Bubble Watch: Pac-12, SEC, Atlantic-10, more (Cont.)
There's not much more to say at this point. Teams keep beating each other, and whether you think that helps or hurts a multi-bid claim is in the voice of the arguer. This league will be the debate for the committee on Selection Sunday, unless something changes significantly soon.
SHOULD BE IN
IN THE MIX
Washington (16-7, 9-2; RPI: 76; SOS: 82)
Thanks in part to Cal's inconsistency, the Huskies take over first place despite having lost to the Golden Bears at home in the only meeting of the season. The Huskies' best plan: Keep winning. There are only two top-100 games left on the schedule and Washington is currently 3-7 in that category. At best, they could have a paper profile that mimics past years' champs from the MAC. A true test of subjective vs. paper.
GW: At Arizona?
BL: Home to South Dakota State by 19
California (18-6, 8-3; RPI: 48, SOS: 80)
If your profile is based on bulk wins over decent teams, you can't be losing at home to Arizona. Now the Bears aren't in first place and five of their last seven games are on the road.
GW: None, but a handful of OK ones
BL: at Washington State, at Oregon State, Arizona??
Colorado (14-7, 8-3; RPI: 73; SOS: 74)
The Buffaloes' best road win is No. 171 Air Force and they have earned 3-6 away/neutral. That said, they have beaten Arizona and Washington already and have a chance to sweep the Wildcats on Thursday in Tucson. Huge game.
GW: None, really
BL: at UCLA?
Arizona (16-8, 7-4; RPI: 62, SOS: 61)
Sweeping the Cal/Stanford road trip was huge for the Wildcats. A lot of tough losses against good teams litter the resume. This week's home game with Colorado is enormous now. They need to be as close to the league title as possible.
GW: at Cal
BL: at UCLA?
Oregon (16-7, 7-4; RPI: 83, SOS: 107)
They're 2-6 against the top 100 and two games behind Washington? Better sweep the Huskies and Wazzu this weekend at home.
GW: at Arizona?
Stanford (16-7, 6-5; RPI: 96, SOS: 138)
The Cardinal have the best nonleague wins in the league, but they're burying themselves so far down the table, it appears that they won't matter. A home loss to Arizona deepened their hole.
GW: Colorado State, N.C. State??
BL: Butler, at Washington State
Locks: Kentucky, Florida
Did I say five bids last week? Yeah, about that Alabama thing ... In other news, tonight's Florida-Kentucky showdown has been on my "I want to see this matchup" list for months. The Gators join the Cats in lockdom this week.
SHOULD BE IN
Vanderbilt (16-7, 5-3; RPI: 28, SOS: 7)
Right when it looked like Vandy was a contender No. 1 for Kentucky's throne, the Commodores went 0-2 on the road last week. No shame in losing at either Arkansas or Florida, but not to get either is a touch disappointing. Now it's back to Memorial Gym for LSU and ... Kentucky.
GW: at Marquette, at Alabama, Middle Tennessee State, N.C. State? At Davidson?
BL: Indiana State, Cleveland State?
Mississippi State (18-5, 5-3; RPI: 32, SOS: 65)
In their only game, the Bulldogs slipped past Auburn at home. It's a win. Move on to home matchups with Ole Miss and Georgia. Then they're at LSU and Auburn. In other words, load up the win truck!
GW: at Vanderbilt, Alabama, Arizona?, West Virginia
IN THE MIX
Alabama (15-7, 4-4; RPI: 31, SOS: 15)
Good news: The Tide held off Ole Miss in double-overtime to win their only game. Bad news: the team announced Monday that Tony Mitchell was suspended indefinitely. They don't have a huge margin for error right now, and road trips to LSU and Auburn could trip up a short-handed team.
GW: Wichita State, Purdue?
BL: at South Carolina
Mississippi (14-8, 4-4; RPI: 51, SOS: 48)
The Rebels are more of a computer monster as they only played two bad nonleague games. Not a ton of legit heft at the top of the resume yet, but the win over Miami suddenly looks better.
GW: Mississippi State?, Miami?
BL: at Auburn
Arkansas (16-7, 4-4; RPI: 59, SOS: 63)
After beating Vanderbilt, the Hogs gave up a big chance to move up by losing at LSU. The two this week -- at Georgia and home to South Carolina -- constitute virtual must-wins.
GW: Michigan, Mississippi State?
BL: Houston, at LSU?
Another week and more A-10-on-A-10 crime as the league standings should be outlined in chalk. Crazy league this season. Very competitive and maybe eating its own, with the exception of Temple's surge.
SHOULD BE IN
Temple (17-5, 6-2; RPI: 21, SOS: 57)
At least one team is rounding into decisive form, as the Owls steamrolled two more lower-division foes to stay in first place. Now they host George Washington and then an increasingly desperate Xavier in what is a big game Saturday night.
GW: Wichita State (N), Duke, at Saint Louis
BL: at Bowling Green, at Richmond?
IN THE MIX
Saint Louis (17-5, 6-3; RPI: 34, SOS: 87)
The Billikens took care of business at home, trucking St. Bonaventure and Dayton. Now they face a very big Philly road trip, with games at La Salle and Saint Joseph's. If they can get a split here, things look good with a softish schedule down the stretch.
GW: at Xavier, Oklahoma (N)?, Villanova (N)?, Washington?
BL: at Loyola Marymount?
Xavier (15-8, 6-3; RPI: 53, SOS: 45)
Xavier barely got past George Washington in an ugly road affair before caving in down the stretch and dropping a really big bubble game at Memphis. Given the #ZipEmUp suspensions, this profile is all over the map, and who knows how the committee will interpret it. They have to handle Rhode Island at home this week before focusing on Saturday's showdown at Xavier.
GW: at Vanderbilt, Purdue
BL: at Hawaii, at La Salle?
Dayton (14-9, 4-5; RPI: 71, SOS: 25)
Despite some really solid wins, the Flyers are now in a good deal of trouble after losing at home to Duquesne and then at Saint Louis. This week features got-to-haves at Fordham and home to Charlotte before the crucial return matchup with Xavier in Cincinnati.
GW: Alabama, Xavier, at Temple, Minnesota?, Ole Miss?
BL: at Miami (Ohio), Buffalo by 29?, Rhode Island, Duquesne?
Massachusetts (17-6, 6-3; RPI: 68, SOS: 138)
The loss at Rhode Island is a killer for a young team that's about to play six straight top-100 teams. First up: St. Bonaventure at home and then at St. Joe's.
GW: Saint Louis
BL: Charleston (N), at Rhode Island
La Salle (17-7, 6-3; RPI: 69, SOS: 131)
Losing at St. Joe's puts a damper on the Explorers' at-large hopes, but there are still plenty of chances in the next two weeks to impress, starting with a home game against Saint Louis after a trip to Richmond.
Saint Joseph's (15-9, 5-4; RPI: 42, SOS: 30)
Big sweep for the Hawks, including a tough win over city rival La Salle. Now Saint Louis and UMass come to Hawk Hill, the start of a very favorable stretch run. All of the biggest games are at home.
GW: Creighton, Dayton?
BL: at American, Charlotte?
Locks: UNLV, San Diego State
UNLV lost its second tough league game, giving the league lead back to the Aztecs and helping New Mexico creep right back into the picture. This looks like a three-bid league. Do I hear four?
SHOULD BE IN
IN THE MIX
New Mexico (18-4, 5-2; RPI: 44, SOS: 110)
The Lobos crushed it on a road swing through Colorado Springs and Boise and now they have a three-game gauntlet that will decide just how much work they need to do in Vegas at the conference tourney. Upstart Wyoming comes to The Pit before a trip to San Diego State and then a visit from UNLV.
GW: Colorado State, Saint Louis?
BL: Santa Clara (N), New Mexico State?
Colorado State (14-7, 4-3; RPI: 23, SOS: 10)
The computer stays favorable even after the Rams got stuffed at UNLV before a home win over Air Force. Beating San Diego State remains very strong, but the Rams are 0 for 3 in big road shots now. That's probably not going to be good enough. They need a couple more big wins.
GW: San Diego State
Wyoming (16-5, 4-3; RPI: 70, SOS: 129)
Just when you thought they were out, the Cowboys pulled themselves back in with a home upset of UNLV. Lots of work left to do, though, as all four upper-division road games remain to be played.
GW: UNLV, Colorado State
BL: at Wisconsin-Green Bay
The Bluejays lost at Northern Iowa on a buzzer-beating three to drop back into a tie with Wichita State atop the league. Both teams look very set to make the NCAAs and likely are playing for seed, both in Arch Madness and the big bracket when they face off in Omaha this weekend.
SHOULD BE IN
Wichita State (19-4, 11-2; RPI: 28, SOS: 72)
Tied for first in the league, the Shockers look all but set to dance, but the remaining schedule is very difficult, so let's hold off for now. A sweep of this week (Northern Iowa and then at Creighton) surely will be enough, though.
GW: UNLV, at Northern Iowa
BL: at Drake
Larry Eustachy and Southern Miss finally did it, bringing the personal 0-17 streak against Memphis to an end. Huge win for the Golden Eagles, while Memphis bounced back in timely fashion.
SHOULD BE IN
Southern Miss (18-3, 7-1; RPI: 8, SOS: 35)
And there it is ... the first win over Memphis, first place in the conference, and first dibs on locking up the league crown and an NCAA bid thanks to a 75-72 victory. If USM can just hold steady and even get a share of the league crown, they should be more than fine. Computer numbers look great.
GW: Memphis, Ole Miss, at Colorado State, sweep of New Mexico State?
Memphis (16-7, 6-2; RPI: 20, SOS: 8)
If you're going to lose a league thriller and drop into second place, you might as well use a late surge to top Xavier in a big nonconference/bubble throwdown. Other than a trip to Marshall, the schedule is fairly straight forward. The conference tourney also is at Memphis, for a nice safety net.
GW: Southern Miss, Xavier, Belmont?, at Miami?
IN THE MIX
Note: UCF's loss at home to Southern Miss really was hurtful to the Golden Knights' hopes.
Locks: Saint Mary's
The Gaels answered many questions as to their designs on the WCC crown by poleaxing BYU at the Marriott Center. Saint Mary's has a cachet of solid wins, all by double figures. Impressive team.
SHOULD BE IN
Gonzaga (18-4, 8-2; RPI: 27, SOS: 78)
The Zags' loss at BYU dings them a little but does more to reinvigorate the Cougars' hopes of being the third team in. Done with the two big road games in league (both losses), now the Zags get the Gaels and Cougars at home, starting with Saint Mary's arrival on Thursday.
GW: at Xavier, Oral Roberts?, Arizona (N)?
IN THE MIX
BYU (18-6, 8-3; RPI: 43, SOS: 68)
After whiffing twice against Saint Mary's, the Cougars handled Gonzaga at home for a very important win. While at San Francisco isn't a walkover, only the Gonzaga return trip looks fraught with danger in the remaining league slate. If they can somehow get the sweep, they also could lock up the double-bye.
BL: at Utah State?, at Loyola Marymount?
Locks: Murray State
Even if the unbeaten Racers lose to Saint Mary's and lose once in league play and lose in the conference tourney, they'd probably still make the bracket with wins over Memphis, USM and Dayton, so let's put them here for now.
Harvard (19-2, 6-0; RPI: 40, SOS: 214)
It's a shame Harvard couldn't cobble together a better nonconference slate. To have that SOS in a year where the Ivy's actually pretty solid and deep is disappointing and will hurt their NCAA seeding, should the Crimson advance as expected. First, though, they need to navigate the league's historically toughest trip, at Penn and Princeton. A Friday win over the Quakers puts Harvard in great shape, as the only other challenger with one loss (Yale) has all three tough road games still to play.
GW: Florida State (N), UCF (N)?, St. Joe's?
BL: at Fordham
Long Beach State (15-6, 10-0; RPI: 36, SOS: 93)
The 49ers have been storm troopers in the Big West this season, and this is an "At-At" weekend with trips to league minnows Pacific and D-I winless UC Davis. Have to keep winning and hope that Pitt and Xavier do the same. The BracketBusters game at Creighton is a huge chance to enhance.
GW: at Pitt, Xavier (N)
BL: at Montana
Middle Tennessee State (20-4, 10-1; RPI: 44, SOS: 147)
The Blue Raiders got worked in a 15-point loss at Denver that ends their Sun Belt unbeaten run. Without a BracketBusters game to potentially help, the margin for error now is very slim. Very solid team, so-so profile.
GW: Ole Miss (N), at UCLA?
BL: at UAB
Davidson (17-5, 12-1; RPI: 66, SOS: 164)
The Wildcats got three league wins to ... move up one spot in the RPI. They're going to have to run the table until the SoCon final, including a home win over Wichita State, to have a legit claim.
GW: at Kansas
BL: at Charlotte?, at Samford
Oral Roberts (21-5, 13-1; RPI: 47, SOS: 146)
The Golden Eagles got jackhammered by the Jackrabbits in Brookings and now is just one loss ahead of South Dakota State in the standings. This is likely not an at-large team, but a rematch in the Summit final would be a ton of fun.
GW: at Xavier
BL: UT-San Antonio (N)
Iona (19-5, 11-2; RPI: 58, SOS: 162)
Big win at Manhattan now makes it a two-way tie atop the league with Loyola (Md.). Still lamenting the Nevada BracketBusters draw which will leave both teams likely needing too much for serious at-large consideration.
GW: St. Joe's?, at Denver?
BL: at Hofstra, at Siena, at Manhattan
Nevada (17-4, 8-1; RPI: 73, SOS: 155)
Are the Wolf Pack really at-large contenders? The answer rhymes with Idaho (the team Nevada just lost to at home).
The CAA continues to confound. It's like a lesser version of the Pac-12: three or four fairly competent teams with no one having done a stitch of real work in nonconference play. If VCU or Drexel continues to win, we'll take a closer look at them. VCU has a far tougher schedule, Drexel has tiebreaker for the 1-seed and a more valuable BracketBusters opponent (Cleveland State vs. Northern Iowa).