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.