BEFORE GAMES ON MARCH 12
The first two days of the major-conference tournaments have brought about several changes in the projected bracket and the status of bubble teams. For the 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? Answers to all that and more in a mid-week update of the "Road to Selection Sunday". Note: Complete "Bracket Breakdown" will be coming later.
Teams who locked up a bid:
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish are rolling, now with Luke Harangody back in the fold. Knocked off Pitt on Thursday.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys lost to Kansas State last night, but their win over Oklahoma on Wednesday gave them a bid.
California: The Golden Bears rolled into the Pac-10 semifinals by beating Oregon by 16; should be able to handle UCLA.
UNLV: Finally able to knock off Utah should give the Runnin’ Rebels a bid. The host for the MWC tourney has a chance to win the auto bid, too.
UTEP: With Memphis and UAB both out, UTEP is the only top-four seed still alive in the Conference-USA Tournament.
Utah State: No matter what happens in the rest of the WAC Tournament, the Aggies should get a bid. Their second half was dominant.
Bubble teams trying to play themselves into the NCAA Tournament:
Washington: The Huskies survived late against Oregon State, and now have a chance for another win in the semifinals against Stanford.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets had a huge comeback against North Carolina in the quarterfinals; a win over Maryland would get them in.
Dayton: The Flyers didn’t dominate George Washington on Thursday, but they did what they had to get the win. Need to beat Xavier.
Rhode Island: The Rams handled Saint Joseph’s in the opening round of the A-10 tourney and now face Saint Louis in an elimination game.
Florida: The Gators actually helped their cause on Thursday by beating Auburn, and now could be in no matter what happens vs. Mississippi State.
San Diego State: The Aztecs escaped by one point against Colorado State on Thursday, keeping their hopes alive. Need to beat New Mexico.
Bubble teams not helping their NCAA Tournament case:
Arizona State: The Sun Devils needed to beat Washington in the semifinals in order to get a bid – they won’t even get there after losing Stanford.
Seton Hall: The Pirates looked lost against Notre Dame after lighting up the scoreboard against Providence on Tuesday. Not enough on the profile.
Memphis: The Tigers suffered a late loss to Houston on Thursday, and now will likely be relegated to the NIT. Two wins over UAB won’t do it.
UAB: The Blazers looked horrendous against Southern Mississippi on Thursday, getting down early and losing by 14. They are heading to the NIT.
South Florida: The Bulls needed to beat Georgetown again in order to get a bid. They were unable to hit jumpers and are now out.
Staying in the conversation for a bid:
William & Mary: Sure, the Tribe lost in the CAA final on Monday, but their profile is looking better compared to some of the other bubble teams.
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