NCAA Bubble Watch: Florida, Virginia Tech And Utah State In; UTEP, Illinois, Miss. State Out

SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean breaks down which teams are on the right and wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble, and tells you which games to watch down the stretch as dozens of teams look to sneak into the field of 65.

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46 Total Updates since February 22, 2010
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Final Bubble Watch Update: Florida Back In; UTEP Falls Out; Miss. State Out Of Luck

After more hot number-crunching action at the Chateau Bracket, I've made a few changes to my Last Five In and First Four Out before the selection show at 6 p.m. ET. This is the last Bubble Watch update for this season.

Last Five In

California (23-10; 13-5 Pac-10; RPI: 20; Non-conf. RPI: 10): The Golden Bears remain here after Saturday's loss in the Pac-10 final to Washington.

Minnesota (21-12; 9-9 Big Ten; RPI: 59; Non-conf. RPI: 60): The Golden Gophers are in whether they win or lose to Ohio State in the Big Ten final.

Virginia Tech (23-8; 10-6 ACC; RPI: 58; Non-conf. RPI: 92): The Hokies played the toughest part of their schedule late, and they won three of the five games against the RPI Top 50 they played in their last 12. Sure, the Hokies' non-conference schedule left much to be desired, but they did go 3-4 against teams who would have made the field without an automatic bid. That's more wins than any of their competitiors.

Utah State (26-7; 14-2 WAC; RPI: 30; Non-conf. RPI: 56): Looking deeper at the Aggies' resume, they could very well be out. Even though they own a 10-6 road/neutral record, the best of the 10 wins is against Weber State. Their profile is very similar to UTEP's (finished well, won a weaker conference), but Utah State stays in because they have a marquee non-conference win over a team in the field, BYU, something their Conference USA bubble rival doesn't own.

Florida (21-12; 9-7 SEC: RPI: 56: Non-conf. RPI: 75): Certainly, the Gators didn't finish well, but they have better non-conference wins than others in this group (Michigan State, Florida State) and there was a legitimate attempt to upgrade that part of the schedule. Florida gets the nod over Mississippi State because of fewer bad losses and a slighly higher level of quality in their nine SEC wins compared to the Bulldogs.

First Four Out

Mississippi State (23-10; 9-7 SEC; RPI: 54; Non-conf. RPI: 69): The Bulldogs came within one-tenth of a second of being in and rendering much of this discussion moot. Then DeMarcus Cousins tied the SEC Championship game at the buzzer and Kentucky won. Mississippi State seems to make a habit of coming alive in the conference tournament, but they needed to do so a bit earlier this season. Nine wins in the weaker SEC West and non-conference setbacks to Western Kentucky and Rider aren't selling points. The non-league wins aren't dazzling either, as Old Dominion (good) and UCLA (not so good) are the two best. 

UTEP (26-26; 15-1 C-USA); RPI: 38; Non-conf. RPI: 135): Like Utah State, there isn't really all that much to the Miners' resume. They have an 0-1 record against teams who would be in the field without an at-large, thanks to a home loss to BYU. Their record improves to 2-4 if you add in a 1-2 record against Houston and a split with New Mexico State. The Miners' 11-4 road/neutral record is gaudy, but the best three wins are against UAB and Memphis (both out) and New Mexico State (auto bid) with the losses coming at the hands of Ole Miss (out), Texas Tech (out), and two at the hands of Houston. If the Miners' fall out, it will be reason No. 576, 287 to not listen to the polls, who currently have them 25th and 21st.

Illinois (18-14; 10-6 Big Ten; RPI: 70; Non-conf. RPI: 121): No team had more chances to put themselves in than the Illini, as they went 5-9 against teams in the field without an auto bid (6-10 if you count bubble team Minnesota and SoCon champ Wofford). A 7-10 neutral record, including disappointing losses to Georgia, Bradley, Utah and Northwestern doesn't help matters either. The Illini can play like a Tournament team, but they weren't consistent enough through the season, considering their opportunities.

William & Mary (21-10; 12-6 CAA; RPI: 57; Non-conf. RPI: 12): The Tribe has been off since losing the CAA final on Monday, so they haven't had a chance to better their chances. They own good wins over Maryland, Wake Forest and Richmond, and bad losses to James Madison, Towson and UNC Wilmington. Like Illinois and Mississippi State, the blemishes may be too much to ignore.

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Bubble Watch Update: Florida And Virginia Tech Look For A Kentucky Win Sunday

Here is the updated look at how the NCAA Tournament field stacks up heading into Selection Sunday. As the picture is far clearer now, I've cut out the "Next Four Out" group. 

Click here for my Sunday morning bracket (forthcoming). For more on Sunday's games of importance, check my preview and recap post.

Click any team name that appears as a link to visit that school's SB Nation blog.

One-Bid Leagues (20)

America East (Vermont), Atlantic Sun (East Tennessee State), Big Sky (Montana), Big South (Winthrop), Big West, Colonial (Old Dominion), Horizon (Butler), Ivy (Cornell), Metro Atlantic (Siena), Mid-American (Ohio), Mid-Eastern (Morgan State), Missouri Valley (Northern Iowa) Northeast (Robert Morris), Ohio Valley (Murray State), Patriot (Lehigh), Southern (Wofford), Southland (Sam Houston State), Southwestern (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), Summit (Oakland), Sun Belt (North Texas)

Shot At Two (3)

Conference USA: Houston*
Pacific-10: Washington* 
Western Athletic: New Mexico State*

Locks (34)

ACC: Duke*, MarylandFlorida StateClemsonGeorgia TechWake Forest
A-10: Temple*, Richmond, Xavier
Big East: SyracuseWest Virginia*, Villanova, Pittsburgh, GeorgetownMarquetteNotre DameLouisville
Big TenPurdue*, Ohio StateMichigan StateWisconsin
Big 12Kansas*, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas A&MTexas, Missouri, Oklahoma State
MWC: New Mexico, BYU, UNLV*
SEC: Kentucky*, VanderbiltTennessee
WCC: Gonzaga, St. Mary's*

Teams with an asterisk hold their respective conference's automatic bid at the moment.

That takes care of 60 of the 65 teams. That leaves me to look at the last five teams in the field and the four who the best chance to replace them.

RPI data from Crashing The Dance and reflects games through Saturday, March 13. All records reflect games played against Division I opponents through Saturday, March 13.

After Saturday's action, Rhode Island, Mississippi and the "Next Four Out" teams are off the board.

Last Five In

California (23-10; 13-5 Pac-10; RPI: 20; Non-conf. RPI: 10): The Golden Bears would be safely in the field had they managed to beat Washington in the Pac-10 Tournament final on Saturday. However, they didn't, so they're now at the mercy of the Committee. Cal is likely to get credit for their conference title, but they don't really have much more to fall back on. The Bears have only two top 50 wins in eight chances (home wins over Washington, who they lost to twice, and Murray State), and are 4-1 against teams ranked 51-100. However, since the Pac-10 struggled as a whole this year, the bulk of Cal's wins came against teams ranked between 101 and 200. Cal will get some credit for the fact Theo Robertson was injured during a difficult non-conference stretch, but they may not have beaten Syracuse, Ohio State and New Mexico with him in the lineup.

Minnesota (21-12; 9-9 Big Ten; RPI: 59; Non-conf. RPI: 60): The Golden Gophers made an absolute statement in Indianapolis on Saturday, as they crushed Purdue in their Big Ten semifinal. They can end their bubble drama by beating Ohio State Sunday, but back-to-back victories over Michigan State and the Boilermakers on a neutral floor should be enough. Minnesota is now 6-8 this season against the RPI Top 100, with two of those wins coming at The Barn, where they defeated Ohio State and Wisconsin. They also beat Illinois on the road and Butler on a neutral courts. A 15-4 record against teams rated 101+, particularly the sweep at the hands of Michigan and a loss to Maurice Creek-less Indiana in Bloomington, doesn't help their case. The Gophers' road/neutral mark now stands at 7-9 road/neutral mark, not great, but there are some quality wins in the group.

Utah State (26-7; 14-2 WAC; RPI: 30; Non-conf. RPI: 56): The Aggies are another team that didn't have a great Saturday, as they fell to their Aggie rivals, New Mexico State, in the WAC final. That means they're not locked into the field. The Aggies did take advantage of two of their three opportunities against teams in the RPI Top 50, beating BYU and Wichita State. However, they fell to St. Mary's three days after they beat the Cougars. A 10-6 road/neutral record is a plus, but the Blue Aggies lost three of their best five true road games (at New Mexico State, Northeastern and Louisana Tech). Plus, they fell at Long Beach State and Utah. Additionally, before falling to NMSU, the Aggies had won 17 in a row.

UTEP (26-6; 15-1 C-USA; RPI: 38; Non-conf. RPI: 135): The Miners blew their chance to book an automatic bid, as they looked lost in the final moments against Houston in the C-USA final Saturday. They fall all the way down here because, upon closer inspection, their profile looks a lot like Memphis'. The Miners are 8-4 against the RPI Top 100, but only one of those wins, a game at New Mexico State, came against a team that's on the board. UTEP lost home games to BYU, New Mexico State (the local rivals play twice), a roadie at Texas Tech, and a semi-road game to Ole Miss. Plus, they lost twice to Houston. On the other hand, the Miners did win their other 17 conference games, which should be enough to keep them in.

Virginia Tech (23-8; 10-6 ACC; RPI: 58; Non-conf. RPI: 92): The Hokies wouldn't be here had they managed to defeat Miami in their ACC quarterfinal on Friday. In fact, they were in the field until New Mexico State won the WAC title. A 10-6 ACC record should be more than good enough, but the Hokies' abysmal non-conference schedule means they're in serious trouble. Virginia Tech owns a staggering nine wins over teams ranked below 200 in the RPI (plus one over Penn State, ranked 193rd), with three wins over teams below 300. Florida has seven (and three against 301+), but they have non-conference wins over Michigan State and Florida State. Virginia Tech's best non-conference win, Seton Hall, pales in comparison. On the other hand, Virginia Tech has finished better, winning seven of their last 12 (including a a 3-2 mark against teams in the field), while Florida is 6-6 and 1-3 against teams on the board.

First Four Out

Florida (21-12; 9-7 SEC; RPI: 56; Non-conf. RPI: 75): Florida's problem of late has been an inability to close games. The Gators have dropped four of their last five, and all four could have been victories had the offense not disappeared for stretches late. Billy Donovan's team is 3-8 against the RPI Top 50, but two of those wins came all the way back in November (at home against FSU and over Michigan State in Atlantic City). The other came against Tennessee in Gainesville. An 8-8 road/neutral record is OK. If Florida gets in, it will be because of an upgraded non-conference schedule, which also featured games against Richmond and Xavier (both losses). 

Mississippi State (23-10; 9-7 SEC; RPI: 54; Non-conf. RPI: 69): The Bulldogs became the first SEC West team to beat one of the top four from the East when they defeated Florida Friday. They followed that victory up with a second over Vanderbilt Saturday. If they grab a third, over Kentucky on Sunday, the Bulldogs will be home clear as they automatic bid owner. Mississippi State may need it as their resume is a bit thin outside of this late run and a sweep of archrival Ole Miss. A win over Old Dominion in South Padre is the non-conference highlight and losses at Western Kentucky and against Rider in Starkville are major blemishes. If the entire "body of work" is important, the Bulldogs aren't a Tournament team as of yet.

Illinois (18-14; 10-8 Big Ten; RPI: 70; Non-conf. RPI: 121): The The Fighting Illini's resume has some good points (two wins at Wisconsin, comeback over Clemson, home wins over Michigan State and Vanderbilt) and some bad (home loss to Minnesota, neutral site losses to Bradley, Utah, semi-away loss to Georgia). They looked to be in, but their inability to close the deal against Ohio State Saturday, especially when compared to how Minnesota blew the doors off Purdue, was not helpful.

William & Mary (21-10; 12-6 CAA: RPI: 57; Non-conf. RPI: 12): Remember back in 2006, when the Committee stunned pretty much everyone by taking Air Force out of nowhere? Four years later, could the Tribe fill a similar role if enough teams fall by the wayside over the weekend? With road wins over Maryland and Wake Forest and a home win over Richmond, W&M has more quality wins than many teams on this list. However, three bad losses (at James Madison, Towson and UNC Wilmington) hurt their case, as does a late BracketBuster loss at Iona. From the eye test perspective, the fact the Tribe can be a little too reliant on perimeter shooting (see the closing moments of the CAA final) is another issue.

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Bubble Watch Update: Ole Miss Out; Rhode Island In; Minnesota Knocking On The Door

Here is the updated look at how the NCAA Tournament field stacks up heading into Saturday's conference tournament action. Five teams, including two from the Pac-10 can get themselves in with wins in the league finals today. 

Click here for my Saturday bracket. For more on Saturday's games of importance, check my preview/recap post.

Click any team name that appears as a link to visit that school's SB Nation blog.

One-Bid Leagues (20)

America East, Atlantic Sun (East Tennessee State), Big Sky (Montana), Big South (Winthrop), Big West, Colonial (Old Dominion), Horizon (Butler),  Ivy (Cornell), Metro Atlantic (Siena), Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley (Northern Iowa) Northeast (Robert Morris), Ohio Valley (Murray State), Patriot (Lehigh), Southern (Wofford), Southland, Southwestern, Summit (Oakland), Sun Belt (North Texas)

Shot At Two (3)

Conference USA: UTEP (Work To Do)
Pacific-10: California (Work To Do)
Western Athletic: Utah State (Work To Do)

Locks (34)

ACC: Duke*, MarylandFlorida StateClemsonWake Forest
A-10: Temple*, Richmond, Xavier
Big East: SyracuseWest Virginia*, Villanova, Pittsburgh, GeorgetownMarquetteNotre Dame
Big TenPurdue*, Ohio StateMichigan StateWisconsin
Big 12Kansas*, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas A&MTexas, Missouri, Oklahoma State
MWC: New Mexico, BYU, UNLV*
SEC: Kentucky*, VanderbiltTennessee
WCC: Gonzaga, St. Mary's*

Teams with an asterisk hold their respective conference's automatic bid at the moment.

Not Quite Safe (7)

ACC:  Georgia Tech
Big East: Louisville
Big Ten: Illinois 
C-USA: UTEP
Pac-10: California
SEC: Florida
WAC: Utah State

That takes care of 61 of the 65 teams. (No, I didn't miscount. Three "Not Quite Safe" clubs, Cal, UTEP and Utah State, appear twice.) That leaves me to look at the last four teams in the field and the eight who the best chance to replace them over the final two days.

RPI data from Crashing The Dance and reflects games through Friday, March 12. All records reflect games played against Division I opponents through Friday, March 12.

After Friday's action, Dayton and all four teams considered "On The Fringe" -- Cincinnati, Memphis, St. Louis and Wichita State are off they board.

Last Four In

San Diego State (22-8; 11-5 MWCRPI: 25; Non-conf. RPI: 37):The Aztecs look to be in good shape after they defeated New Mexico in the Mountain West semifinals Friday night. That means the Aztecs are 3-5 against the RPI top 50, with two wins over the 11th-rated Lobos. They can grab a fourth, and end any bubble drama in the process, by knocking off No. 42 UNLV in Saturday's final.

Virginia Tech (23-8; 10-6 ACC; RPI: 55; Non-conf. RPI: 93): Florida would be here instead of the Hokies, had Virginia Tech managed to defeat Miami in their ACC quarterfinal on Friday. A 10-6 ACC record should be more than good enough, but the Hokies' abysmal non-conference schedule means they'll sweat. Virginia Tech owns a staggering nine wins over teams ranked below 200 in the RPI (plus one over Penn State, ranked 193rd), with three wins over teams below 300. Florida has seven (and three against 301+), but they have non-conference wins over Michigan State and Florida State. Virginia Tech's best non-conference win, Seton Hall, pales in comparison.

Washington (22-9; 11-7 Pac-10; RPI: 46; Non-conf. RPI: 22): The Huskies grabbed a win over Stanford in the Pac-10 semifinals on Friday, meaning they can book a place in the Tournament with a win over top seed (and likely at-large) California in Saturday's final. Washington owns home wins over Texas A&M and Cal. However, December losses at Texas Tech and against Georgetown in Anaheim are missed opportunities in a weak bubble year. 

Rhode Island (23-8; 9-7 A-10; RPI: 38; Non-conf. RPI: 6): The Rams sneak in after they grabbed a win over St. Louis in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals. Depending on results elsewhere, they could end up right back outside if they fall to Temple for the third time this season in Saturday's semifinals. The Rams' best league win is over now-eliminated Dayton, as they're 0-4 against Temple, Richmond and Xavier, the three A-10 teams who are in the best shape for bids. Rhode Island's marquee non-conference win came against Oklahoma State, and they own respectable victories over Northeastern, Providence and Boston College. However, none of those three are likely to dance. They get the edge over Minnesota because of fewer bad losses from an RPI perspective and a better road/neutral mark. However, if the Golden Gophers can beat Purdue in the Big Ten semis on Saturday, all bets are off.

First Four Out

Minnesota (20-12; 9-9 Big Ten; RPI: 68; Non-conf. RPI: 60): The Golden Gophers look to be making the needed run through the Big Ten Tournament, as a Friday win over Michigan State sets up a crucial semifinal game against Purdue. Remember that the Golden Gophers only lost by one to the Boilermakers at Williams Arena in a game marred by Robbie Hummel's knee injury.  Minnesota is now 5-8 this season against the RPI Top 100, with two of those wins coming at The Barn, where they defeated Ohio State and Wisconsin. They also beat Illinois on the road and Butler and Michigan State on neutral courts. A 15-4 record against teams rated 101+ doesn't help the case, particularly the sweep at the hands of Michigan and a loss to Maurice Creek-less Indiana in Bloomington. A 6-9 road/neutral mark is also a negative, but Minnesota has a chance to improve upon that over this weekend.

Mississippi State (212-10; 9-7 SEC; RPI: 63; Non-conf. RPI: 71): The Bulldogs became the first SEC West team to beat one of the top four from the East when they defeated Florida Friday. They may need to grab two more wins to go dancing, however. Vanderbilt awaits in Saturday's semifinals, with Kentucky or Tennessee a potential final opponent. The Bulldogs' resume is a bit thin outside of their sweep of archrival (and fellow bubble team) Ole Miss, as a win over Old Dominion in South Padre is the non-conference highlight and losses at Western Kentucky and against Rider in Starkville are major blemishes. 

William & Mary (21-10; 12-6 CAA: RPI: 56; Non-conf. RPI: 13): Remember back in 2006, when the Committee stunned pretty much everyone by taking Air Force out of nowhere? Four years later, could the Tribe fill a similar role if enough teams fall by the wayside over the weekend? With road wins over Maryland and Wake Forest and a home win over Richmond, W&M has more quality wins than many teams on this list. However, three bad losses (at James Madison, Towson and UNC Wilmington) hurt their case, as does a late BracketBuster loss at Iona. From the eye test perspective, the fact the Tribe can be a little too reliant on perimeter shooting (see the closing moments of the CAA final) is another issue.

Mississippi (21-10; 9-7 SECRPI: 57; Non-conf. RPI: 33): The Rebels’ hurt their chances with a loss to Tennessee in Friday's SEC quarterfinals. Ole Miss' marquee win is better than archrival Mississippi State's, as they defeated Kansas State by 12 in Puerto Rico before Thanksgiving. They also own a helpful win against UTEP on a semi-home court in the Memphis suburbs. Still, not managing to beat the Bulldogs once is an issue, considering that was the difference in the race for the weaker division of the SEC. 

Next Four Out

Arizona State (22-10; 12-6 Pac-10; RPI: 64; Non-conf. RPI: 55): The Sun Devils fell to seventh-seeded Stanford in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament Thursday, all but ending their chances. ASU really needed to make the final to have a realistic shot. Currently, the only win the Sun Devils can hang their hat on is a home victory over San Diego State on December 19, their lone top 50 win on the season. 

Seton Hall (19-12; 9-9 Big East; RPI: 59; Non-conf. RPI: 80): The Pirates' strong finish may be for naught after Wednesday's loss against Notre Dame. On Selection Sunday, Pirates fans will likely be rueing the string of four games at the end of 2009/start of 2010, where their team lost heartbreakers, including OT games against West Virginia and Virginia Tech. Those wins would have been major boosts to an OK resume, especially as the Pirates own a somewhat unlucky  3-8 mark against the RPI Top 50. The Pirates did finish strong, but two wins over Rutgers and another pair over Providence won't do much to convince the Committee. Unfortunately, a win over Notre Dame would have.

South Florida (20-12; Big East 9-9; RPI: 67; Non-conf. RPI: 70): The Bulls' hopes were dashed Wednesday when they couldn't grab a second win over Georgetown. However, USF's offensive performance (or lack thereof) in two games at Madison Square Garden was more damaging than the loss to the Hoyas was by itself. The Bulls didn't hit a single jump shot in their win over DePaul Tuesday and only hit one three (near the end) against Georgetown. The Bulls are now 3-5 vs. the RPI Top 50, and only 3-6 against teams rated between 51 and 100.  While they own wins over Pitt, Georgetown and Seton Hall, a sweep at the hands of Notre Dame, and losses to St. John's, Central Michigan and South Carolina are serious blemishes. 

UAB (23-8; 11-5 C-USARPI: 43; non-conf. RPI: 17): The Blazers were embarrassed by Southern Mississippi in the Conference USA quarterfinals Thursday, meaning they're finished. They had a good chance to make the final with Memphis' defeat at the hands of Houston earlier in the day. Early season home wins over lock Butler and fellow bubble team Cincinnati won't help much now. UAB does own a 11-5 road/neutral record, but that’s a bit deceptive, as four of the losses came against four of their best five road opponents — Kent State, Memphis, UTEP and Virginia — and the fifth was Thursday's setback.

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Bubble Watch Update: How The Field Stacks Up With Three Days Left

Here is the updated look at how the NCAA Tournament field stacks up heading into Friday's conference tournament action. Click here for my Friday bracket. For more on Friday's games of importance, check my preview/recap post.

Click any team name that appears as a link to visit that school's SB Nation blog.

One-Bid Leagues (20)

America East, Atlantic Sun (East Tennessee State), Big Sky (Montana), Big South (Winthrop), Big West, Colonial (Old Dominion), Horizon (Butler),  Ivy (Cornell), Metro Atlantic (Siena), Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley (Northern Iowa) Northeast (Robert Morris), Ohio Valley (Murray State), Patriot, Southern (Wofford), Southland, Southwestern, Summit (Oakland), Sun Belt (North Texas)

Shot At Two (3)

Conference USA: UTEP (Work To Do)
Pacific-10: California (Work To Do)
Western Athletic: Utah State (Work To Do)

Locks (36)

ACC: Duke*, MarylandFlorida StateClemsonVirginia TechWake Forest
A-10: Temple*, Richmond, Xavier
Big East: SyracuseWest Virginia*, Villanova, Pittsburgh, GeorgetownMarquetteNotre DameLouisville
Big TenPurdue*, Ohio StateMichigan StateWisconsin
Big 12Kansas*, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas A&MTexas, Missouri, Oklahoma State
MWC: New Mexico*, BYU, UNLV
SEC: Kentucky*, VanderbiltTennessee
WCC: Gonzaga, St. Mary's*

Teams with an asterisk hold their respective conference's automatic bid at the moment.

Work To Do (5)

ACC:  Georgia Tech
C-USA: UTEP
Pac-10: California
SEC: Florida
WAC: Utah State

That takes care of 61 of the 65 teams. (No, I didn't miscount. "Work To Do" clubs Cal, UTEP and Utah State appear twice.) That leaves me to look at the last four teams in the field and the 11 who have varying chances at replacing them over the next three days.

RPI data from Crashing The Dance and reflects games through Wednesday, March 10. All records reflect games played against Division I opponents through Thursday, March 11.

Last Four In

Illinois (17-13; 10-8 Big Ten; RPI: 70; Non-conf. RPI: 119): The The Fighting Illini's resume has some good points (win at Wisconsin, comeback over Clemson, home wins over Michigan State and Vanderbilt) and some bad (home loss to Minnesota, neutral site losses to Bradley, Utah, semi-away loss to Georgia). They'd likely be in, but they've dropped three in a row, which isn't the way to head into the Big Ten Tournament. Making matters worse, they play Wisconsin, who they lost to at home on Sunday, in the quarterfinals Friday. The Illini did beat the Badgers in Madison, but Wisconsin was without Jon Leuer for that one.

Mississippi (21-9; 9-7 SECRPI: 57; Non-conf. RPI: 34): While Mississippi State is fading, Ole Miss is winning late, as they closed the regular season with four straight wins, capped by a close victory over Arkansas in Fayetteville on Saturday. The Rebels’ marquee win is better than archrivals', as they defeated Kansas State by 12 in Puerto Rico before Thanksgiving. Still, not managing to beat the Bulldogs once is an issue, considering that was the difference in the race for the weaker division of the SEC. For now, the Rebels hold a place, but the SEC Tournament will ultimately determine their fate. As the two seed out of the West, Ole Miss will face Tennessee in Friday's quarterfinals.

Washington (20-9; 10-7 Pac-10; RPI: 50; Non-conf. RPI: 27): It wasn't easy but the Huskies were able to advance to the Pac-10 semis, as they needed to mount a comeback to beat Oregon State Thursday, Unfortunately, since Arizona State was eliminated in the game before, Washington will have to hope they can meet Cal in the final for one last shot at a quality win. Washington owns home wins over Texas A&M and Cal. However, December losses at Texas Tech and against Georgetown in Anaheim are missed opportunities in a weak bubble year. 

San Diego State (21-8; 11-5 MWCRPI: 35; Non-conf. RPI: 35):The Aztecs are barely holding on, as they slipped past Colorado State in the Mountain West quarterfinals. That sets up a game with New Mexico in Friday's semifinals, which is a somewhat favorable matchup. At one point, SDSU was four points away from owning a 10-game win streak, as they lost to BYU by 2 at home and dropped a 2-point OT game at New Mexico. The Aztecs will wish they had those two games back, as they currently sit at 2-5 against the RPI Top 50 (both wins, over New Mexico and UNLV, came at home). Beating the Lobos Friday would be very helpful.

First Four Out

Rhode Island (22-8; 9-7 A-10; RPI: 41; Non-conf. RPI: 6): After Saturday's loss to UMass, the Rams are probably headed to the NIT, but they can change that with a run through the A-10 Tournament, which they started with a win over St. Joseph's on Tuesday night. That set up a quarterfinal with St. Louis (who beat the Rams at Chaifetz Arena) for Friday. Rhody's marquee non-conference win came against Oklahoma State, and they own respectable victories over Northeastern, Providence and Boston College. However, none of those three are likely to dance. Making matters worse is the fact the Rams' best league win is over Dayton, as they're 0-4 against Temple, Richmond and Xavier, the three A-10 teams who are in the best shape. 

Dayton (20-11; 8-8 A-10; RPI: 48; Non-conf. RPI: 14):  Like the Rams, the Flyers will need to make a run in Atlantic City to go dancing after Saturday's home loss to St. Louis. Their road/neutral record stands at 5-9 after Thursday night's setback at Richmond, a game the Flyers were in control of until the last 10 minutes. The Flyers' the best win came against Georgia Tech in Puerto Rico way back on November 19 and the best true road victory came against George Mason on December 8. The Flyers are the seventh-seeded team in the A-10 Tournament, and they'll face second-seeded Xavier in Atlantic City Friday, as they knocked off George Washington in the opening round on Tuesday.

Mississippi State (21-10; 9-7 SEC; RPI: 67; Non-conf. RPI: 72): The wheels came off for the Bulldogs at the wrong time, as they finished the regular season with back-to-back losses to Auburn (inexcusable) and Tennessee (forgivable, but not in the manner in which MSU fell). The Bulldogs' resume is a bit thin outside of their sweep of archrival (and fellow bubble team) Ole Miss, as a win over Old Dominion in South Padre is the non-conference highlight and losses at Western Kentucky and against Rider in Starkville are major blemishes. As the top seed in the West, the Bulldogs have a bye to the quarterfinals at the SEC Tournament. They'll meet Florida on Friday in Nashville.

William & Mary (21-10; 12-6 CAA: RPI: 58; Non-conf. RPI: 12): Remember back in 2006, when the Committee stunned pretty much everyone by taking Air Force out of nowhere? Four years later, could the Tribe fill a similar role if enough teams fall by the wayside over the weekend? With road wins over Maryland and Wake Forest and a home win over Richmond, W&M has more quality wins than many teams on this list. However, three bad losses (at James Madison, Towson and UNC Wilmington) hurt their case, as does a late BracketBuster loss at Iona. From the eye test perspective, the fact the Tribe can be a little too reliant on perimeter shooting (see the closing moments of the CAA final) is another issue.

Next Four Out

Arizona State (22-10; 12-6 Pac-10; RPI: 55; Non-conf. RPI: 55): The Sun Devils fell to seventh-seeded Stanford in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament Thursday, all but ending their chances. ASU really needed to make the final to have a realistic shot. Currently, the only win the Sun Devils can hang their hat on is a home victory over San Diego State on December 19, their lone top 50 win on the season. 

Seton Hall (19-12; 9-9 Big East; RPI: 59; Non-conf. RPI: 77): The Pirates' strong finish may be for naught after Wednesday's loss against Notre Dame. On Selection Sunday, Pirates fans will likely be rueing the string of four games at the end of 2009/start of 2010, where their team lost heartbreakers, including OT games against West Virginia and Virginia Tech. Those wins would have been major boosts to an OK resume, especially as the Pirates own a somewhat unlucky  3-8 mark against the RPI Top 50. The Pirates did finish strong, but two wins over Rutgers and another pair over Providence won't do much to convince the Committee. Unfortunately, a win over Notre Dame would have.

South Florida (20-12; Big East 9-9; RPI: 64; Non-conf. RPI: 69): The Bulls' hopes were dashed Wednesday when they couldn't grab a second win over Georgetown. However, USF's offensive performance (or lack thereof) in two games at Madison Square Garden was more damaging than the loss to the Hoyas was by itself. The Bulls didn't hit a single jump shot in their win over DePaul Tuesday and only hit one three (near the end) against Georgetown. The Bulls are now 3-5 vs. the RPI Top 50, and only 3-6 against teams rated between 51 and 100.  While they own wins over Pitt, Georgetown and Seton Hall, a sweep at the hands of Notre Dame, and losses to St. John's, Central Michigan and South Carolina are serious blemishes. 

UAB (23-8; 11-5 C-USARPI: 40; non-conf. RPI: 17): The Blazers were embarrassed by Southern Mississippi in the Conference USA quarterfinals Thursday, meaning they're finished. They had a good chance to make the final with Memphis' defeat at the hands of Houston earlier. Early season home wins over lock Butler and fellow bubble team Cincinnati won't help much now. UAB does own a 11-5 road/neutral record, but that’s a bit deceptive, as four of the losses came against four of their best five road opponents — Kent State, Memphis, UTEP and Virginia — and the fifth was Thursday's setback.

On The Fringe

Cincinnati (18-15; 7-11 Big East; RPI: 60; Non-conf. RPI: 38): The Bearcats had some life after they knocked out Louisville Wednesday to advance to the Big East quarterfinals on Thursday, but the NIT looks like their destination after they fell to West Virginia on a Da'Sean Butler buzzer beater. The victory over the Cardinals was the first Mick Cronin's team won a game against an opponent who's a lock or near lock since a pair of wins Vanderbilt and Maryland in Maui. A win over the Mountaineers would have been a major boost to their resume.

Memphis (23-9; 13-3 C-USA; RPI: 46: Non-conf. RPI: 91): The Tigers lost a close one to Houston in the Conference USA quarterfinals, ending their chances at an at-large. Memphis owns a 7-5 mark against the RPI Top 100; however, only two of those wins came against a Top 50 opponent, and that was sweep of now out of the picture UAB. Memphis' two best non-league wins came against IUPUI and Oakland. A 7-6 road/neutral mark is OK, but the best of those wins (after the win at UAB) came against Marshall and Tulsa. Josh Pastner's club fattened up on Division I's worst teams, going 15-2 against teams ranked 151+ in the RPI, losing at UMass and SMU. 

Minnesota (19-12; 9-9 Big Ten; RPI: 76; Non-conf. RPI: 60): A late defeat at Michigan cost the Gophers a shot at a bye in the Big Ten Tournament. Not that they needed it, as Minnesota smashed Penn State in the first round Thursday to set up a quarterfinal with Michigan State, a team they lost two close games to during the regular season. The Golden Gophers are 5-9 this season against the RPI Top 100. Three of those wins came at The Barn, where they defeated Ohio State, Wisconsin and now-out of the picture Northwestern. Minnesota's nine-point triumph over Butler in Anaheim is useful, but the losses to Portland and Texas A&M that followed aren't. Neither was the road loss at Miami days after the California trip. Losses to Indiana (in Bloomington) and the Michigan sweep sting as well. They need to keep winning in Indianapolis to have a shot.

St. Louis (19-10; 11-5 A-10; RPI: 84; Non-conf. RPI: 201): There are two reasons why the Billikens aren't closer to the field: their 5-7 road/neutral record, and the fact their best non-conference win came against Big 12 bottom feeder Nebraska. Still, SLU grabbed the four seed, and a bye, for the A-10 Tournament after Saturday's win at Dayton. They'll face fellow bubble team Rhode Island in Atlantic City on Friday.

Wichita State (23-9; 10-2 MWC; RPI: 45; Non-conf. RPI: 87): The Shockers couldn't take themselves off the bubble aas they fell to Northern Iowa in Sunday's MVC championship game. The Shockers best two wins, over the Panthers and Texas Tech, came at home. Like UNI, Wichita State also lost to Evansville and Bradley in the league, but the Shockers also fell to Drake and Creighton once. All four of those losses came on the road, meaning WSU has a mediocre 7-8 road/neutral mark.

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Bubble Watch Update: USF And Seton Hall Out; Ole Miss Back In; Arizona State Makes A Cameo

Here is the updated look at how the NCAA Tournament field stacks up heading into a busy Thursday of conference tournament action. Click here for my Thursday bracket. For more on Thursday's games of importance, check my preview post.

Click any team name that appears as a link to visit that school's SB Nation blog.

One-Bid Leagues (20)

America East, Atlantic Sun (East Tennessee State), Big Sky (Montana), Big South (Winthrop), Big West, Colonial (Old Dominion), Horizon (Butler),  Ivy (Cornell), Metro Atlantic (Siena), Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley (Northern Iowa) Northeast (Robert Morris), Ohio Valley (Murray State), Patriot, Southern (Wofford), Southland, Southwestern, Summit (Oakland), Sun Belt (North Texas)

Shot At Two (3)

Conference USA: UTEP (Work To Do)
Pacific-10: California (Work To Do)
Western Athletic: Utah State (Work To Do)

Locks (30)

ACC: Duke*, MarylandClemsonVirginia TechFlorida StateWake Forest
A-10: Temple*, Xavier, Richmond
Big East: Syracuse*, West VirginiaVillanova, Pittsburgh, GeorgetownLouisville
Big TenPurdue*, Ohio StateMichigan StateWisconsin
Big 12Kansas*, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, MissouriTexas
MWC: New Mexico*, BYU, UNLV
SEC: Kentucky*, VanderbiltTennessee
WCC: Gonzaga, St. Mary's*

Teams with an asterisk hold their respective conference's automatic bid at the moment.

Work To Do (7)

ACC:  Georgia Tech
Big East: Notre Dame, Marquette
C-USA: UTEP
Pac-10: California
SEC: Florida
WAC: Utah State

Of this group, Florida, Georgia Tech and Utah State hold the most precarious positions. These three teams could find themselves among either the Last Four In or First Four Out as the clock ticks down . 

That takes care of 61 of the 65 teams. (No, "Work To Do" clubs Cal, UTEP and Utah State appear twice.) That leaves me to look at the last four teams in the field and the 11 who have varying chances at replacing them over the next four days.

RPI data from Crashing The Dance and reflects games through Tuesday, March 9. All records reflect games played against Division I opponents through Wednesday, March 10.

Last Four In

Illinois (17-13; 10-8 Big Ten; RPI: 71; Non-conf. RPI: 117): The The Fighting Illini's resume has some good points (win at Wisconsin, comeback over Clemson, home wins over Michigan State and Vanderbilt) and some bad (home loss to Minnesota, neutral site losses to Bradley, Utah, semi-away loss to Georgia). They'd likely be in, but they've dropped three in a row, which isn't the way to head into the Big Ten Tournament. Making matters worse, they play Wisconsin, who they lost to at home on Sunday, in the quarterfinals Friday.

Mississippi (21-9; 9-7 SECRPI: 56; Non-conf. RPI: 35): While Miss. State is fading, Ole Miss is winning late, as they closed the regular season with four straight wins, capped by a close victory over Arkansas in Fayetteville on Saturday. The Rebels’ marquee win is better than archrivals' Mississippi State's, as they defeated Kansas State by 12 in Puerto Rico before Thanksgiving. Still, not managing to beat the Bulldogs once is an issue, considering that’s the difference in the race for the weaker division of the SEC. For now, the Rebels hold a place, but the SEC Tournament will ultimately determine their fate. As the two seed out of the West, Ole Miss will face either Tennessee or LSU in Friday's quarterfinals.

Arizona State (22-9; 12-6 Pac-10; RPI: 55; Non-conf. RPI: 57): The Sun Devils swept past the L.A. schools to lock up the second seed in this week's Pac-10 Tournament. Thanks to what else has gone on around the country, they may only need to make the final to get in, which speaks volumes about the quality of this season's bubble. Currently, the only win the Sun Devils can hang their hat on is a home victory over San Diego State on December 19, their lone top 50 win in six tries. ASU begins Pac-10 Tournament play against seventh-seeded Stanford on Thursday.

San Diego State (20-8; 11-5 MWCRPI: 36; Non-conf. RPI: 36):The Aztecs won their home finale Wednesday night over Colorado State, then followed that victory up with a win at Air Force Saturday. At one point, SDSU was four points away from owning a 10-game win streak, as they lost to BYU by 2 at home and dropped a 2-point OT game at New Mexico. The Aztecs will wish they had those two games back, as they currently sit at 2-5 against the RPI Top 50 (both wins, over New Mexico and UNLV, came at home). The fourth-seeded Aztecs open the Mountain West Tournament with a game against fifth-seeded Colorado State Thursday. Top seeded New Mexico may await in the semifinals on Friday.

First Four Out

Rhode Island (22-8; 9-7 A-10; RPI: 42; Non-conf. RPI: 5): After Saturday's loss to UMass, the Rams are probably headed to the NIT, but they can change that with a run through the A-10 Tournament, which they started with a win over St. Joseph's on Tuesday night. That set up a quarterfinal with St. Louis (who beat the Rams at Chaifetz Arena) for Friday. Rhody's marquee non-conference win came against Oklahoma State, and they own respectable victories over Northeastern, Providence and Boston College. However, none of those three are likely to dance. Making matters worse is the fact the Rams' best league win is over Dayton, as they're 0-4 against Temple, Richmond and Xavier, the three A-10 teams who are in the best shape. 

Washington (20-9; 10-7 Pac-10; RPI: 53; Non-conf. RPI: 27): Much like the Sun Devils, the Huskies have some life, as they own home wins over Texas A&M and Cal. However, December losses at Texas Tech and against Georgetown in Anaheim are missed opportunities in a weak bubble year. Washington swept the Oregon schools to finish the regular season strong and lock up the third seed in the Pac-10 Tournament. They'll face sixth-seeded Oregon State again in the quarterfinals on Thursday. If both ASU and UW make the semifinal, that game could be for a bid.

Dayton (20-11; 8-8 A-10; RPI: 48; Non-conf. RPI: 14):  Like the Rams, the Flyers will need to make a run in Atlantic City to go dancing after Saturday's home loss to St. Louis. Their road/neutral record stands at 5-9 after Thursday night's setback at Richmond, a game the Flyers were in control of until the last 10 minutes. The Flyers' the best win came against Georgia Tech in Puerto Rico way back on November 19 and the best true road victory came against George Mason on December 8. The Flyers are the seventh-seeded team in the A-10 Tournament, and they'll face second-seeded Xavier in Atlantic City Friday, as they knocked off George Washington in the opening round on Tuesday.

UAB (23-7; 11-5 C-USARPI: 40; non-conf. RPI: 17): The Blazers looked like they were going to grab a valuable road win at Conference USA regular season champ UTEP Saturday, but they let the Miners off the hook.  They can no longer rely on their early season home wins over lock Butler and fellow bubble team Cincinnati. UAB owns a 11-4 road/neutral record, but that’s a bit deceptive, as the losses came against four of their best five road opponents — Kent State, Memphis, UTEP and Virginia. The Blazers slipped down to the three seed for the conference tournament in Tulsa. They'll meet Southern Miss in the quarterfinal Thursday. The bad news for UAB is that they're on Memphis' side of the bracket, and the Tigers won both regular season meetings.

Next Four Out

Memphis (23-8; 13-3 C-USA; RPI: 46: Non-conf. RPI: 90): The Tigers do own a 7-5 mark against the RPI Top 100; however, only two of those wins came against a Top 50 opponent, the sweep over UAB. Memphis' two best non-league wins came against IUPUI and Oakland. A 7-5 road/neutral mark is OK, but the best of those wins (after the win at UAB) came against Marshall and Tulsa. Josh Pastner's club fattened up on Division I's worst teams, going 15-2 against teams ranked 151+ in the RPI, losing at UMass and SMU. The Tigers are the two seed in the C-USA Tournament, meaning they'll face Houston in the quarterfinals Thursday. I still think they need to win the auto bid to dance, but at this point, a trip to the final may be enough.

Mississippi State (21-10; 9-7 SEC; RPI: 58; Non-conf. RPI: 74): The wheels came off for the Bulldogs at the wrong time, as they finished the regular season with back-to-back losses to Auburn (inexcusable) and Tennessee (forgivable, but not in the manner in which MSU fell). The Bulldogs' resume is a bit thin outside of their sweep of archrival (and fellow bubble team) Ole Miss, as a win over Old Dominion in South Padre is the non-conference highlight and losses at Western Kentucky and against Rider in Starkville are major blemishes. As the top seed in the West, the Bulldogs have a bye to the quarterfinals at the SEC Tournament. They'll meet the Florida-Auburn winner on Friday in Nashville.

South Florida (20-12; Big East 9-9; RPI: 63; Non-conf. RPI: 68): The Bulls' hopes were dashed Wednesday when they couldn't grab a second win over Georgetown. However, USF's offensive performance (or lack thereof) in two games at Madison Square Garden was more damaging than the loss itself. The Bulls didn't hit a single jump shot in their win over DePaul Tuesday and only hit one three (near the end) against the Hoyas. The Bulls are now 3-5 vs. the RPI Top 50, and only 3-6 against teams rated between 51 and 100.  While they own wins over Pitt, Georgetown and Seton Hall, a sweep at the hands of Notre Dame, and losses to St. John's, Central Michigan and South Carolina are serious blemishes. 

Seton Hall (19-12; 9-9 Big East; RPI: 54; Non-conf. RPI: 78): The Pirates' strong finish may be for naught after Wednesday's loss against Notre Dame. On Selection Sunday, Pirates fans will likely be rueing the string of four games at the end of 2009/start of 2010, where their team lost heartbreakers, including OT games against West Virginia and Virginia Tech. Those wins would have been major boosts to an OK resume, especially as the Pirates own a somewhat unlucky  3-8 mark against the RPI Top 50. The Pirates did finish strong, but two wins over Rutgers and another pair over Providence won't do much to convince the Committee. Unfortunately, a win over Notre Dame would have.

On The Fringe

Cincinnati (18-14; 7-11 Big East; RPI: 64; Non-conf. RPI: 38): The Bearcats have some life after they knocked out Louisville Wednesday to advance to the Big East quarterfinals on Thursday against West Virginia. The victory over the Cardinals was the first Mick Cronin's team won a game against an opponent who's a lock or near lock since a pair of wins Vanderbilt and Maryland in Maui. A win over the Mountaineers may just catapult them into the field.

Minnesota (18-12; 9-9 Big Ten; RPI: 78; Non-conf. RPI: 60): After grabbing a win at Illinois last Saturday, the Golden Gophers made a huge jump. Tuesday night, they gave it all back with an abysmal performance at Michigan, where they lost by 28. The defeat was costly as it cost the Gophers a shot at a bye in the Big Ten Tournament. The Golden Gophers are 5-9 this season against the RPI Top 100. Three of those wins came at The Barn, where they defeated Ohio State, Wisconsin and now-out of the picture Northwestern. Minnesota's nine-point triumph over Butler in Anaheim is useful, but the losses to Portland and Texas A&M that followed aren't. Neither was the road loss at Miami days after the California trip. Losses to Indiana (in Bloomington) the Michigan sweep sting. Minnesota beat Iowa on Sunday to close the regular season, but they'll need to make a run in Indianapolis. The Gophers open with Penn State on Thursday, with Michigan State awaiting in the quarterfinals if they win.

St. Louis (19-10; 11-5 A-10; RPI: 84; Non-conf. RPI: 198): There are two reasons why the Billikens aren't closer to the field: their 5-7 road/neutral record, and the fact their best non-conference win came against Big 12 bottom feeder Nebraska. Still, SLU grabbed the four seed, and a bye, for the A-10 Tournament after Saturday's win at Dayton. They'll face Rhode Island in Atlantic City on Friday.

Wichita State (23-9; 10-2; RPI: 45; non-conf. RPI: 87): The Shockers couldn't take themselves off the bubble aas they fell to Northern Iowa in Sunday's MVC championship game. The Shockers best two wins, over the Panthers and Texas Tech, came at home. Like UNI, Wichita State also lost to Evansville and Bradley in the league, but the Shockers also fell to Drake and Creighton once. All four of those losses came on the road, meaning WSU has a mediocre 7-8 road/neutral mark.

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Bubble Watch Update: No Change In Last Four In Heading Into Wednesday

Here is the updated look at the teams fighting for the last few spots in the NCAA field. Click here for my Wednesday bracket projection.

Thanks to Butler's win the Horizon League final Tuesday evening, the only change to this list is the removal of UConn after their 21-point loss to St. John's in the Big East Tournament.

Click any team name that appears as a link to visit that school's SB Nation blog.

RPI data from Crashing The Dance and reflects games through Monday, March 8. All records reflect games played against Division I opponents through Tuesday, March 9.

Last Four In

Seton Hall (19-11; 9-9 Big East; RPI: 55; Non-conf. RPI: 78): Remember that string of four games at the end of 2009/start of 2010, where the Pirates lost heartbreakers, including OT games against West Virginia and Virginia Tech? Hall fans are undoubtedly wishing they’d won a couple of those right about now, as those wins would be major boosts to an OK resume. But they didn’t, meaning the Pirates own a 2-8 mark against the RPI Top 50 and a 5-7 road/neutral mark.  However, they have four wins against teams I have in my Monday projection. That's a boost. The Pirates finished strong, wrapping up a sweeping Rutgers and winning at Providence to close the regular season. They beat the Friars again in the Big East opening round Tuesday, but the Friars mounted a comeback that exposed the Pirates' defense. But the Hall held on, meaning a game with a hungry Notre Dame team is on deck for Wednesday. Given how the first meeting between the two went, perhaps another shootout is in the cards.

San Diego State (20-8; 11-5 MWCRPI: 36; Non-conf. RPI: 36):The Aztecs won their home finale Wednesday night over Colorado State, then followed that victory up with a win at Air Force Saturday. At one point, SDSU was four points away from owning a 10-game win streak, as they lost to BYU by 2 at home and dropped a 2-point OT game at New Mexico. The Aztecs will wish they had those two games back, as they currently sit at 2-5 against the RPI Top 50 (both wins, over New Mexico and UNLV, came at home). The fourth-seeded Aztecs open the Mountain West Tournament with a game against fifth-seeded Colorado State Thursday. Top seeded New Mexico is their potential semifinal opponent.

South Florida (20-11; Big East 9-9; RPI: 61; Non-conf. RPI: 69): The Bulls knocked off UConn Saturday to burst the Huskies' bubble and move a little closer to booking a place of their own. The Bulls seem to have an issue with playing to the level of their competition, as they’re 3-5 vs. the RPI Top 50, but only 2-5 against teams rated between 51 and 100.  They own wins over Pitt, Georgetown and Seton Hall, but a sweep at the hands of Notre Dame, and losses to St. John's, Central Michigan and South Carolina are blemishes. USF will probably need to win twice in the Big East Tournament. That won't be easy, as the Bulls only grabbed the nine seed. USF knocked off DePaul Tuesday, and will try to beat Georgetown for the second time this season Wednesday afternoon.. 

Illinois (17-13; 10-8 Big Ten; RPI: 72; Non-conf. RPI: 117): The The Fighting Illini's resume has some good points (win at Wisconsin, comeback over Clemson, home wins over Michigan State and Vanderbilt) and some bad (home loss to Minnesota, neutral site losses to Bradley, Utah, semi-away loss to Georgia). They'd likely be in, but they've dropped three in a row, which isn't the way to head into the Big Ten Tournament. Making matters worse, they play Wisconsin, who they lost to at home on Sunday, in the quarterfinals Friday..

First Four Out

Mississippi (21-9; 9-7 SECRPI: 57; Non-conf. RPI: 35): While Miss. State is fading, Ole Miss is winning late, as they closed the regular season with four straight wins, capped by a close victory over Arkansas in Fayetteville on Saturday. The Rebels’ marquee win is better than archrivals' Mississippi State's, as they defeated Kansas State by 12 in Puerto Rico before Thanksgiving. Still, not managing to beat the Bulldogs once is an issue, considering that’s the difference in the race for the weaker division of the SEC. For now, the Rebels are just outside, but the SEC Tournament will ultimately determine their fate. As the two seed out of the West, Ole Miss will face either Tennessee or LSU in Friday's quarterfinals.

Arizona State (22-9; 12-6 Pac-10; RPI: 54; Non-conf. RPI: 56): The Sun Devils swept past the L.A. schools to lock up the second seed in this week's Pac-10 Tournament. Thanks to what else has gone on around the country, they may only need to make the final to get in, which speaks volumes about the quality of this season's bubble. Currently, the only win the Sun Devils can hang their hat on is a home victory over San Diego State on December 19, their lone top 50 win in six tries. ASU begins Pac-10 Tournament play against seventh-seeded Stanford on Thursday.

Washington (20-9; 10-7 Pac-10; RPI: 52; Non-conf. RPI: 28): Much like the Sun Devils, the Huskies have some life, as they own home wins over Texas A&M and Cal. However, December losses at Texas Tech and against Georgetown in Anaheim are missed opportunities in a weak bubble year. Washington swept the Oregon schools to finish the regular season strong and lock up the third seed in the Pac-10 Tournament. They'll face sixth-seeded Oregon State again in the quarterfinals on Thursday. If both ASU and UW make the semifinal, that game could be for a bid.

Dayton (20-11; 8-8 A-10; RPI: 50; Non-conf. RPI: 14):  The Flyers will need to make a run in Atlantic City to go dancing after Saturday's home loss to St. Louis. Their road/neutral record stands at 5-9 after Thursday night's setback at Richmond, a game the Flyers were in control of until the last 10 minutes. The Flyers' the best win came against Georgia Tech in Puerto Rico way back on November 19 and the best true road victory came against George Mason on December 8. The Flyers are the seventh-seeded team in the A-10 Tournament, and they'll face second-seeded Xavier in Atlantic City Friday, as they knocked off George Washington in the opening round on Tuesday.

Next Four Out

UAB (23-7; 11-5 C-USARPI: 40; non-conf. RPI: 17): The Blazers looked like they were going to grab a valuable road win at Conference USA regular season champ UTEP Saturday, but they let the Miners off the hook.  They can no longer rely on their early season home wins over lock Butler and fellow bubble team Cincinnati. UAB owns a 11-4 road/neutral record, but that’s a bit deceptive, as the losses came against four of their best five road opponents — Kent State, Memphis, UTEP and Virginia. The Blazers slipped down to the three seed for the conference tournament in Tulsa. They'll meet either Southern Miss or Tulane in the quarterfinal Thursday. The bad news for UAB is that they're on Memphis' side of the bracket, and the Tigers won both regular season meetings.

Memphis (23-8; 13-3 C-USA; RPI: 47: Non-conf. RPI: 92): The Tigers do own a 7-5 mark against the RPI Top 100; however, only two of those wins came against a Top 50 opponent, the sweep over UAB. Memphis' two best non-league wins came against IUPUI and Oakland. A 7-5 road/neutral mark is OK, but the best of those wins (after the win at UAB) came against Marshall and Tulsa. Josh Pastner's club fattened up on Division I's worst teams, going 15-2 against teams ranked 151+ in the RPI, losing at UMass and SMU. The Tigers are the two seed in the C-USA Tournament, meaning they'll face either Houston or East Carolina in the quarterfinals Thursday. I still think they need to win the auto bid to dance.

Rhode Island (22-8; 9-7 A-10; RPI: 39; Non-conf. RPI: 5): After Saturday's loss to UMass, the Rams are probably headed to the NIT. They can change that with a run through the A-10 Tournament, which they started with a win over St. Joseph's on Tuesday night. That sets up a quarterfinal with St, Louis (who beat the Rams in St. Louis) Friday. Rhody's marquee non-conference win came against Oklahoma State, and they own respectable victories over Northeastern, Providence and Boston College. However, none of those three are likely to dance. Making matters worse is the fact the Rams' best league win is over Dayton, as they're 0-4 against Temple, Richmond and Xavier, the three A-10 teams who are in the best shape. 

Mississippi State (21-10; 9-7 SEC; RPI: 68; Non-conf. RPI: 76): The wheels came off the Bulldogs at the wrong time, as they finished the regular season with back-to-back losses to Auburn (inexcusable) and Tennessee (forgivable, but not in the manner in which MSU fell). The Bulldogs' resume is a bit thin outside of their sweep of archrival (and fellow bubble team) Ole Miss, as a win over Old Dominion in South Padre is the non-conference highlight and losses at Western Kentucky and against Rider in Starkville are major blemishes. As the top seed in the West, the Bulldogs have a bye to the quarterfinals at the SEC Tournament. They'll meet the Florida-Auburn winner on Friday in Nashville.

On The Fringe

UConn falls off the board after their loss to St. John's Tuesday.

Minnesota (18-12; 9-9 Big Ten; RPI: 78; Non-conf. RPI: 60): After grabbing a win at Illinois last Saturday, the Golden Gophers made a huge jump. Tuesday night, they gave it all back with an abysmal performance at Michigan, where they lost by 28. The defeat was costly as it cost the Gophers a shot at a bye in the Big Ten Tournament. The Golden Gophers are 5-9 this season against the RPI Top 100. Three of those wins came at The Barn, where they defeated Ohio State, Wisconsin and now-out of the picture Northwestern. Minnesota's nine-point triumph over Butler in Anaheim is useful, but the losses to Portland and Texas A&M that followed aren't. Neither was the road loss at Miami days after the California trip. Losses to Indiana (in Bloomington) the Michigan sweep sting. Minnesota beat Iowa on Sunday to close the regular season, but they'll need to make a run in Indianapolis. The Gophers open with Penn State on Thursday, with Michigan State awaiting in the quarterfinals if they win.

St. Louis (19-10; 11-5 A-10; RPI: 83; Non-conf. RPI: 200): There are two reasons why the Billikens aren't closer to the field: their 5-7 road/neutral record, and the fact their best non-conference win came against Big 12 bottom feeder Nebraska. Still, SLU grabbed the four seed, and a bye, for the A-10 Tournament after Saturday's win at Dayton. They'll face Rhode Island in Atlantic City on Friday.

Wichita State (23-9; 10-2; RPI: 45; non-conf. RPI: 87): The Shockers couldn't take themselves off the bubble aas they fell to Northern Iowa in Sunday's MVC championship game. The Shockers best two wins, over the Panthers and Texas Tech, came at home. Like UNI, Wichita State also lost to Evansville and Bradley in the league, but the Shockers also fell to Drake and Creighton once. All four of those losses came on the road, meaning WSU has a mediocre 7-8 road/neutral mark.

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Sunday Bubble Update: USF And Ole Miss Move In; Rhode Island And UAB Drop Out

Here is the updated look at how the NCAA Tournament field stacks up heading into the weekend. Click here for my Saturday morning bracket. My next projection will be released Monday morning to reflect the weekend's conference championship games and other action.

Click any team name that appears as a link to visit that school's SB Nation blog.

One-Bid Leagues (16)

America East, Atlantic Sun (East Tennessee State), Big Sky, Big South (Winthrop), Big West, Ivy (Cornell), Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Northeast, Ohio Valley (Murray State), Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt

Shot At Two (8)

West Coast: Gonzaga (lock)
Horizon: Butler (lock)
Missouri Valley: Northern Iowa (somewhat safe)
Conference USA: UTEP (somewhat safe)
Pacific-10: California
Western Athletic: Utah State
Colonial: Old Dominion
Metro Atlantic: Siena

Locks (30)

ACC: Duke*, MarylandClemsonFlorida State
A-10: Temple*, Xavier, Richmond
Big East: Syracuse*, Villanova, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, GeorgetownLouisville
Big TenPurdue*, Ohio StateMichigan StateWisconsin
Big 12Kansas*, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas A&MMissouriTexas
Horizon: Butler*
MWC: New Mexico*, BYU
SEC: Kentucky*, VanderbiltTennessee
WCC: Gonzaga*

Teams with an asterisk hold their respective conference's automatic bid at the moment.

Work To Do (11)

ACC: Wake Forest, Georgia TechVirginia Tech
Big East: Marquette, Notre Dame
Big Ten: Illinois
Big 12: Oklahoma State
C-USA: UTEP
Missouri Valley: Northern Iowa*
MWC: UNLV
SEC: Florida

Of this group, Florida, Georgia Tech, Illinois and Wake Forest hold the most precarious positions. These four teams could find themselves among either the Last Four In or First Four Out as the clock ticks down . 

That takes care of 61 of the 65 teams. (No, I didn't count wrong, locks Butler and Gonzaga and "work to do" clubs UNI and UTEP appear twice.) That leaves me to look at the last four teams in the field and the 12 who have varying chances at replacing them over the next week or so.

RPI data from Crashing The Dance and reflects games through Friday, March 4. All records reflect games played against Division I opponents through Saturday, March 5.

Last Four In

San Diego State (20-8; 11-5 MWCRPI: 33; Non-conf. RPI: 38):The Aztecs won their home finale Wednesday night over Colorado State, then followed that victory up with a win at Air Force Saturday. At one point, SDSU was four points away from owning a 10-game win streak, as they lost to BYU by 2 at home and dropped a 2-point OT game at New Mexico. The Aztecs will wish they had those two games back, as they currently sit at 2-5 against the RPI Top 50 (both wins, over New Mexico and UNLV, came at home). The fourth-seeded Aztecs open the Mountain West Tournament with a game against fifth-seeded Colorado State Thursday. Top seeded New Mexico is their potential semifinal opponent.

St. Mary's (23-5: 11-3 West Coast; RPI: 46; Non-conf. RPI: 29): After dropping consecutive road games to Gonzaga and Portland, the Gaels really needed a BracketBuster game. However, they skipped the event this season since that would have resulted in a four-game road trip (as SMC was designated as an away team). An extra game would have helped a resume that already includes win over bubble teams Utah State (in Logan) San Diego State (at home) and a two-point loss against Vanderbilt before the Commodores went to Maui. A win over Gonzaga would have been helpful, and the Gaels may get a third shot at one in Las Vegas Monday. Portland stands in the way in tonight's WCC semifinals.

South Florida (19-11; Big East 9-9; RPI: 62; Non-conf. RPI: 68): The Bulls knocked off UConn Saturday to burst the Huskies' bubble and move a little closer to booking a place of their own. The Bulls seem to have an issue with playing to the level of their competition, as they’re 3-5 vs. the RPI Top 50, but only 2-5 against teams rated between 51 and 100.  They own wins over Pitt, Georgetown and Seton Hall, but a sweep at the hands of Notre Dame, and losses to St. John's, Central Michigan and South Carolina are blemishes. USF will probably need to win twice in the Big East Tournament. That won't be easy, as the Bulls only grabbed the nine seed. They open with DePaul Tuesday. If they win that, Georgetown awaits in round two on Wednesday. 

Mississippi (21-9; 9-7 SECRPI: 58; Non-conf. RPI: 35): While Miss. State is fading, Ole Miss is winning late, as they closed the regular season with four straight wins, capped by a close victory over Arkansas in Fayetteville on Saturday. The Rebels’ marquee win is better than archrivals' Mississippi State's, as they defeated Kansas State by 12 in Puerto Rico before Thanksgiving. Still, not managing to beat the Bulldogs once is an issue, considering that’s the difference in the race for the weaker division of the SEC. For now, the Rebels hold a place, but the SEC Tournament will ultimately determine their fate. As the two seed out of the West, Ole Miss will face either Tennessee or LSU in Friday's quarterfinals.

First Four Out

Arizona State (22-9; 12-6 Pac-10; RPI: 54; Non-conf. RPI: 59): The Sun Devils swept past the L.A. schools to lock up the second seed in this week's Pac-10 Tournament. Thanks to what else has gone on around the country, they may only need to make the final to get in, which speaks volumes about the quality of this season's bubble. Currently, the only win the Sun Devils can hang their hat on is a home victory over San Diego State on December 19, their lone top 50 win in six tries. ASU begins Pac-10 Tournament play against seventh-seeded Stanford on Thursday.

UAB (23-7; 11-5 C-USARPI: 41; non-conf. RPI: 18): The Blazers looked like they were going to grab a valuable road win at Conference USA regular season champ UTEP Saturday, but they let the Miners off the hook.  They can no longer rely on their early season home wins over lock Butler and fellow bubble team Cincinnati. UAB owns a 11-4 road/neutral record, but that’s a bit deceptive, as the losses came against four of their best five road opponents — Kent State, Memphis, UTEP and Virginia. The Blazers slipped down to the three seed for the conference tournament in Tulsa. They'll meet either Southern Miss or Tulane in the quarterfinal Thursday. The bad news for UAB is that they're on Memphis' side of the bracket, and the Tigers won both regular season meetings.

Washington (20-9; 10-7 Pac-10; RPI: 55; Non-conf. RPI: 27): Much like the Sun Devils, the Huskies have some life, as they own home wins over Texas A&M and Cal. However, December losses at Texas Tech and against Georgetown in Anaheim are missed opportunities in a weak bubble year. Washington swept the Oregon schools to finish the regular season strong and lock up the third seed in the Pac-10 Tournament. They'll face sixth-seeded Oregon State again in the quarterfinals on Thursday. If both ASU and UW make the semifinal, that game could be for a bid.

Seton Hall (18-11; 9-9 Big East; RPI: 57; Non-conf. RPI: 76): Remember that string of four games at the end of 2009/start of 2010, where the Pirates lost heartbreakers, including OT games against West Virginia and Virginia Tech? Hall fans are undoubtedly wishing they’d won a couple of those right about now, as those wins would be major boosts to an OK resume. But they didn’t, meaning the Pirates own a 2-9 mark against the RPI Top 50 and a 4-7 road/neutral mark. Those stats aren’t major selling points. One thing Seton Hall has done this season is prove that they can lose to good teams, and they'll need to change that perception at the Big East Tournament. The Pirates finished strong, sweeping Rutgers and winning at Providence, but those wins won't boost their computer numbers much. Seton Hall faces the Friars again in the opening round Tuesday. If they win, Notre Dame would be their Wednesday opponent.

Next Four Out

Wichita State (23-8; 10-2; RPI: 47; non-conf. RPI: 86): The Shockers can take themselves off the bubble and make the Missouri Valley a two-bid league by defeating Northern Iowa in Sunday's championship game. The Shockers best two wins, over the Panthers and Texas Tech, came at home. Like UNI, Wichita State also lost to Evansville and Bradley in the league, but the Shockers also fell to Drake and Creighton once. All four of those losses came on the road, meaning WSU has a mediocre 7-8 road/neutral mark.

Mississippi State (21-10; 9-7 SECRPI: 61; Non-conf. RPI: 75): The wheels came off the Bulldogs at the wrong time, as they finished the regular season with back-to-back losses to Auburn (inexcusable) and Tennessee (forgivable, but not in the manner in which MSU fell). The Bulldogs’ resume is a bit thin outside of their sweep of archrival (and fellow bubble team) Ole Miss, as a win over Old Dominion in South Padre is the non-conference highlight and losses at Western Kentucky and against Rider in Starkville are major blemishes. As the top seed in the West, the Bulldogs have a bye to the quarterfinals at the SEC Tournament. They'll meet the Florida-Auburn winner on Friday in Nashville.

Rhode Island (21-8; 9-7 A-10; RPI: 30; Non-conf. RPI: 4): After Saturday's loss to UMass, the Rams are headed to the NIT, barring a run through the A-10 Tournament. Rhody's marquee non-conference win came against Oklahoma State, and they own respectable victories over Northeastern, Providence and Boston College. However, none of those three are likely to dance. Making matters worse is the fact the Rams' best league win is over Dayton, as they're 0-4 against Temple, Richmond and Xavier, the three A-10 teams who look to be in the best shape. The fifth-seeded Rams open A-10 Tournament play against No. 12 Saint Joseph's at home on Tuesday. If they win that, a quarterfinal against fourth-seeded St. Louis would await Friday.Memphis (23-8; 13-3 C-USA; RPI: 51: Non-conf. RPI: 97): The Tigers do own a 7-5 mark against the RPI Top 100; however, only two of those wins came against a Top 50 opponent, the sweep over UAB. Memphis' two best non-league wins came against IUPUI and Oakland. A 7-5 road/neutral mark is OK, but the best of those wins (after the win at UAB) came against Marshall and Tulsa. Josh Pastner's club fattened up on Division I's worst teams, going 15-2 against teams ranked 151+ in the RPI, losing at UMass and SMU. The Tigers are the two seed in the C-USA Tournament, meaning they'll face either Houston or East Carolina in the quarterfinals Thursday. I still think they need to win the auto bid to dance.

On The Fringe

Charlotte and Cincinnati drop out of this group after their losses Saturday. St. Louis jumps back in, but they really need to make a statement in the Atlantic 10 Tournament to make the NCAAs.

Connecticut (17-14; 7-11 Big East; RPI: 49; non-conf. RPI: 15): The Huskies followed up a three-game win streak, that included wins over West Virginia and Villanova with a three-game losing streak, all against bubble teams. Back-to-back losses at Notre Dame and USF means UConn is now 3-10 in road/neutral games. The Huskies are also 3-8 in games against the RPI Top 50. The Huskies are the 12 seed in the Big East Tournament, so they'll open with No. 13 St. John's on Tuesday. If they win that, fifth-seeded Marquette would be Wednesday's opponent.

 

Dayton (19-11; 8-8 A-10; RPI: 42; Non-conf. RPI: 14):  The Flyers will need to make a run in Atlantic City to go dancing after Saturday's home loss to St. Louis. Their road/neutral record stands at 5-9 after Thursday night's setback at Richmond, a game the Flyers were in control of until the last 10 minutes. The Flyers' the best win came against Georgia Tech in Puerto Rico way back on November 19 and the best true road victory came against George Mason on December 8. The Flyers are the seventh-seeded team in the A-10 Tournament. They open against No. 10 George Washington at home Tuesday.

Minnesota (17-12; 8-9 Big Ten; RPI: 78; Non-conf. RPI: 57): After grabbing a win at Illinois last Saturday, the Golden Gophers made a huge jump. Tuesday night, they gave it all back with an abysmal performance at Michigan, where they lost by 28. The defeat was costly as it cost the Gophers a shot at a bye in the Big Ten Tournament. The Golden Gophers are 5-9 this season against the RPI Top 100. Three of those wins came at The Barn, where they defeated Ohio State, Wisconsin and now-out of the picture Northwestern. Minnesota’s nine-point triumph over Butler in Anaheim is useful, but the losses to Portland and Texas A&M that followed aren’t. Neither was the road loss at Miami days after the California trip. Losses to Indiana (in Bloomington) the Michigan sweep sting. Minnesota closes with a home game against Iowa Sunday, but beating the Hawkeyes won't mean much to the Committee. The Gophers need to make a run in Indianapolis.

 

St. Louis (19-10; 11-5 A-10; RPI: 93; Non-conf. RPI: 201): There are two reasons why the Billikens aren't closer to the field: their 5-7 road/neutral record, and the fact their best non-conference win came against Big 12 bottom feeder Nebraska. Still, SLU grabbed the four seed, and a bye, for the A-10 Tournament after Saturday's win at Dayton. They'll face the Rhode Island-St. Joseph's winner in Atlantic City on Friday.

Games To Watch

Sunday
Florida at Kentucky, 12 p.m. ET (CBS)
Wisconsin at Illinois, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Northern Iowa vs. Wichita State (Missouri Valley Championship), 2 p.m. ET (CBS)
VCU vs. Old Dominion (Colonial Semifinal No. 1), 3 p.m. ET (CSN New England/Comcast Network/CSS/Full Court)
Metro Atlantic Semifinal No. 1, 4:30 p.m. ET (MSG/MASN/FCS Atlantic/Full Court)
Iowa at Minnesota, 6 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Portland vs. St. Mary's (West Coast Semifinal No. 2), 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

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Bubble Watch Update: How The Field Stacks Up As The Regular Season Wraps Up

Here is the updated look at how the NCAA Tournament field stacks up heading into the weekend. Click here for my Saturday morning bracket. My next projection will be released Sunday morning to reflect Saturday's conference championship games and other action.

Click any team name that appears as a link to visit that school's SB Nation blog.

One-Bid Leagues (15)

America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt

Shot At Two (9)

West Coast: Gonzaga (lock)
Horizon: Butler (lock)
Missouri Valley: Northern Iowa (somewhat safe)
Conference USA: UTEP (somewhat safe)
Pacific-10: California
Western Athletic: Utah State
Colonial: Old Dominion
Ivy: Cornell
Metro Atlantic: Siena

Locks (29)

ACC: Duke*, MarylandClemsonFlorida State
A-10: Temple*, Xavier, Richmond
Big East: Syracuse*, Villanova, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Georgetown
Big TenPurdue*, Ohio StateMichigan StateWisconsin
Big 12Kansas*, Kansas State, Baylor, MissouriTexasTexas A&M
Horizon: Butler*
MWC: New Mexico*, BYU
SEC: Kentucky*, VanderbiltTennessee
WCC: Gonzaga*

Teams with an asterisk own their respective conference's automatic bid.

Work To Do (12)

ACC: Wake Forest, Georgia TechVirginia Tech
Big East: Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame
Big Ten: Illinois
Big 12: Oklahoma State
C-USA: UTEP
Missouri Valley: Northern Iowa*
MWC: UNLV
WCC: St. Mary's

Of this group, Illinois, Notre Dame, St. Mary's and Virginia Tech hold the most precarious positions. These four teams could find themselves among either the Last Four In or First Four Out as the clock ticks down . 

That takes care of 61 of the 65 teams. (No, I didn't count wrong, locks Butler and Gonzaga and "work to do" clubs UNI and UTEP appear twice.) That leaves me to look at the last four teams in the field and the 12 who have varying chances at replacing them over the next week or so.

RPI data from Crashing The Dance and reflects games through Thursday, March 4. All records reflect games played against Division I opponents through Friday, March 5.

Last Four In

Florida (20-10; 9-6 SEC; RPI: 51; Non-conf. RPI: 71): On Wednesday. UConn's loss at the hands of Notre Dame and Mississippi State falling at Auburn helped move the Gators back in, but Florida's failure to beat Georgia in Athens and Vanderbilt in their home finale may yet haunt them, especially if they end up in the NIT for the third straight season. Billy Donovan's team is 3-7 against the RPI Top 50, but two of those wins came all the way back in November (at home against FSU and over Michigan State in Atlantic City). The other came last week against Tennessee in Gainesville. A 7-6 road/neutral record is OK, but likely to get worse, considering that a game at Kentucky is on the schedule for Sunday. Barring a huge win at Rupp, Florida may need to reach the SEC semifinals to get in.

Rhode Island (21-7; 9-6 A-10; RPI: 30; Non-conf. RPI: 3): The Rams haven't played well of late, but they could be turning the corner after their 22-point home win over Charlotte Wednesday night. Rhody's marquee non-conference win came against Oklahoma State, and they own respectable victories over Northeastern, Providence and Boston College. However, none of those three are likely to dance. Making matters worse is the fact the Rams' best league win is over Dayton, as they're 0-4 against Temple, Richmond and Xavier, the three A-10 teams who look to be in the best shape. The Rams will hope to meet at least one of them in the A-10 Tourney after their regular season finale Saturday at UMass. 

San Diego State (19-8; 10-5 MWCRPI: 32; Non-conf. RPI: 36):The Aztecs won their home finale Wednesday night over Colorado State, which was more than enough to keep them in, considering all of the losses that happened around them. At one point, SDSU was four points away from owning a 10-game win streak, as they lost to BYU by 2 at home and dropped a 2-point OT game at New Mexico. The Aztecs will wish they had those two games back, as they currently sit at 2-5 against the RPI Top 50 (both wins, over New Mexico and UNLV, came at home) with no opportunities left before the Mountain West Tournament.  The Aztecs close the regular season with a road trip to hapless Air Force Saturday.

UAB (23-6; 11-4 C-USARPI: 41; non-conf. RPI: 18): The Blazers are in serious trouble now that Memphis swept them. They remain here because others (UConn, Mississippi State) lost Wednesday. However, they won't be able to rely on their early season home wins over lock Butler and fellow bubble team Cincinnati for much longer. UAB owns a 11-3 road/neutral record, but that’s a bit deceptive, as the losses came against three of their best four road opponents — Kent State, Memphis and Virginia. The Blazers really need to grab a win at UTEP Saturday. Otherwise, they may need to claim the auto bid next week in Tulsa.

First Four Out

Mississippi State (21-9; 9-6 SECRPI: 61; Non-conf. RPI: 75): So much for the idea that the SEC West leaders were starting to pull things together, as their three-game win streak ended at the hands of a very mediocre Auburn team Wednesday. The Bulldogs’ resume is a bit thin outside of their sweep of archrival (and fellow bubble team) Ole Miss, as a win over Old Dominion in South Padre is the non-conference highlight and losses at Western Kentucky and against Rider in Starkville are major blemishes. MSU really needs to grab a win at home against Tennessee Saturday, and probably a win or two in the SEC Tournament, to grab a place.

Mississippi (20-9; 8-7 SECRPI: 57; Non-conf. RPI: 35): The Rebels’ marquee win is better than archrivals' Mississippi State's, as they defeated Kansas State by 12 in Puerto Rico before Thanksgiving. Still, not managing to beat the Bulldogs once is an issue, considering that’s the difference in the race for the weaker division of the SEC. Three straight losses, with two coming at home, didn’t help. However, Ole Miss has won three straight, including Thursday's victory over laughingstock LSU, to get back on track. The Rebels close with a visit to Arkansas Saturday.

South Florida (18-11; Big East 8-9; RPI: 62; Non-conf. RPI: 69): The Bulls may have one last one run in them, as they survived a trip to DePaul Tuesday and now await a showdown with now-desperate UConn at the Sun Dome Saturday. USF looked like they had turned the corner with a four-game win streak in late January/early February, a run capped by a win at Georgetown on February 3. But that was a mirage, as they’ve since dropped four of seven, including an ugly 16-point loss to St. John’s at home on February 20. The Bulls seem to have an issue with playing to the level of their competition, as they’re 4-4 vs. the RPI Top 50, and 1-6 against teams rated between 51 and 100.   

Connecticut (17-13; 7-10 Big East; RPI: 48; non-conf. RPI: 15): The Huskies have followed up a three-game win streak, including wins over West Virginia and Villanova with a home loss to Louisville and an absolutely embarrassing performance in a 58-50 loss at Notre Dame. That defeat means UConn is now 3-9 in road/neutral games with a trip to South Florida on deck for Saturday. The Huskies are also 3-9 in games against the RPI Top 50.

Next Four Out

Dayton (19-10; 8-7 A-10; RPI: 42; Non-conf. RPI: 14):  The Flyers will need to make a run in Atlantic City to go dancing. Their road/neutral record stands at 5-9 after Thursday night's setback at Richmond, a game the Flyers were in control of until the last 10 minutes. The Flyers' the best win coming against Georgia Tech in Puerto Rico way back on November 19 and the best true road victory came against George Mason on December 8. The Flyers close the regular season with a home game against St. Louis on Saturday.

Arizona State (21-9; 11-6 Pac-10; RPI: 54; Non-conf. RPI: 59): The Sun Devils loss at Cal on Saturday was doubly bad, as it kept them from grabbing an RPI Top 50 win and a share of the Pac-10 crown. The Sun Devils won the first game of their regular season-ending home set against L.A. schools, as they defeated USC Thursday. They can wrap up the two seed in the Pac-10 Tourney with a win over UCLA Saturday. They'll need it, as their only real hope is to win the Pac-10 Conference Tournament on March 13. Currently, the only win the Sun Devils can hang their hat on is a home victory over San Diego State on December 19, their lone top 50 win in six tries.

Washington (19-9; 9-7 Pac-10; RPI: 55; Non-conf. RPI: 27): The Huskies do own home wins over Texas A&M and Cal, but December losses at Texas Tech and against Georgetown in Anaheim are now missed opportunities in a weak bubble year. A sweep at the hands of tourney-ineligible USC doesn’t help either. In terms of building a late case, the Huskies’ schedule isn't exactly helpful. UW managed to win the first game of their closing road swing, beating Washington State to sweep the hoops Apple Cup. The Huskies aren't very good away from Hec Ed, as their road record stands at 3-7 after a win at Oregon Thursday. They can grab a fourth road win at Oregon State Saturday.

Memphis (22-8; 12-3 C-USA; RPI: 50: Non-conf. RPI: 96): The Tigers do own a 6-5 mark against the RPI Top 100; however, only two of those wins came against a Top 50 opponent, the sweep over UAB. Memphis' two best non-league wins came against IUPUI and Oakland. A 7-5 road/neutral mark is OK, but the best of those wins (after the win at UAB) came against Marshall and Tulsa. Josh Pastner's club fattened up on Division I's worst teams, going 15-2 against teams ranked 151+ in the RPI, losing at UMass and SMU. I wouldn't consider the Tigers an at-large candidate, but they can certainly steal a bid at the conference tournament in Tulsa. They already won there once and close the regular season at home Saturday against the Golden Hurricane.

On The Fringe

Charlotte (19-10; 9-6 A-10; RPI: 59; Non-conf. RPI: 61): The 49ers loss to Rhode Island Wednesday was their fifth in six games and pretty much relegates them to the NIT. Bobby Lutz’s team will try to get to 20 victories when they visit Rhode Island and host Richmond, a team they already defeated at the Robins Center. Charlotte’s 9-7 road/neutral mark, featuring wins over the Spiders and Louisville, would have been a major boost, had they not lost their last two contests away from Halton Arena. Charlotte closes the regular season at home against Richmond Saturday.

Cincinnati (16-13; 7-10 Big East; RPI: 64; Non-conf. RPI: 37): The Bearcats close home loss to Villanova Tuesday night was their seventh in 10 games. The last time Mick Cronin’s team won a game against an opponent who’s a lock or near lock was a pair of wins Vanderbilt and Maryland in Maui. Cincy closes the regular season with one final chance to correct that flaw in their resume, as they visit inconsistent Georgetown Saturday. Still, they will now need to win a couple of games in the Big East Tournament to have a realistic shot.

Minnesota (17-12; 8-9 Big Ten; RPI: 78; Non-conf. RPI: 57): After grabbing a win at Illinois Saturday, the Golden Gophers made a huge jump. Tuesday night, they gave it all back with an abysmal performance at Michigan, where they lost by 28. The defeat was costly as it cost the Gophers a shot at a bye in the Big Ten Tournament. The Golden Gophers are 5-9 this season against the RPI Top 100. Three of those wins came at The Barn, where they defeated Ohio State, Wisconsin and now-out of the picture Northwestern. Minnesota’s nine-point triumph over Butler in Anaheim is useful, but the losses to Portland and Texas A&M that followed aren’t. Neither was the road loss at Miami days after the California trip. Losses to Indiana (in Bloomington) the Michigan sweep sting. Minnesota closes with a home game against Iowa Sunday, but beating the Hawkeyes won't mean much to the Committee. The Gophers need to make a run in Indianapolis.

Seton Hall (17-11; 8-9 Big East; RPI: 56; Non-conf. RPI: 76): Remember that string of four games at the end of 2009/start of 2010, where the Pirates lost heartbreakers, including OT games against West Virginia and Virginia Tech? Hall fans are undoubtedly wishing they’d won a couple of those right about now, as those wins would be major boosts to an OK resume. But they didn’t, meaning the Pirates own a 2-9 mark against the RPI Top 50 and a 4-7 road/neutral mark. Those stats aren’t major selling points. One thing Seton Hall has done this season is prove that they can lose to good teams, and they won’t get much of a chance to reverse that down the stretch. Tuesday, they beat Rutgers in the first of two late meetings, but they couldn't win their last game against a contender, as they fell at home to Marquette Sunday. The Pirates may as well start planning for the NIT, as Thursday's win at Rutgers and a final road game at Providence won't give them much of a bump.

Games To Watch

Saturday
Old Dominion vs. Towson (Colonial Quarterfinal No. 1), 12 p.m. ET (CSN New England/Comcast Network/Full Court)
Tulsa at Memphis, 1 p.m. ET (CBS College Sports)
Nebraska at Oklahoma State, 1:30 p.m. ET (Big 12 Network/Full Court)
Syracuse at Louisville, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Connecticut at South Florida, 2 p.m. ET (Big East Network/Full Court)
Notre Dame at Marquette, 2 p.m. ET (Big East Network/Full Court)
Northern Iowa vs. Bradley (Missouri Valley Semifinal No. 1), 2:30 p.m. ET (FS Midwest/CSN Chicago)
UCLA at Arizona State, 4 p.m. ET (CBS)
Rhode Island at Massachusetts, 4 p.m. ET (Cox Sports New England)
Mississippi at Arkansas, 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network/Full Court)
Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, 4 p.m. ET (Raycom/Full Court)
Siena vs. Manhattan (Metro Atlantic Quarterfinal No. 2), 4:30 p.m. ET (MSG/FCS Atlantic/Full Court)
Tennessee at Mississippi State, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN)
California at Stanford, 6 p.m. ET (FSN/Comcast SportsNet)
St. Louis at Dayton, 7 p.m. ET (WHIO/CSN Philly/CSN Washington+)
Washington at Oregon State, 8 p.m. ET (FSN Northwest)
San Diego State at Air Force, 9 p.m. ET (the mtn.)
New Mexico State at Utah State, 9 p.m. ET (CW 30/Aggie Vision/Full Court)

Sunday
Florida at Kentucky, 12 p.m. ET (CBS)
Wisconsin at Illinois, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Missouri Valley Championship, 2 p.m. ET (CBS)
Colonial Semifinal No. 1, 3 p.m. ET (CSN New England/Comcast Network/CSS/Full Court)
Metro Atlantic Semifinal No. 1, 4:30 p.m. ET (MSG/MASN/FCS Atlantic/Full Court)
Iowa at Minnesota, 6 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
TBD vs. St. Mary's (West Coast Semifinal No. 2), 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Continue

Bubble Watch Update: No New Entries After Thursday's Action

For quite awhile on Thursday night, it looked like the Dayton Flyers were going to grab a key road win at Richmond and sneak in. However, the Spiders prevailed to all but knock UD out of tournament contention, barring a run through the Atlantic 10 Tournament next week.

The other four bubble teams in action all grabbed wins; however, none was big enough to bump them into the field.

RPI data from Crashing The Dance and reflects games through Wednesday, March 3. All records reflect games played against Division I opponents through Thursday, March 4.

Last Four In

Florida (20-10; 9-6 SEC; RPI: 51; Non-conf. RPI: 72): On Wednesday. UConn's loss at the hands of Notre Dame and Mississippi State falling at Auburn help move the Gators back in, but their failure to beat Georgia in Athens and Vanderbilt in their home finale may yet haunt them, especially if they end up in the NIT for the third straight season. Billy Donovan's team is 3-7 against the RPI Top 50, but two of those wins came all the way back in November (at home against FSU and over Michigan State in Atlantic City). The other came last week against Tennessee in Gainesville. A 7-6 road/neutral record is OK, but likely to get worse, considering that a game at Kentucky is on the schedule for Sunday. Barring a huge win at Rupp, Florida may need to reach the SEC semifinals to get in.

Rhode Island (21-7; 9-6 A-10; RPI: 29; Non-conf. RPI: 3): The Rams haven't played well of late, but they could be turning the corner after their 22-point home win over Charlotte Wednesday night. Rhody's marquee non-conference win came against fellow bubble team Oklahoma State, and they own respectable victories over Northeastern, Providence and Boston College. However, none of those teams are locked in right now. Making matters worse is the fact the Rams' best league win is over Dayton, as they're 0-4 against Temple, Richmond and Xavier, the three A-10 teams who look to be in the best shape. The Rams will hope to meet at least one of them in the A-10 Tourney after their regular season finale Saturday at UMass. 

San Diego State (19-8; 10-5 MWCRPI: 32; Non-conf. RPI: 37):The Aztecs won their home finale Wednesday night over Colorado State, which was more than enough to keep them in, considering all of the losses that happened around them. At one point, SDSU was four points away from owning a 10-game win streak, as they lost to BYU by 2 at home and dropped a 2-point OT game at New Mexico. The Aztecs will wish they had those two games back, as they currently sit at 2-5 against the RPI Top 50 (both wins, over New Mexico and UNLV, came at home) with no opportunities left before the Mountain West Tournament.  The Aztecs close the regular season with a road trip to hapless Air Force Saturday.

UAB (23-6; 11-4 C-USARPI: 42; non-conf. RPI: 18): The Blazers are in serious trouble now that Memphis swept them. They remain here because others (UConn, Mississippi State) lost Wednesday. However, they won't be able to rely on their early season home wins over lock Butler and fellow bubble team Cincinnati for much longer.  UAB possesses a 11-3 road/neutral record, but that’s a bit deceptive, as the losses came against three of their best four road opponents — Kent State, Memphis and Virginia — none of whom are close to the field. The Blazers really need to grab a win at UTEP Saturday. Otherwise, they may need to claim the auto bid next week in Tulsa.

First Four Out

Mississippi State (21-9; 9-6 SECRPI: 58; Non-conf. RPI: 75): So much for the idea that the SEC West leaders were starting to pull things together, as their three-game win streak ended at the hands of a very mediocre Auburn team Wednesday. The Bulldogs’ resume is a bit thin outside of their sweep of archrival (and fellow bubble team) Ole Miss, as a win over Old Dominion in South Padre is the non-conference highlight and losses at Western Kentucky and against Rider in Starkville are major blemishes. MSU really needs to grab a win at home against Tennessee Saturday, and probably a win or two in the SEC Tournament, to grab a place.

Mississippi (20-9; 8-7 SECRPI: 55; Non-conf. RPI: 35): The Rebels’ marquee win is better than archrivals' Mississippi State's, as they defeated Kansas State by 12 in Puerto Rico before Thanksgiving. Still, not managing to beat the Bulldogs once is an issue, considering that’s the difference in the race for the weaker division of the SEC. Three straight losses, with two coming at home, didn’t help. However, Ole Miss has won three straight, including Thursday's victory over laughingstock LSU, to get back on track. The Rebels close with a visit to Arkansas Saturday.

South Florida (18-11; Big East 8-9; RPI: 61; Non-conf. RPI: 70): The Bulls may have one last one run in them, as they survived a trip to DePaul Tuesday and now await a showdown with now-desperate UConn at the Sun Dome Saturday. USF looked like they had turned the corner with a four-game win streak in late January/early February, a run capped by a win at Georgetown on February 3. But that was a mirage, as they’ve since dropped four of seven, including an ugly 16-point loss to St. John’s at home on February 20. The Bulls seem to have an issue with playing to the level of their competition, as they’re 4-4 vs. the RPI Top 50, and 1-6 against teams rated between 51 and 100.   

Connecticut (17-13; 7-10 Big East; RPI: 48; non-conf. RPI: 14): The Huskies have followed up a three-game win streak, including wins over West Virginia and Villanova with a home loss to Louisville and an absolutely embarrassing performance in a 58-50 loss at Notre Dame. That defeat means UConn is now 3-9 in road/neutral games with a trip to South Florida on deck for Saturday. The Huskies are also 3-9 in games against the RPI Top 50.

Next Four Out

Dayton (19-10; 8-7 A-10; RPI: 41; Non-conf. RPI: 13):  The Flyers will need to make a run in Atlantic City to go dancing. Their road/neutral record stands at 5-9 after Thursday night's setback at Richmond, a game the Flyers were in control of until the last 10 minutes. The Flyers' the best win coming against Georgia Tech in Puerto Rico way back on November 19 and the best true road victory came against George Mason on December 8. The Flyers close the regular season with a home game against St. Louis on Saturday.

Arizona State (21-9; 11-6 Pac-10; RPI: 54; Non-conf. RPI: 59): The Sun Devils loss at Cal on Saturday was doubly bad, as it kept them from grabbing an RPI Top 50 win and a share of the Pac-10 crown. The Sun Devils won the first game of their regular season-ending home set against L.A. schools, as they defeated USC Thursday. They can wrap up the two seed in the Pac-10 Tourney with a win over UCLA Saturday. They'll need it, as their only real hope is to win the Pac-10 Conference Tournament on March 13. Currently, the only win the Sun Devils can hang their hat on is a home victory over San Diego State on December 19, their lone top 50 win in six tries.

Washington (19-9; 9-7 Pac-10; RPI: 50; Non-conf. RPI: 26): The Huskies do own home wins over Texas A&M and Cal, but December losses at Texas Tech and against Georgetown in Anaheim are now missed opportunities in a weak bubble year. A sweep at the hands of tourney-ineligible USC doesn’t help either. In terms of building a late case, the Huskies’ schedule isn't exactly helpful. UW managed to win the first game of their closing road swing, beating Washington State to sweep the hoops’ Apple Cup. The Huskies aren't very good away from Hec Ed, as their road record stands at 3-7 after a win at Oregon Thursday. They can grab a fourth road win at Oregon State on Saturday.

Memphis (22-8; 12-3 C-USA; RPI:50: Non-conf. RPI: 96): The Tigers do own a 6-5 mark against the RPI Top 100; however, only two of those wins came against a Top 50 opponent, the sweep over UAB. Memphis' two best non-league wins came against IUPUI and Oakland. A 7-5 road/neutral mark is OK, but the best of those wins (after the win at UAB) came against Marshall and Tulsa. Josh Pastner's club fattened up on Division I's worst, going 15-2 against teams ranked 151+ in the RPI, losing at UMass and SMU. I wouldn't consider the Tigers an at-large candidate, but they can certainly steal a bid at the conference tournament in Tulsa. They already won there once and close the regular season at home against the Golden Hurricane.

On The Fringe

Charlotte (19-10; 9-6 A-10; RPI: 59; Non-conf. RPI: 61): The 49ers loss to Rhode Island Wednesday was their fifth in six games and pretty much relegates them to the NIT. Bobby Lutz’s team will try to get to 20 victories when they visit Rhode Island and host Richmond, a team they already defeated at the Robins Center. Charlotte’s 9-7 road/neutral mark, featuring wins over the Spiders and Louisville, would have been a major boost, had they not lost their last two contests away from Halton Arena. Charlotte closes the regular season at home against Richmond Saturday.

Cincinnati (16-13; 7-10 Big East; RPI: 65; Non-conf. RPI: 39): The Bearcats close home loss to Villanova Tuesday night was their seventh in 10 games. The last time Mick Cronin’s team won a game against an opponent who’s a lock or near lock was a pair of wins Vanderbilt and Maryland in Maui. Cincy closes the regular season with one final chance to correct that flaw in their resume, as they visit inconsistent Georgetown Saturday. Still, they will now need to win a couple of games in the Big East Tournament to have a realistic shot.

Minnesota (17-12; 8-9 Big Ten; RPI: 78; Non-conf. RPI: 60): After grabbing a win at Illinois Saturday, the Golden Gophers made a huge jump. Tuesday night, they gave it all back with an abysmal performance at Michigan, where they lost by 28. The defeat was costly as it cost the Gophers a shot at a bye in the Big Ten Tournament. The Golden Gophers are 5-9 this season against the RPI Top 100. Three of those wins came at The Barn, where they defeated Ohio State, Wisconsin and now-out of the picture Northwestern. Minnesota’s nine-point triumph over Butler in Anaheim is useful, but the losses to Portland and Texas A&M that followed aren’t. Neither was the road loss at Miami days after the California trip. Losses to Indiana (in Bloomington) the Michigan sweep sting. Minnesota closes with a home game against Iowa Sunday, but beating the Hawkeyes won't mean much to the Committee. The Gophers need to make a run in Indianapolis.

Seton Hall (17-11; 8-9 Big East; RPI: 63; Non-conf. RPI: 76): Remember that string of four games at the end of 2009/start of 2010, where the Pirates lost heartbreakers, including OT games against West Virginia and Virginia Tech? Hall fans are undoubtedly wishing they’d won a couple of those right about now, as those wins would be major boosts to an OK resume. But they didn’t, meaning the Pirates own a 2-9 mark against the RPI Top 50 and a 3-7 road/neutral mark. Those stats aren’t major selling points. One thing Seton Hall has done this season is prove that they can lose to good teams, and they won’t get much of a chance to reverse that down the stretch. Tuesday, they beat Rutgers in the first of two late meetings, but they couldn't win their last game against a contender, as they fell at home to Marquette Sunday. The Pirates may as well start planning for the NIT, as Thursday's win at Rutgers and a final road game at Providence won't give them much of a bump.

Games To Watch

Friday
Northern Iowa vs. Drake (Missouri Valley Quarterfinal No. 1), 1 p.m. ET (FS Midwest/CSN Chicago)

Saturday
Old Dominion vs. Towson/UNC Wilmington (Colonial Quarterfinal No. 1), 12 p.m. ET (CSN New England/Comcast Network/Full Court)
Nebraska at Oklahoma State, 1:30 p.m. ET (Big 12 Network/Full Court)
Syracuse at Louisville, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Connecticut at South Florida, 2 p.m. ET (Big East Network/Full Court)
Notre Dame at Marquette, 2 p.m. ET (Big East Network/Full Court)
Missouri Valley Semifinal No. 1, 2:30 p.m. ET (FS Midwest/CSN Chicago)
UCLA at Arizona State, 4 p.m. ET (CBS)
Rhode Island at Massachusetts, 4 p.m. ET (Cox Sports New England)
Mississippi at Arkansas, 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network/Full Court)
Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, 4 p.m. ET (Raycom/Full Court)
TBD vs. Siena (Metro Atlantic Quarterfinal No. 2), 4:30 p.m. ET (MSG/FCS Atlantic/Full Court)
Tennessee at Mississippi State, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN)
California at Stanford, 6 p.m. ET (FSN/Comcast SportsNet)
St. Louis at Dayton, 7 p.m. ET (WHIO/CSN Philly/CSN Washington+)
Washington at Oregon State, 8 p.m. ET (FSN Northwest)
San Diego State at Air Force, 9 p.m. ET (the mtn.)
New Mexico State at Utah State, 9 p.m. ET (CW 30/Aggie Vision/Full Court)

Sunday
Florida at Kentucky, 12 p.m. ET (CBS)
Wisconsin at Illinois, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Missouri Valley Championship, 2 p.m. ET (CBS)
Colonial Semifinal No. 1, 3 p.m. ET (CSN New England/Comcast Network/CSS/Full Court)
Metro Atlantic Semifinal No. 1, 4:30 p.m. ET (MSG/MASN/FCS Atlantic/Full Court)
Iowa at Minnesota, 6 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
TBD vs. St. Mary's (West Coast Semifinal No. 2), 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Continue

Bubble Watch Update: Rhode Island Replaces UConn; Florida Swaps Spots With Miss. State (Again)

Wednesday night saw UConn's NCAA hopes suffer a major hit with an uninspiring loss at Notre Dame, who jumps above the "Last Four In" group thanks to their big win. Charlotte's chances are all but extinguished after Rhode Island pounded them in Atlantic 10 action. That win puts the Rams back in the field.

Florida also returns through the revolving door, as Mississippi State departs after a loss at Auburn.

RPI data from Crashing The Dance and reflects games through Tuesday, March 2. All records reflect games played against Division I opponents through Wednesday, March 3.

Last Four In

Florida (20-10; 9-6 SEC; RPI: 50; Non-conf. RPI: 75): UConn's loss at the hands of Notre Dame and Mississippi State falling at Auburn help move the Gators back in, but their failure to beat Georgia in Athens and Vanderbilt in their home finale may yet haunt them, especially if they end up in the NIT for the third straight season. Billy Donovan's team is 3-7 against the RPI Top 50, but two of those wins came all the way back in November (at home against FSU and over Michigan State in Atlantic City). The other came last week against Tennessee in Gainesville. A 7-6 road/neutral record is OK, but likely to get worse, considering that a game at Kentucky is next on the schedule. Barring a huge win at Rupp, Florida may need to reach the SEC semifinals to get in.

Rhode Island (21-7; 9-6 A-10; RPI: 32; Non-conf. RPI: 3): The Rams haven't played well of late, but they could be turning the corner after their 22-point home win over Charlotte Wednesday night. Rhody's marquee non-conference win came against fellow bubble team Oklahoma State, and they own respectable victories over Northeastern, Providence and Boston College. However, none of those teams are locked in right now. Making matters worse is the fact the Rams' best league win is over Dayton, as they're 0-4 against Temple, Richmond and Xavier, the three A-10 teams who look to be in the best shape. The Rams will hope to meet at least one of them in the A-10 Tourney after their regular season finale Saturday at UMass. 

San Diego State (19-8; 10-5 MWCRPI: 37; Non-conf. RPI: 39):The Aztecs won their home finale Wednesday night over Colorado State, which was more than enough to keep them in, considering all of the losses that happened around them. At one point, SDSU was four points away from owning a 10-game win streak, as they lost to BYU by 2 at home and dropped a 2-point OT game at New Mexico. The Aztecs will wish they had those two games back, as they currently sit at 2-5 against the RPI Top 50 (both wins, over New Mexico and UNLV, came at home) with no opportunities left before the Mountain West Tournament.  The Aztecs close the regular season with a road trip to hapless Air Force Saturday.

UAB (23-6; 11-4 C-USARPI: 35; non-conf. RPI: 18): The Blazers are in serious trouble now that Memphis swept them. They remain here because others (UConn, Mississippi State) lost Wednesday. However, they won't be able to rely on their early season home wins over lock Butler and fellow bubble team Cincinnati for much longer.  UAB possesses a 11-3 road/neutral record, but that’s a bit deceptive, as the losses came against three of their best four road opponents — Kent State, Memphis and Virginia — none of whom are close to the field. The Blazers really need to grab a win at UTEP Saturday. Otherwise, they may need to claim the auto bid next week in Tulsa.

First Four Out

Dayton (19-9; 8-6 A-10; RPI: 41; Non-conf. RPI: 14): After last Wednesday's awful loss at Temple, I said the revolving door was pretty much shut and locked (if you can do such a thing with a revolving door) for the Flyers. However, as Rhode Island and Charlotte both suffered damaging road losses Saturday and the Rams beat the 49ers Wednesday, Dayton still has some hope. UD’s road/neutral record stands at 5-8, with the best win coming against Georgia Tech in Puerto Rico way back on November 19 and the best true road victory coming against George Mason on December 8. The Flyers can better that Thursday at Richmond before closing the regular season with a home game against St. Louis on Saturday.

Mississippi State (21-9; 9-6 SECRPI: 54; Non-conf. RPI: 76): So much for the idea that the SEC West leaders were starting to pull things together, as their three-game win streak ended at the hands of a very mediocre Auburn team Wednesday. The Bulldogs’ resume is a bit thin outside of their sweep of archrival (and fellow bubble team) Ole Miss, as a win over Old Dominion in South Padre is the non-conference highlight and losses at Western Kentucky and against Rider in Starkville are major blemishes. MSU really needs to grab a win at home against Tennessee Saturday, and probably a win or two in the SEC Tournament, to grab a place.

Mississippi (19-9; 7-7 SECRPI: 53; Non-conf. RPI: 36): The Rebels’ marquee win is better than archrivals' Mississippi State's, as they defeated Kansas State by 12 in Puerto Rico before Thanksgiving. Still, not managing to beat the Bulldogs once is an issue, considering that’s the difference in the race for the weaker division of the SEC. Three straight losses, with two coming at home, didn’t help. However, the Rebels’ were able to beat Auburn Wednesday and Alabama Saturday to get back on track. The Rebels close with more SEC West SOS-crushing goodness, as they host LSU Thursday and visit Arkansas Saturday.

South Florida (18-11; Big East 8-9; RPI: 59; Non-conf. RPI: 67): The Bulls may have one last one run in them, as they survived a trip to DePaul Tuesday and now await a showdown with now-desperate UConn at the Sun Dome Saturday. USF looked like they had turned the corner with a four-game win streak in late January/early February, a run capped by a win at Georgetown on February 3. But that was a mirage, as they’ve since dropped four of seven, including an ugly 16-point loss to St. John’s at home on February 20. The Bulls seem to have an issue with playing to the level of their competition, as they’re 4-4 vs. the RPI Top 50, and 1-6 against teams rated between 51 and 100.   

Next Four Out

Connecticut (17-13; 7-10 Big East; RPI: 46; non-conf. RPI: 13): The Huskies have followed up a three-game win streak, including wins over West Virginia and Villanova with a home loss to Louisville and an absolutely embarrassing performance in a 58-50 loss at Notre Dame. That defeat means UConn is now 3-9 in road/neutral games with a trip to South Florida on deck for Saturday. The Huskies are also 3-9 in games against the RPI Top 50.

Washington (18-9; 8-7 Pac-10; RPI: 57; Non-conf. RPI: 26): The Huskies do own home wins over Texas A&M and Cal, but December losses at Texas Tech and against Georgetown in Anaheim are now missed opportunities in a weak bubble year. A sweep at the hands of tourney-ineligible USC doesn’t help either. In terms of building a late case, the Huskies’ schedule isn't exactly helpful. UW managed to win the first game of their closing road swing, beating Washington State to sweep the hoops’ Apple Cup. This week, a trip to the Oregon schools awaits. Keep in mind the Huskies are only 2-7 away from Hec Ed.

Seton Hall (16-11; 7-9 Big East; RPI: 63; Non-conf. RPI: 77): Remember that string of four games at the end of 2009/start of 2010, where the Pirates lost heartbreakers, including OT games against West Virginia and Virginia Tech? Hall fans are undoubtedly wishing they’d won a couple of those right about now, as those wins would be major boosts to an OK resume. But they didn’t, meaning the Pirates own a 2-9 mark against the RPI Top 50 and a 3-7 road/neutral mark. Those stats aren’t major selling points. One thing Seton Hall has done this season is prove that they can lose to good teams, and they won’t get much of a chance to reverse that down the stretch. Tuesday, they beat Rutgers in the first of two late meetings, but they couldn't win their last game against a contender, as they fell at home to Marquette Sunday. The Pirates may as well start planning for the NIT, as a road trip to Rutgers and Providence won't provide much of a bump.

Arizona State (20-9; 10-6 Pac-10; RPI: 55; Non-conf. RPI: 59): The Sun Devils loss at Cal on Saturday was doubly bad, as it kept them from grabbing an RPI Top 50 win and a share of the Pac-10 crown. The Sun Devils face home games against the L.A. schools this week, but their only real hope is to win the Pac-10 Conference Tournament on March 13. Currently, the only win the Sun Devils can hang their hat on is a home victory over San Diego State on December 19, their lone top 50 win in six tries.

On The Fringe

Charlotte (19-10; 9-6 A-10; RPI: 58; Non-conf. RPI: 61): The 49ers loss to Rhode Island Wednesday was their fifth in six games and pretty much relegates them to the NIT. Bobby Lutz’s team will try to get to 20 victories when they visit Rhode Island and host Richmond, a team they already defeated at the Robins Center. Charlotte’s 9-7 road/neutral mark, featuring wins over the Spiders and Louisville, would have been a major boost, had they not lost their last two contests away from Halton Arena. Charlotte closes the regular season at home against Richmond Saturday.

Cincinnati (16-13; 7-10 Big East; RPI: 64; Non-conf. RPI: 38): The Bearcats close home loss to Villanova Tuesday night was their seventh in 10 games. The last time Mick Cronin’s team won a game against an opponent who’s a lock or near lock was a pair of wins Vanderbilt and Maryland in Maui. Cincy closes the regular season with one final chance to correct that flaw in their resume, as they visit inconsistent Georgetown Saturday. Still, they will now need to win a couple of games in the Big East Tournament to have a realistic shot.

Memphis (22-8; 12-3 C-USA; RPI: 60: Non-conf. RPI: 95): The Tigers do own a 6-5 mark against the RPI Top 100; however, only two of those wins came against a Top 50 opponent, the sweep over UAB. Memphis' two best non-league wins came against IUPUI and Oakland. A 7-5 road/neutral mark is OK, but the best of those wins (after the win at UAB) came against Marshall and Tulsa. Josh Pastner's club fattened up on Division I's worst, going 15-2 against teams ranked 151+ in the RPI, losing at UMass and SMU. I wouldn't consider the Tigers an at-large candidate, but they can certainly steal a bid at the conference tournament in Tulsa. They already won there once and close the regular season at home against the Golden Hurricane.

Minnesota (17-12; 8-9 Big Ten; RPI: 79; Non-conf. RPI: 60): After grabbing a win at Illinois Saturday, the Golden Gophers made a huge jump. Tuesday night, they gave it all back with an abysmal performance at Michigan, where they lost by 28. The defeat was costly as it cost the Gophers a shot at a bye in the Big Ten Tournament. The Golden Gophers are 5-9 this season against the RPI Top 100. Three of those wins came at The Barn, where they defeated Ohio State, Wisconsin and now-out of the picture Northwestern. Minnesota’s nine-point triumph over Butler in Anaheim is useful, but the losses to Portland and Texas A&M that followed aren’t. Neither was the road loss at Miami days after the California trip. Losses to Indiana (in Bloomington) the Michigan sweep sting. Minnesota closes with a home game against Iowa Sunday, but beating the Hawkeyes won't mean much to the Committee. The Gophers need to make a run in Indianapolis.

Games To Watch

Thursday
Seton Hall at Rutgers, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Dayton at Richmond, 7 p.m. ET (CBS College Sports)
USC at Arizona State, 8:30 p.m. ET (FSN/Comcast SportsNet)
LSU at Mississippi, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Friday
Northern Iowa vs. Drake/Southern Illinois (Missouri Valley Quarterfinal No. 1), 1 p.m. ET (FS Midwest/CSN Chicago)

Saturday
Old Dominion vs. Towson/UNC Wilmington (Colonial Quarterfinal No. 1), 12 p.m. ET (CSN New England/Comcast Network/Full Court)
Nebraska at Oklahoma State, 1:30 p.m. ET (Big 12 Network/Full Court)
Syracuse at Louisville, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Connecticut at South Florida, 2 p.m. ET (Big East Network/Full Court)
Notre Dame at Marquette, 2 p.m. ET (Big East Network/Full Court)
Missouri Valley Semifinal No. 1, 2:30 p.m. ET (FS Midwest/CSN Chicago)
UCLA at Arizona State, 4 p.m. ET (CBS)
Rhode Island at Massachusetts, 4 p.m. ET (Cox Sports New England)
Mississippi at Arkansas, 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network/Full Court)
Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, 4 p.m. ET (Raycom/Full Court)
TBD vs. Siena (Metro Atlantic Quarterfinal No. 2), 4:30 p.m. ET (MSG/FCS Atlantic/Full Court)
Tennessee at Mississippi State, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN)
California at Stanford, 6 p.m. ET (FSN/Comcast SportsNet)
St. Louis at Dayton, 7 p.m. ET (WHIO/CSN Philly/CSN Washington+)
Washington at Oregon State, 8 p.m. ET (FSN Northwest)
San Diego State at Air Force, 9 p.m. ET (the mtn.)
New Mexico State at Utah State, 9 p.m. ET (CW 30/Aggie Vision/Full Court)

Sunday
Florida at Kentucky, 12 p.m. ET (CBS)
Wisconsin at Illinois, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Missouri Valley Championship, 2 p.m. ET (CBS)
Colonial Semifinal No. 1, 3 p.m. ET (CSN New England/Comcast Network/CSS/Full Court)
Metro Atlantic Semifinal No. 1, 4:30 p.m. ET (MSG/MASN/FCS Atlantic/Full Court)
Iowa at Minnesota, 6 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
TBD vs. St. Mary's (West Coast Semifinal No. 2), 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Continue

NCAA Bubble Watch Update: Mississippi State Replaces Florida

Thanks to some significant losses Tuesday night, St. Mary's moves up the bracket and away from the "Last Four In" group. Cincinnati and Minnesota's chances all took a major hit, as did Florida's, as they fall into the "First Four Out." On the other hand, Mississippi State was the night's big winner, as they replace the Gators in the field for the moment.

RPI data from Crashing The Dance and reflects games through Monday, March 1. All records reflect games played against Division I opponents through Tuesday, March 2.

Last Four In

Notre Dame (19-10; 8-8 Big East; RPI: 68; Non-conf. RPI: 93): The Irish have figured out how to win without the still-injured Luke Harangody, crushing Pitt at home Wednesday, then pounding Georgetown in Washington on Saturday. Given that the Irish’s three setbacks without Harangody were by a total of six points, you have to imagine that Notre Dame would have won at least two of them if he was healthy. Expect the Committee to keep this in mind, especially as the All-Big East forward should return sometime in the next two weeks. The Fighting Irish’s closing stretch provides them with two more opportunities, as they close with UConn at home Wednesday and Marquette on the road Saturday. Notre Dame may need a split to stay in, thanks to home losses against Loyola Marymount, Rutgers and St. John’s; a lackluster 3-5 mark against RPI Top 50 teams (with two wins this week); and a not very good 3-7 road/neutral mark. 

UAB (23-5; 11-3 C-USA; RPI: 35; non-conf. RPI: 17): The Blazers continue to hang in there just hanging on, thanks primarily to their early season home wins over lock Butler and fellow bubble team Cincinnati. After Wednesday’s win at UCF, UAB possesses a 11-3 road/neutral record, but that’s a bit deceptive, as the losses came against three of their best four road opponents — Kent State, Memphis and Virginia — none of whom are close to the field. The Blazers will have to close strong to stay in. Things started well with a home win over hapless Tulane, but the final week — featuring a home date with Memphis Wednesday and road trip to UTEP, who beat UAB at Bartow Arena, Saturday — is far more crucial.

Mississippi State (21-8; 9-5 SECRPI: 54; Non-conf. RPI: 76): The SEC West leaders are starting to pull things together, as they now own a three-game win streak after Saturday's win at South Carolina. The Bulldogs’ resume is a bit thin outside of their sweep of archrival (and fellow bubble team) Ole Miss, as a win over Old Dominion in South Padre is the non-conference highlight and losses at Western Kentucky and against Rider in Starkville are major blemishes. MSU’s only real shot at a resume-building win comes at home against Tennessee Saturday, but they can't get caught looking ahead at Auburn on Wednesday.

San Diego State (18-8; 9-5 MWCRPI: 38; Non-conf. RPI: 39):The Aztecs didn't play this weekend, but they were the beneficiary of losses by Arizona State, Charlotte, Cincinnati and Rhode Island.  At one point, SDSU was four points away from owning a 10-game win streak, as they lost to BYU by 2 at home and dropped a 2-point OT game at New Mexico. The Aztecs will wish they had those two games back, as they currently sit at 2-5 against the RPI Top 50 (both wins, over New Mexico and UNLV, came at home) with no opportunities left before the Mountain West Tournament.  The Aztecs close the regular season with a winnable home game against Colorado State Wednesday and a road trip to hapless Air Force Saturday.

First Four Out

Florida (20-10; 9-6 SEC; RPI: 46; Non-conf. RPI: 75): The Gators are not here because of Tuesday night's loss to Vanderbilt, at least not by that defeat alone. The failure to beat Georgia in Athens may haunt this Florida team, especially if they end up in the NIT for the third straight season. Billy Donovan's team is 3-7 against the RPI Top 50, but two of those wins came all the way back in November (at home against FSU and over Michigan State in Atlantic City). The other came last week against Tennessee in Gainesville. A 7-6 road/neutral record is OK, but likely to get worse, considering that a game at Kentucky is next on the schedule. Barring a huge win at Rupp, Florida may need to reach the SEC semifinals to get in.

Dayton (19-9; 8-6 A-10; RPI: 41; Non-conf. RPI: 13): After Wednesday night's awful loss at Temple, I said the revolving door was pretty much shut and locked (if you can do such a thing with a revolving door) for the Flyers. However, as Rhode Island and Charlotte both suffered damaging road losses Saturday, Dayton still has some hope. UD’s road/neutral record stands at 5-8, with the best win coming against Georgia Tech in Puerto Rico way back on November 19 and the best true road victory coming against George Mason on December 8. The Flyers can better that Thursday at Richmond. Dayton then closes the regular season with a home game against St. Louis on Saturday.

Mississippi (19-9; 7-7 SECRPI: 53; Non-conf. RPI: 36): The Rebels’ marquee win is better than archrivals' Mississippi State's, as they defeated Kansas State by 12 in Puerto Rico before Thanksgiving. Still, not managing to beat the Bulldogs’ once is an issue, considering that’s the difference in the race for the weaker division of the SEC. Three straight losses, with two coming at home, didn’t help. However, the Rebels’ were able to beat Auburn Wednesday and Alabama Saturday to get back on track. The Rebels close with more SEC West SOS-crushing goodness, as they host LSU Thursday and visit Arkansas Saturday.

Rhode Island (20-7; 8-6 A-10; RPI: 34; Non-conf. RPI: 3): The Rams haven't played well of late. They snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over Fordham on February 20, took a week off, then promptly lost at St. Bonaventure. Rhody's marquee non-conference win came against fellow bubble team Oklahoma State, and they own respectable victories over Northeastern, Providence and Boston College. However, none of those teams are locked in right now. Making matters worse is the fact the Rams' best league win is over Dayton, as they're 0-4 against Temple, Richmond and Xavier, the three A-10 teams who look to be in the best shape. Wednesday's game at Charlotte looks to be a matchup for NIT seeding right now, and the Rams' regular season finale is at UMass, an opponent who won't help their computer numbers.    

Next Four Out

South Florida (18-11; Big East 8-9; RPI: 63; Non-conf. RPI: 67): The Bulls may have one last one run in them, as they survived a trip to DePaul Tuesday and now await a showdown with UConn at the Sun Dome Saturday. USF looked like they had turned the corner with a four-game win streak in late January/early February, a run capped by a win at Georgetown on February 3. But that was a mirage, as they’ve since dropped four of seven, including an ugly 16-point loss to St. John’s at home on February 20. The Bulls seem to have an issue with playing to the level of their competition, as they’re 4-4 vs. the RPI Top 50, and 1-6 against teams rated between 51 and 100.

Washington (18-9; 8-7 Pac-10; RPI: 57; Non-conf. RPI: 26): The Huskies do own home wins over Texas A&M and Cal, but December losses at Texas Tech and against Georgetown in Anaheim are now missed opportunities in a weak bubble year. A sweep at the hands of tourney-ineligible USC doesn’t help either. In terms of building a late case, the Huskies’ schedule isn't exactly helpful. UW managed to win the first game of their closing road trip, beating Washington State to sweep the hoops’ Apple Cup. This week, a trip to the Oregon schools awaits. Keep in mind the Huskies are only 2-7 away from Hec Ed.

Seton Hall (16-11; 7-9 Big East; RPI: 64; Non-conf. RPI: 77): Remember that string of four games at the end of 2009/start of 2010, where the Pirates lost heartbreakers, including OT games against West Virginia and Virginia Tech? Hall fans are undoubtedly wishing they’d won a couple of those right about now, as those wins would be major boosts to an OK resume. But they didn’t, meaning the Pirates own a 2-9 mark against the RPI Top 50 and a 3-7 road/neutral mark. Those stats aren’t major selling points. One thing Seton Hall has done this season is prove that they can lose to good teams, and they won’t get much of a chance to reverse that down the stretch. Tuesday, they beat Rutgers in the first of two late meetings, but they couldn't win their last game against a contender, as they fell at home to Marquette Sunday. The Pirates may as well start planning for the NIT, as a road trip to Rutgers and Providence won't provide much of a bump.

Charlotte (19-9; 9-5 A-10; RPI: 60; Non-conf. RPI: 61): Like Rhode Island, the 49ers have dropped four of their last five, following a three-game losing streak with a victory (at home over St. Joe's) and a defeat (at GW). Bobby Lutz’s team will try to get to 20 victories when they visit Rhode Island and host Richmond, a team they already defeated at the Robins Center. Charlotte’s 9-6 road/neutral mark, featuring wins over the Spiders and Louisville, is a major boost for their hopes. A sweep of Rhode Island and Richmond could put the 49ers back in the picture.

On The Fringe

Arizona State (20-9; 10-6 Pac-10; RPI: 55; Non-conf. RPI: 59): The Sun Devils loss at Cal on Saturday was doubly bad, as it kept them from grabbing an RPI Top 50 win and a share of the Pac-10 crown. The Sun Devils face home games against the L.A. schools next week, but their only real hope is to win the Pac-10 Conference Tournament on March 13. Currently, the only win the Sun Devils can hang their hat on is a home victory over San Diego State on December 19, their lone top 50 win in six tries.

Cincinnati (16-13; 7-10 Big East; RPI: 58; Non-conf. RPI: 38): The Bearcats close home loss to Villanova Tuesday night was their seventh in 10 games. The last time Mick Cronin’s team won a game against an opponent who’s a lock or near lock was a pair of wins Vanderbilt and Maryland in Maui. Cincy closes the regular season with one final chance to correct that flaw in their resume, as they visit inconsistent Georgetown Saturday. Still, they will need to win a couple of games in the Big East Tournament to have a realistic shot.

Minnesota (17-12; 8-9 Big Ten; RPI: 72; Non-conf. RPI: 60): After grabbing a win at Illinois Saturday, the Golden Gophers made a huge jump. Tuesday night, they gave it all back with an abysmal performance at Michigan, where they lost by 28. The defeat was costly as it cost the Gophers a shot at a bye in the Big Ten Tournament. The Golden Gophers are 5-9 this season against the RPI Top 100. Three of those wins came at The Barn, where they defeated Ohio State, Wisconsin and now-out of the picture Northwestern. Minnesota’s nine-point triumph over Butler in Anaheim is useful, but the losses to Portland and Texas A&M that followed aren’t. Neither was the road loss at Miami days after the California trip. Losses to Indiana (in Bloomington) the Michigan sweep sting. Minnesota closes with a home game against Iowa Sunday, but beating the Hawkeyes won't mean much to the Committee. The Gophers need to make a run in Indianapolis.

Games To Watch

Wednesday
Connecticut at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Charlotte at Rhode Island, 7 p.m. ET (Cox Sports New England)
Mississippi State at Auburn, 8 p.m. ET (SEC Network/Full Court)
Oklahoma State at Texas A&M, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Memphis at UAB, 9 p.m. ET (CSS)
Colorado State at San Diego State, 10:30 p.m. ET (the mtn.)

Thursday
Seton Hall at Rutgers, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Dayton at Richmond, 7 p.m. ET (CBS College Sports)
USC at Arizona State, 8:30 p.m. ET (FSN/Comcast SportsNet)
LSU at Mississippi, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Friday
Northern Iowa vs. Drake/Southern Illinois (Missouri Valley Quarterfinal No. 1), 1 p.m. ET (FS Midwest/CSN Chicago)

Saturday
Old Dominion vs. Towson/UNC Wilmington (Colonial Quarterfinal No. 1), 12 p.m. ET (CSN New England/Comcast Network/Full Court)
Nebraska at Oklahoma State, 1:30 p.m. ET (Big 12 Network/Full Court)
Syracuse at Louisville, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Connecticut at South Florida, 2 p.m. ET (Big East Network/Full Court)
Notre Dame at Marquette, 2 p.m. ET (Big East Network/Full Court)
Missouri Valley Semifinal No. 1, 2:30 p.m. ET (FS Midwest/CSN Chicago)
UCLA at Arizona State, 4 p.m. ET (CBS)
Rhode Island at Massachusetts, 4 p.m. ET (Cox Sports New England)
Mississippi at Arkansas, 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network/Full Court)
Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, 4 p.m. ET (Raycom/Full Court)
TBD vs. Siena (Metro Atlantic Quarterfinal No. 2), 4:30 p.m. ET (MSG/FCS Atlantic/Full Court)
Tennessee at Mississippi State, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN)
California at Stanford, 6 p.m. ET (FSN/Comcast SportsNet)
St. Louis at Dayton, 7 p.m. ET (WHIO/CSN Philly/CSN Washington+)
Washington at Oregon State, 8 p.m. ET (FSN Northwest)
San Diego State at Air Force, 9 p.m. ET (the mtn.)
New Mexico State at Utah State, 9 p.m. ET (CW 30/Aggie Vision/Full Court)

Sunday
Florida at Kentucky, 12 p.m. ET (CBS)
Wisconsin at Illinois, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Missouri Valley Championship, 2 p.m. ET (CBS)
Colonial Semifinal No. 1, 3 p.m. ET (CSN New England/Comcast Network/CSS/Full Court)
Metro Atlantic Semifinal No. 1, 4:30 p.m. ET (MSG/MASN/FCS Atlantic/Full Court)
Iowa at Minnesota, 6 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
TBD vs. St. Mary's (West Coast Semifinal No. 2), 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

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