Weekend Bubble Watch Rooting Guide

A big win for Bama has them moving up to the ten line in The Bracket Project, averaging a 10 seed in 83 of the 86 bracket projections. Even better, the Tide have been projected as "in" in every bracket updated since this past Tuesday. At this point, all we need to do is keep winning. If we don't, however, these are the teams we'll be battling for those precious few bubble slots.

­Movin' on Up -

California Golden Bears (RPI: 36, WvTT: 1, 23-6, 13-3 PAC-12):

Last Week (10), This Week (9)

Harvard Crimson (RPI: 38, WvTT: 1, 23-3, 9-1 Ivy):

Last Week (10), This Week (9)

Kansas State Wildcats (RPI: 40, WvTT: 5, 19-8, 8-7 Big XII):

Last Week (10), This Week (8)

10 Seeds -

Iowa State Cyclones (RPI: 42, WvTT: 3, 20-8, 10-5 Big XII): @ Kansas State (Sat 12:30, ESPN3)

Last Week (9), This Week (10)

I was kind of surprised to see Iowa State fall back onto the bubble, but looking at the resume it isn't terribly surprising. They only have three wins against tournament teams (all at home) and are trying to shake off the stench of two sub-100 RPI wins (at Drake and at Oklahoma State). Their closing stretch is pretty rough, with road games at Kansas State and #3 Missouri before closing with #14 Baylor at home. If they win one of those three I figure them for a tourney lock, but losing all three could sink them to fifth or sixth in the Big XII and require them to win their first round tournament game in order to make the Dance.

Rooting Interest: After winning at Mizzou, K-State is all but a lock now. Root for the Wildcats

UCONN Huskies (RPI: 23, WvTT: 5, 17-10, 7-8 Big East) #2 Syracuse (Sat 8:00, ESPN)

Last Week (9), This Week (10)

Is it just me or does the Big East seem down this year? In the past, they've always had several solid teams, but it seems like in 2012 they have about five good teams, followed by a bunch of mediocre squads who either struggled in the non-conference schedule (USF and Cincinnati) or are sporting .500 and below league marks (Seton Hall, UCONN, West Virginia). The Huskies' losses aren't terrible (except for road defeats at Rutgers and Tennessee), but the Selection Committee likes to see teams finish strong and UCONN has lost 7 of its last 9. A win against second-ranked Syracuse would likely lock their spot up, but losing would almost force them to win their final two games with Providence and Pitt.

Rooting Interest: Go Orange!

Purdue Boilermakers (RPI: 49, WvTT: 3, 18-10, 8-7 B1G): @ #13 Michigan (Sat 5:00, CBS)

Last Week (10), This Week (10)

The Boilermakers have two chances left to secure that one, last big win. Unfortunately, they're a pair of road contests against Top 25 teams Michigan and Indiana. Winning one of those games will likely make Purdue a lock, but it's the game against Penn State next week that will make the big difference. The committee will likely be willing to look past 13 losses (assuming they don't win the Big Ten tournament), but losing twice to the B1G cellar dweller and finishing with an 18-14 record would make Selection Sunday a very nervous time for Purdue.

Rooting Interest: It's still tough for me to root for a team that Alabama could potentially be fighting for a tourney berth, but if you want to pull for Purdue to help Alabama's résumé, go for it.

Alabama Crimson Tide (RPI: 29, WvTT: 2, 18-9, 7-6 SEC): Mississippi State (Sat 5:00, ESPN)

Last Week (11), This Week (10)

No use in spilling a ton of pixels on a team we talk about regularly. You have to figure, at this point, winning 2 out of the last 3 and a game in the SEC tournament should be more than enough to send the Tide dancing. Hopefully.

Rooting Interest: Roll Tide!

11 Seeds -

Mississippi State Bulldogs (RPI: 60, WvTT: 4, 19-9, 6-7 SEC): @ Alabama (Sat 5:00, ESPN)

Last Week (9), This Week (11)

On January 16th, the Bulldogs were 15-3 and ranked 15th in the Coaches' poll. Five weeks later, they‘ve dropped six of ten including four games to non-tournament teams Mississippi, LSU, Georgia (at home), and Auburn. It has now suddenly become difficult to see them making the tournament if they lose two of their last three games (@ Alabama, @ South Carolina, vs. Arkansas) without a deep(ish) run in the SEC tournament.

Rooting Interest: Roll Tide!

Seton Hall Pirates (RPI: 32, WvTT: 3, 19-9, 11-8 Big East): Rutgers (Sat 4:00, ESPNU)

Last Week (11), This Week (11)

The nice thing about playing in the Big East is that it's almost impossible to not have a few good wins on your resume as you usually get five or six conference home games against potential tournament teams (compare that to Alabama's two). Seton Hall has capitalized on that fact this year, combining an 18-1 nonconference record against a laughable schedule (ranked 266th in the country) with home wins over UCONN, West Virginia, and Georgetown. The Pirates have only one bad loss (Villanova), so they're likely going to be safe, especially if they can win their last two regular season games and pull off another quality win in the Big East tournament.

Rooting Interest: Rutgers is out of the tourney picture, so pull for the Knights.

BYU Cougars (RPI: 41, WvTT: 1, 23-7, 11-4 WCC): Portland (Sat 5:00)

Last Week (11), This Week (11)
The Cougars failed in their last chance to pick up another good regular season win, so they're left hoping their one home win over Gonzaga a few weeks ago will be enough. The West Coast Conference season comes to a close this weekend and BYU will get a bye into the quarterfinals. They'll likely need to win both tomorrow and in that quarterfinal game and then hope they can take either Gonzaga or Saint Mary's on a neutral floor if they want a strong shot at an at-large bid.

Rooting Interest: A home loss to 6-22 Portland would likely derail their at-large chances before the conference tourney even begins, so let's hope the Pilots can pull a miracle.

Washington Huskies (RPI: 55, WvTT: 2, 19-8, 12-3 PAC-12): @ Washington State (Sat 7:00)

Last Week (FFO), This Week (11)

Both of Washington's wins against tournament teams came against currently projected last team in Arizona, so I wouldn't put a ton of stock in them. Still, a 12-3 conference record has to look awfully pretty, even in the terrible PAC-12. The one thing the Huskies have going for them is that, despite a slew of losses to teams in the 50-100 range, they don't have any losses to teams with RPIs below 100. The biggest thing working against them is that, due to the general crappiness of the PAC-12, they likely won't have another chance to beat a tournament team until at least the semifinals of the conference tournament.

Rooting Interest: It's the courtside edition of the Crapple Cup and, with Wazzou barely breaking .500, the Cougars are the call here.

12 Seeds -

Xavier Musketeers (RPI: 53, WvTT: 3, 17-10, 8-5 A-10): Richmond (Sat 7:00, ESPN2)

Last Week (12), This Week (12)

I wrote last week about Xavier's stunning fall from #8 in the country to barely bubble team. While they have three wins against tourney teams, none have come since their December 10th brawl with Cincinnati. While only one of their losses is really bad (a Christmas Eve overtime defeat to 192nd ranked Hawaii), 12 losses is a lot for a committee to look past, especially when the team's strength of schedule is outside of the top 50. Assuming Xavier loses to St. Louis this coming week and in the A-10 tournament, they will end the season with 12 losses. 13 will likely be too many.

Rooting Interest: I'm not going to call an upset here, since Xavier hasn't lost at home to a non-tourney team this year, but we obviously want the Spiders to win.

Texas Longhorns (RPI: 54, WvTT: 3, 17-11, 7-8 Big XII): @ Texas Tech (Sat 3:00, ESPN3)

Last Week (12), This Week (12)

The Longhorns blew a ten point halftime lead at home against Baylor this week, leaving them needing something to show the committee. "Something" means no more weak losses and either a win at Kansas next weekend or a decent run in the Big XII tournament.

Rooting Interest: The Red Raiders are 1-15 in league play, so it's probably not going to happen.

Cincinnati Bearcats (RPI: 74, WvTT: 4, 20-8, 10-5 Big East): @ USF (Sun 11:00, ESPN3)

Last Week (FFO), This Week (12)

Everything I wrote about Seton Hall applies here. Cincinnati's non-conference strength of schedule? 340 out of 345 Division 1 programs, including a loss to 258th-ranked Presbyterian. They also have sub-100 RPI losses to Rutgers and St. John's. If the Bearcats were in any other conference, they wouldn't be remotely in at-large consideration. But stick them in the Big East and given them home wins against Louisville and Notre Dame and road victories over UCONN and Georgetown, and suddenly they're worth, despite their terrible RPI and losses.

Rooting Interest: USF has made a good run in the Big East to get back in the bubble picture, but they're far enough out that we still have to root against Cincinnati.

Miami Hurricanes (RPI: 50, WvTT: 1, 16-10, 7-6 ACC): #16 Florida State (Sun 5:00, ESPNU)

Last Week (12), This Week (12)

Maryland's win over Miami this past week helped us in the RPI as well as on the bubble. The Hurricanes could ill afford a weak loss and they desperately need to start winning now. They've lost three of their last four and will probably add another loss this weekend with Seminoles paying a visit. It's not over for them yet, but they need to start getting some wins.

Rooting Interest: The Seminoles are a tourney lock and, given my aversion to racist chants, I'll simply say: "Go FSU."

Northwestern Wildcats (RPI: 47, WvTT: 2, 16-11, 6-9 B1G): Penn State (Sat 8:00, ESPNU)

Last Week (12), This Week (12)

Fun fact, per Joe Lunardi: Only once in the history of the NCAA tournament has a team with a conference record four games below .500 made the tourney without winning its conference's automatic bid. Northwestern is two losses away from that very fate. With a pair of road games against weak conference opponents and a home game with Ohio State, it's tough to see the Wildcats earning an at-large bid.

Rooting Interest: Penn State has no chance at an at-large bid so a Nittany Lion win would help a lot.

Arizona Wildcats (RPI: 70, WvTT: 1, 20-9, 11-5 PAC-12): UCLA (Sat 1:00, CBS)

Last Week (FFO), This Week (12)

Nothing's changed about Arizona's chances since last Monday. They have a lot of mediocre wins and a few iffy losses. They just need to keep winning as long as they can.

Rooting Interest: The Bruins are the choice here, since they have no chance on Selection Sunday.

13 Seeds -

Long Beach State 49ers (RPI: 34, WvTT: 1, 20-7, 13-0 Big West): UC-Riverside (Sat 6:00)

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (RPI: 43, WvTT: 0, 25-4, 14-1 Sun Belt): @ Western Kentucky (Sat 5:00, ESPN3)

Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (RPI: 45, WvTT: 1, 25-5, 16-1 Summit): @ Southern Utah (Sat 8:30)

Last Week (13), This Week (13)

These teams are still sort of on the bubble. We want them to lose their regular season games but win their conference tournaments.

First Four Out -

North Carolina State Wolfpack (RPI: 62, WvTT: 2, 18-10, 7-6 ACC): @ Clemson (Sat 1:30, ESPN3)

Last Week (12), This Week (FFO)

NC State just desperately needs to do something. There's just no there, there, with respect to their schedule. No terrible losses and no good wins might be able to sneak a team into the tournament with a decent RPI, but with a mediocre RPI? The Wolfpack are going to need to win out and probably steal a win in the ACC tournament to make the Dance.

Rooting Interest: Clemson is going nowhere fast, so cheer for the team in the ugly-ass purple and orange.

Colorado State Rams (24, WvTT: 2, 17-9, 6-5 Mountain West): @ #25 San Diego State (Sat 9:00, MTN)

Last Week (FFO), This Week (FFO)

The Rams got a huge win this week, dropping #21 New Mexico at home. They still have a pair of ranked teams on the slate so a road win against San Diego State could put them back in.

Rooting Interest: Pull for SDSU here.

St. Joseph's Hawks (RPI: 57, WvTT: 1, 18-11, 8-6 A-10): #22 Temple (Sat 6:00, ESPNU)

Last Week (Out), This Week (FFO)

Saint Joe's is desperately trying to move past a trio of bad losses and they just don't have the good wins to counter. A loss to Temple today will probably end their tournament chances.

Rooting Interest: Hoot! Hoot!

UCF Golden Knights (RPI: 64, WvTT: 2, 19-8, 8-5 C-USA): UTEP (Sat 7:00)

Last Week (NFO), This Week (FFO)

As I said last week, any iffy loss (which is a loss to anybody but Memphis at this point) will send UCF out.

Rooting Interest: UTEP is mediocre but not a tournament threat.

Next Four Out -

Illinois Fighting Illini (RPI: 73, WvTT: 4, 16-12, 5-10 B1G): Iowa (Sun 5:00)

Last Week (11), This Week (FFO)

Illinois just can't stop losing. They've dropped nine of their last ten and are one loss away from the dreaded four games below .500. With games left against Michigan and Wisconsin, the Illini desperately need a win here.

Rooting Interest: Then again, a loss to Iowa would end their bubble hopes.

USF Bulls (RPI: 48, WvTT: 1, 17-11, 10-5): Cincinnati (Sun 11:00, ESPN3)

Last Week (Out), This Week (NFO)

USF, on the other hand, just can't stop winning, though they're doing it against the dregs of the Big East. Their only win against a tournament team came against Seton Hall. They do still have three shots at Big East tourney teams coming up, so they're probably going to need to win at least two of them.

Rooting Interest: As I said when analyzing Cincinnati, USF is far enough down that a win won't move them past Bama. Pull for the Bulls.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (RPI: 79, WvTT: 17-11, 5-10 B1G): #24 Indiana (Sun 12:00, ESPN)

Last Week (12), This week (NFO)

The Gophers fit right in with Northwestern and Illinois in the crappy middle of the Big Ten. Unless they can beat Indiana or Wisconsin, they're going to end up with a 6-12 conference record. Terrible.

Rooting Interest: Screw the Gophers.

Dayton Flyers (RPI: 66, WvTT: 4, 17-10, 7-6 A-10): UMASS (Sat 5:00)

Last Week (NFO), This Week (NFO)

Dayton probably started too far behind the eight ball to make the tourney, despite all their good wins.

Rooting Interest: I'm comfortable enough about Dayton's situation to root for them in order to help our RPI.

Movin' on Out -

Arkansas Razorbacks

Oregon Ducks

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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