NCAA Tournament Bubble Teams – 02/19/07
The Friars missed one of their best chances to separate themselves from the bubble by losing late at Notre Dame on Thursday. PC may need to sweep their remaining regular-season games (home to West Virginia and Syracuse, at South Florida and St. John’s) to get serious consideration.
It was an excellent week for Purdue, which blew out Indiana in its only game and saw two of its better non-conference victims (Virginia and Missouri) notch excellent wins of their own. Everyone is talking about Illinois as the fourth Big Ten team at the moment, but the Boilermakers have just as easy as schedule as the Fighting Illini down the stretch, have a better non-conference profile, and own a win in the teams’ only matchup this season. A likely opening-round Big Ten matchup could be an elimination game for these two teams.
A shocking home loss to Missouri Saturday dropped the Cowboys to 5-6 in the Big XII. A rematch of OSU’s only win in its last five games takes place in Lubbock next Saturday, and the Cowboys desperately need to prove to the Selection Committee that they can win a game on the road against a quality opponent (they’re 0-5 in true road games this year).
Georgia learned that it had lost leading scorer Mike Mercer for the season after a knee injury last Saturday, but still won games at South Carolina and at home against Kennesaw State and Auburn. (The Kennesaw game was a poor piece of scheduling, as it actually lowered the ‘Dawgs RPI by several points.) Georgia now must prove to the Selection Committee that it can continue to win without Mercer, and will be one of the most talked-about bubble teams on Selection Sunday with a probable 9-7 SEC record.
The Seminoles are another team whose Tournament hopes took a significant blow due to injury news this week. Starting PG and second-leading-scorer Toney Douglas broke his right hand ten days ago and is likely out for the rest of the season. It’s entirely possible that the Seminoles could win their three remaining games leading into the NCAA Tournament (at Maryland, home to NC State, at Miami), which would give them a .500 record and a likely at-large bid. Anything less makes an at-large bid questionable, as FSU is currently 0-4 in its last four.