Posted: Monday January 31, 2011 3:00PM ; Updated: Monday January 31, 2011 4:30PM
Andy Glockner
Andy Glockner>BUBBLE WATCH

Mid-majors smiling after nationwide weekend of carnage (cont.)

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Big Ten

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Michigan State's home loss to Michigan certainly didn't help its tourney résumé.
AP

Locks: Ohio State

Ohio State played almost perfectly to thrash Purdue and far from it in escaping at Northwestern. That's the nature of this season across the nation. The bigger question: Will Michigan State's continued struggles put the Spartans in bubble trouble?

SHOULD BE IN

Purdue (18-4, 7-2; RPI: 10, SOS: 19)
After running into Ohio State's "perfect game," the Boilers beat Minnesota at home and sit second in the league. The only game this week is at Wisconsin. A win there and we might as well lock them up, even without any truly good wins yet.
GW: None, really
BL: None

Wisconsin (15-5, 5-3; RPI: 27, SOS: 41)
Wisconsin was the latest top-half team to fall into the Penn State trap, but the schedule now slants heavily for the home-happy Badgers. Purdue and Michigan State are on tap for a chance to get right.
GW: at Marquette, Boston College (N), N.C. State?
BL: None, really

Illinois (14-7, 4-4; RPI: 40, SOS: 24)
Indiana's playing better, but there's no excuse for the Illini to lose to the short-handed Hoosiers, even in Bloomington. This is now a crucial week, with Penn State at home and at Northwestern. With road games left at Minnesota, MSU, Ohio State and Purdue, a split this week could create unexpected trouble. Illinois doesn't have a ton of quality wins.
GW: Maryland (N), UNC, Gonzaga (N)? (plus MSU and Wisconsin at home)
BL: Illinois-Chicago (N), at Indiana

Minnesota (16-5, 5-4; RPI: 21, SOS: 29)
The Gophers couldn't handle their first road test without Al Nolen and we'll have to wait and see if they do any better than last season without real point guard play. Can feisty Indiana catch them looking ahead to the weekend showdown with unbeaten Ohio State?
GW: North Carolina (N), West Virginia (N)
BL: Virginia

IN THE MIX

Michigan State (12-8, 5-4; RPI: 35, SOS: 5)
Whewwww. After losing at home to Michigan, the Spartans escaped Indiana by a point in OT to avoid DEFCON 3-style panic, but things are not going well in East Lansing. A trip to Iowa is up next and looks like a virtual must-win with a six-pack of stern tests to follow. I know the bubble is weak, but MSU is starting to test its limits.
GW: Washington (N)
BL: Michigan

Penn State (12-8, 5-4; RPI: 46, SOS: 6)
That controversial out-of-bounds call at Purdue is looming larger now that the Nittany Lions picked off yet another quality foe at home, beating Wisconsin. The next game, at Illinois, is really big. A win there gives PSU some road chops and also paves the way for 10-plus league wins.
GW: MSU, Illinois and Wisconsin -- all at home in league play
BL: Maine

Pac-10

Locks: None

Wazzu's mild upset of Washington is good for the league, which has four NCAA candidates and a good race on its hands now.

SHOULD BE IN

Washington (15-5, 7-2; RPI: 23, SOS: 36)
The Huskies couldn't win at Wazzu in their only game of the week and dropped into a tie with Arizona for first place. They also still have to travel to Arizona, so this could get interesting.
GW: None, really (at UCLA and USC?)
BL: None

IN THE MIX

Arizona (18-4, 7-2; RPI: 22, SOS: 44)
The 'Cats handled the L.A. schools at home to make it six wins in their last seven. Now five of the next seven are on the road, where they're 2-2 so far in league play. Without big-time wins, quantity and league placement remain important.
GW: at N.C. State?
BL: at Oregon State

Washington State (15-6, 5-4; RPI: 74, SOS: 107)
Wazzu got the big home win it needed, taking out rival Washington Sunday night. The Cougs still face road trips to Washington and Arizona in a stretch of five road games in seven on tap, but this was a big step toward the NCAAs.
GW: Gonzaga, Baylor (N), Washington
BL: None, really

UCLA (14-7, 6-3; RPI: 47, SOS: 30)
Besides BYU, the Bruins may have been the most upset by the Cougars' second-half fade at New Mexico. They need that BYU win to flash in neon. After losing at Arizona, they escaped by a point in OT at ASU and now host four in a row, including a fan-pressure game against St. John's.
GW: BYU (N)
BL: Montana

SEC

Locks: Kentucky, Florida

The SEC West is rising like a zombie in The Living Dead, taking big bites out of East teams and making everything a lot messier. Kentucky and Florida remain fine for now. The Gators lost at Mississippi State, but have some quality Ws and continue to lead the East by half a game over the 'Cats. South Carolina falls off the Watch after losing at home to Auburn. Alabama (at 5-1, the league's auto bid winner this week) and Arkansas need more legit wins before being considered for at-larges.

SHOULD BE IN

Tennessee (14-7, 4-2; RPI: 17, SOS: 1)
In a wacky week, was it bizarre that normally wacky Tennessee handled its business with minimal fuss? The Vols can't get caught looking past this week's trip to Auburn and home date with Alabama ahead of a two-game proving-ground trip to Kentucky and Florida.
GW: Villanova (N), at Pitt, VCU (N)?, at Georgia?
BL: at Charlotte, Oakland (at home), College of Charleston (at home)

Vanderbilt (15-5, 3-3; RPI: 26, SOS: 26)
The Commodores' 11-point home loss to Arkansas was only the second-most surprising result of Saturday, but it more than cancels out the impact of a road win at Miss. State. A trip to Gainesville is up next before a three-game homestand that concludes with Kentucky.
GW: North Carolina (N), Saint Mary's
BL: Arkansas

IN THE MIX

Georgia (14-6, 3-4; RPI: 43, SOS: 40)
They thought they had lost to Florida, then they thought they had beaten Florida and then they lost to Florida (and then at Kentucky). Now the Bulldogs must take care of a couple of SEC West games before an intriguing (and maybe decisive?) nonleague date with Xavier.
GW: Kentucky
BL: None

 
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