I. Cue Paul Shafer and the CBS Orchestra: "Letters, we get letters. We get lots and lots of letters. LETTERS!"
Hey, I'm a big Cincinnati fan, what's your outlook on them making the field of 65 this year? Is 17 or 18 wins enough to get them in the big dance?
I fear for Cincy for a few reasons. First, they are 2-5 since Armein Kirkland went down. Second, they are 4-4 in the Big East with four road games and home games against West Virginia and Villanova left. Finally, they have a thin roster and it's getting late...in the Big East, no less. On the plus side, UC has three quality wins and lots of chances for big wins remaining. They need Marquette and Vandy to finish strong. If the Bearcats struggle from here on in, the committee will see Kirkland's injury as having a major negative impact on this team and that will hurt them, too.
I think they'll need to at least finish 8-8 in the Big East to have any shot. That would be 18 wins. I think that would make them a classic bubble team (depending on who they beat and who they lose to, of course). That said, I think 19 wins is their magic number, but a lot can happen in the next five weeks.
Temple should not be in the field.
I would tend to agree, but I always feel that way about the last couple of teams I put in. I couldn't sleep at night if I put Vandy or Arkansas in on Monday. Last year's committee proved that momentum matters (see UAB, Iowa). Temple has won 6 of 7, has a strong RPI, and a couple of quality wins. Of course, they may be out on Monday depending on how some of the other Bubble Boys do this weekend. Those last few slots will be a revolving door from now until SelSun.
II. Last Night's GOI
--at Hofstra 65, Old Dominion 63. No one is talking about Hofstra, but they are a player in the CAA. They have swept ODU, beat UNC-Wilmington, are 8-3 in the CAA, and have an RPI of 56. Don't sleep on the Flying Dutchmen, er, I mean, Pride.
--Nevada 65, at Louisiana Tech 53. Nevada is not going to slink away quietly in the WAC race.
--North Carolina 77, at Maryland 62. I just can't shake the feeling that Maryland is going to wind up on the Bubble.
--Stanford 57, at Oregon 56. Cardinal are starting to play better, but they have a way to go to have any kind of viable NCAA profile.
--Cal 69, at Oregon State 62. Cal, on the other hand, is already in the Bubble picture.
--at Pacific 64, UC-Irvine 52. Tigers came through in a must-win game. Now trail by just one in the loss column in the Big West.
--at Southern Cal 77, Arizona 70. Cats now officially on the Bubble...even with an RPI of 19.
--South Alabama (6-2) 65, at Ark-Little Rock 58 (4-4). WKU is now three games clear of anyone in the East.
--at New Orleans (3-6) 64, Denver 54 (5-4). Denver is 11-1 in home/neutral games and 1-9 in road games.
--at UL-Lafayette (2-7) 77, North Texas 58 (5-4). This is more like what we expect from ULL. The NT loss give South AL a two game lead in the loss column out West.
View the Belt standings here.
III. Weekend Forecast
Clashes of the Titans
--UConn at Indiana. Superb, late season, out of conference treat.
--Michigan at Iowa. Two of the three Big Ten co-leaders.
Bubble Boy Games (Moors! Moops! MOORS! MOOPS!)
--LSU at Alabama. 'Bama needs to make amends for the loss that they took at Georgia on Wednesday.
--South Carolina at Arkansas. Both need it tremendously. Heath is probably playing for his job in the next month.
--UW-Milwaukee at Butler. A Butler win ties them with UWM in the loss column for the Horizon lead.
--Florida State at Duke. FSU looking for that signature win.
--Kentucky at Florida. UK looks to jump off the Bubble with a big win.
--Miami-FL at Georgia Tech. Must win for roller coaster 'Canes to stay in the picture.
--Oklahoma State at Kansas State. Fringe Bubbler K-State needs these kind of games to stay alive.
--Akron at Kent State. Both are 9-1 in the MAC East.
--Utah State at Louisiana Tech. LA Tech's WAC lead down to just one game after Nevada loss.
--Notre Dame at Louisville. These two now playing to get into the BIG EAST tournament. Must win for UL to have any hope of NCAA.
--Bradley at Missouri State. HUGE, HUGE, HUGE. Winner stays on Bubble, loser in big trouble. This is for solo 5th place in MVC, which would not mean much in most seasons, but it does this year.
--Clemson at North Carolina. Win here makes Clemson much more viable.
--Cal at Oregon. Bears must keep it rolling to stay in the Bubble picture
--Arizona State at Southern Cal. Trojans are a long shot, but playing better of late.
--Arizona at UCLA. Cats need to stop the bleeding a bit.
--Georgia at Vanderbilt. Dawgs trying to climb back onto the Bubble. Vandy is a classic Bubbler at this point.
--Marquette at Villanova. A win here moves Marquette off the Bubble
--Cincinnati at West Virginia. Bearcats need wins of any kind to stay alive.
--Washington at Washington State. In-state rivalry alert! And the Huskies could use a win to bolster their relatively mediocre RPI of 51.
--SIU at Wichita State. The Salukis have too many bad losses to feel comfortable. They need to stay near the top of the MVC standings.
Sun Belt Slate
--Middle Tennessee at FIU
--North Texas at New Orleans
--Arkansas State at South Alabama
--Arkansas-Little Rock at Troy
--Denver at UL-Lafayette