Weekend Bubble Watch Rooting Guide (March 4-6)

I have to warn you, things are starting to get ugly.  Of the 24 brackets added or updated on Wednesday and Thursday, we were not in a single one.  Still, The Bracket Project currently has us ranked in 32 of the 78 brackets, meaning we are officially the last team in right now.  The only reason that is still the case is because everybody around us is losing as well.  A win against Georgia tomorrow is an absolute must and, even then, we’re going to need to win at least one more game and get some help along the way.  Hopefully Clemson’s, Colorado’s, Baylor’s, and Southern Miss’s losses this week will help keep us in front of them, but I just don’t know.  Shit has hit the fan, folks.  But, thankfully for our sanity, it’ll all be sorted out in a week.

Conference Tournaments

Conference tourneys are continuing this week, so I’ll give a quick roundup of each one and who to root for.  Some of these smaller conferences have at-large contenders, so it’s very important that those teams win their tournaments and not allow multiple teams to make it in.

Big Sky (March 5, 8-9)

Nobody here is an at-large possibility.  The tournament winner will likely end up with a 16 seed.

Rooting Interest – None.  This is a one-bid league.

Colonial Athletic Association (March 4-7)

George Mason and Old Dominion are tournament locks while VCU is a deep bubble team.  Nobody else in the conference is a tournament contender, so we need desperately for GMU or ODU to take this tournament.

Rooting Interest - Root FOR George Mason and Old Dominion.  Root against VCU and everbody else.

Mid-American Athletic Conference (March 4-7)

Conference leader Fairfield’s RPI is worse than ours.  There’s no way they can lose another game and still go dancing.

Rooting Interest – None.  This is a one-bid league.

Southern Conference (March 4-7)

Like with Fairfield, there is no way for conference leader Charleston to lose to another Southern Conference team and still be on the bubble.

Rooting Interest – None.  This is a one-bid league.

Sun Belt Conference (March 5-8)

View MAAC and Southern Conference.  Copy, paste, rinse and repeat.

Rooting Interest – None.  This is a one-bid league.

Summit League (March 5-8)

Oakland is a curious case.  They have an RPI in the 50s but the rest of the conference is so terrible that losing in the tournament would probably be too much of a hit to their resume.

Rooting Interest – Still, to ward off the 0.1% chance of Oakland earning an at-large bid, let’s just hope they win the conference tournament.

West Coast Conference (March 4-7)

There are two potential at-large teams here: Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga.  They’re both sitting on double-byes, so the most likely result would have them meeting in the conference finals.  The best case scenario has one team falling in the semifinals and the other team winning it all.

Rooting Interest – Pull for Saint Mary’s to win the tournament and Gonzaga to lose early.

Ivy League (March 4-5)

No conference tournament here, but Princeton and Harvard will meet tomorrow in a game that will likely decide who gets the automatic bid.  I don’t think there are any real at-large possibilities since Harvard lost last weekend.

Rooting Interest – None.  This is probably a one-bid league.


Movin’ On Up

Illinois Fighting Illini (18-12, 8-9 Big Ten): Indiana (Sat 11:00)

Last Week (10); This Week (9)

Like I said this week, Illinois’s move down had less to do with their own play than with Kansas State’s.  Even after losing to Purdue this week, they’re moving up to allow an old fan favorite to drop down to the bubble.

10 Seeds

Tennessee Volunteers (18-12, 8-7 SEC): #23 Kentucky (Sun 11:00, CBS)

Last Week (9); This Week (10)

Well, well, well.  The Volunteers’ crappy losses are finally coming back to haunt them.  If there’s a more schizophrenic team in Division 1 basketball, I haven’t seen it.  A team capable of winning at Memorial Fortress that’s also capable of losing to 10-19 Charlotte will have everybody pulling their hair out come Selection Sunday.  The selection committee loves big wins and Tennessee has them in spades, with seven wins against top-50 RPI teams.  Still, with losses to Oakland, Charlotte, College of Charleston, Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi State, at some point it stops looking good and starts looking ugly.  Still, a top-35 RPI and the second-ranked strength of schedule is likely to keep the Vols dancing, barring losses to Kentucky and in the first round of the SEC tournament.

Rooting Interest – I honestly have no idea.  This depends entirely on which team you want to play in the SEC tournament and the permutations left are so complicated that I don’t know how to figure it out.

Marquette Golden Eagles (18-12, 9-8 Big East): @ Seton Hall (Sat 5:00, ESPN3)

Last Week (10); This Week (10)

The Eagles just can’t seem to put this thing away.  Every time they pick up a big win, they follow it up with a loss.  After picking up a road win at UCONN, they came back home and lost to likely-tournament team Cincinnati.  I don’t think Marquette’s in trouble, but if they lose to Seton Hall this weekend and in the first round of the Big East tournament, then they can start worrying.

Rooting Interest – I doubt we can pass Marquette, but every game helps.  Pull for Seton Hall

Georgia Bulldogs (20-9, 9-6 SEC): @ Alabama (Sat 12:30, ESPN3)

Last Week (10); This Week (10)

Something I just discovered today: If Georgia beats Alabama on Saturday it would be their third-best conference win.  Since beating Kentucky at home in their first conference game on January 8th, Georgia is 3-6 against the SEC East (two over USCe and 1 over UT) and 5-0 against the SEC West.  The Bulldogs have been feasting on weak teams, just like Bama.  Fortunately for them, they don’t have the complete pants-shitting that the Tide had in November and December.  The only way Bama could reasonable pass them up, would be if we beat them Saturday and again in the SEC tournament quarterfinals.

Rooting Interest – Roll Tide!

Michigan State Spartans (17-12, 9-8 Big Ten): @ Michigan (Sat 1:00, CBS)

Last Week (10); This Week (10)

A win over Iowa keeps the Spartans steady this week.  I honestly don’t see them in much danger the rest of the way.

Rooting Interest – Michigan has crept its way onto the bracket and ahead of Bama this past week, so let’s hope the Spartans can smack them back down.

11 Seeds

Virginia Tech Hokies (19-9, 9-6 ACC): @ Clemson (Sat 11:00, ESPN2)

Last Week (11); This Week (11)

The Hokies failed to back up their season-defining win over Duke against BC this week, so they have to stay on the bubble for now.  They’ll likely have to lose out to fall back far enough to be caught, and even then it’s unlikely.

Rooting Interest – Tech is probably far enough ahead to be safe, so it would probably be best if they could knock Clemson off the bubble. 

Memphis Tigers (21-9, 9-6 C-USA):  Tulane (Sat 3:00)

Last Week (11); This Week (11)

The Tigers have been hovering in this 11 seed for the past two weeks despite ugly double-digit losses to 12-17 Rice, 16-13 East Carolina, and a 27-point dismantling at the hands of UTEP.  It’s finally starting to catch up with them as well, as only six of the nineteen brackets updated on Thursday included Memphis.  There is still some room to move up, though, since Conference USA is loaded with top-50 RPI teams.  If the Tigers can make a decent run in the conference tournament, they’ll be okay.

Rooting Interest – A home loss to 13-15 Tulane to close out the season on a three-game losing streak would just be awful.

Saint Mary’s Gaels (23-7, 11-3 WCC): Portland/Loyola-Marymount/Santa Clara (Sun 7:00, ESPN2)

Last Week (11); This Week (11)

Saint Mary’s still pulled the top seed in the WCC even after their late-season loss to Gonzaga, which means they have a double-bye until the conference semifinals Sunday.  They’ll play Portland, Loyola-Marymount, or Santa Clara.  ESPN seems to think they’re in a great deal more trouble than they probably are, though a loss to anyone other than Gonzaga would be trouble.

Rooting Interest – They could fall out of the bracket with a loss, but I still think the best case scenario has Saint Mary's winning the conference tournament.

Richmond Spiders (23-7, 12-3 A-10): Duquesne (Sat 11:00)

Last Week (12); This Week (11)

Richmond still hasn’t done anything really impressive this season except, perhaps, to avoid a really bad loss.  If they can pull off a win over Temple or Xavier in the Atlantic-10 tournament, they’ll be safe.  But unless they can do that, they’ll remain firmly on the bubble.

Rooting Interest – A loss to Duquesne wouldn’t be devastating, but it couldn’t hurt.

12 Seeds

Alabama Crimson Tide (19-10, 11-4 SEC): Georgia (Sat 12:30, ESPN3)

Last Week (12); This Week (12)

The ship is sinking quickly for the Tide and they need to right it but quick.  They are rapidly falling out of brackets and are really only in because a lot of people haven’t updated their brackets since before we lost to Ole Miss.  I still believe it will take three more wins to feel safe and two more wins to stay in the conversation.

Rooting Interest – Roll Tide!

Gonzaga Bulldogs (22-9, 11-3 WCC): Pepperdine/San Diego/San Francisco (Sun 9:30, ESPN2)

Last Week (12); This Week (12)

The Bulldogs managed the double-bye as well, finishing as the second seed in the WCC.  They’ll play one out of Pepperdine, San Diego, and San Francisco.  They’re looking closer to safe than, perhaps, the Tide, but a slip-up against any team but Saint Mary’s would throw their tournament hopes into question.

Rooting Interest – Pull for the upset.

UAB Blazers (21-7, 11-4 C-USA): East Carolina (Sat 7:00)

Last Week (12); This Week (12)

The Blazers finally managed to pick up a decent win this week, beating Southern Miss on the road by a point.  The resume is still a little iffy, however, so a deep run in the Conference USA tournament would definitely help.

Rooting Interest – Again, I don’t like rooting against UAB, but it would really help Bama if ECU won this game.

Butler Bulldogs (21-9, 13-5 Horizon): Cleveland State/Wright State (Sat 5:00, ESPNU)

Last Week (12); This Week (12)

Well, the Horizon League is officially, as of this printing, a one-bid league—assuming Butler is that bid.  Cleveland State is still sniffing around the First Four Out, but at this point, we have to be all-in on Butler.

Rooting Interest – Preferably, Cleveland State will lose to Wright State tonight, but no matter what happens, root for Butler here.

Boston College Eagles (18-11, 8-7 ACC): Wake Forest (Sun 11:00)

Last Week (12); This Week (12)

I was hoping Virginia Tech could put away the Eagles this week but, alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  BC is looking safer, now that they’ve effectively guaranteed a winning conference record.  There’s still a chance, though, that should they lose their next two games, for Bama to pass them up.

Rooting Interest – Wake Forest is terrible, so I’m rooting for them for the schadenfreude, if nothing else.

Michigan Wolverines (18-12, 8-9 Big Ten): Michigan State (Sat 1:00, CBS)

Last Week (FFO); This Week (12)

It’s amazing what a buzzer-beater loss to a Top Ten team and a win over a bubble team will do for you.  In the last week, the Wolverines used their one-point loss to Wisconsin to move from off the bubble to the First Four Out and beat Minnesota this week to move up to a 12 seed.  I don’t know that there’s any way they can get off of the bubble without winning the conference tournament, but a win over the Spartans would at least bring them to .500 in conference and keep them around.

Rooting Interest – Michigan State is close to a lock, so root for the Spartans.

13 Seeds

Missouri State Bears (24-7, 15-3 MVC): Southern Illinois (Fri)

Last Week (13); This Week (13)

The Bears beat Southern Illinois in their first MVC game this afternoon.  If any Missouri Valley team is going to earn an at-large bid, it’s going to be Missouri State.  With any luck, the Bears will win the tournament and render that thought moot.

Rooting Interest – Close one for the Bears this afternoon as they were down nine points to eight-seeded Southern Illinois, thankfully they came back for a 58-56 win.  Pull for Missouri State to win the MVC tournament.

Belmont Bruins (28-4, 19-1 Atlantic Sun): @ Mercer (Fri 5:30)

Last Week (13); This Week (13)

This is a deep sleeper, but the Bruins’ gaudy records and good efficiency numbers (they are top-50 in both offensive and defensive efficiency) mean that there’s a chance, however small, that they could squeeze an at-large bid if they lose in the Atlantic Sun tournament.

Rooting Interest – Let’s just hope they take the tournament title so we don’t have to worry about that.

First Four Out

Colorado Buffaloes (18-12, 7-8 Big XII): Nebraska (Sat 8:00)

Last Week (FFO); This Week (FFO)

I am seriously thinking about sending the Iowa State Cyclones some thank you cards if Bama does make the NCAA tournament.  The last two weeks, two teams have clawed their ways back on to the Bubble by beating Texas and both times Iowa State smote them back off.  Last week it was Nebraska, this week it was Colorado.  Without a long run in the Big XII tournament, it’s unlikely Colorado is an at-large contender.

Rooting Interest – Nebraska is already off the bubble, so root for the Huskers.

Clemson Tigers (19-10, 8-7 ACC): Virginia Tech (Sat 11:00, ESPN2)

Last Week (FFO); This Week (FFO)

Another loss this week by a team trailing us in the standings.  The Tigers’ loss to Duke wasn’t as bad as Colorado’s loss to Iowa State, but it still represents another missed opportunity for Clemson to notch a quality win for a resume that is sorely lacking in them.  They’ll need at least one if they want a chance come Selection Sunday.

Rooting Interest – With the Hokies nearly a lock, let’s hope they can knock Clemson out this weekend.

Baylor Bears (18-11, 7-8 Big XII): Texas (Sat 8:00, ESPN)

Last Week (NFO); This Week (FFO)

Like Colorado, Baylor moved up by beating a ranked Big XII team and, like Colorado, Baylor will fall back down after losing to a non-tourney team this week.  The Bears’ loss to the Cowboys hurts a lot and, barring a victory over Texas, will keep them on the outside looking in.

Rooting Interest – Let’s hope Texas can get its shit together and finally beat a bubble team.

Cleveland State Vikings (25-7, 13-5 Horizon): Wright State (Sat 5:00)

Last Week (FFO); This Week (FFO)

Cleveland State picked up a win in the opening round of the Horizon League tournament, though it didn’t really help their standing.  Beating Wright State won’t really, either.  Their big test will come in the semifinals against Butler.  I’d rather see them leave now.

Rooting Interest – Root for Wright State, who currently trails the Vikings by 2 with 11:48 to play.

Next Four Out

Minnesota Golden Gophers (17-12, 6-11 Big Ten): Penn State (Sun 12:00)

Last Week (11); This Week (NFO)

That conference record is ugly, and it’s likely going to keep the Gophers watching from home.  Losing their last four games and eight of their last nine certainly is not going to help matters any.

Rooting Interest – Penn State could finish them off this weekend.

Wichita State Shockers (23-7, 14-4 MVC): Bradley (Fri 6:00)

Last Week (NFO); This Week (NFO)

I’m pretty sure Wichita State lost their shot at an at-large bid when they lost the regular season title to Missouri State.  Still, there’s a chance.

Rooting Interest – Unless they lose to Bradley.

Colorado State Rams (19-10, 9-6 MWC): @ San Diego State (Sat 9:00)

Last Week (NFO); This Week (NFO)

I’ve been saying for the past two weeks that the Rams needed one more good win to make the tournament, but they’ve so far failed to get it, losing to UNLV and BYU.  Tonight’s their last chance, but they’ll have to win at San Diego State to do it.

Rooting Interest – SDSU is a lock, so we’ll root for them.

Southern Miss Golden Eagles (21-8, 9-6 C-USA): @ Tulsa (Sat 7:00)

Last Week (NFO); This Week (NFO)

The Eagles are running out of opportunities, having dropped their last two games.  I don’t know that they have enough games left to crawl back into the bracket without winning the conference tournament.

Rooting Interest – Hope that Tulsa puts them away this weekend.

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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