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Saturday March 7th Bubble Watch

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What needs to happen in the 8 days prior to Selection Sunday in order for the Aggies to be dancing?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Updated Friday March 6th 5 PM. Next Update: Monday Morning March 9th
8 days from Selection Sunday most Aggies are heading for the panic button, and for good reason. Not only did the Aggies drop a midweek game to an NIT bound Gators team but several key bubble competitors picked up solid wins to leapfrog the Aggies.

Now checking in at #61 on the BW the Aggies are in dangerous territory, I firmly believe if the season ended today Texas A&M would be in probably looking at an 11 seed. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the season does not end today. With a win on Saturday A&M would rise a few slots, perhaps enough to move to the 10 seed line. From there a loss to a UGA/LSU/Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament next week may move A&M down a few slots but barring a lot of bid thieves and several OUT teams making a big move an A&M win on Saturday coupled with a Quarterfinal loss is probably just barely enough (but may find the maroon and white in Dayton for the first four). In addition to the concern of bid thieves is the risk of a bad loss, an 0-1 trip to the SECT with a loss to an Auburn, Mizzou, Miss St. type would crush this resume and may send A&M to the NIT regardless of the Alabama game result.

Of course all that is factoring in a win on Saturday, with a loss the Ags likely do NOT get the double bye into the SECT and start their journey on Friday against a team that would provide zero boost and actually hurt the RPI, not only would that game be a must win but Friday would be as well and it very well could be against Kentucky. If it is not against Kentucky then it may even take a 3rd win to really feel any kind of security heading to Selection Sunday.

To the sky is falling Ags: step away from the ledge the Aggies still have this in our own hands and are likely just 1 win away from having a profile worthy of an at large bids, 2 wins (if they are in the right order) would very likely erase almost all doubt. With a win Saturday you should start breathing a lot easier.

To the overly optimistic Ags (if there are any out there): Despite saying that there is no safety net anymore strap up your boots because it is must win time. A loss to Alabama to end the year on a 2 game skid against NIT teams would be devastating and push A&M out of the top 4 in the SEC that get the double bye to Friday.

To the perfectly reasonable level-headed Ags Both of you guys are great, just keep doing what you are doing and go out and support the team at Reed on Saturday to help the good guys bring home one of the most meaningful March victories in quite some time around these parts.

So that being said, if there are 0 more wins on the season this BW doesn't matter, go get your NIT tickets. With a win Saturday plus a tourney win the BW doesn't matter either. It's the in between, a win and an 0-1 trip or a loss coupled by just 2 wins in the SECT that this BW is really designed to help sort through the confusion and help evaluate the entire landscape of other profiles in the country. Bold statements of "go 1-1 and we are OUT (or IN)" don't work for the bubble, this thing is not played in a vacuum and despite how many top 50 wins we do or don't have what matters is is the profile better than the 35th best (#69 on this list) at large profile.

What has happened since the last update
Moved to the Lock Line: Georgetown, Ohio St., St. John's, San Diego St.
Eliminated from At Large Contention: UConn
Added: Richmond

That's now 31 teams fighting for 19 spots.

Moving up within the BW: Miami, Davidson
Moving Down within the BW: LSU, Texas A&M, Pitt

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
Big Cincy win over Tulsa last week. Still all 3 bubble teams have a high degree of uncertainty with 1 week to go. 3 teams is likely.
Locks: SMU
Bubble: Temple, Cincinnati, Tulsa

Atlantic 10
VCU is doing the bubble no favors losing 3 straight to bubble teams has allowed Dayton to reach lock status, Richmond to be added to the watch and Davidson to move from out to IN.
Locks: Virginia Commonwealth, Dayton
Bubble: Rhode Island, Davidson, Richmond

ACC
Big win for Miami over Pitt, 6 bids is likely.7 is certainly a possibility.
Locks: Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, Notre Dame
Bubble: Pitt, NC State, Miami

Big 12
Half the league has been a lock since February. Oklahoma St. and Texas are trying to withstand late season slides, they both have a good chance to do just that.
Locks: Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa St., Baylor, West Virginia
Bubble: Oklahoma St., Texas

Big East
The league with the least bubble drama. Looks like 6 bids all the way here
Locks: Villanova, Butler, Providence, Georgetown, St. John's
Bubble: Xavier

Big 10
OSU and MSU join the lock line, still 4 more Big 10 teams with at least some level of uncertainty. 7 bids wouldn't shock anyone. This weekends Purdue/Illinois showdown will decide a lot.
Locks: Wisconsin, Maryland, Ohio St., Michigan St.
Bubble: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Purdue

Mountain West
All 3 MWC BW teams have played well the last month and look to be a good bet to be dancing.
Locks: San Diego St.
Bubble: Colorado St., Boise St.

Pac 12
Oregon has made a serious push to get in as the 3rd Pac 12 team. That may be where it stops.
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

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 potentially 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 may not hurt too much.
Locks: None
Bubble: Old Dominion


Other Non Power Conferences
In general this is an exceptionally weak year for the non-power conferences. As you look through the landscape it is entirely possible you can count on 1 hand the number of at large bids for small conferences. There are a few other teams (Wofford, Murray St., SFA) on the BW we will track in the below list to see if they can win their tournament or if they will be in the at large discussion

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. Mountain West San Diego St.
20. NEC
21. OVC
22. Pac 12 - Arizona
23. Patriot
24. Southland
25. SEC Kentucky
26. SWAC
27. Summit
28. Sun Belt
29. West Coast Gonzaga
30. WAC
31. Duke
32. North Carolina
33. Louisville
34. Notre Dame
35. Oklahoma
36. Maryland
37. Utah
38. Northern Iowa
39. Iowa St.
40. Baylor
41. Arkansas
42. West Virginia
43. Butler
44. Providence
45. Georgetown
46. Dayton
47. Ohio St.
48. Michigan St.
49. St. John's

31 teams fighting for 19 spots


50. Iowa (RPI 38: 20-10, 11-6) Best Wins: @North Carolina, @Maryland, Ohio St. (twice), Illinois. Worst Losses: @Northwestern, Minnesota, @Purdue, NC vs. Syracuse. Winners of 5 straight now including a huge win at Indiana. Things would have to really go bad including an ugly loss to Northwestern and then not showing up to the Big 10 tournament to not get in now. (Next Up: 3/7 Northwestern)

51. Colorado St. (RPI 27: 24-5, 12-5) 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 1 game left in the regular season on the road at Utah St., not a super easy game but one a tournament team should win. If they do that and finish the regular season at only 5 losses you can look to me to be the first BW out there to lock the rams up as I don't see how they can be punished by losing in the MWCT with their total body of work. (Next Up: 3/7 @Utah St.)

52. Georgia (RPI 35: 19-10, 10-7) Best Wins: @ Texas A&M, Ole Miss (twice), Seton Hall, Florida. Worst Losses: @Georgia Tech, NC vs. Minnesota, South Carolina (twice), Auburn. You should know the drill by now losing a close game to Kentucky does not negatively affect your tournament resume. It is still 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. Just 1 win away from the big dance and they have a great chance to pretty much lock themselves up with a trip to Auburn on deckalthough they may want to avoid a really bad loss in the SECT just to be sure. (Next Up: 3/7 @Auburn)

53. Oregon (RPI 30: 22-8, 13-5) 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 final 4 games of the regular season to improve a mid-60s RPI up to #30. Assuming the Pac 12 gets 3 teams in, Oregon will be that team. Even with a 0-1 Pac 12 tourney they are probably still ok. 1 win should eliminate all doubt. (Next Up: TBD Pac 12 Tournament)

54. Xavier (RPI 41: 18-12, 8-9) 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 now sitting at 8-9 in conference play they 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)

55. N.C. State (RPI 48: 18-12, 9-8) Best Wins: @UNC, Duke, @ Louisville, Boise St., Pitt. Bad Losses: @Wake Forest, @Miami, @Purdue. Got a really nice win at Clemson mid-week to help recover from a bad Boston College blowout loss. That gets them over .500 in conference play. It will be interesting to see what kind of an effort they get out of Syracuse this weekend. 1 more win either this weekend or in the ACCT is probably enough, but if it stays at just 1 they may do a little bit of sweating next Sunday. (Next Up: 3/7 Syracuse)

56. Ole Miss (RPI 46: 20-10, 11-6) Best Wins: @Arkansas, Texas A&M, NC vs. Cincinnati, @ Oregon. Worst Losses: Charleston Southern, TCU, Western Kentucky. Ole Miss stopped the bleeding after 2 straight losses to fellow SEC bubble teams in Georgia and @ LSU by beating Alabama this week to get their 11th conference win. That being said that 12th win still feels a lot like a must at home against Vanderbilt. A loss there would do a lot of damage to an already shaky RPI and would put Ole Miss in a no win situation playing a bad team on Thursday at the SECT. (Next Up: 3/7 Vanderbilt)

57. Oklahoma St. (RPI 42: 17-11, 8-9) Best Wins: Baylor (twice), Kansas, Texas (twice). Worst Losses: @ Kansas St., @TCU, @ South Carolina, @Texas Tech. The Cowboys stopped the bleeding beating TCU at home to halt the 4 game losing streak. The Cowboys probably won't drop much if any even if they go 0-2 from here on as a game at West Virginia and then a similar type neutral court game in the Big 12 tourney will not do much damage to the RPI even if it does make the overall record a little uglier. (Next Up: 3/7 @ West Virginia)

58. Cincinnati (RPI 39: 21-9, 12-5) Best Wins: San Diego St., SMU (twice), @NC State, UConn, Temple. Worst Losses: @East Carolina, @Nebraska, Tulane. A few weeks ago Cincy was in a freefall with 3 straight losses, now 4 wins later including a win on the road against fellow bubble team Tulsa they should be feeling pretty safe. I am not sure they could survive a 0-2 finish against Memphis and the CUSAT but anything else and they should be ok. (Next Up: 3/8 Memphis)

59. Davidson (RPI 32: 21-6, 13-4) Best Wins: Dayton, @Rhode Island, @UMass, @La Salle, @George Washington. Worst Losses: @St. Joseph's, @St. Bonaventure, @Richmond. Got a huge win over VCU to make it 8 in a row. Might want to not drop an embarrassing one @Duquesne, get by that one and I don't see any way Davidson isn't dancing even if they take a bad loss in the A10 Tournament. (Next Up: 3/7 @Duquesne)

60. Boise St. (RPI 36: 21-7, 13-4) Best Wins: San Diego St. (twice), Colorado St., @ St. Mary's. Worst Losses: @Fresno St., Utah St., NC vs. Loyola Marymount. The season sweep of SDSU is likely enough to offset the 3 very bad losses outside the top 100 RPI do hurt. Their regular season is over as they await their seeding in the MWC tournament. A bad loss there could result in some anxious moments on Selection Sunday but my guess is they would find themselves in Dayton. If they can pick up a quality win over Colorado St. or SDSU again then they are definitely in. (Next Up: TBD MWC Tournament)

61. Texas A&M (RPI 45: 20-9, 11-6) Best Wins: LSU (twice), Florida, Arizona St. Worst Losses: @Kansas St., @Alabama. Not much left to say that wasn't already covered in the intro. The loss at Florida does hurt a little bit and removes any semblance of a safety net but this team still very much controls its own destiny with still no bad losses, a nice in conference resume and 20+ wins now. It will take at least 1 more win to get in however and maybe 2 just to be sure. (Next Up: 3/7 Alabama)

62. Temple (RPI 37: 21-9, 11-5) Best Wins: Kansas, Cincinnati, La Salle. Worst Losses: NC vs. UNLV, @ St. Joes., Tulsa (twice). It is amazing what an OOC win vs. Kansas can do to make you look past an otherwise lackluster non-conference season with a few questionable losses. Getting swept by Tulsa does not look good on the resume but this is still an IN profile for now. However just like with the Aggies the season doesn't end today and they need to survive another week without dropping. A loss to UConn in the season finale would mean they have some work to do in the AAC Tourney (Next Up: 3/7 UConn)

63. Purdue (RPI 62: 19-11, 11-6) 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. Missed a big chance at Michigan St. on Wednesday that could have had them breathing much easier. Now the finale at home against Illinois feels a lot like a must win and then they might want to take one in the Big10T just to be sure. (Next Up: 3/7 Illinois)

64. LSU (RPI 55: 21-9, 10-7) Best Wins: @West Virginia, UMass, Georgia, Ole Miss (twice), Florida (twice) @Alabama. Worst Losses: @Missouri, @Miss St., Auburn. Took an unfortunately timed loss to Tennessee to snap the 3 game winning streak. They can more than make up for that however with a win this Saturday at Arkansas, it's hard to overstate how big that one is for LSU if they win they would be very close to lock status, with a loss they are very likely on the outside looking in going into the SECT needing to win at least 2. (Next Up: 3/7 @Arkansas)

65. Indiana (RPI 53: 19-11, 9-8) Best Wins: SMU, NC vs. Butler, Maryland. Ohio St. Worst Losses: Purdue (twice) Eastern Washington, Northwestern. Now 4-7 in their last 11 how you perform in your last 12 games of the season is no longer a metric that is considered and the Hoosiers are very fortunate for that. That being said that slide has done its damage to what was once a very strong resume and the RPI has dropped from 29 to the mid-50s. That being said they still have their fate in their hands. A win in the season finale against Michigan St. would do wonders for this profile and may even be big enough that they could absorb a 0-1 Big 10 tourney. A loss to MSU and they probably need 2 tournament wins. (Next Up: 3/7 Michigan St.)

66. Wofford (RPI 49: 23-6, 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)

67. Old Dominion (RPI 44: 23-6, 12-5) 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. A loss in the CUSA tourney however would not be quite as devastating as a loss for Wofford. 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. Won 5 in a row and just have 1 landmine left to navigate before getting into the CUSAT. It would be almost impossible to survive a loss in that one plus a tourney loss. (Next Up: 3/7 Western Kentucky)



68. Texas (RPI 43: 18-12, 7-10) 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.)

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

69. BYU (RPI 40: 21-8, 13-5) 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)

70. UCLA (RPI 51: 19-12, 11-7) 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 and they showed that at the end of the year winning their final 3 games all at home. That helps the record out a little bit but none of those wins were anywhere close to what you would call marquee. They still need to prove they can win a big game away from home. It will probably take winning 2 of those games in the Pac 12 Tourney to show that. (Next Up: TBD Pac 12 Tournament)

71. Miami (RPI 68: 19-11, 9-8) 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. February wasn't pretty however which started the Canes in a hole to start March still trying to play their way in. Starting with a win at fellow bubble competition Pitt is a great way to start and moves Miami to the precipice of the 68 team field. Beating Virginia Tech in the home finale won't do anything to move this profile up so a semi-deep run in the ACCT will be required. (Next Up: 3/7 @Virginia Tech)

72. Tulsa (RPI 47: 21-7, 14-3) 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 but they just couldn't get it done on Wednesday night against Cincinnati. They get 1 more shot at a big-time win against a tourney bound team before the conference tourney as they finish the year at SMU. A win there and they are just on the IN side of the bubble with a lot riding on the conference tournament. If they lose that one it would likely take a run to the finals at the very least and maybe even the auto bid if they want to get in. (Next Up: 3/8 @SMU)

73. Illinois (RPI 59: 19-11, 9-8) Best Wins: NC vs. Baylor, Maryland, @Michigan St., Michigan. Worst Losses: @Nebraska, @Minnesota, @Michigan, @Miami. Got a couple must wins over Northwestern and Nebraska but those don't do much to improve the resume when the rest of the teams around them are knocking off tournament teams. That changes with their last game of the regular season at Purdue which would give them a chance to essentially switch places with the Boilermakers. That 10 spot swap could make all the difference as right now Purdue is IN and Illinois is OUT. A loss here and it will take a very deep run in the Big 10T to take this profile seriously. (Next Up: 3/7 @ Purdue)

74. Stephen F. Austin (RPI 52: 23-4, 13-1) 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. To do that it would take a nice win in the finale against SHSU to add a top 100RPI win to the resume. 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 probably not. (3/7 Sam Houston State)

75. Murray St. (RPI 66: 25-4, 14-0) Best Wins: Illinois St. Worst Losses: Houston, NC vs. Portland, NC vs. Valparaiso. Murray St. has a 24 game win streak to their name to advance to the conference tournament finals. Hopefully they win it and eliminate any chance for the OVC to be a 2 bid league. If they don't win they probably are not too much of a threat but they would be in the discussion. (Next Up: 3/7 OVC Final vs. Belmont)

76. Pitt (RPI 61: 18-12, 8-9) Good Wins: Notre Dame, North Carolina, Syracuse (twice), NC vs. Kansas St. Worst Losses: @Virginia Tech, @Hawaii, @NC State, Wake Forest. Pitt resume is dropping like a rock from in the tournament to now all but eliminated and needing to win out until the ACCT finals. Losing back to back games to Wake Forest and Miami will do that. They still have 2 great wins and a few solid ones, but add it up and that's still a 5-9 record vs. the top 100 and now less than a .500 conference record. (Next Up: 3/7 @Florida St.)

77. Richmond (RPI 54:18-12, 11-6) Best Wins: VCU (twice), Davidson, George Washington. Worst Losses: @James Madison, Wake Forest, @La Salle, @George Mason. The season sweep of VCU is the only thing that makes this resume worth considering and those wins are losing a little bit of luster with VCU's recent slide. The losses on the other side are ugly ones. Richmond probably needs to win out until the Conference Tourney Finals.

78. Rhode Island (RPI 69: 19-8, 12-5) Best Wins: UMass, La Salle, George Washington. Worst Losses: NC. Vs. Georgia Tech, @St. Joseph's. I called the game against Dayton a must win for at large chances and I truly believe it was. Is it possible they could sneak an at large bid if they get to the A10 finalssure I guess I'll give it a 1% chance if everything else falls right but this is basically an auto bid or bust scenario now. (Next Up: 3/7 Saint Joseph's)

79. Stanford (RPI 65: 18-11, 9-8) Best Wins: @Texas, Wofford, UConn, Arizona St. Worst Losses: @DePaul, @Washington St., @Colorado. The Cardinal have now lost 6 of 8 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 finish the year with a big chance for a marquee win at Arizona, that's the only reason they are still hanging on to the watch. Lose that one and it is auto bid or bust time. (Next Up: 3/7 @Arizona)

80. Buffalo (RPI 31: 21-9, 12-6) Best Wins: @Bowling Green, Kent St. (twice), S Dakota St. Worst Losses: St. Bonaventure, W. Michigan, Ohio, Akron. The analysis from last week holds - after 6 straight wins to end the regular season at an RPI of 31I 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. Due to tiebreakers they have a bye all the way to the MAC Semifinals and will likely get Kent State. (Next Up: 3/13 TBD MAC Semis)


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

Saturday 3/7

11:00 CBS Syracuse @ NC State hopefully the Orange can play tough for their coach and keep the Wolfpack off the lock line for now

11:00 Miami @ Virginia Tech Must win for Miami

11:00 Pitt @ Florida St. This would officially eliminate Pitt

11:00 BTN Northwestern @ Iowa Iowa is considered a lock by many already but this loss would raise some eyebrows

11:00 Michigan St. @ Indiana Michigan St. is a lock, Indiana is right on the cut line

11:00 UNC-Greensboro vs. Wofford Quarterfinal Wofford likely would not be a serious contender for an at large with a loss but why take the risk? I will be rooting for them to win 3 and get the auto bid.

1:00 ESPN News Oklahoma St. @ West Virginia OSU is very close to A&M in terms of current resume strength

1:00 ESPN2 UConn @ Temple Uconn is eliminated, Temple is very close to A&M

1:00 Alabama @ Texas A&M This is not just the game of the day, it is arguably the game of the season and the biggest game in years at Reed Arena. A win all but punches the at large ticket, a loss and there will be a lot of work to do next week.

1:00 ESPN LSU @ Arkansas By now you are either the type of fan that has been rooting for LSU the last few weeks or not and I am not going to try to change your mind one way or the other. A win helps out with the best 2 quality wins on A&M's resume. A loss by LSU would be one less team to worry about (for now) that could pass them up for an at large.

1:00 St. Joseph's @ Rhode Island This would eliminate URI

1:01 FS2 Xavier @ Creighton This would keep Xavier off the lock line for another couple of days

1:35 Illinois St. @ Wichita St. MVC Semifinal We need either Wichita St. or Northern Iowa to win the MVC Tournament.

3:00 ESPN2 Kansas St. @ Texas If I need to convince you to cheer for the wildcats here maybe this whole college basketball thing isn't for you. Texas is #68 on the BW, Kansas St. is A&Ms worst loss so it helps SOS, andit's texas.

3:00 CBS Stanford @ Arizona not only a must win for Stanford but it would qualify as a huge resume creating marquee win

3:00 SECN Georgia @ Auburn Moves UGA back a little bit closer to A&M

3:30 BTN Illinois @ Purdue More likely both teams sneak in if Illinois can get a road win. I will take Purdue getting in if it means keeping Illinois out.

4:05 Loyola (Ill) @ Northern Iowa See Wichita St.

4:30 Western Kentucky @ Old Dominion Last chance to knock down ODU in the regular season.

6:00 Davidson @ Duquesne Hopefully Davidson can take a bad loss and slide back behind A&M

6:00 ESPN2 Belmont @ Murray St. Championship Game - Hopefully MSU wins and wraps up the auto bid so they don't need the at large.

6:30 Sam Houston St. @ Stephen F. Austin Last chance to knock off SFA before the conference tourney and end any at large dreams

7:00 Fresno St. @ Boise St. This would be a bad loss for a team that can't afford one

7:00 Saint Louis @ Richmond This would eliminate Richmond from the BW

8:00 Colorado St. @ Utah St. Colorado St. is flirting with lock status but this would be a bad loss

8:00 SECN Vanderbilt @ Ole Miss A win by Vandy coupled with an earlier in the day A&M win would put A&M ahead of Ole Miss.

10:00 ESPN2 Santa Clara vs. BYU the earlier BYU loses in the WCC tournament the better. If they win this one their next one is likely against St. Mary's which would not be a bad loss to drop them.


Sunday 3/8
11:00 CBS Memphis @ Cincinnati Cincy is very close to A&M in resume strength
1:05 MVC Championship only important if either Wichita St. or Northern Iowa lose on Saturday. We need one of these teams to win the championship game.

2:00 ESPNU Tulsa @ SMU SMU is already a lock, this is pretty close to a play in game for Tulsa

4:00 Wofford vs. Western Carolina/East Tenn St. Semifinal would prefer Wofford to win the auto bid in this league

10:30 ESPN2 St. Mary's/Portland vs. BYU This is assuming BYU wins on Saturday. We would prefer BYU to lose in the WCC tournament as early as possible as a loss in the final to Gonzaga probably sends them to the tournament.