Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Lockbox 2/4

Lockbox has been updated.

Several teams fell back onto the Bubble this week including Kentucky, California, Baylor, and Georgetown.

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 are listed in black. They could miss, of course, but at this stage it would be very surprising if they did. It would take a real meltdown (example: Cal losing 4/5 including a home loss to Oregon State has taken them from "very safe" to "Bubble" over the last couple of weeks).
--I have 9 other teams listed in blue this week, which means if they win the games they "should" win (based on RPI, Pomeroy ratings, performance to this point), they should be fine. I am not predicting anything and I realize that this is a nebulous designation, but I am looking at what they have done to this point. Of these 31 black and blue teams, 10 are conference leaders. That means 21 at-large slots look fairly secure at this stage.
--Hence, the Bubble stands at 13 slots right now. That's up from 10 slots last week. This will shrink (with fluctuation, of course) over the coming weeks, and on Selection Sunday it is usually no more than four or five. Teams in green are Bubble-IN and those in red are Bubble-OUT.

Last Night's GOI
--at Florida 97, South Carolina 93. Gators take the SEC East lead and Gamecocks have sent notice that they are a real factor there and in the NCAA convo.
--Mississippi State 66, Kentucky 57. Two of the three longest NCAA streaks are in jeopardy this season (Arizona is #1 at 24 and Kentucky is #3 with 17 in row). Back-to-back home losses and three in a row overall have the Cats reeling.
--at Ohio State 80, Purdue 72 (OT). Boilers fall a game behind Sparty while the Bucks get a big-time resume boost.

Tonight's GOI
--Notre Dame at Cincinnati. Must win for both. Should be intense.
--Duke at Clemson. Clash of the Titans game of the night.
--Wake Forest at Miami-FL. Wake needs this to stay in the ACC and 1-seed race, while Miami-FL is fighting for their NCAA lives.
--Minnesota at Michigan State. A Gopher win could create a 5-way tie in the loss column at the top of the Big Televen.
--Texas A&M at Oklahoma. It's a long shot, but this would really shore up the Aggies' profile.
--Villanova at Providence. Friars have been a nice surprise, but they need to beat some of the better Big East teams to find their way in. This would help a lot.
--West Virginia at Syracuse. Both are angling for a top 5 seed.
--Missouri at Texas. See above.
--Southern Cal at UCLA. Don't look now, but the Trojans are just one game out of first and could pull into a tie with UCLA with a win (they would still trail Washington by a game).