What happened yesterday?
The Bubble Strengthens:
My “team that is certainly not in” San Diego St has shown me up and dressed me down. Knocking off both Colorado St and New Mexico is enough to put them in today’s bracket, what with a 4-7 record vs. the RPI top 100, and two elite wins. I don’t know if that will be enough to keep them in the field come Sunday, though. Illinois and Minnesota also playing their way into the field, with their 5th RPI top 50 win apiece. Rhode Island moved out of the last four in by pounding St. Louis, also ending SLU’s slight chances, and Georgia Tech also locked themselves in by beating Maryland.
This is shaping up to be the most interesting one seed race we’ve had in at least a couple of years. Realistically, there are 4 candidates: West Virginia, Duke, Kansas St, and Ohio St. Each of those teams needs to win their conference tournament to have a shot at it. Assuming a conference tournament title, I rank them KSU>WVU>Duke>OSU. However, Kansas State’s chances are minimal at best so we’re back to looking at the team with 6 top 25 wins—WVU.
Whats on tap for tonight?
Bid-Stealers: Houston vs. UTEP; Washington vs. Cal; New Mexico St vs. Utah St – The first team I listed for each of those games is currently out of the tournament, while the latter is solidly in. Wins in these games would steal a bid from my last four in. Look for South Florida and Illinois to see their bids disappear today.
The Most Important Game, Illinois vs. Ohio St.:
Unlike South Florida, however, Illinois still has a game. If the Illini can win this one, they’ll pull themselves off the bubble. If not, I think they’ll find at the mercy of the bid-stealers. But remember, this is an Ohio State team with Evan Turner, still in play for a one seed. I don’t see this ending well.
West Virginia vs. Georgetown, Kansas St vs. Kansas, Duke vs. Miami (FL):
Speaking of Ohio St… as mentioned earlier, these three teams are also in contention for the final one seeds. Quoting my math textbook, I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to pick out who has the easiest route to the one seed.
North Carolina St vs. Georgia Tech:
By the way, you see that last one seed matchup? The 1/12 matchup in the semis of the ACC tournament? The other side of the bracket is just as wacky, with a 6/8 matchup. Anyways, North Carolina St and Miami are looking to play their way into the tournament. North Carolina St has already played itself onto the bubble, and Miami would be on the bubble with a victory over Duke.
Long Beach St vs. UC-Santa Barbara: Winner is a 14 seed. I don't feel like saying more about this.
Sam Houston St vs. Stephen F. Austin; South Carolina St. vs. Morgan St:
North Texas will be watching these games intently. Sam Houston St and Morgan St are heavy favorites, and would garner 15 seeds if they win. However, if either were to stumble, their opponents are only worthy of a 16 seed, and would push the Mean Green onto that 15 line.
Texas Southern vs. UA-Pine Bluff: The winner of this game is a lock for the play-in game. Both have RPIs beyond 170.