Wednesday, March 5, 2008
NCAA Bubble Watch: 3/5/08
Texas A&M (21-8, 7-7) v. Baylor (20-8, 8-6): This is easily the biggest game in the Big 12 this week. A&M has played themselves onto the bubble as they have lost 4 of their last 5. The Aggies RPI is 48 and only have a 74 strength of schedule rank. A&M finishes with Kansas, which makes this game a MUST win against the Bear. If Baylor can win tonight they will add a huge notch to what already is a pretty solid tournament resume.
(4) Tennessee (26-3, 12-2) v. Florida (21-8, 8-6): While Florida has won 21 games, the reigning back-to-back champs have a strength of schedule of 104 and are 60 in the RPI. The SEC is not as strong a conference as it usually is. Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi and Arkansas are all looking good for the tournament. It seems unlikely that the SEC will get 5 or more teams in the NCAAs. They really only have one solid win, over Vanderbilt. Florida may have to knock off Tennessee and Kentucky in their last two games to ensure a tournament bid.
Oklahoma (19-10, 7-7) v. Oklahoma State (16-12, 7-7): OU is looking good for the tournament right now. But it would be really nice to have a win over a solid OSU team to pad the resume. The COwboys have been hot of late as they are making a very late run at the post season. A win against the Sooner may put this marginal team near the front of the bubble teams. OSU really needs to win their last 2 games and maybe 1 or 2 in the Big 12 tournament, but a win over the Sooners will be a nice step forward.
South Florida (12-17, 3-13) v. Villanova (17-11, 7-9): Nova needs to finish 9-9 in the Big East and win some in the Big East tournament to make the Dance. That means a win over S. Florida and Providence are a must. Nova is definitely on the outside looking in. They are going to have to win tonight and hope for a great showing in the conference tournament to make it to March.
Central Florida (16-12, 9-5) v. Houston (21-7, 10-4): The Cougars are a very controversial team on the bubble. They have a great record but play in a really weak Conference USA. Their SOS is a unflattering 152 and a 60 RPI. Tom Penders and the Cougs beat Kentucky earlier in the year but lost to a hapless East Carolina team last game. UH is right on the cusp of the tournament, but need to finish really strong to get a look. With Memphis a lock and UAB looking okay, it is unlikely that CUSA will get 3 teams in the tournament.
Boston College (13-14, 4-10) v. Miami (FL) (20-8, 7-7): Right now the Hurricanes and former Texas assistant, Frank Haith, are looking really good for a NCAA bid. They got a big win over Virginia and have wins over Clemson, Georgia Tech, Duke and Maryland. Unless Miami losses to both BC and Florida State to close the year, look for them to be in the Big Dance.
Syracuse (17-12, 7-9) v. Seton Hall (17-12, 7-9): Both of these teams are in serious trouble of missing the NCAAs. In fact, they most likely will not get in. The loser of this game is absolutely eliminated from consideration. Both have to win and and then have A LOT of work to in the Big East tournament. This game will go further in eliminating a candidate than it will in getting someone in the tournament.
Kentucky (16-11, 10-4) v. South Carolina (13-15, 5-9): It has been a tale of two seasons for Billie Clyde and the Wildcats. They have made up for a horrendous early schedule with a great conference record. Kentucky is most likely not getting in, especially with top player Patrick Patterson out for the season. If Kentucky has any hope they will have to win tonight and against Florida to end the season. A 18-11, 12-4 Wildcat team will have to get a long look from the NCAA selection committee. The fact that they are Kentucky won't hurt either.