Weekly Bracketology: 02.23.09Posted by zhayes9 on February 23rd, 2009
Zach Hayes is RTC’s resident bracketologist. He’ll be regularly out-scooping, out-thinking and out-shining Lunardi over the next three months.
Last Four In: Kansas State, San Diego State, Maryland, UNLV
Last Four Out: Michigan, Oklahoma State, Saint Mary’s, Miami (FL)
Next Four Out: Cincinnati, Southern Cal, Virginia Tech, Providence
Also Considered: Notre Dame, Temple, Nebraska, Georgetown, UAB, Rhode Island, Illinois State, Northern Iowa, Mississippi State
Bids per conference: ACC (7), Big East (7), Big Ten (7), Big 12 (5), SEC (5), Pac-10 (5), Mountain West (4), Atlantic 10 (2).
Automatic bids: Binghamton, Xavier, North Carolina, Jacksonville, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Weber State, Radford, Michigan State, Long Beach State, VCU, Memphis, Butler, Cornell, Siena, Buffalo, Morgan State, Creighton, Utah, Robert Morris, Morehead State, Washington, American, LSU, Davidson, Sam Houston State, Alabama State, North Dakota State, Western Kentucky, Gonzaga, Utah State
Key Bubble Games (February 23-March 1):
- Louisville at Georgetown, 2/23– As much as you want to eliminate Georgetown, they remain alive by the slimmest of margins. Lose this one and 8-10 in the Big East is the best case scenario.
- Penn State at Ohio State, 2/24– Ohio State at 7-7 in the Big Ten is trending towards the bubble. Penn State doesn’t really need this game with three very winnable contests down the stretch, but it wouldn’t hurt.
- Pittsburgh at Providence, 2/24– A chance for the Friars, who are now on the outside looking in, to knock off the #1 team in the nation and greatly boost their lacking resume.
- Florida at LSU, 2/24– With an 8-4 SEC record, 102 SOS and 2 wins against the top 50, there’s no reason to think Florida is safely in the field. Knock off LSU on the road and they’ll be looking a lot stronger.
- Florida State at Boston College, 2/24– The Seminoles really solidified their top-8 seed with the win in Blacksburg on Saturday. On the other hand, this is a top-25 RPI win that BC really needs.
- Texas A&M at Nebraska, 2/24– Essentially an elimination game in the Big 12.
- BYU at San Diego State, 2/24– San Diego State nearly fell out of the projected field with their brutal loss in New Mexico on Saturday, while BYU also fell to UNLV. Counting Utah, the Mountain West will probably only get 3 of the 5 contending teams. Every game between those 5 teams is huge, especially this late.
- Kentucky at South Carolina, 2/25– A very important SEC bubble game. Kentucky is looking for revenge after the Gamecocks won at Rupp earlier this season. A sweep over Kentucky would be huge for South Carolina.
- Dayton at Rhode Island, 2/25– The loss to Saint Louis is certainly discouraging. Following that up with another Atlantic 10 loss on the road would be worrisome for the Flyers at-large chances.
- Virginia Tech at Clemson, 2/25– Virginia Tech is trending in the wrong direction. They barely escaped NC State and Georgia Tech. They’ve lost three in a row to Maryland, Virginia and Florida State. Another performance like they had in Winston-Salem might be in order here.
- Duke at Maryland, 2/25- Will the Terrapins have a letdown after the emotional win against North Carolina? It’s doubtful considering they probably would love to beat Duke even more.
- West Virginia at Cincinnati, 2/26– Win and Cincy stays alive. Lose and their chances are very slim with a 7-8 conference record, 0-8 vs. the top 25 and a game in Syracuse to follow.
- Miami at Virginia, 2/26- Virginia is starting to play better basketball and Miami shouldn’t overlook. They need to win their last three games to get to 8-8 in the ACC.
- Purdue at Michigan, 2/26– The loss to Iowa hurts badly for Michigan. Still, beat Purdue and they have 3 wins against the RPI top 25.
- Memphis at UAB, 2/26– The Blazers are slowly creeping towards at-large consideration but have no real quality wins to fall back on. Ending Memphis long conference winning streak would qualify.
- Arizona at Washington State and at Washington, 2/26 and 2/28– Arizona could easily lose both and fall back into bubble territory. Or they could win both. Or they could split.
- USC at California, 2/26– The Trojans have lost 3 of 4 to fall out of the field at 16-10 (7-7). A win at California would certainly help their chances to get back into the 65.
- Notre Dame at Connecticut, 2/28– Can the Irish pull off a miracle here? If they shoot like they did against Providence, it’s more plausible than you think.
- Illinois State at Creighton, 2/28– Not the definition of a bubble game, but very important for the seeding in a one-bid Missouri Valley.
- Duke at Virginia Tech, 2/28– If the Hokies falter in Clemson, they’ll badly need to knock off Duke at home.
- LSU at Kentucky, 2/28– LSU is 11-1 in the SEC, making this a much-needed opportunity for a win against an RPI top 50 team for Kentucky. The win over Tennessee on Saturday was huge.
- Ohio State at Purdue, 2/28- If the Buckeyes fall at home to a pesky Penn State squad, all of a sudden they could be staring a 7-9 conference record in the face.
- Utah at BYU, 2/28– This game is enormous for BYU’s at-large chances and important for Utah’s seeding.
- Texas at Oklahoma State, 2/28– Even at 6-6 in an average Big 12, Oklahoma State is very alive. Win this game and they’re right in the middle of the bubble discussion.
- Nebraska at Kansas State, 2/28– Kansas State avoided the loss at the hands of Iowa State that would have punctured their tournament chances. This is another must-win.
- San Diego State at TCU, 2/28– A game that San Diego State absolutely must have.
- South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 2/28– Kentucky at home and a trip to Vanderbilt constitutes a make-or-break week for Darrin Horn’s squad.
- Tennessee at Florida, 3/1– Most thought this would be a battle for the SEC title. Instead, it’s a battle to stay out of bubble land.
- Michigan at Wisconsin, 3/1– The premiere bubble game of the weekend takes place in Madison on Sunday. Hard to determine who needs this win more.
- Maryland at NC State, 3/1- Maryland is currently in a position where even if they should knock off Duke on Wednesday, they desperately need to take care of the Wolfpack.