Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Explaining the Bubble

Wednesdays will be the traditional Bubble Boy Day here at TBB. Even though we are still 9 1/2 weeks from Selection Sunday (March 12), we can still talk about the philosophy of the Bubble and how things look at this point. Monday, I touched on how the Bubble currently looks after I posted the bracket projection, but we can venture a more in-depth analysis here. I will continue to list the "GOI" (Games of Importance) during the week, but at some point closer to Selection Sunday, the GOI will morph into "Bubble Boy Games," which are games that will have an impact on the Bubble.

The quick way to assess the Bubble Boys will be through the Lockbox. All 31 conferences are listed and individual teams are color coded based on their safety in regards to the NCAA tournament hopes (see bottom right of Lockbox page). Obviously, NO teams could lose out and make it in at this point. Only when that level is reached will a team be officially called a LOCK. There are a number of pretty safe bets, though, and this page reflects that.

A few notes:
1. Does Marquette's big win over UConn last night put them into the bracket? I don't know. We shall see on Monday. I'm leaving MU where I had them on Monday at this point.
2. I do know that Indiana State's home loss to IPFW knocks them out. The Sycamores have now lost three in a row. I slid Bradley into the "Bubble In" slot for them until a more thorough evaluation can be made on Monday.
3. Gonzaga and Bucknell are in one-bid conferences, but certainly look to be strong at-large candidates. Therefore, I list them as if they were under at-large consideration. That will be true for any at-large hopeful from a (likely) one-bid conference.

The numbers look like this right now:
--31 Automatic Bids. That will not change this season.
--34 At-Large Bids. That also is a static number.
--16 at-large bids look taken at this point. Consult the Lockbox and view the teams listed in black. It is hard to imagine any of those teams missing, although it is still very early. This could change, but most if not all of these teams are not going anywhere.
--7 other bids look pretty safe. We just need a little more confirmation from Louisville, North Carolina, Iowa, Syracuse, Arkansas, Colorado State, and Northern Iowa.
--11 bids were totally up for grabs. The Bubble Boys who made it in are in green and those left out are in red.

So, count on TBB for a bracket projection on Mondays, a Bracket Buster Update on Tuesdays, and a Bubbly Boy Breakdown on Wednesdays. And, please do email with criticism and questions as to why someone is over/underseeded.

Tonight's GOI
--DePaul at Cincinnati. DePaul has the look of a wild and woolly Bubble Boy. Nice wins over Wake, Creighton, UAB, and Cal; blown out by Bradley and Old Dominion (by 44!) and also lost to Northern Illinois. UC has won eight in a row and has been crushing people.
--Florida State at Clemson. Who is the more paper-y of these tigers?
--Notre Dame at Pittsburgh. Good early season test for both. Pretty important for bubble-ish ND.
--Xavier at Saint Joseph's. These are the types of games BOTH of these clubs are going to need to hold any hopes for at-large consideration.
--George Washington at Temple. Let's see if the Owls can be legitimately be called an A-10 contender.
--New Mexico at Utah. Normally, this would be for a leg up in the Mt West regular season championship. Not so this year, as both Colorado State and Air Force have outperformed the traditional powers.