Thursday, February 2, 2006

A Look at the Bubble

It's that time of the year again. February. The stretch run of college basketball is set to begin. For the next five-plus weeks, we are all going to hear non-stop discussion about RPIs, quality wins, and most importantly, the bubble. With the release of our first full weekly bracket starting Monday, and our complete weekly "Bubble Watch" coming Thursday, it would be a good time to get people acquainted and familiar with who is in the running this season. Even if someone followed college basketball pretty closely, they might not know who's in, who's out, and who's on the bubble. This should help.

Let's look at the landscape conference-by-conference (for the bubble, it includes all teams that have even an outside shot at a bid, just not to leave anyone out; the complete Bubble Watch won't have all these teams):

Locks: Duke, North Carolina State, North Carolina
Bubble: Maryland, Boston College, Miami (Fl.)

Big East
Locks: Connecticut, Villanova, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Georgetown
Bubble: Cincinnati, Marquette, Syracuse, Seton Hall

Big Ten
Locks: Illinois, Michigan State, Iowa, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan
Bubble: None

Big Twelve
Locks: Texas, Oklahoma
Bubble: Kansas, Colorado, Iowa State, Nebraska

Locks: UCLA, Washington
Bubble: California, Arizona, Stanford, USC

Locks: Tennessee, Florida, LSU
Bubble: Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Alabama

Missouri Valley
Locks: Northern Iowa, Creighton
Bubble: Southern Illinois, Wichita State, Missouri State, Bradley

Locks: George Washington
Bubble: Xavier, Temple

Locks: Memphis, UAB
Bubble: None

Mountain West
Locks: None
Bubble: San Diego State, Air Force

Locks: None
Bubble: Nevada, Utah State

Locks: None
Bubble: George Mason, UNC-Wilmington, Old Dominion

Locks: None
Bubble: Akron, Kent State

One-Bid Conferences
America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Horizon, Ivy, MAAC, Mid-Continent, MEAC, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, SWAC, Southland, Southern, Sun Belt, West Coast

Potential At-Large Contenders from the One-Bid Conferences: Bucknell (Patriot), Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Horizon), Gonzaga (West Coast)

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