Posted: Monday February 20, 2006 2:51PM; Updated: Monday February 20, 2006 6:14PM
Ben Jacobson and Northern Iowa, fresh off a double-overtime win over Bucknell, are a lock for a bid on Selection Sunday.
Locks (1): Memphis (24-2, No. 5)
Bubble (2): UAB (19-5, No. 53), Houston (18-6, No. 55)
Projected bids (3): Memphis, UAB, Houston
Synopsis: Tom Penders' Cougars, which knocked off LSU and Arizona early in the season before hitting the skids, have rolled off eight straight wins to return to consideration. They have a big game this weekend, though, at 17-6 UTEP.
Synopsis: Missouri State helped itself tremendously with a Bracket Buster win at Horizon leader UW-Milwaukee, while Southern Illinois' home loss to Louisiana Tech may prove costly. Bradley is sneaking into the picture but will likely need a deep run in the conference tourney.
Bubble: Air Force (21-5, No. 49), San Diego State (18-7, No. 59), BYU (16-7, No. 57)
Projected bids (1): San Diego State
Synopsis: Conference teams' weak nonconference schedules are hurting the whole league's bubble chances. For instance, Air Force merits consideration simply due to its overall record but has had no chances in league play to earn a win over an RPI Top 50 opponent.
Projected bids (4): UCLA, Arizona, Washington, Cal
Synopsis: Cal, which beat Arizona but lost to lowly Arizona State over the weekend, is slipping into dangerous RPI territory but does remain tied for first in the conference. Stanford, at 13-10 and No. 87, has slipped off the bubble entirely.
Synopsis: Arkansas helped itself tremendously with a win over Florida on Saturday. Alabama (8-4 in league play) and Kentucky (7-5) are inching closer to lock status. Meanwhile, Vandy and South Carolina have fallen to 5-7 in the conference and will need huge finishes.
Synopsis: The Wolf Pack had a big week, beating WAC second-place Louisiana Tech and MAC co-leader Akron. Utah State, which won at Nevada, was the last team left out of my bracket. The Aggies get another shot at the Wolf Pack at home Saturday.
Projected one-bid conferences (with current leaders):
America East: Albany (16-9, No. 130) Atlantic Sun: Belmont (15-10, No. 147) Big Sky: Northern Arizona (19-8, No. 128) Big South: Winthrop (18-6, No. 74) Big West: Pacific (18-7, No. 114) Horizon: Wisconsin-Milwaukee (18-8, No. 54) Ivy: Penn (16-7, No. 104) Metro Atlantic: Iona (20-5, No. 68) MAC: Kent State (19-7, No. 81) Mid-Continent: IUPUI (18-7, No. 126) MEAC: Delaware State (15-11, No. 134) Northeast: Fairleigh Dickinson (17-8, No. 125) Ohio Valley: Murray State (20-5, No. 79) Patriot: Bucknell (21-4, No. 40) Southern: Davidson (16-9, No. 124) Southland: Northwestern St. (18-7, No. 71) Sun Belt: Western Kentucky (20-5, No. 42) SWAC: Southern (13-11, No. 149) WCC: Gonzaga (22-3, No. 9)
In conferences with a tie for first, the team that won the head-to-head meeting was used as the automatic qualifier. In the event of a season split, the team with the better RPI rating was used.