NCAA Tournament Watch: March 7, 2012 Bubble Watch

by Maize_in_Spartyland


Now that things are heating up in college basketball, we will be updating our Bubble Watch a few times each week.

Each of the major conferences will be covered, as well as mid-major conferences that are projected to have multiple bids. Other conferences that have teams who are “locks”, “probably in”, or have “work to do” will be noted in one group.

RPI, SOS, and record against top 50 RPI are accurate as of March 6th.

UPDATED 3/7/2012

Auto: 12

Locks: 29

Probably in: 3

Work to do: 22

Total: 44

Major Conferences


North Carolina’s thrashing of Duke at Cameron Indoor gives the Tar Heels the ACC Regular Season Title. North Carolina and Florida State will be the two and three seeds, respectively. The middle of the ACC will have some work to do in the upcoming conference tournament.


Locks: North Carolina (27-4) (14-2); Duke (26-5) (13-3); Florida State (21-9) (12-4).

North Carolina

RPI: 3

SOS: 5

Top 50 RPI: 8-4

North Carolina closed out the season with wins over Maryland and at Duke during this past week. The Tar Heels wrapped up the regular season title with an 18-point thrashing of rival Duke, in Durham. North Carolina has won seven straight and 12 of their last 13, dating back to a 90-57 beat down at the hands of Florida State. North Carolina will play on Friday against the winner of Maryland and Wake Forest.


RPI: 4

SOS: 2

Top 50 RPI: 7-5

Duke scraped by Wake Forest during the week but got drilled at home, on Senior Day, against North Carolina. Duke closed the season winning seven of their last eight, but only two of those wins came by double digits. Duke will draw the winner of Clemson and Virginia Tech on Friday in Atlanta.

Florida State

RPI: 20

SOS: 11

Top 50 RPI: 5-6

After losing both of their games a week ago, Florida State beat Virginia and Clemson this past week, solidifying their spot as the third place team in the ACC. The Seminoles have beaten North Carolina and Duke, but have questionable losses to Clemson and Boston College. Florida State will draw the winner of Miami (FL) and Georgia Tech on Friday.

Probably in: None.

Work to do: Virginia (22-8) (9-7); North Carolina State (20-11) (9-7); Miami (FL) (18-11) (9-7).


RPI: 44

SOS: 90

Top 50 RPI: 2-5

Virginia’s last four games have been decided by a combined 11 points (2-2). The Cavaliers lost at home to Florida State during the week, but beat Maryland in overtime on Sunday. Virginia has lost four of their last seven and really hasn’t looked like the team that started the season 14-1. Further, outside of the win against Michigan, the Cavs best win is against Miami (FL), and that was on January 7th. Virginia needs to win at least one game in the ACC Tournament, if not two. Virginia draws the four seed and will face the winner of North Carolina State and Boston College.

North Carolina State

RPI: 52

SOS: 27

Top 50 RPI: 2-8

North Carolina State remains here based on a pair of wins during the week, beating Miami (FL) and Virginia Tech. The Wolfpack didn’t look great in either game, but at this time of the year they just need wins. The Wolfpack are 6-6 in their last twelve games, and have a glaring four game losing streak. NC State does have wins over NC Asheville (Big South Conference Tournament Champion), Texas, and Miami (FL) (twice). NC State draws the five seed and will play Boston College in the first round. The Wolfpack need to beat the Eagles on Thursday and probably need to beat Virginia on Friday.

Miami (FL)

RPI: 50

SOS: 40

Top 50 RPI: 2-7

Miami (FL) split their games this week, losing at North Carolina State by four, but winning at home on Senior Day against Boston College on Saturday. The Hurricanes have won three of their last five and six of their last ten. They do have wins over Duke and Florida State, but losses to Mississippi, North Carolina State (twice), and Maryland. Miami (FL) has no quality wins in non-conference, either. The Hurricanes draw the number six spot in the ACC Tournament. They will play on Thursday against Georgia Tech. Miami (FL) needs to win at least one game to feel comfortable about their chances.


The Big XII wrapped up their regular season on Saturday, with Kansas earning the top spot. The Jayhawks are in excellent shape to be a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, Baylor continues their slide, and will be the four seed in the conference tournament.

Locks: Kansas (26-5) (16-2); Missouri (27-4) (14-4); Iowa State (22-9) (12-6); Baylor (25-6) (12-6).


RPI: 6

SOS: 10

Top 50 RPI: 10-4

Kansas beat Oklahoma State and Texas during the week, clinching the top spot in the conference tournament, and winning the league by two games over Missouri. Kansas has won eight straight. Kansas will draw the winner of Oklahoma and Texas A&M on Thursday.


RPI: 16

SOS: 95

Top 50 RPI: 7-3

After a controversial loss to Kansas in Lawrence, Missouri rebounded and defeated Iowa State and Texas Tech during the week. The Tigers have looked good all year long, despite back-to-back losses to the Kansas schools. Missouri takes the two seed in the Big XII, drawing the Oklahoma State and Texas Tech winner.

Iowa State

RPI: 29

SOS: 38

Top 50 RPI: 4-5

Iowa State has been somewhat of a surprise this season, thriving off of transfers, especially Royce White (Minnesota) and Chris Allen (Michigan State). The Cyclones lost at Missouri during the week, but beat Baylor. Iowa State’s win over Baylor earned them the three seed in the Big XII Tournament; they will draw Texas on Thursday. Iowa State has won four of their last five games.


RPI: 10

SOS: 19

Top 50 RPI: 7-6

After starting the season 17-0, the Bears went 8-6 down the stretch, including being swept by Kansas and Missouri. Baylor beat Texas Tech during the week, but lost at Iowa State. Baylor has won three of their last four, but lost three of four prior to that. The question is, which Baylor team will show up in the conference tournament? Baylor draws the four seed and will play Kansas State on Thursday in Kansas City.

Probably in: Kansas State (21-9) (10-8).

Kansas State

RPI: 39

SOS: 63

Top 50 RPI: 5-6

Kansas State closed the season winning four of their last five games, including wins over Baylor and Missouri. Kansas State beat Texas A&M and Oklahoma State last week. As the five seed in the Big XII, the Wildcats will draw four-seeded Baylor on Thursday. If Kansas State beats Baylor on Thursday, they will move to a lock. Otherwise, the Wildcats will have to do a bit of waiting.

Work to do: Texas (19-12) (9-9).


RPI: 58

SOS: 30

Top 50 RPI: 3-9

The Longhorns are going to be an interesting case come Selection Sunday. The ‘Horns have two bad losses – to Oregon State and Oklahoma State – and have decent wins over UCLA, Temple, Iowa State, and Kansas State. But Texas has no marquee wins and are 4-9 on games played at road and neutral courts. Texas is by no means in right now – anyone who tells you otherwise is dead wrong. Texas probably needs to be Iowa State on Thursday. A win for the Longhorns will put them in; a loss will put them squarely on the bubble, needing help from other teams.

Big East

Syracuse wrapped up the regular season title and along with it, the most wins ever in the Big East Conference. Still, the Orange aren’t going to exactly run through the Big East; they have played in 13 single digit games. Teams like Connecticut, Seton Hall, South Florida, and West Virginia can help or hurt their causes this week.


Locks: Syracuse (30-1) (17-1); Marquette (25-6) (14-4); Notre Dame (21-10) (13-5); Cincinnati (22-9) (12-6); Georgetown (22-7) (12-6); Louisville (22-7) (10-6).


RPI: 1

SOS: 33

Top 50 RPI: 9-1

Syracuse beat Connecticut and Louisville last week to win the Big East by three games. The Orange continue to win close games; they are 12-1 in games decided by ten points or less. Syracuse is virtually assured of a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament, barring the unforeseen. The Orange have won ten straight games. They will face the winner of Connecticut/DePaul and West Virginia on Thursday.


RPI: 7

SOS: 21

Top 50 RPI: 6-4

Marquette lost at Cincinnati during the week, but took care of business against Georgetown on Saturday, avenging an early season loss, and beating the Hoyas by 14. Marquette enters the Big East Tournament winning six of their last seven games. Marquette, the two seed, draws the winner of Seton Hall/Providence and Louisville on Thursday.

Notre Dame

RPI: 38

SOS: 49

Top 50 RPI: 8-5

Notre Dame started the season 3-3 before reeling off nine straight Big East wins. The Irish close the season losers of two of their last three. After being curb-stomped at Georgetown during the week, Notre Dame rebounded to beat Providence at home on Friday. The Irish enter the post-season as the three seed in the Big East Tournament, drawing the winner of Rutgers/Villanova and South Florida on Thursday.


RPI: 67

SOS: 106

Top 50 RPI: 5-4

Cincinnati’s non-conference slate leaves a lot to be desired – a loss to Presbyterian, seriously? But the Bearcats have wins over Notre Dame, Georgetown, Connecticut, Seton Hall, Louisville, and Marquette. With wins over Marquette and Villanova last week, the Bearcats are moved to a lock. Cincinnati draws the four spot in the Big East Tournament, finishing ahead of Georgetown and South Florida, whom the Bearcats tied. Cincinnati draws the winner of St. John’s/Pittsburgh and Georgetown on Thursday.


RPI: 9

SOS: 8

Top 50 RPI: 8-4

Georgetown finishes the season winning four of their last six. A crucial loss to Marquette on Saturday dropped Georgetown into a three-way tie with Cincinnati and South Florida for fourth. The Hoyas finish behind Cincinnati, due to tiebreakers, but in front of South Florida. Georgetown beat Notre Dame during the week. Georgetown plays on Wednesday against the winner of St. John’s and Pittsburgh.


RPI: 28

SOS: 16

Top 50 RPI: 5-7

A pair of losses for Louisville drops the Cards to sole possession of seventh place, losing to South Florida and at Syracuse last week. Louisville has lost four of their last six, with their only wins over DePaul in overtime and by three against Pittsburgh. Louisville is solidly in the NCAA Tournament, but their seeding is getting worse. The Cardinals will play on Wednesday, drawing the winner of Seton Hall and Providence.

Probably in: None.

Work to do: South Florida (19-12) (12-6); West Virginia (19-12) (9-9); Connecticut (19-12) (8-10); Seton Hall (20-11) (8-10).

South Florida

RPI: 43

SOS: 23

Top 50 RPI: 1-8

South Florida picked up a huge road win against Louisville during the week, but lost at home to West Virginia on Saturday. A win against the Mountaineers would likely have put the Bulls in the NCAA Tournament, but they will still have work to do. The Bulls finish the regular season winning six of their last eight. USF has wins against Seton Hall, Pittsburgh (twice), Cincinnati, and Louisville, but they do have losses to Old Dominion, Penn State, and Auburn. The Bulls need to win on Wednesday, and probably on Thursday, in order to wrap up a bid. South Florida plays the winner of Rutgers and Villanova.

West Virginia

RPI: 42

SOS: 12

Top 50 RPI: 5-7

West Virginia picked up a pair of wins last week, beating DePaul and fellow bubble team South Florida. The Mountaineers aren’t out of trouble yet, but look to have stabilized things, after losing seven of nine. West Virginia needs to win at least one to feel comfortable about their tournament chances. West Virginia will play on Wednesday against Connecticut.


RPI: 33

SOS: 3

Top 50 RPI: 5-6

Connecticut has gone 5-6 without Coach Jim Calhoun this season. With Coach Calhoun, the Huskies are 14-6 and 3-4 in the Big East. Connecticut lost at lowly Providence during the week, but beat Pittsburgh to end the regular season. The Huskies beat DePaul in the opening round of the Big East Tournament. After starting the season 12-1, the Huskies have gone 6-11 down the stretch. Because Connecticut has won only 4 of their last 13, the Huskies need to do some damage in the Big East Tournament. They likely need to win at least one more game to feel comfortable about their chances. Connecticut faces West Virginia on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

Seton Hall

RPI: 52

SOS: 54

Top 50 RPI: 5-7

Seton Hall is in serious trouble. The Pirates lost to Rutgers and at DePaul last week, damaging their NCAA Tournament profile. They rebounded by beating Providence in the first round of the Big East Tournament on Tuesday. Seton Hall has lost three of their last five games. Since January 13th, Seton Hall is 5-9. Seton Hall is behind West Virginia and Connecticut in terms of pecking order for the NCAA Tournament. Seton Hall needs to win at least one game, at least, in order to make the NCAA Tournament. The Pirates play Louisville on Wednesday.

Big Ten

Michigan State’s home loss to Ohio State and Michigan’s victory over Penn State means that Michigan State, Michigan, and Ohio State will share the Big Ten title, being seeded in that exact order. Northwestern will have some work to do in the Big Ten Tournament, as they represent the last chance for the Big Ten to get more than six bids.

Locks: Michigan State (24-7) (13-5); Michigan (23-8) (13-5); Ohio State (25-6) (13-5); Wisconsin (23-8) (12-6); Indiana (24-7) (11-7); Purdue (20-11) (10-8).

Michigan State

RPI: 5

SOS: 1

Top 50 RPI: 9-6

Michigan State wrapped up the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament last weekend, but dropped a pair of decisions to Indiana and Ohio State during the week, the latter of which ended the Spartans’ home winning streak. Still, Michigan State is in great shape for a protected seed, but may have lost the chance to score a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan State will draw the winner of Iowa and Illinois.


RPI: 13

SOS: 14

Top 50 RPI: 9-6

The Wolverines won roadies against Illinois and Penn State this past week. Michigan has won six of their last seven games, putting them in excellent position for a protected seed in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan’s win on Sunday in Happy Valley assured them of a two seed in the Big Ten Tournament. Michigan earned a share of the Big Ten title with Ohio State’s win at Michigan State on Sunday. The Wolverines will play on Friday, drawing the winner of Northwestern and Minnesota.

Ohio State

RPI: 8

SOS: 13

Top 50 RPI: 9-5

Ohio State closed the Big Ten slate strong, with a pair of road wins against Northwestern and Michigan State during the week, earning a share of the Big Ten title and the third seed in the Big Ten Tournament, to be played in Indianapolis, starting on Thursday. The Buckeyes will draw the winner of Purdue and Nebraska.


RPI: 21

SOS: 29

Top 50 RPI: 6-6

After losing three straight games in early in the Big Ten schedule, Wisconsin has won 11 of their last 14 games. Only one of those three losses down the stretch was by double digits – at Michigan State. Wisconsin beat Minnesota and Illinois this past week to lock up a first round bye. Wisconsin plays on Friday, drawing the winner of Indiana and Penn State.


RPI: 11

SOS: 27

Top 50 RPI: 8-4

Like Wisconsin, Indiana struggled beginning conference play, starting 3-4. Indiana went 9-3 down the stretch, including a season sweep of in-state rival Purdue. Indiana also beat Michigan State during the week. Despite the Hoosiers’ strong finish, Indiana will have to play on day one of the Big Ten Tournament – but this is a team no one wants to face. Indiana will draw last place Penn State.


RPI: 40

SOS: 26

Top 50 RPI: 6-8

Purdue split their games this week, beating Penn State, but falling to Indiana. Indiana swept Purdue this season. The Boilermakers will play Nebraska in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament. They need to avoid a loss in order to guard against being dropped down.

Probably in: None.

Work to do: Northwestern (18-12) (8-10).


RPI: 40

SOS: 9

Top 50 RPI: 1-10

Northwestern lost a heartbreaker at home to Ohio State during the week, but won at Iowa over the weekend. The split keeps Northwestern on the “work to do” line, for now, but they are clearly going to need to win a few in the Big Ten Tournament. The Wildcats have lost four of their last seven and are 2-10 against potential NCAA Tournament teams. Northwestern plays Minnesota on Tuesday in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. The Wildcats will need to beat the Gophers and probably need to beat Michigan.


California continues to be the class of the PAC-12, while Washington’s case to be included in the NCAA Tournament continues to become weaker and weaker. The PAC-12 looks like a three bid league, at most, maybe even as few as two bids. A lot depend on what will happen in the PAC-12 Tournament. Colorado’s recent play has left them off the Watch, while Arizona’s loss to lowly Arizona State kicks them out.


Locks: None.

Probably in: None.

Work to do: Washington (21-9) (14-4); California (23-8) (13-5); Oregon (22-8) (13-5).


RPI: 60

SOS: 88

Top 50 RPI: 0-5

Based on their play down the stretch, you would think the Huskies were a lock to be in the NCAA Tournament – Washington is 12-3 in their last 15 games. Washington has a pair of bad losses – to South Dakota State and UCLA – but other than that has played decently well. Problem is Washington hasn’t beaten anyone. Their best win is against Oregon. Washington’s lack of good wins mean they need to win at least two in the PAC-12. The Huskies will be the x seed and play the winner of Washington State and Oregon State, on Thursday.


RPI: 37

SOS: 98

Top 50 RPI: 0-3

California played one game this week. The task was simple – win and the Golden Bears win the regular season. Cal lost to their rivals, falling to Stanford by five in the Bay. Now California will be the number two seed in the PAC-12 Tournament and lost any standing they previously had. California is probably in the best shape of all PAC-12 teams for an at-large bid, but can’t afford anymore slip ups. California will play the winner of Stanford and Arizona State.


RPI: 55

SOS: 100

Top 50 RPI: 0-5

Oregon closes PAC-12 play on a high note, beating Colorado and Utah this past weekend. Still, Oregon hasn’t done enough to move up another line, largely based on how poor their conference is. The Ducks have only one bad loss – at Colorado – and have played well since Devoe Joseph became eligible (18-6). Oregon has won six of their last seven games. Like Washington, Oregon needs to win two games in the PAC-12 Tournament. They will be the three seed, playing the winner of Colorado and Utah, on Thursday.



Kentucky completes a perfect record in SEC play, finishing six games ahead of Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Florida. The trio finished 10-6 in the SEC after Tennessee’s win over Vanderbilt and Florida’s loss to Kentucky. Because Tennessee was 3-1 against Vanderbilt and Florida, they will be the two seed. Vanderbilt was 2-2 against the others, taking the three seed and Florida will be the four seed based on a 1-3 mark against the others.

Locks: Kentucky (30-1) (16-0); Vanderbilt (21-10) (10-6).


RPI: 2

SOS: 44

Top 50 RPI: 8-1

Kentucky has won 22 straight games since a one-point loss at Indiana. Kentucky picked up a pair of wins over Georgia and Florida last week, completing a perfect mark in the SEC. Kentucky will be the top seed in the SEC Tournament. They will play on Friday against the winner of LSU and Arkansas.


RPI: 26

SOS: 6

Top 50 RPI: 4-4

Vanderbilt beat Florida during the week, but fell at rival Tennessee on Saturday. Vanderbilt ends up in a three-way tie for second place. Vanderbilt will be the third seed in the SEC Conference Tournament, behind Kentucky and Tennessee. The Commodores have won four of their last six, but losses to Kentucky and Tennessee allowed the Vols to move ahead of their in-state rival. Vanderbilt will play on Friday against the winner of Mississippi State and Georgia.

Probably in: Florida (22-9) (10-6).


RPI: 27

SOS: 39

Top 50 RPI: 3-5

Florida lost to Vanderbilt and Kentucky this past week, falling into a tie with Vanderbilt and Tennessee. Florida has now lost three straight and five of their last eight. They will be the four seed in the SEC Tournament and will play the winner of Alabama and South Carolina. If Florida wants to have any shot at a protected seed, they need to win on Friday and play close, if not win, on Saturday (likely against Kentucky).

Work to do: Tennessee (18-13) (10-6); Alabama (20-10) (9-7); Mississippi State (21-10) (8-8); Ole Miss (18-12) (8-8).


RPI: 74

SOS: 32

Top 50 RPI: 4-7

Tennessee will be an interesting case come Selection Sunday. The Vols have freshman Jarnell Stokes to thank if they hear their named called next Sunday. Tennessee is 9-5 with Stokes, compared with 9-8 without him. Make no mistake, Tennessee has some bad losses – Oakland, Austin Peay, Charleston, and Georgia – but the Vols have beaten NC Asheville (Big South Regular Season and Tournament Champions), Florida (twice), Connecticut, and Vanderbilt. With wins over LSU and Vanderbilt this past week, Tennessee has won eight of their last nine and four straight.  The Vols are 4-10 in road and neutral site games; they need to improve that. Tennessee will be the two seed in the SEC Conference Tournament and will draw the winner of Ole Miss and Auburn. The Vols will need to win two to be comfortably in the NCAA Tournament.


RPI: 32

SOS: 17

Top 50 RPI: 2-5

Alabama’s four game winning streak ended on Sunday, falling to Ole Miss by nine in Oxford. Alabama beat Auburn during the week. The Tide have won seven of their last ten games and are in the best shape for an at large bid of teams in this grouping. Alabama has wins over Wichita State, Purdue, Virginia Commonwealth, and Detroit. Problem is, Alabama lost to Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Florida – all of the top SEC teams. Alabama is 7-7 on road and neutral floors. Alabama will play South Carolina on Thursday. The Tide need to beat the Gamecocks and may need to beat Florida in order to not have to be worried about their NCAA Tournament chances.

Mississippi State

RPI: 64

SOS: 73

Top 50 RPI: 3-4

Mississippi State potentially saved their season with a win at South Carolina during the week, beating the Gamecocks by two at the Colonial Life Center. The Bulldogs then beat Arkansas to finish the regular season, on Saturday. Prior to their wins this past week, Mississippi State had lost five straight, including losses to Georgia, LSU, and Auburn. Mississippi State has wins over West Virginia, Detroit, Tennessee, Alabama, and Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs play 11-seed Georgia in the first round of the SEC Tournament. Mississippi State must beat Georgia on Thursday, and may need to beat Vanderbilt on Friday.

Ole Miss

RPI: 51

SOS: 37

Top 50 RPI: 2-7

Frankly, the Rebels are going to need to make the SEC Conference Championship in order to have a legitimate argument for an at-large bid. But based on the way the SEC Tournament sets up, the task is do-able. The Rebels beat Arkansas and Alabama during the past week to continue their winning streak. Ole Miss has won three straight after losing five of their previous six. The Rebels have wins over Miami (FL), Mississippi State, and Alabama, but losses to Middle Tennessee, LSU, and Auburn. The Rebels play Auburn in the first round and, if they win, Tennessee in the second round. Ole Miss will need to win both and their semifinal game to maintain a spot on the Watch.

Mid-Major Conferences

Atlantic 10

Temple is the top seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament and won’t play until Friday. Saint Louis, Xavier, and St. Bonaventure enjoy the same rest, while Tournament contenders Dayton and Saint Joseph’s play on Tuesday. Saint Louis moved to a lock with wins over Xavier and Duquesne during the week.

Locks: Temple (24-6) (13-3); Saint Louis (24-6) (12-4).


RPI: 12

SOS: 55

Top 50 RPI: 3-1

Temple beat Massachusetts and Fordham this past week to wrap up the Atlantic 10 regular season crown by one game over Saint Louis. The Owls have won 13 of their last 14 games, with the lone loss to bubble team Saint Joseph’s. Temple will play on Friday against the winner of Massachusetts and Duquesne.

Saint Louis

RPI: 30

SOS: 101

Top 50 RPI: 0-2

Coach Rick Majerus’s health is a concern, as he was hospitalized over the weekend, but the Billikens are in solid shape for the NCAA Tournament. Saint Louis picked up wins over Xavier and Duquesne during the week and have now won eight of their last nine. They now have wins over Washington, Xavier (twice), Dayton, and Saint Joseph’s. As the two seed, the Billikens will play on Friday against the winner of La Salle and Richmond.

Probably in: None.

Work to do: Xavier (19-11) (10-6); Saint Joseph’s (20-12) (10-6).


RPI: 57

SOS: 45

Top 50 RPI: 2-7

Ever since the Eruption in the Emerald City, Xavier is 11-11. X lost at Saint Louis during the week, but won at home against Charlotte. Xavier has some bad losses – Hawaii, La Salle, and Massachusetts – but does have some good wins – Vanderbilt, Purdue, Cincinnati, Saint Joseph’s, and Dayton. Still Xavier is going to need to shake off their recent play, 6-6 in their last 12. Xavier plays the winner of Dayton and George Washington. Xavier needs to win their Friday game and probably needs to win their semifinal game, likely against Saint Louis, if they want to be NCAA Tournament-bound.

Saint Joseph’s

RPI: 52

SOS: 50

Top 50 RPI: 2-4

Saint Joseph’s suffered a setback during the week, as they lost at St. Bonaventure in two overtimes. The Hawks beat Charlotte on Tuesday night. St. Joe’s is 7-4 in their last eleven. They do have quality wins over Drexel, Creighton (Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Champions), Dayton, and Temple, but losses to American, Charlotte, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Richmond. The Hawks will need to beat St. Bonaventure to have a legitimate shot at a NCAA Tournament shot. Playing close against Temple, or beating the Owls, wouldn’t hurt, either.


Old Dominion and George Mason were eliminated in the CAA semifinals. This seems like a good time to eliminate the Patriots (the Monarchs were eliminated with their regular season loss to Drexel). VCU’s win on Monday earns them the automatic bid, while Drexel will have to wait until Sunday to determine their fate. Our feeling? Drexel is in, but its going to be close.

Auto: Virginia Commonwealth (28-6) (15-3).

Virginia Commonwealth

RPI: 45

SOS: 176

Top 50 RPI: 1-1

VCU beat Northeastern, George Mason, and Drexel to win the CAA. The Rams are one of the hottest teams in the nation, boasting wins over South Florida, Akron, and George Mason (twice). VCU has won 16 of their last 17 games. The Rams are in great position to be a better seed than last season.

Locks: None.

Probably in: None.

Work to do: Drexel (27-6) (16-2).


RPI: 68

SOS: 226

Top 50 RPI: 1-3

Drexel’s profile has been steadily improving and its almost impossible to imagine a scenario where the Dragons wouldn’t make the NCAA Tournament. That said, VCU is in better shape than the Dragons, and they beat Drexel on Monday to win the CAA auto bid. Drexel had beaten NC Wilmington and Old Dominion to make the CAA Championship. They have wins over Virginia Commonwealth, George Mason, Old Dominion (twice), and Cleveland State, but they have bad losses to Norfolk State, Delaware, and Georgia State. Drexel had won 19 straight games, the second longest winning streak in the nation, behind Kentucky, prior to Monday. They will clearly be on the bubble due to a subpar strength of schedule.

Conference USA

Conference USA is probably a two-bid league with a pair of losses by Tulsa during the week. Marshall has also been eliminated with a loss. UCF is looming, but will need to win on Wednesday, first.

Locks: Memphis (23-8) (13-3).


RPI: 18

SOS: 22

Top 50 RPI: 2-6

Memphis picked up wins over UCF and Tulsa to win the outright Conference USA regular season title. Memphis hosts the Conference USA Tournament this week and will be the tournament’s top seed. The Tigers will play the winner of UTEP and Houston on Thursday.

Probably in: Southern Miss (24-7) (11-5).

Southern Miss

RPI: 17

SOS: 62

Top 50 RPI: 3-2

Southern Miss is likely a NCAA Tournament, but failed to lock up a bid with a loss to Marshall on Saturday; Southern Miss beat SMU during the week. The Golden Eagles have wins over Colorado State, New Mexico State, Ole Miss, South Florida, and Memphis, but have losses to Denver, UAB, Houston, and UTEP. Southern Miss plays the winner of Rice and East Carolina. A win on Thursday likely locks up a bid, but they would be advised to make the C-USA Championship.

Work to do: None.

Missouri Valley

There was a collective sigh of relief from Bubble Nation on Sunday, as Creighton took down Illinois State on Sunday in Arch Madness. Missouri Valley will be a two-bid league.


Auto: Creighton (28-5) (14-4).


RPI: 23

SOS: 115

Top 50 RPI: 4-2

Creighton won three games in three days to win the Missouri Valley’s automatic bid. The Jays knocked off Drake, Evansville, and Illinois State during the Missouri Valley Tournament, and have now won seven straight. Creighton owns wins over San Diego State, Northwestern, Wichita State, Illinois State (three times!), and Long Beach State.


Locks: Wichita State (26-4) (16-2).

Wichita State

RPI: 15

SOS: 64

Top 50 RPI: 2-3

Wichita State’s early exit from the Missouri Valley Tournament will hurt their seeding in the NCAA Tournament, no doubt, but they are still a lock for the NCAA Tournament. The Shockers beat Indiana State in the quarterfinals, but fell to Illinois State in the semifinals. The Shockers have wins over UNLV and Creighton.

Probably in: None.

Work to do: None.

Mountain West

San Diego State won a shared regular season title in the Mountain West Conference, beating out New Mexico for the top spot based on their record against TCU.


Locks: San Diego State (24-6) (10-4); New Mexico (24-6) (10-4); UNLV (25-7) (9-5).

San Diego State

RPI: 25

SOS: 69

Top 50 RPI: 5-5

San Diego State closed the regular season on a four game win streak, beating Boise State and TCU this past week. The Aztecs are the top seed in the Mountain West Conference, which will be held in Las Vegas this week. Fortunately for the Aztecs, they wouldn’t have to play the host school until the finals. San Diego State plays Boise State on Thursday.

New Mexico

RPI: 34

SOS: 110

Top 50 RPI: 4-3

New Mexico ends the regular season with wins over seventh and eighth place Air Force and Boise State. The Lobos have won 9 of their last 11 games. New Mexico will draw Air Force in the first round, on Thursday.


RPI: 14

SOS: 53

Top 50 RPI: 6-5

UNLV takes sole possession of third place after splitting their games this last week. The Rebels continued their road woes, losing at Colorado State, but beating Wyoming in Las Vegas. The Rebels have wins over Nevada, North Carolina, California, New Mexico, Colorado State, and San Diego State. UNLV plays Wyoming on Thursday.

Probably in: None.

Work to do: Colorado State (19-10) (8-6).

Colorado State

RPI: 19

SOS: 7

Top 50 RPI: 3-5

We said last week that a 500 record in the Mountain West wouldn’t be good enough for an at-large bid. The Rams heard our warning and promptly beat UNLV and Air Force during the week. Colorado State has won four of their last five, including games against New Mexico and UNLV. Colorado State has wins over Montana, Colorado, San Diego State, New Mexico, UNLV, but they do have losses to Stanford, Wyoming, TCU, and Boise State. The Rams are 3-9 on road and neutral courts. A loss for Colorado State in the first round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament likely puts them on the wrong side of the bubble. Colorado State plays TCU on Thursday. A win over TCU and a strong showing against San Diego State should be enough.

West Coast

And then there were two. Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga squared off on Monday night at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas to decide the West Coast Conference’s automatic bid, with the Gaels emerging victorious. Both teams are likely to be in the field of 68, but will BYU join them?

Auto: Saint Mary’s (27-5) (14-2).

Saint Mary’s

RPI: 31

SOS: 127

Top 50 RPI: 4-3

Saint Mary’s beat San Francisco and Gonzaga to win the West Coast Conference. The Gaels have now won four straight games and 17 of their last 20 games. The Gaels needed the automatic bid to avoid putting their fate in the Committee’s hands, but were probably still in regardless.

Locks: Gonzaga (25-6) (13-3).


RPI: 22

SOS: 86

Top 50 RPI: 4-4

Gonzaga beat Brigham Young by 19 in the conference semifinals – probably their best performance on the season; the Bulldogs fell to Saint Mary’s twice this season. Despite the loss, Gonzaga will be in the field of 68. They have wins over Notre Dame, Xavier, Saint Mary’s, Brigham Young (twice).

Probably in: None.

Work to do: Brigham Young (24-8) (12-4).

Brigham Young

RPI: 47

SOS: 107

Top 50 RPI: 2-6

BYU is in a bit of trouble. The Cougars have lost twice to Gonzaga in the past two weeks. The Cougars beat San Diego before falling to Gonzaga in the conference semifinals. The Cougars have wins over Nevada, Oregon, and Gonzaga, but have losses to Utah State and Loyola Marymount. The Cougars are going to have to wait until Selection Sunday until their fate is determined, and will need teams like Temple and Memphis to win their conference tournaments.

Other Conferences

Besides Creighton, three automatic bids went out this past weekend. A few more went out on Monday and Tuesday. Will there be any bid stealers in the coming days? Its looking unlikely, at least for mid-majors as things have held true to form.

Auto: Belmont (27-7) (16-2 Atlantic Sun); Davidson (25-7) (16-2 Southern); Detroit (22-13) (11-7 Horizon); Harvard (26-4) (12-2 Ivy); Loyola (MD) (24-8) (13-5 MAAC); Murray State (28-1) (15-1 Ohio Valley); NC Asheville (24-9) (16-2 Big South); South Dakota State (27-7) (15-3 Summit); Western Kentucky (15-18) (7-9 Sun Belt).


RPI: 63

SOS: 207

Top 50 RPI: 1-3

After being neck and neck most season with Mercer, Belmont avoided the Bears, who lost Friday to Florida Gulf Coast, on Mercer’s home floor. Belmont beat Jacksonville, East Tennessee State, and Florida Gulf Coast to win the Atlantic Sun’s automatic bid. Belmont has won 14 straight games. Belmont played a tough non-conference schedule, facing Duke (lost by 1), Memphis (lost by 16), and Middle Tennessee (won by 3 and lost by 3). Belmont will be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament.


RPI: 66

SOS: 178

Top 50 RPI: 1-3

Davidson clinched their league leading 11th bid to the NCAA Tournament with a victory over upstart Western Carolina in double overtime on Monday night. The Wildcats also had to get past Furman and Elon en route to their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2009, with Stephen Curry. Davidson has beaten Kansas and played Duke (lost by 13) and Vanderbilt (lost by 4) in the regular season.


RPI: 128

SOS: 169

Top 50 RPI: 0-2

The Titans are back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999, beating host, and top seeded Valparaiso on Tuesday night. Detroit had to beat Loyola (IL), Youngstown State, and Cleveland State to reach the finals. The top two seeds, Valparaiso and Cleveland State, only had to win two games to win the Horizon League automatic bid, while the remaining teams had to win four games. Detroit beat St. John’s earlier in the season, Butler (twice), and Cleveland State. UD also played Notre Dame (lost by 6), Akron (lost by 18), Alabama (lost by 8), and Mississippi State (lost by 5). Dick Vitale’s former team will be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament.


RPI: 36

SOS: 195

Top 50 RPI: 1-1

Harvard finished the season with a 12-2 record in the Ivy League. They clinched the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with Pennsylvania’s loss to Princeton, at L. Stockwell Jadwin Gymnasium. Because Harvard and Pennsylvania had split the regular season, Harvard and Penn would have had to play a 15th game on a neutral court. Harvard beat Florida State and Central Florida during the non-conference schedule.

Loyola (MD)

RPI: 78

SOS: 218

Top 50 RPI: 1-2

Only three teams from the MAAC have not made the NCAA Tournament since 1994. Marist made the tournament last in 1987, Rider in 1994 (as part of the Northeast Conference), and Loyola (MD). The Greyhounds, led by Coach Jim Patsos, won the MAAC bid, defeating Niagara and Siena, before knocking off Fairfield on Monday night. The Greyhounds enter the NCAA Tournament having won 12 of their last 15 games. Loyola beat Iona and has losses to Wake Forest (by 12) and Kentucky (by 24).

Murray State

RPI: 24

SOS: 184

Top 50 RPI: 3-0

Murray State saved a number of teams on the bubble from panicking. The Racers took care of business in the OVC Tournament, beating Tennessee Tech and Tennessee State. Murray State’s lone loss on the season was to Tennessee State, at home. The Racers beat San Francisco, Southern Miss, Dayton, Memphis, and Saint Mary’s in non-conference play. Murray State has the potential to be a protected seed, depending on how things shake out over the coming week.

NC Asheville

RPI: 113

SOS: 225

Top 50 RPI: 0-2

The Bulldogs will return to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season and third time in five years. Coach Eddie Biedenbach has his Bulldogs playing well – NC Asheville has won 18 of their last 21 games. NC Asheville beat High Point, Charleston Southern, and VMI en route to the Big South Tournament Title. The Bulldogs have had their share of tough games, playing North Carolina State (lost by 9), North Carolina (lost by 24), Connecticut (lost by 10), and Tennessee (lost by 4) in non-conference.

South Dakota State

RPI: 49

SOS: 192

Top 50 RPI: 0-0

South Dakota State was roughly 50 miles away from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the site of the Summit League Conference Tournament. The Jackrabbits used a virtual home court to their advantage, defeating IUPUI, Southern Utah, and Western Illinois, winning their first ever bid to the NCAA Tournament. They entered Division I basketball in 2007 and have been a member of the Summit League ever since then. The Jackrabbits have wins over Washington and Oral Roberts.

Western Kentucky

RPI: 193

SOS: 142

Top 50 RPI: 0-5

Western Kentucky had an interesting season, to say the least. The Hilltoppers are the first team this season to make the NCAA Tournament with a losing record, by use of an automatic bid. The ‘Toppers started the season 5-11 and fired then-head coach Ken McDonald, after a controversial ending to the Louisiana-Lafayette game, a game where the Cajuns had six players on the floor during the game winning shot in overtime. Assistant Ray Harper took over Western Kentucky and went 6-7 before the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The Hilltoppers won four games in four games to seal up the automatic bid, WKU’s first auto bid since 2009. WKU has won seven of their last eight games. The Hilltoppers played LSU (lost by 19), VCU (lost by 5 and 23), Murray State (lost by 11), Louisville (lost by 10), and Middle Tennessee (lost by 8, but won by 6). WKU is likely headed for a play-in game, based on their record, but there is a potential argument that the ‘Toppers should be a better seed.

Locks: None.

Probably in: None.

Work to do: Nevada (25-5) (13-1 WAC).

Nevada – Nevada is the WAC regular season champ. Should the Wolfpack make the conference finals and fall to New Mexico State, they have at least an argument for an at-large bid. Nevada beat New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech last week – they have now won six of their last seven games.


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  1. Pingback: New Content Added: Week of March 4th | beforevisitingthesportsbook

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