Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Conference Tourneys Underway!

The One Stop Stop is updated through last night's tourney games. I also upgraded Tennessee to a LOCK in the Lockbox.

Today's bracket is up as well. A close evaluation of Purdue and Drexel led me to choose Drexel as my last team in today. Syracuse is in for the first time in a long while. They were among the last teams in along with Missouri State, Georgia Tech, and the aforementioned Drexel. Purdue, West Virginia, Kansas State, Michigan, Georgia, Alabama, and Oklahoma State were all close. Drexel is going to be an interesting case to watch, especially if they go deep in the CAA Tourney.

Conference tourney action in the Sun Belt, Patriot, and Southern begins tonight. Enjoy!

Last Night's GOI
--BYU 62, at Air Force 58. AFA is limping to the wire. BYU is in great shape now.
--at Michigan 67, Michigan State 56. Wolverines answer the bell and stay on the Bubble.
--at Oklahoma State 84, Kansas State 70. Cowboys got a desperately needed win to stay in the picture. K-State is now 3-4 in their last seven.
--at Pittsburgh 80, West Virginia 66. It's slipping away for WVU. They are going to need a Big East Tourney run.
--at Tennessee 86, Florida 76. One seeds do not trail 60-36 to anyone this late in the season. Florida may need to win the SEC Tourney to capture a 1-seed.
See the OSS for these tourney game results:
--Big South first round.
--Horizon first round.
--Ohio Valley first round.

Tonight's GOI
--Mississippi at Alabama. Both are nearing must-win territory.
--Mississippi State at Arkansas. See above.
--Villanova at UConn. Nova is likely a tourney team, but they need to ensure a .500 conference record.
--Maryland at Duke. Strictly for ACC and NCAA seeding purposes. These teams are IN.
--Georgia at Kentucky. Monumental game for UGA. Kentucky needs to right the ship after a 1-4 stretch.
--Iowa at Penn State. Hawkeyes razor-thin chances cannot afford this kind of setback.
--Vanderbilt at South Carolina. 'Dores beware; Gamecocks have beaten Mississippi and Tennessee in their last two home games.
--Texas A&M at Texas. For positioning and bragging rights.
See the OSS for these tourney game times and matchups:
--Patriot first round.
--Southern first round.
--Sun Belt first round.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Whole Lotta Lockin' Goin' On

Here is today's updated Lockbox. The Bubble looks to be down to about seven today.

A host of teams have locked up bids this week, as the Lockbox attests. The Bubble seems much smaller at this point, although conference tourneys always throw a wrench into things.

The ACC has six LOCKS already. That may seem crazy, but none of the 10-win ACC teams will miss, and Duke and Maryland have finished so well that even losing their last three would not keep them out.

I moved Syracuse IN and Drexel OUT after the Orange topped Georgetown last night.

There are lots more updates in the One Stop Shop as well. Enjoy the start of conference tourney season tonight!

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.
--32 teams are either LOCKED (all caps BLACK font) or look to be on track barring an apocalyptic event. They are listed as "virtual locks" in lower case black font in the Lockbox. Ten of them are conference leaders. That means that 22 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.
--Six other teams look pretty safe, but are not certain. Those teams are listed in blue. One is a conference leader, so that accounts for five more AL slots. That accounts for 27 At-Large bids that are not "bubble slots." Hence, seven 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.

Last Night's GOI

--at Syracuse 72, Georgetown 58. This huge win puts The Cuse on the good side of the Bubble.
--Kansas 67, at Oklahoma 65. Jayhawks survive and put pressure on Texas A&M to win at Texas on Wed.

Tonight's GOI
--BYU at Air Force. AFA must win to stay alive for Mt West crown.
--Michigan State at Michigan. In-state rivalry alert! Sparty is starting to roll, and Wolverines have to start a miraculous run right now to have any hopes.
--Kansas State at Oklahoma State. Both are likely OUT right now, but very much Bubble Boys.
--Iowa at Penn State. Hawkeyes razor-thin chances cannot afford this kind of setback.
--West Virginia at Pittsburgh. 'Eers are going to need a strong finish to get IN. A win here would go miles and miles.
--Florida at Tennessee. Gators have look lax of late. Vols are 15-0 at home.
See the OSS for these tourney game matchups and times:
--Big South first round.
--Horizon first round.
--Ohio Valley first round.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Two Weeks 'til Selection Sunday

The bids are going like hotcakes now that the conference season has entered it's final week. Let's stick with bracket talk today and I will have a fully updated LOCKBOX ready tomorrow and it will look quite different than any before it.

The bottom of the bracket seemed a little less confusing to me this week. The last two slots were pretty tough, though. I took Georgia Tech and Drexel over a host of contenders including Georgia, Alabama, Kansas State, West Virginia, Syracuse, and bunch of other fringe Bubble Boys. Georgia Tech will have to finish strong to stay in, and Drexel got in on the strength of an astounding THIRTEEN road wins. Plus, the Dragons have a rather robust seven Top 100 RPI wins. For comparison's sake, West Virginia has four and Kansas State has five. Georgia and Alabama have eight each, but both have been dreadful on the road and 'Bama is 6-8 in conference. Syracuse's profile is close, but the Dragon's road warrior badge of honor puts them over the top for now. They will probably need to run deep in the CAA Tourney to get ultimately get IN.

Multi-Bid Conference Breakdown
ACC (7): North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Duke, Maryland, Boston College, Georgia Tech
Big East (6): Georgetown, Pitt, Louisville, Marquette, Villanova, Notre Dame
Pac-10 (6): UCLA, Washington State, Southern Cal, Oregon, Arizona, Stanford
Big Ten (6): Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Indiana, Illinois, Purdue
SEC (4): Florida, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Kentucky
Big XII (4): Texas A&M, Kansas, Texas, Texas Tech
Missouri Valley (3): Southern Illinois, Creighton, Missouri State
Mountain West (3): UNLV, Air Force, BYU
Colonial (3): VCU, Old Dominion, Drexel

There are also a whole gaggle of updates in the One Stop Shop. There are a smattering of other teams that have locked up tourney bracket slots, but those will have to wait until tomorrow. I will also try to clean up the game times.

Conference tourney action begins tomorrow in the Big South, Horizon, and Ohio Valley!

Tonight's GOI
--Georgetown at Syracuse. The Orange finish with this one and at Villanova on Saturday. Even a split would make their resume a lot more palatable. A sweep likely gets them IN.
--Kansas at Oklahoma. Jayhawks lost to Texas A&M in their only meeting, so they must win out and hope A&M loses at Texas.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Lockbox Update/Weekend

I'm simply not going to have time for a bracket today. Work stuff coupled with my band playing a show tonight is not going to allow it.

I do have an updated Lockbox ready to go. Also, I think some other teams have LOCKED their spots:

Duke, Georgetown, Memphis

The OSS saw several teams clinch last night. The top five spots of the SoCon are set. The top three of the Mid-Con are lined up, too.

Last Night's GOI
--at Appalachian State 80,UNC-Greensboro 66. Mountaineers clinch SoCon North.
--at Clemson 71, Duke 66. Tigers are in serious trouble. Teams 2-8 in their last ten don't get into the tourney regardless of their schedule.
--at New Mexico State 76, Utah State 73. It's going to be tough for either of these clubs to get an AL bid.
--at Oregon 64, Washington State 59. Ducks answered the bell when they needed to.
--at Southern Cal 69, Stanford 65. Trojans are in a very strong position now.

Weekend Forecast
--Tennessee at Arkansas. Vols desperately need to cash in on the road.
--Clemson at Boston College. Tigers have to turn it around in short order.
--Detroit at Butler. Dogs have been less than invincible lately.
--Kansas State at Colorado. KSU has to have this one.
--Wichita State at Creighton. Jays need to stop this mini-slide.
--Xavier at Dayton. XU needs to keep working on their AL profile in case they do not win the A-10 tourney.
--NC State at Florida State. Must win for 'Noles.
--Pitt at Georgetown. HEAVY hitters of the Big East.
--Mississippi State at Georgia. MSU is a latecomer that is gaining steam.
--Indiana at Michigan State. Spartans seem to be putting it together at the right time.
--Missouri at Nebraska. Tigers are a long shot, but they are not out of it.
--Marquette at Notre Dame. Irish would be in pretty good shape with a win here.
--Syracuse at Providence. Both need this one badly to stay in the picture.
--BYU at San Diego State. Cougar win would make them extremely difficult to catch in the MWC.
--Mississippi at South Carolina. Rebels are clawing for the SEC West lead and an AL bid.
--Oklahoma State at Texas Tech. Cowboys seem to be running out of steam. TT is one of the more unpredictable teams in the land.
--Stanford at UCLA. This would lock it up for the Cardinal.
--Georgia Tech at Virginia. Jackets need it more.
--Louisville at UConn. This would all but lock it up for the Cards.
--North Carolina at Maryland. Terps are surging and playing for seeding now.
--Wisconsin at Ohio State. Massive Big Ten title implications.
--Kentucky at Vanderbilt. Winner gets a huge leg up for E2 slot and SEC tourney bye.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

More Lines Filled

Today's congrats:

Florida (SEC). The Gators clinched the 1E slot in the SEC tourney.
Creighton. #2 Valley.
Missouri State. #3 Valley.

Check out the updated One Stop Shop for more updates.

Full bracket update coming tomorrow.

This blog follows the Sun Belt conference closer than any other, and the Belt regular season will be wrapped up in games tonight and on Saturday.

UL-Lafayette (7-9) at FIU (6-10).
UALR (7-9) at New Orleans (8-8).
Arkansas State (9-7) at North Texas (9-7). Both still alive for West crown, #2 spot, and a bye in the conference tourney. ASU won the first meeting, so they can put the Mean Green behind them for good
Denver (3-14) at UL-Monroe (10-6). A UL-Monroe win assures them no worse than a coin flip for the #2 spot. They have the tie-breaker over North Texas and have split with Arkansas State. A win coupled with an ASU loss clinches the #2 bye for ULM.
Middle Tennessee (7-9) at Troy (6-10).

I will post another update tomorrow after tonight's results.

Last Night's GOI
--at Auburn 67, Arkansas 59. I'm calling this a pig roast. Ark looks well-done at this point.
--at Illinois 54, Michigan 42. Wolverines are going to need to find magic in the Big 10 tourney; Illini hold onto their AL hopes.
--at Iowa 78, Purdue 59. Purdue simply stinks on the road. Bad loss with bad timing.
--at Maryland 73, Florida State 55. 'Noles are in serious trouble. They will have a losing regular season conference record no matter what occurs. Meanwhile, the Terps are close to locking up their spot. One more win will probably do it.
--at Mississippi 67, Georgia 49. Big blow to UGA; Ole Miss is hanging in there.
--at Mississippi State 83, Vanderbilt 70. On on the outside, here come the Bulldogs! They are now tied with Ole Miss for the SEC West lead.
--Texas A&M 66, at Oklahoma State 46. When you are on the Bubble, 20-point home losses are generally a bad thing.
--at Tennessee 69, Alabama 66 (OT). Two horrible road teams...and the result held to form.
--at Virginia Tech 79, Boston College 62. Have fun figuring out what to do with VA Tech in your bracket picks.
--at Xavier 98, Rhode Island 72. It's now XU and UMass at the top of the A-10.

Tonight's GOI
--UNC-Greensboro at Appalachian State. An ASU win clinches the SoCon North.
--Duke at Clemson. Tigers are in danger. A win here would help a great deal.
--Utah State at New Mexico State. Two fringe Bubble teams--loser probably gets popped.
--Washington State at Oregon. Ducks need a win badly and they are at home. Time to see what they are made of.
--Stanford at Southern Cal. Winner all but seals their bid.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Bubble Stays at 11

"Nothing could be finer than being in your diner." ~Jerry, Seinfeld: "The Bubble Boy Episode"

First, congratulations to Winthrop (Big South) and Southern Illinois (Valley) for securing #1 slots in their conference tourneys. Winthrop did the trick with a come-from-behind win over High Point last night, while SIU clinched when Creighton lost at Illinois State. This and more conference tourney updates in the One Stop Shop.

We turn now to the Bubble Boys and the Lockbox. The rampant losing by some formerly high-falutin' teams is making it crowded at the bottom. Apart from OK State, Texas Tech, Clemson, and a few other formerly solidly IN teams, Tennessee and Creighton are really pushing their luck. I left the Jays as "win games they should" simply because they have one home game and the Valley Tourney left. If they beat Wichita State at home and grab a win or two in the Valley Tourney, they will likely be OK.

Tennessee has such an abysmal road record that they are in real danger if they drop a home game (Florida still to come). They might even need to take care of Arkansas or UGA on the road to feel solid. Their fat RPI and some nice wins will help buoy them as long as they get to 8-8 in the SEC. But, with Alabama coming in tonight, two road games, and Florida coming in next week, the schedule is going to be tough to navigate for the Vols. They have to be considered a Bubble Boy at this point.

Meanwhile, Drexel and Old Dominion are charging hard in the CAA. Louisville and Maryland have went from OUT to pretty solid bracket picks in the last few games. Michigan State will get serious mileage out of their win over Wisconsin last night. The Mountain West looks to be in great shape for three bids this year, too (BYU, UNLV, AFA). So, not EVERYONE is losing. It just seems that way.

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.
--26 teams are either LOCKED (all caps BLACK font) or look to be on track barring an apocalyptic event. They are listed as "virtual locks" in lower case black font in the Lockbox. Eleven of them are conference leaders. That means that 15 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.
--Eight other teams look pretty safe, but need more validation. Those teams are listed in blue. That accounts for 23 At-Large bids that are not "bubble slots." Hence, 11 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.

Last Night's GOI
--Northern Iowa 79, at Bradley 70. Home losses at this juncture for a team like Bradley pretty much drops the curtains on an AL bid.
--at Kentucky 70, LSU 63. Cats get their win in less than impressive fashion over Big Baby-less Tigers.
--at Michigan State 64, Wisconsin 55. Drew Neitzel: Bacon-saver extraordinaire.
--at Notre Dame 78, DePaul 54. Irish move a step closer. A win at Rutgers in their last game probably wraps up their bid. But, that road record...
--at Providence 64, West Virginia 61. Friars hanging on by a thread. WVU is not home free yet.
--at Texas 80, Texas Tech 51. Raiders were ground into the pavement by a burnt orange bootheel. Bobby's boys are WILDLY inconsistent and hard to figure.
--at UNLV 60, Air Force 50. Big Rebel win also puts BYU two games clear of both of these clubs.
--Missouri State 71, at Wichita State 65. Bears got off the mat late in the game to claw out a win. Shockers are pretty much done as an AL possibility.

Tonight's GOI
--Arkansas at Auburn. Razorbacks need to pile up some wins starting RIGHT NOW.
--Michigan at Illinois. Neither team can really afford a loss at this point.
--Purdue at Iowa. Boilers would be in decent shape if they could post a road win.
--Florida State at Maryland. 'Noles have fallen off the pace with four straight losses. They have two winnable games left after this one, so a win here would be golden.
--Georgia at Mississippi. Both still alive, but Ole Miss has to hold home court. Could be a big roadie for Dawgs.
--Vanderbilt at Mississippi State. 'Dores have to beware of a letdown after Florida win.
--Texas A&M at Oklahoma State. Cowboys are falling quickly and would likely fall out of the bracket with another "L".
--Alabama at Tennessee. Vols have been very tough at home, and they need a win to wash out the taste of that drubbing at South Carolina.
--Boston College at Virginia Tech. It's always fun to guess which Hokie team is going to show.
--Rhode Island at Xavier. Loser falls out of a tie for first in the A-10.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mission: Accomplised (Sort of)

There are some more teams that need certificates of accomplishment today.

First, these clubs have secured the 1-seeds in their conference tournaments:

America East: Vermont
Mid-Continent: Oral Roberts
Northeast: Central Connecticut State
Ohio Valley: Austin Peay
Sun Belt: South Alabama

Congratulations to all of these clubs. There are a smattering of other seeds that have been secured as well. You can see them all in the updated One Stop Shop.

Also, in addition to last weeks LOCKS, these teams also have done enough:

North Carolina, Kansas, Texas A&M, Southern Illinois

View the updated Lockbox for more. The Lockbox will be updated almost daily from here on out.

A full Bubble Boy update is coming tomorrow. It should be expansive.

Last Night's GOI
--Kansas 71, at Kansas State 62. It had all the makings, Blackout Bramlage on ESPN and all, but K-State could not stay in front of Sherron Collins. That will be a problem for many future teams as well.
--at Marquette 80, Villanova 67. Golden Eagles break their skid; Nova falls under .500 in Big East.

Tonight's GOI
--Northern Iowa at Bradley. Braves are in must win mode.
--LSU at Kentucky. Cats need to stop their 3-game slide.
--Wisconsin at Michigan State. It simply does not get bigger for Bubbly Spartans.
--DePaul and Notre Dame. DePaul needs it more, but ND is not safe either.
--West Virginia at Providence. WVU is in better shape; this is probably a must win for the Friars.
--Texas Tech at Texas. Roller coaster Raiders need consistency down the stretch.
--Air Force at UNLV. Both chasing BYU and jockeying for Mt West/NCAA seeding.
--Missouri State at Wichita State. Bears have to have it.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Three Weeks 'til SelSun

This bracket was a challenge at the bottom. It always gets crazy this time of year, doesn't it? Louisville, who has been perfectly average all season long, finds magic and wins two road games over lofty RPI teams. If a team has not done permanent damage to their resume, sometimes that is all it takes: get hot at the end. The Cards are doing that. When Bubbleworld is losing, teams on long win streaks start to look really bracket-friendly (Old Dominion, anyone?).

The last seven slots seemed quite iffy today. I took Notre Dame, Missouri State, Clemson, Purdue, Kansas State, Georgia Tech, and Old Dominion over teams like Illinois, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Florida State, Georgia, Bradley, Appalachian State, Drexel, Michigan, Gonzaga, Syracuse, DePaul and Arkansas. There were good reasons to leave out the teams that I chose. Hopefully, some of these teams in freefall can get hot and resurrect their seasons (Clemson? OK State? FSU?).

Multi-Bid Conference Breakdown
ACC (8): North Carolina, Boston College, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Duke, Maryland, Clemson, Georgia Tech
Big East (7): Pitt, Georgetown, Marquette, Villanova, West Virginia, Louisville, Notre Dame
Pac-10 (6): UCLA, Washington State, Southern Cal, Oregon, Arizona, Stanford
SEC (5): Florida, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama
Big XII (5): Texas A&M, Kansas, Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas State
Big Ten (4): Wisconsin, Ohio State, Indiana, Purdue
Missouri Valley (3): Southern Illinois, Creighton, Missouri State
Mountain West (3): Air Force, UNLV, BYU
Colonial (2): VCU, Old Dominion

Tonight's GOI
--Kansas at Kansas State. Wildcats could land the big fish for their resume.
--Villanova at Marquette. Golden Eagles try to bounce back from heartbreaking loss to Louisville on Sat. Cats try to get above .500 in Big East.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Weekend Forecast

First, I apologize for having no email link for who knows how long. I was not aware that it had disappeared. There is one to the right now.

Second, thanks for info for the One Stop Shop. I've received many helpful updates on time and TV changes. Keep them coming. With continued proofing, the OSS will be a nice tool for everyone to use during conference tourney time. I've put a permanent link to the right.

No time for a bracket today. I'll try to get two in (Monday and Friday) next week.

Weekend Forecast
--Albany at Boise State.
--Winthrop at Missouri State. Winthrop probably cannot get an AL, but a win by Missouri State would help solidify their profile with another top 100 win.
--Kentucky at Alabama. Bama sure could use a Top 25 RPI win (current total: 0).
--UCLA at Arizona. Southern Cal just knocked off Zona in Tucson, so they will be smarting.
--Mississippi at Arkansas. Win here makes Rebs a serious AL candidate.
--North Carolina at Boston College. Battle for the top of the ACC.
--Memphis at Gonzaga. This one has lost some of its luster since Mushroom Mania and the snapping of GU's 50-game home win streak.
--Louisville at Marquette. Huge game for UL and they try to follow up on the big win at Pitt.
--Indiana at Michigan. Wolverines are on life support.
--Iowa at Michigan State. This probably feels like a must-win for both clubs.
--Texas A&M at Oklahoma. Sooners need a pick-me-up.
--Missouri at Oklahoma State. Cowboys need to snap out of their slump.
--Cornell at Penn. Quakers can put the Big Red two games back with a win.
--Washington at Pitt. Huskies could significantly bolster their OOC profile with this one.
--Oregon at Stanford. Once Mighty Ducks are 2-5 in their last 7.
--Florida at Vanderbilt. Memorial Gym is a dangerous, dangerous venue.
--Georgetown at Villanova. Cats have won 4 straight and have already won at G'town.
--Florida State at Virginia. 'Noles find themselves in need of a win after dropping three straight.
--Austin Peay at Akron. OVC and MAC top dogs go at it.
--Southern Illinois at Butler. The cream matchup of BB weekend.
--Drexel at Creighton. Dragons could really help themselves here.
--Holy Cross at Hofstra. Just an interesting matchup even though both have little hope as AL teams.
--Northern Iowa at Nevada. Can only hurt Nevada; UNI is pretty much toast as an AL>
--Old Dominion at Toledo. ODU is scrapping on the Bubble. A Top 100 road win would not hurt a bit.
--Bradley at VCU. Must win for either to hope for AL.
--Appalachian State at Wichita State. Tough for either of teams as AL's. Too many sub-100 losses for PSU and too many overall losses for WSU.
--Maryland at Clemson. Tigers are 2-6 in their last eight and just lost to Wake. They are in danger of squandering that 17-0 start.
--Georgia Tech at Duke. Jackets broke through on the road at FSU. Duke just stopped their 4-game skid. Someone will come out of this one with some momentum.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

One Stop Update

I have update the One Stop Shop after rechecking several tourneys. It is still a work in progress, but it's getting closer. Let me know if you see errors by sending a kind email.

Congrats to Austin Peay! They have locked up the #1 seed in the OVC Tourney and the OSS reflects such. A few other teams have a shot to lock up their tourney's top seed with a win this weekend or losses by trailing teams.

Last Night's GOI
--Duke 78, at Boston College 70. Duke is not on the Bubble, if you were wondering.
--Long Beach 94, at CS-Fullerton 84. Big West is Long Beach's to lose.
--at DePaul 72, Marquette 67. Demons are not quite dead yet.
--at Florida 76, Alabama 67. Big start for Tide crashed in a hurry.
--at Mississippi 71, LSU 70. Ole Miss takes the SEC West lead.
--at Mississippi State 84, Arkansas 60. Stan Heath may be in trouble.
--Maryland 85, at NC State 70. Terps doing what they have to do.
--at Saint Joseph's 62, George Washington 56. Hawks stay alive for A-10 title.
--Washington State 65, at Washington 61. Huskies really needed this one.

Tonight's GOI
--Southern Cal at Arizona. Lots of Pac-10 and NCAA seeding ramifications.
--Providence at Notre Dame. Both are nearing must-win mode.
--Indiana at Purdue. In-state rivalry alert...with meaning!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bubble Stays at 11

I have made one switch in the Lockbox since Monday's bracket: Kansas State out, Georgia Tech in. Texas Tech is an interesting case, but I'll wait until Monday to do a thorough evaluation of their profile against the rest of the field.

The Bubble stayed at 11 this week, but we have our first LOCKS of the season. The invitations for these five teams are already in the mail:

Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Pitt, UCLA

Even if these teams lose out, they are IN. There are a host of teams that are just a win or two away. I expect this number to jump drastically next week.

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.
--24 teams are either LOCKED (all caps BLACK font) or look to be on track barring an apocalyptic event. They are listed as "virtual locks" in lower case black font in the Lockbox. Eleven of them are conference leaders. That means that 13 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.
--10 other teams look pretty safe, but need more validation. Those teams are listed in blue. That accounts for 23 At-Large bids that are not "bubble slots." Hence, 11 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.

Last Night's GOI

--at Creighton 66, Northern Iowa 55. Jays finished strong to put away UNI and stay on track for an AL.
--Georgia Tech 63, at Florida State 57. The value of this road win cannot be overstated. It was GT's fatal flaw, and now they have a good one.
--at Iowa State 58, Oklahoma 51. This one set the Sooners back a good deal.
--at Michigan State 59, Michigan 44. Michigan has lost 5 of 6 and is fading out of the picture entirely.
--at Nebraska 74, Kansas State 63. K-State falls back in the back.
--Virginia Tech 81, at North Carolina 80. All but locked up VT and probably knocks UNC from a 1-seed for the time being.
--at Old Dominion 96, Hofstra 82. Monarchs continue to roll with their 8th straight win.
--at San Diego State 67, UNLV 52. Aztecs are peaking at the right time.
--at Tennessee 89, Kentucky 85. Vols looking like their old selves. UK now 3-7 vs Top 50 RPI.
--Texas Tech 77, at Texas A&M 75. Monster road win that stops a 5-game skid for TT.

Tonight's GOI
--Duke at Boston College. Devils find themselves in dire need of a "W."
--Long Beach at CS-Fullerton. A Titans win pulls them into a tie with the 49ers atop the Big West.
--Marquette at DePaul. Dangerous game for Marquette who is still in the mix for the BIg East title.
--Alabama at Florida. Big, albeit unlikely, opportunity for Tide.
--LSU at Mississippi. With Bama at Florida, Ole Miss has a good shot to take the SEC West lead tonight.
--Arkansas at Mississippi State. Two more SEC West teams scrapping for position.
--Maryland at NC State. Terps cannot afford losses of any kind.
--Indiana at Purdue. In-state rivalry alert! Good rivalry game with high stakes this year.
--George Washington at Saint Joseph's. Loser falls two games back of A-10 leaders.
--Washington State at Washington. In-state rivalry alert! Huskies can get back into the AL mix with a win.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

And Down the Stretch They Come

First, you really need to read The Mid-Majority's take on the Gonzaga 'shroom situation.

Now, read on about seven horses who stumbled out of the gate, but have gained on the field and positioned themselves for a strong stretch run. Some of these horses will thunder home and some will run out of gas. At any rate, their recent exploits are to be noticed and commended.

1. Bucknell. The much-celebrated Bison got off to a rocky start, but since a loss to Central Arkansas (!) on Dec 29, the Bison have navigated the Patriot League with just one tough loss at Holy Cross by 5. They balanced the ledger with the HC by beating them 48-45 on Friday. There will be no At-Large for the Bison, but if they do not play HC for the Patriot title, I (and most) will be shocked.

2. Louisville. They had been treading water with the vanilla-ist of profiles until last night, when they smoked Big East leader Pittsburgh by 12 in the Zoo. This win alone will not get UL in, but that kind of play from here on out will.

3. Oklahoma. The Sooners are 6-4 in the Big XII and they have paid their road dues. They have Texas A&M, Texas, and Kansas all in Norman left on the slate. Lots of chances to make a late-season impression on the committee.

4. Iowa. Hawkeyes are a real long shot, but they have won 4 of 6, with the two losses coming to Wisconsin. A strong finish and a good Big Ten tourney could do the trick, especially if they wind up alone in 4th in the Big Ten.

5. Old Dominion. George Mason, Hofstra, Drexel, VCU. All have taken their turn as the CAA darling. But, ODU has won seven straight and that includes a 16-pt walloping of leader VCU. They also have an early-season win over Georgetown on the resume. Another long shot, but they can make it interesting with a big finish.

6. Mississippi. In the parity-ridden SEC West, 5-5 (tie for first) looks pretty good. If the Rebs wind up winning the division, they will be hard to leave at home kNITting.

7. Washington. Since that 1-6 Pac-10 start, the Huskies are 5-1. They host Washington State in a monster game tomorrow night.

Last Night's GOI

--Davidson 73, at College of Charleston 63. Davidson asserts their SoCon South dominance.
--at Georgetown 71, West Virginia 53. Hoya Paranoia is sweeping the countryside.
--Santa Clara 84, at Gonzaga 73. Broncs now sit alone in first in the WCC.
--Louisville 66, at Pitt 53. Cards score a huge win for their resume. They are now certainly in the mix at 8-4 in the Big East.
--at Texas 83, Oklahoma State 54. These two seem to be heading in opposite directions.

Tonight's GOI
--Northern Iowa at Creighton. Jays look to bounce back from tough SIU loss.
--Georgia Tech at Florida State. Both need it, but if GT has any hope, they need to score a road win or two.
--Oklahoma at Iowa State. Sooners are quietly creeping up the Big XII standings. They have Texas A&M, Texas, and Kansas all coming into Norman at season's end. If they could nab one or two of those, plus score this road win, OU might get into the mix.
--Michigan at Michigan State. Both are in desperation mode.
--Kansas State at Nebraska. K-State cannot afford any slip-ups.
--Virginia Tech at North Carolina. UNC lookin' for payback.
--Hofstra at Old Dominion. Monarchs' seven straight wins have put them into the Bubble mix.
--UNLV at San Diego State. Aztecs have ripped off four straight including that 21-point pasting of Air Force.
--Kentucky at Tennessee. Vols are 13-0 at home and Lofton is back. They need a big win to solidify that they are the team that they were before Lofton went down. UK tries to recover from "The one that got away" after their horrid shooting performance against Florida.
--Texas Tech at Texas A&M. Not an easy game for Bob Knight's club to end a 5-game losing streak.

Friday, February 09, 2007

BIG Weekend

Lots of big games on tap this weekend, so let's get to it.

Last Night's GOI

--at DePaul 67, Notre Dame 66. All of these road losses are going to bite ND's seeding.
--Drexel 95, at Hofstra 87 (OT). Dragons score a huge road win.
--at UMass 77, Rhode Island 55. Minutemen left no doubt about who is driving the A-10 bus.
--at South Alabama 73, Western Kentucky 71 (OT). USA is now 3 games clear of WKU in the Sun Belt East with 4 games to play.
--at Washington 79, at Cal 71. Huskies have won 4 of 5 and have BIG home games vs Stanford and Washington State on deck.
--at Washington State 58, Stanford 45. WaSU stands alone in 2nd in the Pac-10.

Weekend Forecast
--Holy Cross at Bucknell. Bison have won 7 straight since losing at HC. They can tie HC for first in the Patriot with a win.
--Xavier at George Washington. Important A-10 tilt and XU has little room for error.
--Marquette at Georgetown. Winner will be alone in 2nd in the Big East...assuming Pitt wins vs Providence.
--Illinois at Indiana. Illini could make hay with a big road win.
--Florida at Kentucky. Must win for UK to have any hope of winning the SEC East.
--Arkansas at LSU. SEC West is waiting for someone to take charge.
--Alabama at Mississippi. See above.
--Kansas at Missouri. Border war alert!
--Montana at Montana State. In-state rivalry alert!
--Missouri State at Northern Iowa. Bears need to stamp their mark as the clear-cut third best team in the MVC.
--Purdue at Ohio State. Boiler win would go a long way on their resume.
--Texas Tech at Oklahoma State. Tech needs it more, but both badly need a win.
--VCU at Old Dominion. A win would pull ODU within one of the Rams in the CAA.
--Arizona at Oregon. Ducks need to win to stay in the Pac-10 title hunt.
--Providence at Pitt. Friars need to pile up some quality wins to be in the mix.
--Austin Peay at Samford. The OVC's best.
--Georgia at South Carolina. UGA cannot afford to lose this type of game.
--Creighton at Southern Illinois. Outright Valley lead is on the line.
--Vanderbilt at Tennessee. Lofton is back, but Vols need a good win to re-establish themselves.
--Akron at Toledo. The MAC's best.
--Virginia at Virginia Tech. All kinds of tasty morsels in this one (ACC jockeying, in-state rivalry, NCAA seeding...)
--UCLA at West Virginia. The 'Eers have a nice record sorely lacking in quality wins. This would qualify.
--Butler at Wright State. Raiders can tie BU in the Horizon with a win.
--Vermont at Albany. Danes can gain a tie atop the America East with a win.
--Boston College at Florida State. BC fighting to stay tied for ACC lead; FSU fighting to get above .500.
--Duke at Maryland. Both teams find themselves in dire need of a win.
--Stanford at Washington. Huskies are getting hot, and they need to get hotter.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

State of the Sun Belt: Stretch Run Edition

Sprawling across the galaxy, the Sun Belt likely covers more real estate than any other conference in America. It stretches its considerable legs from Miami, FL, to Denver, CO, creating brutal travel schedules for just about everyone. For example, with the Thursday/Saturday game schedule, UL-Monroe played Arkansas State at home on on Jan 4, then had to be in Denver to play the Pioneers on Jan 6. Western Kentucky made an Arkansas State-Denver road swing with just one full day between games. Travel in this league is not for the faint of heart.

The play has been gruesome as well. The league is filled with poor defensive teams and not too many good offensive ones (WKU, USA, New Orleans, and North Texas make the cut). Belt teams are 2-31 against BCS conference teams. There are several teams that should be on the uptick next season, but that's a post for sometime in March or April.

The two best teams in the league will meet tonight in Mobile, Alabama. WKU (9-4) is coming off a loss at North Texas while South Alabama (11-2) has won 10 straight. For all intents and purposes, this game is for the East Division crown. USA can all but salt it away with a win, while WKU can pull within a game and gain a season sweep, giving them the tie-breaker if USA were to falter down the stretch. North Texas and New Orleans also face off in an important West Division matchup as well. After this weekend, most teams will have just three or four conference games left.

Here is a look at what the Belt bracket would look like as of today.

Last Night's GOI
--at Alabama 80, Mississippi State 79. Tide eke out another home win. Will ANYONE in the SEC West take the bull by the horns?
--at Arkansas 65, Auburn 57. And, here is your most likely candidate: The Ark.
--at Clemson 71, Florida State 58. Tigers get a much-needed big win.
--North Carolina 79, at Duke 73. Three ACC home losses for Duke and counting.
--Florida 71, at Georgia 61. No shame for the Dawgs, but they are right on the Bubble.
--at Kansas 97, Kansas State 70. Not a good performance by the Bubbly Wildcats.
--Georgetown 73, at Louisville 65. It simply does not look like it's in the Cards.
--Illinois 58, at Northwestern 53. Illini are quietly doing what they have to do.
--at Oklahoma 67, Oklahoma State 60. Cowboys now 0-4 in true road games.
--at Purdue 62, Michigan State 38. Spartans are spiraling downward with alarming speed.
--Bradley at SIU. Braves need a monster finish for any AL hope.
--at UCLA 70, Southern Cal 65. UCLA keeps its grip on the top of the Pac-10.
--Pittsburgh 60, at West Virginia 47. 'Eers look like a classic Bubbly Boy.
--at Xavier 76, Saint Louis 57. Xavier needs to stay near the top of the A-10 for AL hopes.

Tonight's GOI
--Notre Dame at DePaul. Irish desperately need to cash in on the road.
--Drexel at Hofstra. Good, clean, CAA fun.
--Rhode Island at UMass. Winner takes the outright lead in the A-10.
--Western Kentucky at South Alabama. The Sun Belt's best square off.
--Cal at Washington. Both need to win lots of games, so loser will take a blow.
--Stanford at Washington State. A battle for position and seeding.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Bubble Shrinks to 11

The bottom of the bracket continues to be in flux. After last night's results, I pulled Maryland's bid and gave it to Georgia Tech. I also replaced Texas Tech with Kansas State. I cannot in good conscience leave in Texas Tech, losers of four in a row, over K-State (won 7 straight) who is a full three games clear in the Big XII loss column. View the full Lockbox here.

Gonzaga's AL hopes took another blow last night at Loyola Marymount. This could be the first year in a while that the Zags need to win the WCC tourney.

Tennessee continues to be an interesting test case. Chris Lofton returned last night, but did not have a great game. The Vols still took care of LSU in Knoxville by three. UT stays in for now.

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.
--22 teams look to be on track barring an apocalyptic event. They are listed as "virtual locks" in lower case black font in the Lockbox. Eleven of them are conference leaders. That means that 11 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.
--12 other teams look pretty safe, but need more validation. Those teams are listed in blue. That accounts for 23 At-Large bids that are not "bubble slots." Hence, 11 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.

Last Night's GOI

--Virginia 69, at Maryland 65. Cavs appear to be for real, and MD is now 3-6 ACC with a pretty tough skeddie remaining (Duke x2, UNC, FSU, at Clemson still left).
--at Ohio State 76, Michigan 63. Different year, same story for Amaker and Michigan.
--at Tennessee 70, LSU 67. Lofton did return and was still not himself, but it was enough to beat hapless LSU (2-7 SEC!!!).
--at Villanova 56, St. Joseph's 39. Nova looking pretty solid lately.
--BYU 77, at Wyoming 73. Don't underestimate this win for BYU. It's tough to win in Laramie.
--at San Diego State 62, Air Force 41. Losing on the road at SDSU is not terribly surprising, but for razor-sharp AFA to lose by 21 to anybody is a bit of a shock.

Tonight's GOI
--Mississippi State at Alabama. Time for 'Bama to put up or shut up.
--Auburn at Arkansas. Same goes for the Hogs.
--Florida State at Clemson. Tigers find themselves in need of a W. Badly.
--North Carolina at Duke. Have you heard about this game?
--Drexel at Hofstra. Good, clean, CAA fun.
--Kansas State at Kansas. Wildcats looking for that win that puts them in serious bracket contention.
--Georgetown at Louisville. Cards will dedicate the Freedom Hall court to Denny Crum tonight. They need to start cashing in some big wins NOW.
--Illinois at Northwestern. Illini need ANY kind of road win.
--Oklahoma State at Oklahoma. In-state rivalry alert!
--Michigan State at Purdue. Two Big Ten Bubble Boys.
--Bradley at SIU. Braves need a monster finish for any AL hope.
--Southern Cal at UCLA. In-city rivalry alert! A USC win could create a 3-loss logjam at the top of the Pac-10.
--Pittsburgh at West Virginia. 'Eers with a golden opportunity to secure a badly needed signature win.
--Saint Louis at Xavier. Xavier has a slim margin for error for At-Large purposes.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Apologies for seems my bracket post never made it through Blogger. You can see the bracket post below this one now.

The wheels are in motion for the 3rd installment of the South Central Kentucky Selection Simulation Project (ridiculously long name used for effect). The SCKySSiP will likely be an 8-member committee which will replicate the selection process as closely as possible. We will follow the NCAA Selection Criteria to the best of our ability. Give this a read when you have time. It helps to explain how teams get into (or are left out of) the bracket. More on this when the regular season ends.

You can now read my musings on WKU Hilltopper hoops and other sports on WNKY (a local Bowling Green TV station). I'll be writing a blog for them for the rest of the season, and hopefully beyond that. I may even try my hand at covering some Hilltopper baseball and softball later in the Spring.

Last Night's GOI
--at UConn 67, Syracuse 60. Both of these teams are going to need major runs to close the season.
--at Indiana State 59, Northern Iowa 46. Trees toss the first shovel of dirt on UNI's At-Large grave.
--at Texas A&M 100, Texas 82. A&M is driving the Big XII bus.
--at Utah State 75, New Mexico State 63. This makes an At-Large very difficult for NMSU.

Tonight's GOI
--Virginia at Maryland. The Terps have to hold serve at home to stay close to .500 in the ACC.
--Michigan at Ohio State. Amaker's club needs a monster win to restore hopes.
--LSU at Tennessee. Tennessee badly needs Chris Lofton to return.
--St. Joseph's at Villanova. In-city rivalry alert! Mmmmmm...Big Five.
--BYU at Wyoming. Careful, Cougs. Cowboys are 9-1 at home (2-point loss to AFA).

Monday, February 05, 2007

Five Weeks Until SelSun

Here's how the the bracket looks with five weeks to go. Conferences are solidifying a bit, although the ACC and SEC are still a mess. Several teams from those two will likely scrap it out until the end for a limited number of slots. Somebody has to lose those conference games and it's tough to get in with a losing conference record. Are you listening Arkansas? Georgia Tech? Maryland? LSU? Even Clemson?

There was some change at the bottom this week. I took Alabama, Illinois, Michigan State, and Georgia over teams like Kansas State, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Xavier, Northern Iowa, Wichita State, Syracuse and New Mexico State.

Multi-Bid Conference Breakdown
ACC (8): North Carolina, Duke, Boston College, Florida State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Maryland
Big East (6): Pitt, Marquette, Georgetown, Villanova, Notre Dame, West Virginia
Pac-10 (6): UCLA, Oregon, Washington State, Stanford, Southern Cal, Arizona
SEC (6): Florida, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama
Big Ten (6): Wisconsin, Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan State, Illinois
Big XII (5): Texas A&M, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas
Missouri Valley (3): Southern Illinois, Creighton, Missouri State
Mountain West (3): Air Force, UNLV, BYU

Tonight's GOI
--Syracuse at UConn. Two teams that have been heading in the wrong direction.
--Northern Iowa at Indiana State. Panthers probably have to have this game.
--Texas at Texas A&M. Aggies are alone in first place, but Horns can gain a tie with a win.
--New Mexico State at Utah State. NMSU has won 15 of 16, but USU is 9-0 at home.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Weekend Forecast

We have our first real snow here in south central Kentucky today (2-3"). For those of you from snowier parts of the country, three inches of snow pretty much slows things to a halt around here. This is a great weekend to watch hoops if you live in KY.

Last Night's GOI
--Washington State 72, at Arizona 66. Cougars get a golden road win.
--Old Dominion 62, at Drexel 52. Monarchs now alone in 3rd with Drexel 4th in the CAA.
--at UCLA 69, Oregon 57. Bruins hold court and earn the season split.
--at Virginia 68, Duke 66 (OT). Duke was in control for much of the game, but the Cavs were clutch late.

Weekend Forecast
--Washington at Arizona. The Huskies have shown signs of life and a win here ties them with Zona in the Pac-10.
--Kentucky at Arkansas. Hogs need this one more and they are at home.
--Virginia Tech at Boston College. These two are currently tied for 2nd in the ACC.
--UNLV at BYU. Cougars must cash in this golden opportunity for a quality win.
--Stanford at Cal. Cal's hopes are slim, so winning home games is imperative.
--UNC-Greensboro at Davidson. UNCG is red-hot and Davidson is a league best 10-1.
--Creighton at Drake. Avoid this land mine, and the Jays are sitting pretty with 4 of their last 6 at home.
--Northern Iowa at Evansville. UNI cannot afford a loss here.
--Tennessee at Florida. Vols are coming off a big win over UGA.
--Clemson at Georgia Tech. Home losses for 2-6 ACC teams are bad. Real bad.
--Missouri State at Indiana State. Bears must be careful on the road here.
--Indiana at Iowa. Hoosiers must beware of post-Wiscy hangover.
--Texas A&M at Kansas. Loser falls out of tie for Big XII lead.
--Loyola (MD) at Marist. Two of the better MAAC clubs.
--Ohio State at Michigan State. Quick turnaround rematch from last weekend.
--LSU at Mississippi State. LSU has to get of the mat VERY soon.
--North Carolina at NC State. In-state rivalry alert!
--Texas Tech at Oklahoma. Raiders have lost two straight.
--Oregon at Southern Cal. Two of the four 3-loss teams in the Pac-10.
--DePaul at Syracuse. Orange need wins of any sort right now.
--Kansas State at Texas. Wildcats have won 6 straight.
--Georgia at Vanderbilt. Both have been pretty hot in the SEC East. UGA was cooled down by Tennessee early in the week, however.
--Louisville at Villanova. Let's see if the Cards are for real.
--Southern Illinois at Wichita State. Shockers have been playing much better of late.

--Florida State at Duke. An FSU wins ties them with Duke in the ACC.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Local Store: One Stop Shop

(Enter cheesy hometown grocery store jingle)
Where do you go when you need a score?
Where do you go for brackets and more?
When you're at work burning company time,
Refreshing Yahoo! game scores until you go blind,
All 30 conference tourney brackets in one place,
Will be sure to leave a goofy grin on your face!

Hello everyone, and welcome to the One Stop Shop. This is your community market for all your shopping needs.

Our prices are the lowest in town (read: FREE). All it costs you is the 1/1000th of a calorie that you burn clicking your mouse.

What we do ask here at the OSS is that you send a kind email if you find errors on game times, locations, bracket set up, or scores and such. This is a community market, so make it better by being a heady shopper and pointing out errors in a constructive manner. The OSS does have nearly 300 games in 30 tourneys, so mistakes are bound to crop up.

Keep an eye out for our red text specials. Red text at the OSS means that we have not finalized this information. If you have links showing verification for game times or TV not yet cemented in the OSS, please email TBB and let us know.

We are still under construction, but we thought you might enjoy browsing in the month leading up to conference tourney time.

Thanks for shopping with us, and enjoy all the conference tourney brackets in this handy shop.

(Re-enter cheesy music)

Last Night's GOI
--Creighton 82, at Bradley 71. Big win for the Jays...tremendous blow to Braves.
--at Dayton 84, George Washington 69. A-10 is going to be wild and woolly.
--at Florida 74, Vanderbilt 64. Vandy acquitted themselves well, but UF is not likely to lose in the O-dome.
--at Hofstra 79, VCU 68. This is the pride we expected from the get-go.
--at Indiana 71, Wisconsin 66. Hoosiers score a signature win.
--Alabama 73, at LSU 70. LSU looks dead in the water.
--at Ohio 91, Toledo 80. Bobcats hand the Rockets their first conference loss.
--Ohio State 78, at Purdue 60. Boilers are pretty far out on the fringe.
--Gonzaga 90, at Stanford 86. Zags likely cemented their bid barring multiple WCC losses..
--at Tennessee 82, Georgia 71. No Lofton, no problem. UGA lost its shooting mojo (38%).
--Texas 76, at Texas Tech 64. Apparently, Kevin Durant can play a little basketball.
--BYU 76, at Utah 66. Cougars looking more viable by the day.

Tonight's GOI
--Washington State at Arizona. Zona can tie WaSU in the Pac-10 standings with a win here.
--Old Dominion at Drexel. Nice CAA tilt.
--Oregon at UCLA. They do not get any bigger in the regular season. One seeds for Pac-10 and NCAA tourneys at stake.
--Duke at Virginia. Cavs have won four straight ACC games including two on the road.