Thursday, March 9, 2006

Road to Selection Sunday Update

The first two days of the major-conference tournaments have brought about several changes in the projected bracket and the status of bubble teams. Some are playing themselves in, while others are losing games they can't lose and are playing themselves out. Moreover, teams that are locks have their seeds fluctuating by the hour. Who's in? Who's out? Which teams are seeing their seeds rise, and which ones are dropping? All that and more in a mid-week update of the "Road to the Selection Sunday". A complete "Bubble Watch" and "Bracket Breakdown" will be coming Friday.

Teams playing their way into the NCAA Tournament:
Syracuse: Orange are now a lock after beating both Connecticut and Cincinnati to advance to the Big East semi-finals.
UAB: Won their quarterfinal meeting to move into the semi-finals against UTEP. A win there, and the Blazers a lock.
Arizona: Wildcats officially answered any questions to their at-large candidacy with win over Stanford.
California: Handled USC easily in quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. A win over Oregon gets them to the Pac-10 title game and a bid to the Big Dance.
Kentucky: Wrapped up a bid with their excellent second half against Ole Miss. The SEC is good for six invitations to the dance.
Maryland: Destroyed Georgia Tech in first round of the ACC Tournament. A win over BC in the quarterfinals might lock up a bid.

Teams playing themselves out of the NCAA Tournament:
Florida State: Wake Forest went on a late run to knock the Seminoles out of the ACC Tournament--and the NCAA tournament.
Cincinnati: Buzzer shot by Gerry McNamara could send Bearcats to the NIT. Still look okay, though.
Seton Hall: All they needed to do was beat Rutgers and they were a lock. However, they got blown out and are now on shaky ground.
Michigan: One win in the Big Ten Tournament might have given them a bid. Loss to Minnesota might have cost them a bid--or the 2-7 record in the last nine could have done it.
Air Force: Were looking okay after all the mid-day upsets, then they went out and lost to Wyoming. Way to take advantage of an opportunity.
BYU: Was there something in the air at the Mountain West Tournament? Cougars lost to Utah and, like Air Force, have no chance for an at-large bid.

Seeds Rising:
Arkansas- Continued their late-season with solid victory over Georgia in first round of SEC Tournament. Could be up to a #7 seed after sixth straight win.
Georgetown- Took down Marquette and may have locked up a Top-6 seed in the process. Might be in the Big East title game.
Pittsburgh- Bounced out of their mini-slump with nice victory over West Virginia. Top-4 seed is looking realistic again. 11-5 vs. Top 100.

Seeds Falling:
George Washington- If they had won the A-10 Tournament, they could have been a #3 seed. After loss to Temple, a 5 or 6 is more likely.
Washington- They ruined all the momentum and good vibes they had going for them with loss to Oregon. Went from a Top-5 seed to a 6 or a 7.
West Virginia- Lost to Pitt in a battle of teams looking for a Top-5 seed. Are now .500 against Top 50 teams. Need to get momentum going before Tournament starts.
Marquette- Loss to Georgetown doesn't erase doubts that this team can't win away from home. Also lack any sort of inside presence.

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