Conference matters for teams on bubble (cont.)
Locks: Kansas, Kansas State
There's some separation starting to show between the top and bottom six in this league. A&M continues to shine while Baylor consolidated its position.
SHOULD BE IN
Usually, a win over Nebraska doesn't move the meter, but for sliding Texas (20-5, 6-4, RPI: 28, SOS: 48), any win was welcome, especially one by 40 points. The Horns needed to rebuild some confidence after losing at home to Kansas and with trips to Mizzou, Texas Tech, A&M and Baylor still remaining. The good news: Eight (Big 12 wins) is enough. Bad news: The Horns may not get any more than that.
Texas A&M (17-6, 7-3, RPI: 13, SOS: 10) got it done by a bucket at Texas Tech for its sixth win in seven games. Now the Aggies get a "hey, look at us!" shot at Kansas tonight in College Station. Eleven league wins looks very possible, and that would get A&M a very good NCAA seed.
IN THE MIX
Baylor (18-5, 6-4, RPI: 18, SOS: 26) picked up a pair of vital two-point wins, at Nebraska and then home to Mizzou. The Bears are creeping closer to the category above, and look good for at least 9-7, which will be plenty to see them into the NCAAs.
Missouri (18-7, 6-4, RPI: 44, SOS: 58) could end up anywhere from 7-9 to 11-5 with its remaining schedule. There are home shots against Texas and Kansas and a trip to K-State sprinkled in between some winnable games, albeit with two of those away from Columbia.
Oklahoma State (17-5, 5-5, RPI: 37, SOS: 44) beat Oklahoma and could win enough games to get to 8-8, but with the lack of quality W's aside from the upset at K-State, where would that leave the Pokes? Their computer profile continues to mask the lack of true profile quality at this point.
Texas Tech (16-8, 4-6, RPI: 36, SOS: 19) really needed to beat A&M at home. Now the Red Raiders are at Baylor before hosting Texas and K-State. They'll either be roasted or right in the mix in another 10 days.
Locks: Syracuse, Villanova, Georgetown, West Virginia
West Virginia really should have closed out Pitt in regulation last Friday, but instead let the Panthers force overtime and eventually lost in three extra sessions. With a pair of drops this week, the Mountaineers will fall in seeding, but nowhere close to out of lockdom yet. Georgetown lost a bad game at Rutgers, too.
SHOULD BE IN
Pittsburgh (18-6, 8-4, RPI: 14, SOS: 9) showed a ton of resolve in getting revenge against West Virginia. The next three are tough (at Marquette, Villanova, at Notre Dame), but the last three are soft. One or two more wins will see them move up into the lock category, especially if they come soon.
IN THE MIX
Marquette (16-8, 7-5, RPI: 56, SOS: 53), the official team of Bubble Watch, now has won five straight after trouncing South Florida. If they can handle Pitt at home on Thursday, the longstanding 11-7 Big East prediction may actually end up being low. Every game left is winnable and the win over Xavier is gaining strength. This team is going to make the NCAAs.
Cincinnati (15-9, 6-6, RPI: 46, SOS: 18) got a crucial win at UConn and now has two more huge games this week, at USF and home to Marquette. The last three (at West Virginia, Villanova, at Georgetown) are brutal, so this stretch and the game vs. DePaul are virtual requirements, despite two good nonleague wins.
Louisville (16-9, 7-5, RPI: 48, SOS: 8) finally got a big win -- and it was a really big win, at Syracuse on Sunday. If the Cards were going to split this week, this was the right way to do it. A 10-8 finish suddenly is stronger than it looked a week ago. There's still work to do, though. That starts this week with "gotta get 'em" games home to Notre Dame and then at DePaul.
South Florida (15-9, 5-7, RPI: 55, SOS: 36) got Gus Gilchrist back, but didn't get it done at Marquette. With home dates with Cincy, St. John's, Providence and UConn plus a trip to DePaul, 10-8 is still possible.
Notre Dame (17-9, 6-7, RPI: 78, SOS: 59) more or less tore up its at-large chances by losing at Seton Hall and then home to St. John's. Way too many bad losses, far too few good wins.
Connecticut (14-11, 4-8, RPI: 59, SOS: 3) is more or less done, likely needing a 5-1 close -- with four of those on the road -- to have any hope.
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