Bubble Watch (Feb. 21-Feb. 24)

ed.- Bumped from the fanposts

Well, it’s that time.  With only three weekends to go before the SEC Tournament, the Tide are poised to make a serious run at the NCAA Tournament.  Unfortunately, our early-season performance has landed us squarely (and likely permanently) on the bubble.   As such, it’s time to start scoreboard watching.  Obviously Alabama needs to keep winning if they want to make the tourney, but it doesn’t hurt to have some other rooting interests along the way as well.  So here I present the 21 teams with whom the Tide are competing for the 14 seeds in the 10-12 range.  All current standings are determined by The Bracket Project which has collected data from 66 different bracket predictions to create one mass projection.  The Tide are currently ranked as the second team out, averaging an 11th seed, but projected to be in on only 28 ballots.  The current threshold for an at-large bid is 37 ballots.


Movin’ on Up –

#23 Utah State Aggies (25-3, 12-1 WAC):  Off

Last Week (10); This Week (9)

Utah State got its first big win this past weekend, beating #23 Saint Mary’s 75-65 on Saturday night.  With that, the last big test for the Aggies has been passed and they should be able to cruise from here.  Still, with three regular season games left before the WAC tournament, there is the chance to fall back again.

Rooting Interest:  None.  The Aggies are off this week before hosting Idaho next Saturday night.


Old Dominion Monarchs (22-6, 12-4 CAA):  @ James Madison (Thu 6:00, ESPNU)

Last Week (10); This Week (9)

Ask and ye shall receive, sort of.  I hoped for an ODU victory over Cleveland State this weekend to knock the Vikings off the bubble and CSU ends up moving from a 13 to a 12 seed while still projected to win the Horizon League.  Weird.  Either way, ODU would have to completely collapse and lose its final two games and its opening game of the CAA tournament to even sniff the edge of the bubble.

Rooting Interest:  Whatever.  Barring an SEC tournament victory, Bama has no chance of passing ODU.


10 Seeds –

St. Mary’s Gaels (22-6, 10-2 WCC):  Gonzaga (Thu 10:00, ESPN2)

Last Week (9); This Week (10)

The Gaels dropped their best chance at a good win this weekend, falling by ten to Utah State.  Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal, except that it came on the heels of a loss to terrible San Diego (6-21) and in front of a conference-deciding game with Gonzaga.  Only two regular season games left for St. Mary’s means that there aren’t many chances to drop, but if they do lose their final two games, there will be few positive arguments left for them.

Rooting Interest:  Given St. Mary’s current status as the leaders of the WCC and Gonzaga’s status in the Next Four Out, a Gael win could knock the Bulldogs off the bubble.  Pull for St. Mary’s.


Minnesota Golden Gophers (17-9, 6-8 Big Ten):  Michigan State (Tue 8:00)

Last Week (9); This Week (10)

A loss to middling Penn State this weekend dropped the Gophers back to the bubble.  With three games remaining against Michigan, Northwestern, and Penn State, the Spartans represent the last chance for a good Gopher win, something that becomes more and more important, the further below .500 Minnesota falls in conference play.

Rooting Interest:  Minnesota is currently a 10, Michigan State is currently an 11.  Go Gophers!


Kansas State Wildcats (18-9, 6-6 Big XII):  @ Nebraska (Wed 8:00, ESPNU)

Last Week (11); This Week (10)

It was a big week for the Wildcats as they followed a 16-point home upset over the top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks with a 15-point home demolition of the Sooners.  With a 31 RPI, it’s going to be tough to keep Kansas State out of the tournament, especially since their only games remaining against unranked teams are a road game with bubble-ish Nebraska and Big XII cellar dweller Iowa State.

Rooting Interest:  Nebraska’s victory over second-ranked Texas this weekend has put them back into the bubble talk.  This is another tough call because Kansas State has a good enough résumé that it’s tough to see them falling far enough back for the Tide to catch up but, at the same time, Nebraska is far enough back of Bama, that it’s going to be difficult for them to catch us.  We’ll call it a wash.  Root for whomever you want.


Georgia Bulldogs (18-8, 7-5 SEC):  @ #13 Florida (Thu 6:00, ESPN)

Last Week (10); This Week (10)

Georgia’s 69-63 win over Tennessee was a mixed bag for the Tide.  On one hand, if the Tide hope to pass Georgia in the NCAA tourney pecking order it would be nice if they lost a few games.  On the other hand, as Matt pointed out, the Bulldogs represent the best chance remaining for the Tide to beat a tournament team.  I guess, then, we’ll just call it a draw.

Rooting Interest:  If we didn’t know who to root for between Georgia and Tennessee, it’s just the same between the Bulldogs and the Gators.  Personally, I’ll be rooting for the Dawgs, as that puts Bama one step closer to an SEC Championship.  If you wanted to pull for Florida, though, I wouldn’t blame you.

11 Seeds –

Memphis Tigers (20-7, 8-4 C-USA):  Houston (Tue 8:00)

Last Week (11); This Week (11)

One would think that a loss to 12-14 Rice squad would be enough to knock a team down a peg.  But, then, one would be wrong.  Despite four ugly losses (Rice, SMU, Tulsa, Marshall) and a weak non-conference schedule (best win: Miami (FL)), Memphis is still hanging around.  UTEP is the only game left that can really help the Tigers, everything else will hurt.

Rooting Interest:  For some, unexplainable reason I really hate Memphis.  Go Cougars!


Marquette Golden Eagles (17-7, 7-7 Big East):  @ #15 UCONN (Thu 6:00, ESPN2)

Last Week (10); This Week (11)

Marquette avoided a bad loss to Seton Hall this weekend, beating the Pirates by nine at home.  Winning in Storrs, however, will not be as easy.  If the Eagles can pull off this huge road upset, they’ll likely lock down a spot in the NCAA tournament.

Rooting Interest:  With the Huskies a mortal lock for the tournament, you have to root for them.


Virginia Tech Hokies (17-8, 7-5 ACC):  Wake Forest (Tue 6:00, ESPN2)

Last Week (11); This Week (11)

Uh oh.  Uh oh.  The Hokies’ seven-point loss to Virginia (RPI 144) was not something the fans in Blacksburg wanted to see.  There is likely nothing Virginia Tech can do now, short of beating #1 Duke next weekend and winning out, to get off of the bubble.  With games still remaining against bubble teams Boston College and Clemson, the Hokies can help their own cause a bit, but they’ve still got a lot to prove.

Rooting Interest:  A loss to ACC cellar dweller Wake (8-19, 1-11 ACC) would likely lead to the Hokies being dropped from most brackets, so let’s hope for that.


Michigan State Spartans (15-11, 7-7 Big Ten):  @ Minnesota (Tue 8:00)

Last Week (11); This Week (10)

I was really hoping the Spartans would lose to Illinois, but it didn’t happen.  Still, the Spartans have tough contests coming up with a road game against the bubble Gophers and a home game with eighth-ranked Purdue.  If Michigan State finishes with a sub-.500 conference record, I really believe Alabama can earn an at-large bid over them.

Rooting Interest:  See Minnesota.  Go, Gophers, go.


12 Seeds –

Boston College Eagles (17-9, 6-6 ACC):  Miami (Wed 6:00)

Last Week (11); This Week (12)

A loss, but not a bad loss, to UNC drops the Eagles a spot to the twelve seed.  Unfortunately, BC doesn’t have any room for error going forward.  Virginia Tech is the only team remaining on their regular season schedule with a conference record better than 4-8.  A loss to Miami on Wednesday will, at best, move the Eagles down the ranks of the 12 seeds and could knock them out of the bracket altogether.

Rooting Interest:  |__|


Colorado State Rams (18-8, 8-4 MWC):  @ #7 BYU (Wed 7:00)

Last Week (12); This Week (12)

The Rams’ loss to UNLV this weekend means they will have to beat a Top 10 team if they want more than one win against a tournament team on their résumé.  A road trip to BYU is on tap this week along with a trip to San Diego State next weekend.  If they can’t get a win in one of those two games, the Rams will be firmly on the bubble come Selection Sunday.

Rooting Interest:  The Cougars are a two seed fighting for a one seed.  Down with the Rams.


Richmond Spiders (21-7, 10-3 A-10):  Off

Last Week (12); This Week (12)

Richmond got another win against a crappy team, which actually dropped them in the projections.  Given that their final three games are against crappy teams, we can only hope the trend continues.

Rooting Interest:  None.


Wichita State Shockers (22-6, 13-3 MVC):  Creighton (Wed 7:00)

Last Week (12); This Week (12)

The Shockers fell at home to bubble team VCU, meaning that there’s little chance they’ll get off the bubble at any time in the next week.  There are only two regular season games left for Wichita (Creighton and Missouri State), and unless they lose this week, they probably won’t leave the 12 seed.

Rooting Interest:  A loss to at home to Creighton could push the Shockers out of an at-large spot.  It’s tough to root for a team called the Blue Jays, but there you go.


Cleveland State Vikings (23-6, 12-4 Horizon):  UW-Milwaukee (Thu 6:00)

Last Week (13); This Week (12)

I had hoped that a loss to Old Dominion in the Bracket Busters would knock the Vikings off of the bubble, but that didn’t happen at all.  In fact, they moved up a spot.  They’re still projected to win their conference, but with Butler and Valparaiso hanging out there as potential at-large teams or conference tournament winners, it would be nice to see the Horizon League turn into a guaranteed one-bid conference.

Rooting Interest:  UW-M isn’t going anywhere.  Plus, I have an aversion to all things Vikings.


Butler Bulldogs (20-9, 12-5 Horizon):  Off

Last Week (First Four Out); This Week (12)

A big jump for the Bulldogs this week after their dominating win over…7-22 Illinois-Chicago.  I don’t get it either.  Only one game stands between Butler and the Horizon League tournament and it is not this week.

Rooting Interest:  None.


13 seed –

Missouri State Bears (21-7, 13-3 MVC):  @ Southern Illinois (Wed 7:00)

Last Week (12); This Week (13)

The only at-large team to be seeded lower than 12th this week, Missouri State is trying to rebound from a loss to Valparaiso against a weak conference opponent.  A loss to SIU likely knocks the Bears out of the bracket, but with a home game still against conference leader Wichita State, it’s tough to see them leaving the bubble anytime soon.

Rooting Interest:  SIU isn’t going anywhere, so root for the Salukis.


First Four Out –

UTEP Miners (20-7, 8-4 C-USA):  UCF (Mon)

Last Week (12); This Week (FFO)

So after driving for twelve hours from Wisconsin to Kansas on Monday, by the time I got to the First Four Out, UTEP had already played…and they lost to UCF, who went 13-0 out of conference, but has gone 4-9 in their conference schedule.  If the Miners want to make the NCAA tournament, they’re going to need either a win against Memphis or a decent run in their conference tournament.

Rooting Interest:  UCF, but they’ve already won.


UAB Blazers (19-7, 9-4 C-USA):  Off

Last Week (FFO); This Week (FFO)

A win this weekend over UCF was fine enough, but not sufficient to move the Blazers into the bracket.  There aren’t many games remaining on their regular season schedule to do that, so every game counts at this points.

Rooting Interest:  None.


Gonzaga Bulldogs (19-9, 9-3 WCC):  @ Saint Mary’s (Thu 10:00, ESPN2)

Last Week (NFO); This Week (FFO)

Gonzaga’s win over San Francisco wasn’t terribly impressive, but enough teams in front of the Bulldogs lost that Gonzaga was able to move up anyway.  A win against Saint Mary’s is likely necessary for the Bulldogs to move into the bracket and a loss would likely keep them on the outside looking in come Selection Sunday.

Rooting Interest:  See Saint Mary’s.  Go Gaels.


Next Four Out –

Nebraska Cornhuskers (18-8, 6-6 Big XII):  Kansas State (Wed 8:00, ESPNU)

Last Week (Out); This Week (NFO)

The Cornhuskers are only in the discussion because of their win over Texas this past weekend.  They still have room to move up because of games with Kansas State and Missouri, so it’s impossible to rule them out.

Rooting Interest:  See Kansas State.  Root for whomever you want.


Southern Miss Golden Eagles (20-6, 9-4 C-USA):  Loyola (NO) (Tue 7:00)

Last Week (Out); This Week (NFO)

Somehow Southern Miss has a fairly decent RPI, despite not having beaten anyone decent.  They probably can’t make the tourney, but we can always hope a bad loss can make that certain.

Rooting Interest:  Loyola (NO) isn’t even a D-1 team.  A loss by Southern Miss would just be embarrassing.


Baylor Bears (17-9, 6-6 Big XII):  #21 Missouri (Wed 8:00, ESPN2)

Last Week (FFO); This Week (NFO)

Baylor’s nine point home loss to Texas Tech was devastating.  Nothing but hard roads lie ahead, as the Bears face a closing schedule of tourney and bubble teams, beginning with Missouri and closing with Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and Texas.  There’s a lot of room for improvement, but it will be tough going.

Rooting Interest:  Missouri is a lock and it would be nice to see Baylor out of the picture for good.


Virginia Commonwealth Rams (21-8, 12-4 CAA):  @ Drexel (Wed 6:00)

Last (Out); This Week (NFO)

CAG’s Rams took out Wichita State this weekend, and with Drexel and James Madison the only teams left on the slate, it’s tough to see VCU getting into the bracket.  Still, they have a chance, so we have to take them seriously.

Rooting Interest:  Boo VCU!


Movin’ On Out –

Clemson Tigers (18-9, 7-6 ACC)

Oklahoma State Cowboys (16-11, 4-9 Big XII)

Washington State Cougars (17-10, 7-8 PAC-10)

FanPosts are just that; posts created by the fans. They are in no way indicative of the opinions of SBN and the authors of Roll Bama Roll.

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