temple, and sweeping UMASS, it’s a shame they couldnt get away with a win against Gonzaga or Syracuse.

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  59. John Says:

    It’s not about Florida losing players. I was merely trying to say that it happens and you play the hand that is dealt to you. It really doesn’t matter because if we win at Rupp tommorrow, we’re in.

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  60. Dex Says:

    Good Luck. I don’t see that happening.

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  61. Dex Says:

    Bubble teams that are in: Kentucky, Syracuse (if they win a game or 2 in the Big East tourney), Miami, Maryland (same as Syracuse except ACC of course), UMass, Villanova, Baylor, Oklahoma, TX A&M, UNLV, Arizona St., Arizona (unless they lose in 1st round of Pac 10 tourney), Arkansas, W. Kentucky or S. Alabama

    Bubble teams that are out: UAB and Houston (unless they get to CUSA championship but one will probably get in), Ohio St. (unless they beat MSU and win a game or 2 in the Big 10 tourney), WV, Akron, SIU, Creighton, Illinois St., New Mexico, Oregon, Florida, Ole Miss, VT, Wake, St. Joe’s (unless get to A10 championship), Temple and Dayton and R.I. (same as St. Joe’s), George Mason.

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  62. bill Says:

    anyone have a preliminary bracket suggestions?

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  63. Will Says:

    Provided UConn bests Cincinnati in Stoors tonight, it will set up a huge bubble matchup in the first game of the Big East Tournament: Villanova vs. Syracuse.

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  64. Dex Says:

    Tough loss for VCU. Best wins: Houston, at Maryland, at Bradley, and at Akron. All solid wins but no great wins. SOS of 151. It’s tough to give the Colonial two bids since every team in the conference besides George Mason is terrible. In my opinion, the Rams are probably one of the last teams out. Also, I think UK could get a 7, 8, or 9 seed, what do y’all think.

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  65. Dex Says:

    David, I have to question your projection that S. Alabama will win the Sun Belt Conf. They’ve beaten W. Kentucky twice in close games, do you really think that they’ll beat the Hilltoppers again? I just don’t see that happening. Also, you have Temple in over St. Joe’s? I don’t know about that. They’ve both beaten Xavier, and they split the games between them. I think it’s hard to choose between the two, but I think you have to, because they both won’t get in. St. Joe’s has a sweep over UMass, who I have as in no matter what, and a 22 point neutral win over Villanova (I know it was technically a home game but they didn’t play it at the Liacouras Center). I think you have to give it to the Hawks.

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  66. San Diego Says:

    Looks like someones bubble has burst.. San Diego upsets Gonzaga to win the WCC Title.

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  67. Nick Says:

    Oregon is in… nuff said.

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  68. John Says:

    @ Nick. Oregon needs to beat Washington State to solidify their spot. They did get swept by UCLA, Stanford and Washington State and lost at Saint Mary’s. Their best non-conference win is @ Kansas State. Also, pay attention(hopefully, you will) to the MAC Tournament. If Kent State loses, then another bubble team gets pushed to the NIT. Let’s not rush to put the Ducks in just yet.

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