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Bracketology 2012: Kentucky Is Your New Overall No. 1 Seed

The Wildcats slide past Syracuse in Chris Dobbertean's Monday projection. The question for the next week is whether John Calipari's team can hold on.

LEXINGTON, KY - FEBRUARY 18:  Marquis Teague #25 and Doron Lamb #20 of the Kentucky Wildcats  celebrate during the game against the Ole Miss Rebels at Rupp Arena on February 18, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LEXINGTON, KY - FEBRUARY 18: Marquis Teague #25 and Doron Lamb #20 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrate during the game against the Ole Miss Rebels at Rupp Arena on February 18, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Thirteen days.

That's all that remains until the bracket -- the road map to New Orleans and the 2012 Men's Final Four -- is finally revealed. Curiously, even though the season is reaching its apex, and there seem to be games of importance going on at all hours, the list of entrants for this projection differs by only one from last week's edition and two from Friday's Bubble Watch. That's a rare amount of stability for this stage of the season. Don't expect it to last as the final week of the regular season, and then Championship Week, unfold.

The most significant change in this bracket is the move of Kentucky to the top overall spot, replacing longtime No. 1 Syracuse. While I still think the Orange's profile is a bit stronger than the Wildcats' (something I detailed last week), there seems to be an air of inevitability in Kentucky's coronation, particularly as only victories over Georgia and a suddenly lost Florida team stand between John Calipari's team and a significant and rare feat -- an undefeated major conference campaign.

In other top line news, Kansas returns after Saturday's stirring overtime win over Missouri, who held a No. 1 seed one week ago. The Jayhawks replace the Tigers and Duke, who temporarily held the fourth top seed on Friday. Michigan State remains among the elite, anchoring the Midwest Region.

The rest of the projection follows.

Atlanta (Fri/Sun)
(2) EAST
Boston (Thu/Sat)
Louisville (Thu/Sat) Pittsburgh (Thu/Sat)
1 Kentucky (SEC) 1 Syracuse (Big East)
16 MVSU/UT Arlington 16 Stony Brook (America East)
8 Kansas State 8 Iowa State
9 Memphis (C-USA) 9 Alabama
Portland (Thu/Sat) Albuquerque (Thu/Sat)
5 Notre Dame 5 Florida State
12 Long Beach State (Big West) 12 BYU
4 Wichita State (MVC) 4 Indiana
13 Iona (MAAC) 13 USF/Xavier
Columbus (Fri/Sun) Albuquerque (Thu/Sat)
6 San Diego State 6 Murray State (OVC)
11 Northwestern 11 Seton Hall
3 Marquette 3 Baylor
14 Belmont (A-Sun) 14 Oral Roberts (Summit)
Greensboro (Fri/Sun) Louisville (Thu/Sat)
7 St. Mary's (WCC) 7 Creighton
10 Harvard (Ivy) 10 California
2 North Carolina 2 Ohio State
15 Valparaiso (Horizon) 15 Nevada (WAC)
(4) WEST
Phoenix (Thu/Sat)
St. Louis (Fri/Sun)
Omaha (Fri/Sun) Columbus (Fri/Sun)
1 Kansas (Big 12) 1 Michigan State (Big Ten)
16 Bucknell (Patriot) 16 UNCA/Savannah St. (MEAC)
8 Washington (Pac-12) 8 Vanderbilt
9 Southern Mississippi 9 Saint Louis
Nashville (Fri/Sun) Portland (Thu/Sat)
5 Temple (A-10) 5 UNLV (MWC)
12 West Virginia 12 Drexel (CAA)
4 Wisconsin 4 Louisville
13 Miami/Texas 13 Middle Tenn. (Sun Belt)
Nashville (Fri/Sun) Pittsburgh (Thu/Sat)
6 Florida 6 Gonzaga
11 Cincinnati 11 Mississippi State
3 Michigan 3 Georgetown
14 Davidson (Southern) 14 Akron (MAC)
Greensboro (Fri/Sun) Omaha (Fri/Sun)
7 New Mexico 7 Virginia
10 Connecticut 10 Purdue
2 Duke (ACC) 2 Missouri
15 Long Island U. (NEC) 15 Weber State (Big Sky)
Tuesday: To Louisville
Tuesday: To Albuquerque
16 Miss. Valley State (SWAC)
13 USF
16 UT Arlington (Southland) 13 Xavier
Wednesday: To Columbus Wednesday: To Nashville
16 UNC Asheville (Big South) 13 Miami
16 Savannah State (MEAC) 13 Texas

After the rundown, I'll have a detailed look at the last few teams in the field, and the eight teams closest to replacing them.

Big East: 10
West Virginia USF N.C. State
Big Ten: 8 Mississippi State PROCEDURAL SHIFTS
Big 12: 6 BYU Purdue Down to a 10 from a 9
ACC: 5 Northwestern Southern Miss. Up to a 10 from a 9
SEC: 5
LAST FOUR IN West Virginia Down to a 12 from an 11
A-10: 3
Xavier Northwestern Up to an 11 from a 12
MWC: 3 Texas


C-USA: 2


Pac-12: 2

1-Bid Conferences: 20 Dayton


Colorado State




St. Joseph's

N.C. State

Note: All record, RPI, and strength of scheduled information from this point forward is from and is accurate through games played Sunday, February 26, 2012. Per Selection Committee guidelines, all records reflect only games against Division I opposition.

Just Avoiding Dayton

A trio of Big East teams--Cincinnati, Connecticut, and Seton Hall--are just above this group after dropping crucial weekend games to South Florida, Syracuse, and Rutgers , respectively. Southern Mississippi is also just hanging on, thanks to a pair of late free throws, which helped give them a victory over Rice on Saturday night, snapping a two-game losing streak in the process.

West Virginia (17-12, 7-9 Big East, RPI: 46, SOS: 6, non-conf. SOS: 10)
The Mountaineers have won just two of their last nine, capped by Friday's heartbreaking home loss to Marquette, a game in which the Golden Eagles were without four players for a half due to suspension. West Virginia's strong computer numbers, bolstered by wins over Cincinnati, Georgetown, Kansas State and Miami, along with victories over Akron and Oral Roberts -- a pair of underrated conference leaders -- mean they should just make it in, but they'll need to close strong to be sure. Tuesday's home game with DePaul offers the Mountaineers the chance to get back on track before a bubble showdown at South Florida on Saturday.

Mississippi State (19-10, 6-8 SEC, RPI: 61, SOS: 69, non-conf. SOS: 50)
Five straight losses -- three of which were unexpected -- mean the Bulldogs are now in serious trouble. Yes, they won at Vanderbilt, and victories over Alabama, West Virginia and Arizona will provide a bubble boost; however, Saturday's loss in Tuscaloosa ensured Rick Stansbury's team finished 0-5 in road games against its former SEC West rivals, which deflates a decent road/neutral record. Mississippi State is actually 5-2 in games away from Starkville against non-SEC West opposition. The Bulldogs have one more chance to grab a true road win, as they visit a struggling South Carolina squad that isn't drawing fans on Wednesday. Then, Miss. State returns home to close the regular season with a visit from Arkansas. A loss in either game will drop the Bulldogs' SEC mark below .500 for good, which would all but guarantee an NIT trip.

BYU (22-7, 12-4 WCC, RPI: 45, SOS: 90, non-conf. SOS: 128)
Thursday's loss at Gonzaga means the Cougars only own a single victory over a team in the RPI Top 50 -- their victory over the Bulldogs in Provo. Still, BYU's profile is relatively blemish-free, with its worst losses coming against surprising Loyola Marymount (at home) and at Utah State in the first game of the season. Victories over fellow bubble team Oregon and possible auto-bid winners Nevada and Weber State also help the Cougars' case. A potential rubber game with the Zags in the West Coast Conference semifinals looms large for BYU's hopes, but the Cougars have to get by the San Diego-Pepperdine winner in Friday's quarterfinals to make that happen.

Northwestern (17-11, 7-9 Big Ten, RPI: 47, SOS: 9, non-conf. SOS: 12)
If Greg Gumbel fails to read Northwestern's name out on Selection Sunday, the nightmares of Wildcat fans will likely feature a pair of close losses to Michigan on a loop. By all rights, the Wildcats should currently be on the outside looking in, but results elsewhere see them just sticking around, though wins over Michigan State and Seton Hall, excellent computer numbers and an absence of bad losses help too (Seriously, very few teams can claim such a spotless mark against teams from outside of the RPI Top 100 this season). Unfortunately for the Purple and White, that final selling point is in real danger, especially after Saturday's narrow win at Penn State. The Wildcats close the regular season at Iowa -- a team that's already swept Minnesota and Wisconsin -- this Saturday. Plus, there's the little matter of a visit from Ohio State on Wednesday night. If the Wildcats upset the Buckeyes, it will be very difficult to leave them out, even with a loss in Iowa City.

First Four-Bound

Sunday was a good day for bubble teams from the Sunshine State, as South Florida picked up a victory that put them in the field, and Miami grabbed a win that holds a place ... for the moment.

Xavier (18-10, 9-5 A-10, RPI: 55, SOS: 54, non-conf. SOS: 72)
Up until a 76-53 win over, and subsequent brawl with, Cincinnati on Dec. 10, the Musketeers looked like a surefire tournament lock and solid bet for a protected seed. Since that day, Xavier has only played .500 basketball, which means they'll be lucky to play in the First Four, an event that happens to take place on their other significant rival's home floor. The highlights of Xavier's profile are a trio of early wins over Vanderbilt, Purdue and, of course, Cincinnati. However, the Musketeers' two best wins post-fight, over St. Joseph's and Dayton, don't quite pack the same punch. While a victory at Saint Louis on Tuesday night would provide a late boost both to the Musketeers' NCAA hopes and Atlantic 10 seeding, they can't afford to drop the home game against Charlotte that follows on Saturday.

Texas (18-11, 8-8 Big 12, RPI: 53, SOS: 17, non-conf. SOS: 25)
After consecutive losses to Oklahoma State and Baylor and an overtime win at Texas Tech, the Longhorns are just in. Why? Texas has victories over A-10 leader Temple and splits with Kansas State and Iowa State, though that loss to the Cowboys and consecutive losses to Oregon State and N.C. State at the Legends Classic may give the Committee pause. That hesitation might turn into a solid "pass" if the Longhorns fall at home to Oklahoma, loser of seven of its last eight, on Wednesday, especially since Rick Barnes' squad closes the regular season at Kansas -- a likely loss -- on Saturday.

South Florida (17-11, 11-5 Big East, RPI: 48, SOS: 27, non-conf. SOS: 18)
The Bulls' 5-8 mark against the RPI Top 100 is not quite as strong as it appears, as they have just one Top 50 win (Seton Hall) and three of their four wins against teams ranked between 51 and 100 came against Pittsburgh (twice) and Cleveland State, a pair of teams that are fading right now. However, their fourth victory over a team in that group, Sunday's gutsy 46-45 win over Cincinnati, moves USF ever closer to a bid. Working against the Bulls are some bad early season losses (at Auburn and against Old Dominion and Penn State in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off) and a defeat at the hands of fellow bubble team VCU. However, Stan Heath's team was dealing with injuries and suspensions early on, and the team's health in particular will be discussed in the Committee room. USF has two final chances to make a statement in the final week, a visit to Louisville Wednesday before a home game with struggling West Virginia on Saturday. Plus, the Big East Tournament should result in quality win opportunities, depending on the Bulls' place in the bracket.

Miami (17-10, 8-6 ACC, RPI: 50, SOS: 34, non-conf. SOS: 47)
Two factors work in Miami's favor: a victory at Duke and an absence of bad losses. However, the Hurricanes' 2-7 record against teams in the field, compounded by an inability to close the deal (see a recent 1-3 stretch, with the defeats coming at the hands of North Carolina, Florida State and Maryland) means they are far from safe, even after Sunday's revenge win over the Seminoles. Yet, Miami still has time to safe face, as the Hurricanes can grab a crucial bubble win at N.C. State on Wednesday before closing the regular season with a home game against last-place Boston College. However, all is not positive in Coral Gables, as center Reggie Johnson, who had been bothered by knee issues recently, was ruled ineligible before Sunday's game.

The First Four...In The NIT

Bubble teams everywhere need to watch the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament closely this weekend, as VCU is storming the gates yet again.

VCU (25-6, 15-3 CAA, RPI: 70, SOS: 200, non-conf. SOS: 178)
One of last season's most debated at-large teams has leaped into this season's picture, thanks to a 14-1 run to close the season. While the Rams' winning ways have moved them back into the conversation, a relatively weak CAA and a few poor choices and bad breaks in their non-conference scheduling may keep them out. A November 30th win over USF could be a key point of differentiation for the Committee, even if the Bulls were shorthanded. The question is whether that win will be enough to compensate for the Rams' poor computer numbers.

Dayton (18-10, 8-6 A-10, RPI: 66, SOS: 58, non-conf. SOS: 63)
Dayton's profile will provide a challenge for the Selection Committee, mostly because it features a little bit of everything. There are some really nice wins (at Temple, Saint Louis, Alabama), some OK ones that might help boost the Flyers above other bubble teams (a split with Xavier, Minnesota), a lack of consistency during conference play and some bad, and I mean BAD, losses (at Miami (OH) and Rhode Island at home).

Oregon (20-8, 11-5 Pac-12, RPI: 51, SOS: 76, non-conf. SOS: 103)
Victories over Washington and at Arizona along with a sweep of Stanford are the only highlights on the Ducks' profile, which lacks a win against the RPI Top 50 (against five losses). This season, that's enough to put Oregon in the picture, especially since they only have one bad loss, a home setback to archrival Oregon State, for which they got revenge on Sunday in Corvallis. Dana Altman's team will need to win a couple of games at the Pac-12 Tournament to get in, as long as they take care of Colorado and Utah when the Rocky Mountain pair visit Eugene this week.

Colorado State (17-10, 6-6 MWC, RPI: 24, SOS: 10, non-conf. SOS: 40)
After Saturday's loss at San Diego State, the Rams' record away from Fort Collins now stands at 4-9, which likely means an NIT trip is in the team's future. Yes, Colorado State's computer numbers are excellent, but that's mostly a function of their losses (at Duke, UNLV, New Mexico, Northern Iowa and Southern Miss. at home) than quality victories (New Mexico, San Diego State and Wyoming at Moby Arena). Tim Miles' team has one last chance to grab a quality win before the Mountain West tournament, as UNLV visits on Wednesday, but a difficult trip to Air Force will follow on Saturday.

The Next Four Out

At this point, all four of these teams will likely need to win multiple games in their respective conference tournaments to qualify.

Arizona (21-9, 12-5 Pac-12, RPI: 68, SOS: 96, non-conf. SOS: 95)
The Wildcats' hopes nearly died at the end of their sloppy home win over UCLA, but they held on to earn their eighth triumph in their last 10 games. That run, most of it without the services of Jordin Mayes and Kevin Parrom, has pushed Sean Miller's club back into the picture. However, a lack of quality wins (6-8 vs. the RPI Top 100, with a February 2nd win at California as the Wildcats' only one against a Top 50 opponent), combined with an 0-3 record against fellow Pac-12 bubble teams Washington and Oregon, means the Wildcats are not safe by any means.

Central Florida (18-8, 9-5 C-USA, RPI: 64, SOS: 102, non-conf. SOS: 121)
The Knights' profile is highlighted by a victory over Connecticut in the Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals and a home win over Memphis. Yet UCF's 3-5 record against the RPI Top 100 may not be enough when questionable road losses to Tulsa, Louisiana-Lafayette and Rice -- symptomatic of a 5-7 road/neutral record -- are added to the equation. Completing the season sweep of the Tigers on the road Tuesday night would do wonders for the Knights' hopes, particularly with the Conference USA Tournament taking place at FedEx Forum next week.

St. Joseph's (19-11, 9-6 A-10, RPI: 58, SOS: 56, non-conf. SOS: 78)
Saturday's home win over Temple was the Hawks' second over an RPI Top 50 opponent this season, as they also topped Creighton in a game that caused quite a sensation back on December 10th. While those victories, along with ones over fellow bubble squads Dayton and Drexel, help, the fact that all of them (along with wins over La Salle and UMass) happened at Hagan Arena does not. Neither do road losses to Penn and American and a home setback to Charlotte. St. Joe's has just one regular season game left, a potentially difficult trip to St. Bonaventure. Then, it's the Atlantic 10 Tournament, where the Hawks' draw will be vital. If they can make it to the semis--and face Temple or Saint Louis there -- earning a spot in the final might just book a bid.

N.C. State (18-11, 7-7 ACC, RPI: 62, SOS: 31, non-conf. SOS: 65)
Simply put, N.C. State's inability to close out Duke back on Feb. 16 likely cost them twice. The first setback was the defeat itself; the second, lost momentum, likely cost the Wolfpack when a physical Florida State squad visited the Research Triangle less than 48 hours later. Now, N.C. State is stuck with a profile that's highlighted by a couple of so-so wins (Texas and Miami) and burdened by defeats at the hands of Clemson and Georgia Tech.

Games To Watch

With just seven days left in the major conferences' -- and and some mid-major leagues' -- regular seasons, there are plenty of contests on the schedule that will impact the final bracket. Here's a look at what's on tap for Monday through Thursday. Note that there are even a few conference tournament games to check out on Wednesday and Thursday -- preliminaries for some of the first championship contests of 2012.

Monday, February 27
Notre Dame at Georgetown, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
The Fighting Irish are still in position to earn a double bye for the Big East Tournament, even if their nine-game win streak ended at St. John's on Saturday. The Hoyas, on the other hand, need a victory to stay in the hunt for an automatic spot in the quarterfinals.

Mississippi Valley State at Jackson State, 7 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
The Delta Devils are two wins away from completing a perfect SWAC campaign, though they will likely play in Dayton should they survive the conference tournament.

Kansas at Oklahoma State, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
The Jayhawks staked their claim for a top seed when they beat Missouri. A loss in Stillwater (remember, the Tigers lost at Gallagher-Iba) could send them back down to line No. 2.

Tuesday, February 28
Michigan State at Indiana, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Thanks to Wisconsin's win in Columbus on Sunday, the Spartans can claim the outright Big Ten title with a victory in Bloomington.

Texas A&M at Kansas State, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
The Wildcats need to be careful in College Station after they followed up wins at Baylor and Missouri with a home loss to Iowa State.

Connecticut at Providence, 7 p.m. ET (Big East Network Regional/Full Court/ESPN3)
The Friars, fresh off their first road win in two seasons, would love to add to the Huskies' woes.

DePaul at West Virginia, 7 p.m. ET (Big East Network Regional/Full Court/ESPN3)
After Friday's loss to Marquette, the Mountaineers can't afford to fall to the struggling Blue Demons.

Florida at Vanderbilt, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
With a victory, the Commodores will be in the driver's seat to finish second in the SEC. They'll also be in line to earn a higher NCAA seed than the Gators.

Xavier at Saint Louis, 9 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
This contest, already important in the A-10 race, grew in magnitude when the Billikens lost at Rhode Island on Saturday afternoon.

Weber State at Montana, 9 p.m. ET (Altitude)
The Wildcats and Grizzlies meet with the Big Sky title, and the right to host the conference semifinals and final, on the line. Weber State won the first meeting in Ogden by 16.

UCF at Memphis, 9 p.m. ET (CSS/Bright House Sports Network)
The Knights need to complete the season sweep of the Tigers to get back in the at-large picture. By the way, Memphis will be looking to clinch at least a share of the Conference USA title.

Wednesday, February 29
Atlantic Sun Quarterfinals, 2:30 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
Top-seed Belmont opens with Jacksonville in the afternoon game, while host Mercer, the No. 2 seed, plays the Bruins' crosstown rivals, Lipscomb, in the evening matchup.

Penn State at Purdue, 6:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
The Boilermakers took a big step toward locking up a bid when they won at Michigan Saturday, but they need to give the Nittany Lions the same treatment Nebraska received a week ago in West Lafayette.

Maryland at North Carolina, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
The Tar Heels can't get caught looking ahead to Saturday's trip to Duke -- a game that will likely decide the ACC regular-season crown.

Marquette at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
The Bearcats will look to grab yet another quality win, while the Golden Eagles will state their case for a No. 2 seed.

USF at Louisville, 7 p.m. ET (Big East Network/Full Court/ESPN3)
Beating the Cardinals on the road would be far more meaningful to the Bulls' profile than Sunday's home win over Cincinnati.

Dayton at Richmond, (WHIO/CSS/Comcast Network), 7 p.m. ET
The Flyers picked up a big win on Saturday, when they all but ended Massachusetts' at-large hopes. A loss in Richmond would undo that good work.

Auburn at Alabama, 8 p.m. ET (SEC Network Regional/Full Court/ESPN3)
The Crimson Tide have nearly locked a bid up, thanks to three straight wins. They just need to take care of business against the Tigers -- and Mississippi on Saturday.

Mississippi State at South Carolina, 8 p.m. ET (SEC Network Regional/Full Court/ESPN3)
On the other hand, the Bulldogs have dropped five straight, including Saturday's 17-point loss in Tuscaloosa. A sixth-straight loss would likely mean they will be out of my next projection.

Iowa State at Missouri, 8 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network Regional/Full Court/ESPN3)
Given that the Cyclones are fighting for a bid, the Tigers can't get caught sleepwalking after Saturday's tough overtime loss at Kansas.

Ohio State at Northwestern, 8:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
You can bet the Wildcats are not pleased that the Buckeyes are coming into this one needing a win to keep their Big Ten title and NCAA No. 1 seed hopes alive.

Oklahoma at Texas, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
The Longhorns nearly saw their bubble burst on Saturday. A home loss to the Sooners would be just as damaging.

Miami at N.C. State, 9 p.m. ET (ACC on FSN/Full Court/ESPN3)
Even a victory over the Hurricanes would likely not be enough for the Wolfpack after their loss at Clemson. Miami, on the other hand, needs to continue to impress.

UNLV at Colorado State, 10 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
The Rams are hoping to complete a home sweep of the Mountain West's top three, but the Runnin' Rebels can put themselves in position to claim the regular season title with a win in Fort Collins.

Thursday, March 1
Atlantic Sun Quarterfinals, 2:30 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
The No. 3 and 4 seeds are in action on Day Two. In the early game, the fourth-seeded Bucs of East Tennessee State take on North Florida, the No. 5 seed and last year's surprise tournament runner-up. The night game matches USC Upstate, the surprising third seed, against No. 6 Florida Gulf Coast.

Big South Semifinals, 6 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Top seed and host UNC Asheville will see action in the early game, provided the Bulldogs survive their quarterfinal on Wednesday night.

Missouri Valley First Round, 7 p.m. ET and approx. 9:30 p.m. ET (FS Midwest/CSN Chicago/FCS Central)
Defending Arch Madness champion Indiana State is the No. 8 seed and will play Southern Illinois in the first game, while seventh-seeded Drake plays Bradley in the nightcap.

West Coast Second Round, 9 p.m. ET and approx. 11:30 p.m. ET (BYU TV/Full Court/ESPN3)
Game one will feature San Francisco, the No. 5 seed, and the winner of Wednesday's first round game between Portland and Santa Clara. The contest between sixth-seeded San Diego and No. 7 Pepperdine follows.

Michigan at Illinois, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
A win for the Fighting Illini would probably not be enough to put them back in the picture, but it would damage the Wolverines' chances for a protected seed.

Florida State at Virginia, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
The Cavaliers missed a great opportunity to boost their seeding when they lost to North Carolina on Saturday, but a visit from a Seminole squad that's looking to stop a two-game slide gives them another chance.

Georgia at Kentucky, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
The Wildcats look to move one step closer to a perfect SEC season, and the top seed overall.

Colorado at Oregon, 10:30 p.m. ET (FSN/Comcast SportsNet)
The winner will be in the driver's seat for a bye to the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament. A victory would also help get the Buffaloes, whose profile is even more suspect than the Ducks', into the at-large conversation.

New Mexico State at Nevada, 11 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
The Wolf Pack is trying to defeat the Aggies for the second time this season, though a third meeting -- one that counts for everything -- may be on the horizon in the WAC Tournament final.

My next update, a full bracket, not a Bubble Watch post, will come on Friday. This projection will include a look at all of the key action scheduled for the final weekend of the regular season, along with analysis of the early impact that conference tournament action might have on the at-large picture. Plus, starting next Sunday, March 4th, I'll have a new bracket for each day of the final week before the Selection Committee reveals the real thing.