Tuesday Update: CAA, WCC title games shift bubble
Old Dominion's win in the Colonial probably saved an at-large bid for another team
Saint Mary's will have to sweat out a week of waiting after losing to Gonzaga
Butler will also have a nervous week of waiting if it loses to Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Monday night's slate wasn't heavy with games, but it was with meaning for the bubble. The biggest development came in the Colonial, where Old Dominion may have saved someone an at-large spot by holding off VCU. The Rams aren't completely dead as an at-large, but it's hard to imagine their profile will hold up for another week as teams around them win extra games.
Whether bubble teams got that same level of help in the West Coast Conference is up for debate after Gonzaga beat Saint Mary's to punch its dance card. I thought SMC was in better position to absorb a loss (even with a pretty thin resume), so this result may end up giving the WCC two bids and squeezing someone out.
Congratulations are also in order for Wofford (SoCon) and Saint Peter's (MAAC), who took out higher-seeded teams to make it to the dance.
The fun continues Tuesday. Here's what's on tap:
Butler will play at Wisconsin-Milwaukee for the Horizon auto bid, with a modest chance of landing an at-large if it loses. Bubblers are rooting hard for the Bulldogs.
The only bubble team in the Big East -- the one, the only Marquette -- is in an obvious must-win against Providence at MSG.
Princeton plays at archrival Penn, needing a win to force a one-game playoff with Harvard for the Ivy's auto bid. If there is a playoff, it will be held Saturday at Yale (a neutral-site location).
Bubble Watch and Bracket Watch will be updated daily through Selection Sunday. Enjoy!
Records listed are Division I only, per NCAA Tournament selection guidelines. All RPI and SOS data are from Monday's collegerpi.com RPI report.
GW = good wins.
BL = bad losses.
(N) = neutral-site game.
Locks: Duke, North Carolina
North Carolina stormed past Duke on Saturday night to claim the outright ACC title, boosting its own surging seed aspirations while putting a crimp in Duke's push for a No. 1. Florida State will be the third team in from this league. The real question is: Will that be all?
SHOULD BE IN
Florida State (21-9, 11-5; RPI: 46, SOS: 82)
Next game: Friday vs. Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech winner in ACC quarterfinals
Harrison Barnes cashiered the Noles in the final seconds, but FSU looked pretty good without Chris Singleton, so they should be OK in a year of bubble weakness. Beating NC State moves them to 11-5 and a solid third-place league finish. They haven't done a ton, but they have done more than enough.
GW: Duke, Baylor (N)?
BL: at Auburn
IN THE MIX
Boston College (19-11, 9-7; RPI: 45, SOS: 28)
Next game: Thursday vs. 12-seed Wake Forest in ACC first round
The Eagles came up huge, crushing Virginia Tech in Blacksburg to get a sweep and then taking care of Wake Forest. Now they have to beat the league minnow again to get a crack at Clemson in a possible win-and-in quarterfinal for both teams.
GW: Texas A&M (N), sweep of VT, plus so-so collection of others.
Virginia Tech (19-10, 9-7, RPI: 64; SOS: 87)
Next game: Thursday vs. 11-seed Georgia Tech in ACC first round
What's left to say? The Hokies are inexorably -- and squarely -- on the bubble again after a dispiriting 0-2 week that let BC and Clemson tighten things up. Now they have to win a useless first-round game against Georgia Tech before a meeting with Florida State in the quarters. I don't think their profile will hold up if they lose that game.
GW: Duke, Florida State, plus batch of other OK Ws
BL: Virginia (2x), at Georgia Tech
Clemson (20-10, 9-7; RPI: 57, SOS: 74)
Next game: Friday vs. BC-Wake Forest winner in ACC quarterfinal
Clemson gave it a decent go at Cameron but lost, but then handled VT to get to 9-7 and avoid having to play a first-round ACC tourney game. It may not be enough simply to beat Boston College (or, especially Wake, with a big upset), but North Carolina would await in the semis for the marquee win Clemson lacks.
GW: BC, VT and FSU at home? Plus at College of Charleston
BL: at Virginia, at NC State
Locks: Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas State
With the help of Texas losing three of its last five games, Kansas remarkably claimed a seventh straight Big 12 crown and seems headed for a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs. The Horns better figure things out quickly as this team looks nothing like it did three weeks ago, when people were touting it as possibly the national title favorite. The other team in the Sunflower State continues to surge, as well, and joins the lock party. K-State is suddenly looking like a team no one wants to see in their bracket.
SHOULD BE IN
Missouri (21-9, 8-8; RPI: 33, SOS: 41)
Next game: Wed. vs. 11-seed Texas Tech in Big 12 first round
With the talent on this roster, this is pretty much the absolute minimum this team could have accomplished. They'll make the NCAAs, but with one top-75 Big 12 win and a 1-7 road mark, this has been anything but impressive.
GW: K-State, Vanderbilt, Old Dominion, vs. Illinois?
BL: None, really
IN THE MIX
Colorado (18-12, 8-8; RPI: 76, SOS: 73)
Next game: Wed. vs. 12-seed Iowa State in Big 12 first round
The Buffaloes elbowed Nebraska aside to get to .500, but they could really end up lamenting the loss at Iowa State earlier in the week (and their atrocious nonleague schedule). They have a decent set of quality Ws, including a sweep of Kansas State and a win over Texas, but more work is needed. Beating Iowa State this time won't help, but what would beating K-State for a third time in the quarters mean?
GW: Texas, Missouri, Colorado State (for bubble)?, sweep of Kansas State
BL: at San Francisco, at Oklahoma
Baylor (17-12, 7-9; RPI: 84; SOS: 39)
Next game: Wed. vs. 10-seed Oklahoma in Big 12 first round
The Bears' NCAA hopes are on life support. Too many losses everywhere -- in the league, on the road, against the top 50. If they beat Oklahoma, they get another shot at Texas after wasting one on Saturday. It likely will take at least a run to the tourney final now to get in. Best nonleague win: Lipscomb
GW: Sweep of Texas A&M
BL: at Iowa State (by 15), at Oklahoma, Texas Tech
Locks: Pitt, Villanova, UConn, Notre Dame, G'town, Louisville, St. John's, Syracuse, WVU, Cincinnati
The Bearcats locked up their spot with a really impressive two-win week. In the process, they may have edged the league closer to 10 bids than 11. Notre Dame's resume is begging for No. 1 seed consideration. Georgetown is begging for Chris Wright to get healthy. Jay Wright is begging for his team to stop a staggering free fall.
SHOULD BE IN
IN THE MIX
Marquette (18-13, 9-9; RPI: 68; SOS: 31)
Next game: Tuesday vs. 14-seed Providence in Big East first round
All the goodness of the OT win at UConn was washed away with a home loss to Cincy and then a really poor effort in a loss at Seton Hall. Now TBW is really vulnerable to a snub, and they would have no right to complain if it happens. If they get past Providence, they get a manageable second-round game vs. West Virginia on Wednesday night. I think they'll need to win that one to feel on solid NCAA footing.
GW: at UConn plus a trio of good home league wins (WV, ND, Syracuse)
BL: at Seton Hall
Locks: Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin
Purdue's stunning loss at Iowa dings the Boilermakers' hopes for a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs, but the most compelling news is coming from the bubble, where Michigan's second win over MSU has created a mess in the middle.
SHOULD BE IN
IN THE MIX
Illinois (19-12, 9-9; RPI: 40, SOS: 17)
Next game: Friday vs. 4-seed Michigan in Big Ten quarterfinals
Another expected split, another week where the Illini spurned the chance to impress. They seem like the prototype 8/9-seed right now. They'll joust with Michigan in a game the Illini probably don't need to win, but could put the Wolverines into the dance.
GW: UNC, (plus MSU and Wisconsin at home), Maryland (N)?, Gonzaga (N)?
BL: Illinois-Chicago (N), at Indiana
Michigan State (16-13, 9-9, RPI: 48, SOS: 9)
Next game: Thursday vs. 10-seed Iowa in Big Ten first round
A loss at Michigan on Saturday, which gives the Wolverines a season sweep, has more or less eliminated any wiggle room and puts the Spartans in a sticky situation. With Penn State's win over Minnesota, the Spartans are now the 7-seed and are staring at a quarterfinal matchup with Purdue. If they don't win that game, this could end badly.
GW: Washington (N) (plus Wisconsin and Minnesota at home)
BL: Swept by Michigan (for bubble purposes), at Iowa
Michigan (18-12, 9-9; RPI: 56, SOS: 18)
Next game: Friday vs. 5-seed Illinois in Big Ten quarterfinals
The Wolverines got the critical sweep of Michigan State and now let the debates begin. Which team ends up ahead in the pecking order will come down to Big Ten tourney performance. Right now, I think the Spartans are barely ahead on the basis of better top-quality wins (although two of MSU's three top-50 wins came with Korie Lucious on the roster).
GW: Sweep of Michigan State, Harvard
BL: at Indiana
Penn State (16-13, 9-9; RPI: 54, SOS: 7)
Next game: Thursday vs. 11-seed Indiana in Big Ten first round
The Nittany Lions have the weakest profile of the three 9-9 Big Ten teams mostly because of schedule strength. They probably need to make the tournament final to have a truly legit claim.
GW: MSU, Illinois and Wisconsin all at home in league play
SI Now Live Friday December 20, 2013
SI Now: Olympians on Liberty Mutual, gearing up for Sochi