Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bubble Boy Breakdown 1/17

I introduced the Lockbox last week, but this is the first Bubble Boy post. Every Wednesday, from here through Selection Week, TBB will break down the current Bubble situation.

The Lockbox has been updated to reflect teams standings as of today. I have made two changes regarding IN/OUT teams since Monday. Gonzaga's loss to St. Mary's pushes them out of first place in the WCC and out of the bracket. Also, I placed Indiana State in the bracket instead of California. It was simply a change of heart when looking at the profiles this morning.

There are a lot of teams with huge preseason expectations that are currently outside looking in or are in real danger of missing the tournament. UConn and Washington have much work to do to make a bracket appearance. LSU has not really done anything to validate their lofty status although they are in currently in the bracket. Maryland, Florida State, Georgetown, Syracuse, Texas Tech, Michigan State, Illinois, and Gonzaga are all merely Bubble teams at this point. There is a lot of sorting out to be done in the coming weeks.

The Bubble by the Numbers
--31 Automatic Bids. That number will not change this season.
--34 At-Large Bids. That also is a static number.
--13 teams look to be on track to get in barring an apocalyptic event. They are listed as "virtual locks" in lower case black font in the Lockbox. Seven of them are conference leaders. That means only six At-Large bids are virtual locks at this point. It is hard to imagine any of these teams missing at this juncture. This could change, but most if not all of these teams are not going anywhere.
--18 other teams look pretty safe, but need more validation--mostly because it's still early in the conference season. Those teams are listed in blue. Four of them are conference leaders, so that means 14 more At-Large bids are tentatively taken. That makes 20 At-Large bids that are not "bubble slots." Hence, 14 slots are up for grabs.
--The Bubble Boys who made it in are in green and those left out are in red in the Lockbox.

My annual "Purpose of the RPI" post is coming tomorrow. This is sparked by something Billy Packer said this past weekend and was reinforced in a couple of other games that I watched this week.

Last Night's GOI
--at Memphis 79, UAB 54. CUSA looks like a one-bid league this season.
--at Oklahoma State 105, Texas 103 (3OT). What a treat! I truly hope you stayed up for the ending. Some really bad crunch-time decisions was overshadowed by incredible clutch shot-making by both teams.
--at Pitt 63, UConn 54. Huskies might get there eventually, but they need a BIG conference season.
--at Virginia 103, Maryland 91. Cavs needed it more and they got it.

Tonight's GOI
--Georgia at Arkansas. Dawgs could push toward the bracket with a win here.
--North Carolina at Clemson. Tigers have the Heels at home. This should tell us if Clemson is going to contend for the ACC crown.
--Virginia Tech at Florida State. Red-hot Hokies meet the desperate 'Noles. FSU needs this one badly.
--Mississippi at LSU. Rebs can get into the picture with a win here.
--Alabama at Vanderbilt. My upset warning of the night.
--Notre Dame at Villanova. Cats need a big win for their resume.
--Purdue at Wisconsin. Boilers could make a huge statement in a tough venue...but it's unlikely.