By Mike Bachini, CBS Connecticut
Connecticut (CBS) – Things are starting to heat up in the conference tournaments, and today’s action is crazy everywhere you turn. The ACC and Big 12 conferences are so deep that today’s match ups feature quality teams going at each other which is strange so early in their respective tournaments. Today will be a lot of fun and today and tomorrow will paint a pretty good picture as to how Sunday will go.
In = The team could lose all of the rest of their games between now and March 12th and they would still be in the tournament. Obviously their seeding would take a hit, but it would be a complete shock if they weren’t in the tournament.
Almost In = These are the teams who are not quite there yet, but only need a win or two more, or to avoid any devastating losses between now and the end of the season.
Bubble = Teams that might be in if the field was announced today, but are in direct competition with many other teams.
In (8) – Louisville, North Carolina, Florida State, Virginia, Duke, Notre Dame, Miami, Virginia Tech
Bubble In (1) – Wake Forest
Bubble Out (1) – Syracuse
– Wake Forest avoided a bad loss to BC in the opening round of the ACC tournament on Tuesday night. A loss there would have put Wake right on the edge. Last night they led Virginia Tech at the half but couldn’t pull out the win. If they had won that one, they would have been a lock in my opinion. They are directly on the bubble right now. I have them projected to go to Dayton as the 3rd to last at-large team in the field.
– Syracuse was right on the cut line with Wake Forest, but lost their first round game yesterday to Miami. I had them as the 2nd to last at-large team in the field before that loss. But now they sit at home and anxiously await their fate. I have the Orange as the last team out right now.
In (3) – Villanova, Butler, Creighton, Seton Hall
Almost In (3) – Providence, Marquette, Xavier
– Not much has changed for Providence and Marquette. They are in the field as 10 seeds right now and any loss in the quarterfinal wouldn’t hurt them enough to knock them out. The only reason I’m not moving them up to the “In” category is to save for the possibility of craziness in the next 4 days and potential bid stealing in other conference tournaments.
– Xavier avoided a bad loss for the second straight game against DePaul and should now feel safe. A loss to Butler won’t damage the Musketeers profile and they’ve done just barely enough to get in to the tournament. Their seed took a hit, but I believe they will avoid Dayton as part of the first four as well.
In (5) – Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Iowa State
Bubble In (1) – Kansas State
– Kansas State plays Baylor today in the Big 12 quarterfinals. A win there might seal it for them as the neutral court win would be added on top of the win at Baylor earlier in the season. If they lose, they will be right on the edge with Syracuse (although a loss to Baylor looks much better than a loss to Miami). They need to keep their eyes on Rhode Island, Illinois and Iowa.
In (7) – Purdue, Wisconsin, Maryland, Minnesota, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State
Bubble Out (2) – Illinois, Iowa
– Michigan is a projected 8 seed and Michigan State is a projected 9 seed. There’s just no way a loss sends them down the seed list far enough that they need to worry.
– Illinois is currently down 15 points to Michigan in the first half as I write this. Unless they have a great comeback in them, that loss will probably send them to the NIT.
– Iowa would be wise to take advantage of Illinois recent struggles. First up is a date against Indiana tonight. If they win that one and then their quarterfinal match up against Wisconsin we can definitely talk.
In (3) – Oregon, Arizona, UCLA
Bubble In (1) – USC
– USC avoided a crippling
loss last night to Washington. A loss there and they would have been sent to the cut line with Kansas State, Illinois State and Syracuse. A rubber match against UCLA awaits late tonight. A loss there might send USC to Dayton, but as of right now I have them as the last number 11 seed not heading to Dayton as part of the first four.
– I don’t really consider Cal to be on the bubble any more. They need to beat Utah and then Oregon to get back on the map.
In (4) – Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas
Almost In (1) – Arkansas
Bubble In (1) – Vanderbilt
– Arkansas is a projected 8 seed and should feel safe at this point. They are now in.
– Vanderbilt is headed to Dayton in this projection. A loss to Texas A&M might send them out of the field, but a win should make them feel relatively safe. They’d be smart to win 2 games to avoid playing in the first four next week.
In (2) – Cincinnati, SMU
Bubble Out (1) – Houston
– Houston awaits the winner of UConn and South Florida tomorrow night. They’ll probably need to beat Uconn/South Florida and Cincinnati to approach the cut line.
In (2) – VCU, Dayton
Bubble Out (1) – Rhode Island
– Rhode Island plays the winner of Umass/St. Bonaventure tomorrow. They’ll need to win that one to stay where they are and be considered, but a win over Dayton would definitely go a long way. Right now they are the 2nd team out of the field and can easily pass Syracuse, Kansas State and Illinois State with a win there.
Bubble In (1) – Illinois State
– Illinois State moves into the field as the 68th and last team with Syracuse’s loss. Rhode Island, Kansas State, Illinois and Iowa are all still playing and could easily bump them back out. Such is life when your conference tournament ends early and you have to sit back and watch all the other bubble teams either play their way in to, or out of the tournament.
** = Won automatic bid into tournament via conference championship
16. North Dakota/New Orleans
9. Wichita State**
5. Notre Dame
12. Kansas State/Illinois State
14. East Tennessee State**
15. Texas Southern
16. South Dakota State
9. Seton Hall
6. St. Mary’s
14. Cal State Bakersfield
7. South Carolina
15. UC Irvine
16. Mt. St. Mary’s
12. UNC Wilmington**
11. Vanderbilt/Wake Forest
3. Florida State
15. Florida Gulf Coast**
1. North Carolina
16. NC Central/Jacksonville State**
9. Michigan State
12. UNC Wilmington**
4. West Virginia
6. Iowa State
11. Middle Tennessee
7. Oklahoma State
10. Virginia Tech
15. Northern Kentucky**
Last 4 In: Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Kansas State, Illinois State
First 4 Out: Syracuse, Rhode Island, Illinois, Iowa
Teams that can jump back into the conversation with a few quality wins: Houston, Cal, Georgia, TCU, Indiana
Officially Out: Georgia Tech, BYU, Ohio State
Follow Mike Bachini on Twitter @MikeBachini