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3/3 Bubble Watch

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The beatdown over Auburn leaves the Aggies safely in the field of 68 and perhaps just 1 win shy of locking down an at large bid.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The beatdown over Auburn leaves the Aggies safely in the field of 68 and perhaps just 1 win shy of locking down an at large bid. Updated Tuesday March 3rd 1 AM. Next Update: Friday March 6th

Daily Updates next week. 

With only 12 days until Selection Sunday the Aggies may be as little as 1 win away from an at-large berth, depending on how the rest of the bubble does. For more analysis see where A&M checks in at #54 on the watch.

What has happened since the last update
Moved to the Lock Line: Providence
Eliminated from At Large Contention: Michigan, Iona

The 2nd to last Saturday of the regular season lacked the clarity of most years as several teams missed chances to gain lock status and many others avoided bad elimination losses.

That's now 37 teams fighting for 25 spots.

Moving up within the BW: St. John's, LSU, Dayton, Boise St., BYU, Oregon. 
Moving Down within the BW: Ole Miss, NC State. 

We will look at the potential multiple bid conferences and then rank the teams 1-N. Once a team reaches "lock" status their "ranking" doesn't matter, it is just a placeholder to count how many spots are left.

This is not a ranking of how good teams are or how much of a threat they are for a deep tourney run, it is a measure of if the season ended today based on past selection committee behavior, who is in and who is out and how relatively safe teams are.


American
SMU finally locks itself up and now hopefully will start knocking off other bubble teams and make the AAC a 2 bid league instead of a 3 or 4.
Locks: SMU
Bubble: Temple, Cincinnati, Tulsa, UConn

Atlantic 10
A crowded bubble watch league a few weeks ago continues to gain clarity at rapid pace. VCU has been locked in for a while, Dayton looks relatively safe and Davidson will likely make it a 3 bid league unless they fall hard or URI makes a big run.
Locks: Virginia Commonwealth
Bubble: Dayton, Rhode Island, Davidson

ACC
The ACC is having a very good year for having numerous top end teams that could make a deep run. Not so great of a year for getting in a huge number of middling teams, although those on the bubble each have multiple opportunities to knock off the top tier of the league.
Locks: Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, Notre Dame
Bubble: Pitt, NC State, Miami

Big 12
With 70% of the league IN the tournament as of today the Big 12 is the top statistical conference in the country. Baylor and West Virginia are the latest to join the lock line. 
Locks: Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa St., Baylor, West Virginia
Bubble: Oklahoma St., Texas

Big East
The 2nd best conference statistically to the Big 12 and ahead of the ACC. 6 bids wouldn't shock anyone.
Locks: Villanova, Butler, Providence
Bubble: Georgetown, St. Johns, Xavier

Big 10
Similar to the SEC the Big 10 has 1 very good team (Wisconsin) and then a host of teams that are trying to sneak in to seeds somewhere in the 7-11 range.
Locks: Wisconsin, Maryland
Bubble: Indiana, Ohio St., Michigan St., Illinois, Iowa, Purdue

Mountain West
San Diego St. will likely be able to fall a few times still be dancing. Could the MWC still get 3 teams in during a down year?
Locks: None
Bubble: San Diego St., Colorado St., Boise St.

Pac 12
2 pretty solid locks but beyond that there is still some work to do to get a 3rd (or 4th) team in.
Locks: Arizona, Utah
Bubble: UCLA, Stanford, Oregon

SEC
Arkansas becomes the 2nd lock in the SEC. How many more will join them, we think at least 2 more but it could be as many as 4 additional teams.
Locks: Kentucky, Arkansas
Bubble: Georgia, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, LSU


Non Power Conferences
In general this is an exceptionally weak year for the non-power conferences. It is entirely possible that only 1 at large bid goes to a deserving small conference team (not counting the A10). If that is the case will the committee reach down and pick an Iona or a Wofford if they fail to secure an automatic bid? Not likely but it will be interesting to keep an eye on them come Conference Tournament Week. A note on the Ivy League Harvard has a potentially bubble worthy profile as of right now. However the Ivy League awards its automatic bid to its regular season champion (no tournament) and Harvard in order to not get the auto bid and qualify for the at large would need to lose at least 2 more games, which would take them out of at large contention.


Missouri Valley Conference
No drama here so long as WSU or UNI win the tournament this will be a 2 bid league
Locks: Wichita St., Northern Iowa
Bubble: None

West Coast Conference
Gonzaga has been a lock since January, BYU by knocking them off look to be in good shape to join them and make this a 2 bid league.
Locks: Gonzaga
Bubble: BYU

Conference USA
Too many losses for La Tech and UTEP to have realistic chances to get an at large. They are some decent profiles though that a loss in the Conference Tournament wouldn't hurt too much.
Locks: None
Bubble: Old Dominion



Conference listed indicates projected auto bid

1. America East
2. American SMU
3. Atlantic 10 - Virginia Commonwealth
4. ACC Virginia
5. Atlantic Sun
6. Big Sky
7. Big 12 Kansas
8. Big East Villanova
9. Big 10 - Wisconsin
10. Big South
11. Big West
12. CAA
13. Horizon
14. Ivy
15. MAAC
16. MAC
17. MEAC
18. Missouri Valley - Wichita St.
19. NEC
20. OVC
21. Pac 12 - Arizona
22. Patriot
23. Southland
24. SEC Kentucky
25. SWAC
26. Summit
27. Sun Belt
28. West Coast Gonzaga
29. WAC
30. Duke
31. North Carolina
32. Louisville
33. Notre Dame
34. Oklahoma
35. Maryland
36. Utah
37. Northern Iowa
38. Iowa St.
39. Baylor
40. Arkansas
41. West Virginia
42. Butler
43. Providence

37 teams fighting for 25 spots


44. Georgetown (RPI 24: 18-8, 9-5) Best Wins: NC (Neutral Court) vs. Indiana, Butler, Villanova, St. Johns, NC vs. Florida. Worst Losses: Xavier (twice). The #4 SOS in the country and it shows with great OOC and in conference wins, as well as every one of the 9 losses being to probable tournament teams. They did lose to St. John's on Saturday but could probably lose the rest and still have a great chance of making the tournament with a .500 conference record. Winning 1 more game would eliminate all doubt but the schedule isn't easy. (Next Up: 3/3 @ Butler)

45. San Diego St. (Mountain West auto bid placeholder) (RPI 23: 21-6, 12-3) Best Wins: Utah, Colorado St., NC vs. Pitt. Worst Losses: @ Fresno St. Missed the 1st lock chance by losing to fellow MWC bubbler Boise St. Still just 1 win away from entering lock territory. (Next Up: 3/4 @ UNLV)

46. Ohio St. (RPI 42: 20-8, 9-6) Best Wins: Indiana, Maryland, Illinois. Worst Losses: Purdue, Iowa (twice). Picked up another quality win over Purdue this weekend for their 6th top 100 win to go along with no bad losses. Very similar resume to A&M with the exception of Ohio State's biggest to win over Maryland being the discriminator. Picking up a road weekend this weekend at Penn St. is probably enough to move them into lock position. A loss there would be trouble with Wisconsin up next and then a tough Big 10 Tourney 1st round game and losing out is far from a guaranteed bid (Next Up: 3/4 @Penn St.)

47. Dayton (RPI 35: 21-6, 11-3) Best Wins: @VCU, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, La Salle. Worst Losses: @Duquesne UConn, @ George Washington. Huge win at VCU on Saturday to make us forget all about the loss @ Duquesne and improve to 12-3 in conference play. Just win one of the final 2 or 1 in the tournament just to put a bow on this at large bid. (Next Up: 3/3 Rhode Island)

48. St. John's (RPI 38: 18-9 8-7) Best Wins: Providence (twice), Xavier (twice), @Syracuse, St. Mary's, Georgetown. Worst Losses: @DePaul, @Creighton, @Seton Hall. St. John's has won 6 of their last 7 including some big wins against Georgetown and Xavier twice. Even if they lose out they still have a decent shot to sneak in with 12 losses and what would be a .500 conference record. They can erase all doubt with a win at Marquette this week to lock themselves up. (Next Up: 3/4 @ Marquette)

49. Colorado St. (RPI 26: 23-5, 11-5) Best Wins: San Diego St., Boise St., Worst Losses: @New Mexico, Wyoming (twice). CSU started 13-0 against a joke of a non-conference slate and has a pair of nice in conference wins vs. the class of the league. Just 2 games left, both against sub-par competition. I have to think that as long as they don't lose out they are in. (Next Up: 3/4 @Nevada)

50. Georgia (RPI 29: 18-9, 9-6) Best Wins: @ Texas A&M, Ole Miss (twice), Seton Hall, Florida. Worst Losses: @Georgia Tech, NC vs. Minnesota, South Carolina (twice), Auburn. It is pretty tough to argue against the Bulldogs now being the unquestioned 3rd team from the SEC after they beat Texas A&M and swept Ole Miss. Outside of those 3 wins they really didn't do that much else but it may not matter. Probably just 1 win away from the Big Dance, it likely won't come in the next one vs. Kentucky but then they will have a very winnable game @ Auburn after that. Win that and they are not quite a stone cold 100% lock as they may want to avoid a bad loss vs. a low seeded team in the SEC tourney but 1 win anywhere along the way is very likely enough. (Next Up: 3/3 Kentucky)

51. Xavier (RPI 30: 18-11, 8-8) Best Wins: Georgetown (twice), Butler, Providence, @Cincinnati, @Alabama, Murray St. Worst Losses: @Auburn, @DePaul, Creighton, @Seton Hall, NC vs. UTEP. Xavier missed 2 straight chances to lock themselves up last week losing to St. John's and Villanova and not sitting at 8-9 in conference play desperately need to win at Creighton to end the regular season. If they get it done in that one I think they are dancing, if not and it may take 2 wins in the conference tourney. Even if they do win to get back to .500 in conference they may need 1 win in the tourney to make things official as a lock. (Next Up: 3/7 @Creighton)

52. Michigan St. (RPI 33: 19-9, 10-5) Best Wins: Indiana, Ohio St., @Iowa, @Illinois. Worst Losses: Texas Southern, @ Nebraska, Minnesota. 2 straight losses to go along with that still tough to forget loss to TSU OOC. Still though it is a solid RPI and a 10-6 record in the Big 10 is still an IN profile so long as the losing ways stop sometime soon. As long as they win 1 of the next 2 that should be good to go. (Next Up: 3/4 Purdue)

53. Oregon (RPI 39: 20-8, 11-5) Best Wins: Utah, NC vs. Illinois, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona St. (twice), Oregon St. Worse Losses: @Washington St., NC vs. Michigan, @Washington, @UCLA. If you are looking for a team that is playing like they want to be in and are playing like they deserve to be there look no further than the ducks with wins in their last 3 games over Utah, @Cal and @Stanford to improve a mid-60s RPI up to mid-30s. Assuming the Pac 12 gets 3 teams in, Oregon will be that team. I have Oregon as safer than most other national analysts and in my estimation they can lose their regular season finale @Oregon St. and still be in. 1 more win either there or in the tourney should pretty much eliminate all doubt. (Next Up: 3/4 @ Oregon St.)

54. Texas A&M (RPI 31: 19-8, 10-5) Best Wins: LSU (twice), Florida, Arizona St. Worst Losses: @Kansas St., @Alabama. Texas A&M has been hovering around #55 for quite some time as with each and every game lately they have returned the expected result. A win against Auburn, like a loss at Arkansas certainly fits that description. When your RPI goes up after a loss (as with Arkansas) and when it moves down with a win (as with Auburn) it just isn't going to affect your standing here. That changes this week as both of the remaining games are against top 100 competition that is likely not dancing, meaning any win (especially on the road against Florida) is going to be a quality win but any loss this week will get a little bit of scrutiny and result in a small downgrade of the resume stock. Most Aggies have been saying it since early January but 12-6 has felt like the number to strive for pretty much all year. Nothing has changed that. To get there the Aggies are just 1 win away and have 2 winnable (but not easy) games to get there. A 1-1 finish would in all likelihood lead to the double bye into the SEC Quarterfinals which diminishes the chance of taking any bad losses next week. A bad loss say in a 3 vs. 11 seed game could potentially lead for a little nervousness on Selection Sunday but most likely the worst case scenario is a trip to Dayton for the first four unless disaster really strikes and a bunch of bids start going to bid stealers getting hot and taking auto bids let's remember a 12-6 Georgia did get left out last year but the SEC is better this year. A 2-0 finish and the Ags will be playing for at worst case a 10 seed and would give themselves a chance to go on a run in the SEC-T and maybe even play their way off the 8/9 seed line. Obviously an 0-2 finish is a disaster and would take a minimum of 1 SEC tourney win to have a legit shot at an at large and maybe even 2 to have more than a 50/50 shot at sneaking in. (Next Up: 3/3 @Florida)

55. Iowa (RPI 54: 18-10, 9-6) Best Wins: @North Carolina, @Maryland, Ohio St. (twice), Illinois. Worst Losses: @Northwestern, Minnesota, @Purdue, NC vs. Syracuse. Winners of 4 straight now to right the ship after a mid-February slump with a couple of bad losses. Oddsmakers would bet on them going 1-1 down the stretch @Indiana and home to Northwestern, if that is what happens they should remain just on the right side of the bubble and likely just need to avoid a bad loss in the B10 Tourney. 2 more wins and there shouldn't be any more doubt. (Next Up: 3/3 @Indiana)

56. Oklahoma St. (RPI 27: 16-10, 7-8) Best Wins: Baylor (twice), Kansas, Texas (twice). Worst Losses: @ Kansas St., @TCU, @ South Carolina, @Texas Tech. The Cowboys have now lost 4 straight games after beating Baylor and Kansas. Some of that is excusable losing to Texas Tech is not. Now at 7-9 in conference you have to look at what they did OOC. The win over Tulsa and Memphis are nice but nothing that separates a resume from the rest of the bubble especially with an OOC loss to South Carolina. This week's home game vs. TCU is an absolute must win to stop the 4 game losing streak. After that a loss at West Virginia is excusable and the 1st round of the Big 12 tournament is likely to a top 20 RPI opponent so no harm done there. Selection Sunday will probably come just in the nick of time for OSU as any more losses and this would look like a Texas Longhorn situation, but for now they are ok.so long as they beat TCU. (Next Up: 3/4 TCU)

57. LSU (RPI 55: 20-8, 9-6) Best Wins: @West Virginia, UMass, Georgia, Ole Miss (twice), Florida (twice) @Alabama. Worst Losses: @Missouri, @Miss St., Auburn. 3 straight wins, but none bigger than the one this Saturday over fellow bubbler Ole Miss to improve from a dicey 7-6 in conference play to now 10-6. LSU has the win @ West Virginia so as long as they can get to 11-7 they should feel relatively safe over the rest of the field. To do that the midweek matchup vs. Tennessee at home feels a lot like a must win unless they plan on getting an upset @Arkansas. Any combination of 2 wins the rest of the way eliminates any doubt. 1 win and they will likely sneak in. (Next Up: 3/4 Tennessee)

58. Indiana (RPI 37: 19-10, 9-7) Best Wins: SMU, NC vs. Butler, Maryland. Ohio St. Worst Losses: Purdue (twice) Eastern Washington, Northwestern. Another devastating loss in what was supposed to be the easy part of the schedule for the Hoosiers. They are still definitely in as of today but neither of their last 2 vs. Iowa and Michigan St. will be easy and if they lose both? They will need to do some damage in the Big 10 Tournament. (Next Up: 3/3 Iowa)

59. Boise St. (RPI 41: 19-7, 11-4) Best Wins: San Diego St. (twice), Colorado St., @ St. Mary's. Worst Losses: @Fresno St., Utah St., NC vs. Loyola Marymount. One of the biggest wins of the weekend by upsetting SDSU to complete the season sweep. The 3 bad losses outside the top 100 RPI do hurt. Just 1 game left in the regular season and it is of the gimme variety. Assuming they win an early exit in the conference tournament probably means a trip to Dayton but they should still be in. 2 more wins should eliminate all doubt. (Next Up: 3/7 Fresno St.)

60. Ole Miss (RPI 45: 19-9, 10-5) Best Wins: @Arkansas, Texas A&M, NC vs. Cincinnati, @ Oregon. Worst Losses: Charleston Southern, TCU, Western Kentucky. 2 straight losses to fellow SEC bubble teams in Georgia and @ LSU. Those start to hurt because Ole Miss was really relying on a strong conference record following 3 really bad losses OOC. They are still in OK shape for now but need to win at a minimum 2 more games between their last 2 winnable regular season games or in the SEC Tourney. (Next Up: 3/3 @Alabama)

61. Temple (RPI 32: 20-9, 10-5) Best Wins: Kansas, Cincinnati, La Salle. Worst Losses: NC vs. UNLV, @ St. Joes., Tulsa (twice). It is amazing what a OOC win vs. Kansas can do to make you look past an otherwise lackluster non-conference season with a few questionable losses. Even with that win however they have now lost 2 in a row in conference and got swept by Tulsa. It makes it tough to get a nod over a team that swept you, has a better overall record, and better conference record. Temple is still on the IN side of the discussion for now but the margin for error is getting smaller by the game. (Next Up: 3/5 @ East Carolina)

62. Davidson (RPI 48: 19-6, 11-4) Best Wins: Dayton, @Rhode Island, @UMass, @La Salle, @George Washington. Worst Losses: @St. Joseph's, @St. Bonaventure, @Richmond. That's now 7 wins in a row to get them to this point where they can absorb a loss to VCU this week and still be in ok shape. If they win out over VCU and @ Duquense they don't have anything more to worry about. 1-1 and to me they are still IN so long as they win 1 in the A10 tournament and don't take any bad losses. (Next Up: 3/5 VCU)

63. N.C. State (RPI 40: 17-11, 8-7) Best Wins: @UNC, Duke, @ Louisville, Boise St., Pitt. Bad Losses: @Wake Forest, @Miami, @Purdue. They took a very damaging loss on Saturday getting blown out by a bad Boston College team. The resume was picking up a lot of steam prior to that loss with 3 straight wins including over @UNC and @Louisville. Now they take on their 12th loss and drop back to .500 in conference. They are still IN as of right now but both teams left on the schedule are games a tournament team should win. 1-1 with a first round ACC tourney win followed by a 2nd round loss is probably asking for a 1st four trip to Dayton. Anything less than that and they can't complain about the NIT. (Next Up: 3/3 @ Clemson)

64. Tulsa (RPI 34: 20-6, 13-2) Best Wins: @Temple (twice), UConn, Memphis. Worst Losses: @Oral Roberts Southeast Oklahoma St. (DII), One of the worst starts to a season you can imagine with a loss to RPI 200+ Oral Roberts and then a later loss to Division 2 SEOSU. The sweep of Temple is impressive however as is the gaudy conference record and maybe a regular season crown if they can win @SMU to end the year. Tulsa certainly controls its own destiny. A 2-0 finish vs. Cincy and @SMU and they are a lock, 0-2 and it may be auto bid or bust for the conference tourney. A 1-1 finish and it may all come down to the conference tournament performance. (Next Up: 3/4 Cincinnati)

65. Purdue (RPI 59: 19-9, 11-4) Best Wins: Indiana (twice), Ohio St., Iowa, N.C. State, Worst Losses: NC. Vs. Kansas St., North Florida, @ Vandy, Gardner-Webb. The Boilermakers are still recovering from a bad December stretch where they dropped 3 of their 4 terrible losses, but they have done a fair amount of damage in conference. A tough final 2 games @Michigan St. and home against Illinois. Going 1-1 should keep them just on the right side of the bubble but with work to do in the tourney to stay there. (Next Up: 3/4 @ Michigan St.)

66. Cincinnati (RPI 52: 19-9, 10-5) Best Wins: San Diego St., SMU (twice), @NC State, UConn, Temple. Worst Losses: @East Carolina, @Nebraska, Tulane. Cincy stopped the absolute freefall by beating 3 straight gimmes over Houston, UCF @ Tulane. Those wins though are still RPI killers for a still worsening profile. That narrative stops this week as they have a big chance on the road vs. Tulsa for a road RPI top 50 win. With a win there and in their last game vs. Memphis I think the Bearcats are tourney bound despite what happens in the conference tourney. A 1-1 finish will leave some work to do. (Next Up: 3/4 @ Tulsa)

67. Wofford (RPI 43: 22-6, 14-2) Southern Conference Auto Bid Placeholder)Best Wins: Iona, @NC State. Worst Losses: @Citadel, Chattanooga, @ William & Mary. Did what they needed to do winning their last 5 and winning 12 of the last 13 to end the regular season. Probably still 1 too many losses on the resume when all is said and done as any tournament loss will probably do too much damage to still get an at large bid. The #2 seed TN-Chattanooga is currently #109 in the RPI so maybe a close loss in the Finals would be good enough but this feels a lot like that sad camera shot at the end of the selection show talking about snubs if they are not able to take care of business in their conference tournament. Their win over NC St and Iona who will likely make the field do help their case. A note if they do lose the Southern conference will still take up a spot in the 68 with their automatic bid and it would open up the possibility for a 2 bid league so this is a team you want to root FOR from here on out. (Next Up: 3/7 Quarterfinals UNCG/Samford)

68. Old Dominion (RPI 47: 21-6, 10-5) Conference USA Auto Bid Placeholder) Best Wins: Virginia Commonwealth, NC vs. LSU, La Tech. Worst Losses: @Western Kentucky, @Middle Tenn. St, @UAB, @UTSA. Similar to Wofford out of the Southern, ODU is listed here but realistically their chances for an at large are slim. They are the last team standing of what were 3 CUSA bubblers a week ago. Due to that a loss in the Conference tournament would not be quite as devastating to their chances particularly if they can win out until the finals. They do have 2 very nice wins but really they are the only 2 of any particular substance which is not enough to balance out a handful of really bad losses. Any regular season loss would eliminate ODU as everyone left is RPI 100+ (Next Up: 3/5 Marshall)

---------------------- The Bubble Bursts Here



69. Texas (RPI 46: 17-11, 6-9) Best Wins: West Virginia, NC vs. Iowa, @UConn. Worst Losses: Stanford. The write-up on Monday afternoon was not pretty, however it didn't get posted in time and suddenly after a win over Baylor the outlook is a lot brighter as Texas improves from #75 on my list up to here. Still though, improving to 7-10 is not a recipe for an easy watching selection Sunday but they did add a very quality 2nd big conference win to go with the W over West Virginia. No bad losses. Prior to Monday I stated they needed 3 wins somewhere along the way. That's 1 they still need 2 more. They have 1 game left in the regular season now with Kansas St. coming to Austin, get that one plus a win over what will be a top 20 RPI team in the Big 12 Quarterfinals and I think they are in. Anything short of that and they are likely NIT bound. (Next Up: 3/7 Kansas St.)

70. BYU (RPI 56: 20-8, 12-5) Best Wins: @Gonzaga, Stanford, UMass, Worst Losses: @Pepperdine (twice), San Diego. Gonzaga became public enemy #1 on Saturday as they had to chance to deliver the 6th WCC loss to BYU which would have almost eliminated them from contention and instead gave one of highest quality wins to any bubble team to move BYU right to the cut line with a great chance to sneak in. The quarterfinal game vs. the 7/10 winner is still a must win. I tend to think the likely game in the semis vs. St. Mary's is a must win too but it wouldn't shock me if they snuck into Dayton even with a Semis loss. I do not think a repeat upset of Gonzaga is necessary, so long as they get to the finals they do not need the automatic bid in my estimation.(Next Up: 3/9 Quarterfinals Santa Clara/Loyola Marymount)

71. UCLA (RPI 50: 17-12, 9-7) Best Wins: Utah, Stanford (twice), Oregon, Oregon St. Worst Losses: @ Colorado, @Alabama, @Oregon St., @Oregon, @Cal, @Arizona St. UCLA is a different team at home as they get by an outmatched Washington St. team. 1 game left vs. USC that is a must win and then it's all about proving they can win a big game not on their home floor in the Pac 12 tourney. If they can get 1 there to get to a 20-13 record I think they sneak into Dayton. (Next Up: 3/4 USC)

72. Pitt (RPI: 36: 18-10, 8-7) Good Wins: Notre Dame, North Carolina, Syracuse (twice), NC vs. Kansas St. Worst Losses: @Virginia Tech, @Hawaii, @NC State, Wake Forest. Playing Wake Forest is a SOS killer. Losing to them in March when you have a week to prepare for them is a resume killer. They still have 2 great wins and a few solid ones, but add it up and that's still a 5-8 record vs. the top 100 and a .500 conference record. I was high on Pitt last week but no more, not when the rest of the bubble got big wins vs. San Diego St, Baylor, Gonzaga etc. the last few days. The safety net is gone now and the next 2 are pretty close to must wins barring a ACC tourney finals run. (Next Up: 3/4 Miami)

73. Illinois (RPI 60: 17-11, 7-8) Best Wins: NC vs. Baylor, Maryland, @Michigan St., Michigan. Worst Losses: @Nebraska, @Minnesota, @Michigan, @Miami. Got the must win over Northwestern to stop the 3 game slide. The must wins will continue and neither of the last 2 of the regular season will be games they can't win with Nebraska at home and then on the road to Purdue. A 2-0 finish will have them perhaps just barely on the right side of the cut line, a 1-1 finish will leave a significant amount of damage still to be done. The win on the neutral court vs. Baylor may be the saving grace for the Illini. (Next Up: 3/4 Nebraska)

74. Murray St. (RPI 68: 23-4, 13-0) Best Wins: Illinois St. Worst Losses: Houston, NC vs. Portland, NC vs. Valparaiso. They did it a 23 game win streak to end the regular season. Probably too little, too late after the 1-4 start with none of the 23 wins being against top competition. Any OVC tourney loss will likely be too much to overcome. They do get a double bye all the way to the Semis so they are just 2 wins away from the auto bid. (Next Up:3/6 Semis UT Martin/Morehead St./SE Missouri)

75. Rhode Island (RPI 71: 18-7, 11-4) Best Wins: UMass, La Salle, George Washington. Worst Losses: NC. Vs. Georgia Tech, @St. Joseph's, See directly above (Davidson). Lost a critical game that was as close to a play in/elimination game as February gets vs. Davidson last week. Now that their safety net is gone it is win out or drop off the BW time. They have 2 more must win regular season games left then we will re-evaluate how deep of an A10 tourney run they need (Next Up: 3/3 @ Dayton)

76. Stephen F. Austin (RPI 65: 20-4, 10-1) Best Wins: @ Memphis, @SHSU. Worst Losses: @TAMU-CC. Started 0-3 but are hot now against sub-par competition. If we are going to throw the likes of Murray St & Wofford on here, might as well track the Jacks. Without a doubt they need to win out in the regular season to end the year on a 7 game winning streak and 24 of 25. That would include a nice win against Sam Houston St. to go along with a game against Northwestern St. After that is a tournament finals loss to RPI top 100 SHSU enough to get in the at large discussion? In the discussion sure, in the field may be a different story. (3/5 Northwestern St.)

77. Stanford (RPI 51: 18-9, 9-6) Best Wins: @Texas, Wofford, UConn, Arizona St. Worst Losses: @DePaul, @Washington St., @Colorado. The Cardinal have now lost 5 of 7 including a critical one at home to Oregon. It is hard to make a case for them as anything but the 5th team out of the Pac 12 in what is likely a 3 bid conference. They need to go 2-0 in the state of Arizona to end the year and even then it is an uphill climb in the Pac 12 tournament. (Next Up: 3/5 @Arizona St.)

78. Connecticut (RPI 76, 16-11, 9-6) Best Wins: Dayton, @Florida, Cincinnati, Tulsa. Worst Losses: @Houston, @Memphis, @Stanford. Most bubble watches completely wrote off UConn several weeks ago, but 3 straight wins including the win over conference leader SMU. Things are still pretty bleak but they still have more chances to impress with Memphis and Temple left in the regular season and a few chances in the conference tourney. It will still take winning out, plus a deep tourney run, plus some fingers crossed to get there but this is a start. Still in must win time for the foreseeable future. Only 1 really bad loss on the season. (Next Up: 3/5 Memphis)

79. Miami (RPI 67: 18-10, 8-7) Best Wins: @Duke, Illinois, @Florida, NC State, @ Syracuse. Worst Losses: Eastern Kentucky, Georgia Tech, @Florida St., @ Wake Forest. An 8-0 start with solid wins at Florida, and at home against Illinois non-conference but February wasn't pretty losing 6 of 10 and missing big chances in the last 2 weeks vs. Louisville and UNC. However even with missing those chances this is the ACC, which means if they can win their last 2 games in the regular season vs. Pitt and Va Tech, they will still have plenty of chanced to impress in the ACC Tourney and start leap frogging a bunch of teams. I don't think even a deep tourney run will be enough though if they can't get by Pitt this week.(Next Up: 3/4 @ Pitt)

80. Buffalo (RPI 31: 19-9, 10-6) Best Wins: @Bowling Green, Kent St. (twice) , S Dakota St. Worst Losses: St. Bonaventure, W. Michigan, Ohio, Akron. I can't ignore this profile anymore after 4 straight wins to improve to an RPI of 31. I still don't think they have any chance at an at large but they will present an interesting test case for the committee at the end of the day the discussion should be this it is way too dang easy to manipulate the RPI and the MAC has done a great job of doing it similar to the MVC run in the late 2000s. Buffalo's RPI is mainly a result of playing 10 of their first 14 as true road games, mixing in blowout losses at Kentucky and At Wisconsin among beating up on really bad teams on the road. The RPI is not a result of Buffalo being a good team and when the committee digs into that they will see that. That being said, this wouldn't be an all-inclusive bubble watch tracking all threats without at least giving them a cursory glance. Obviously after that discussion winning out and continuing to hold the RPI where it is, is a must. (Next Up: 3/3 Ohio)


What to Watch: All times Central
(Aggie fans should root for the team in bold)

Tuesday

6:00 Ohio @ Buffalo See #80, UB is not a serious at large contender but worth keeping an eye on.

6:00 FS1 Georgetown @ Butler This would keep Georgetown off the lock line for another game and potentially push them down closer to A&M's seed line.

6:00 CBSSN Rhode Island @ Dayton lets go ahead and eliminate URI and track 1 less team that can make an at large run. Dayton is almost certainly in and only helping SOS for A&M now.

6:00 ESPN Iowa @ Indiana A much better chance that both teams make it than both teams don't but it wouldn't be out of the question for the loser of this matchup to be in some bubble trouble. Indiana is the team to me more likely to lose a few more times before Selection Sunday.

6:00 SECN Ole Miss @ Alabama The Crimson Tide can help us out by pushing Ole Miss further below the Ags to avoid the H2H argument and maybe open up another at large bid for the rest of the country. Keeping Alabama in respectable RPI range since we play them twice is also a nice plus.

8:00 NC State @ Clemson NC State is getting close to must win time, this is a tough one on the road

8:00 ESPN Kentucky @ Georgia Same rationale to root against Ole Miss. First to help with the A&M H2H argument and push A&M up close to or past UGA in the above list, secondly to keep A&M as the team that played UK the closest all season as a deeper analysis plus.

8:00 ESPNU Texas A&M @ Florida a chance to get that 12th conference win which would all but clinch a bid and turn the discussion to more about seeding and avoiding Dayton than anything.



Wednesday 3/4

5:00 BTN Ohio St. @ Penn St. A&M has a very close resume to Ohio St.

6:00 SECN Tennessee @ LSU look having LSU remain in the top 50 RPI is nice, but it isn't the end all be all only metric that matters. We also played and beat Tennessee and with a win would move inside the top 100 to bump us up there. Focus more on a loss by LSU would provide further evidence that if it came down to it A&M would get the at large nod over LSU.
7:00 Miami @ Pitt you could go either way here but to me the most likely scenario is both teams miss the big dance, for that possibility to become closer to reality a Miami win (and Pitt loss) helps more than a Miami loss and Pitt win does.

7:00 BTN Purdue @ Michigan St. despite MSU's late slide they are still almost certainly IN and Purdue is fighting for their life. On the other hand if A&M IS able to pull off the win on Tuesday night and virtually assure themselves a bidMichigan St. is prime seeding competition so you will find me rooting on Purdue.

8:00 ESPNU TCU @ Oklahoma St. - OSU starting to enter dangerous territory if their late slide continues they can't afford to lose at home to a team like TCU after just losing to Texas Tech.

8:00 CBSSN Cincinnati @ Tulsa If Selection Sunday was tomorrow I would have the winner of this one in and the loser out. That said cheer for whoever you like and this should be a great Wednesday night bubble game.

8:00 FS1 St. John's @ Marquette St. John's almost certainly in at this point but this would delay the lock line promotion by a few days at least.

8:00 ESPN2 USC @ UCLA UCLA is in must win mode

9:00 Colorado St, @ Nevada CSU trying to get to that lock line

9:00 BTN Nebraska @ Illinois Must win for Illinois

9:15 Boise St. @ San Jose St SJSU is one of the worst teams in basketball (2-26, 0-16) a loss here would be disastrous for BSU and fantastic for everyone else.

10:00 CBSSN San Diego St. @ UNLV this would delay the lock line promotion a few days

10:00 ESPNU Oregon @ Oregon St All of a sudden Oregon is a serious competitor for seeding with the Aggies


Thursday 3/5

6:00 ESPNU Temple @ East Carolina Temple needs this road W badly

7:00 Marshall @ Old Dominion Chances are running out to knock off ODU in the regular season and add a bad loss to the resume (1 more after this)

8:00 ESPN2 Memphis@ UConn Must win time continues for UConn

8:00 ESPNU VCU @ Davidson VCU is a lock and Davidson is on the bubble

8:00 Northwestern St. @ Stephen F. Austin this would eliminate SFA from the watch.

10:00 FS1 Stanford @ Arizona St. Pretty close to a must win for Stanford.



Friday 3/6

6:00 Bowling Green @ Buffalo A good chance here to end the ridiculous at large discussion of Buffalo

6:30 ESPNU Morehead St./SE MO/UT-Martin @ Murray St. The OVC will be the first conference tournament we will keep an eye on as hopefully it will be what it should be a 1 bid league. The best way to ensure that happens is for Murray St. to just win 2 games and remove all doubt.