Thursday, March 8, 2012

NCAA Tournament 2012 - updated thru 3/7 action

**This week I will do my best updating daily**


Here are the 31 auto-bids by conference [bold represents already won conference tournament, if championship game is known but not played yet that is listed, rest are projected winners]:

America East: Stony Brook vs. Vermont on Saturday, March 10 @ 11am
Atlantic Ten: Temple
ACC: North Carolina
Atlantic Sun: Belmont
Big 12: Kansas
Big East: Syracuse
Big Sky: Montana
Big South: UNC-Asheville
Big Ten: Ohio State
Big West: Long Beach State
Colonial: VCU
Conference USA: Memphis
Horizon: Detroit
Ivy: Harvard
MAAC: Loyola Maryland
MAC: Akron
MEAC: Norfolk State
Missouri Valley: Creighton
Mountain West: UNLV
Northeast: Long Island Brooklyn
Ohio Valley: Murray State
Pac 12: Washington
Patriot: Lehigh
SEC: Kentucky
Southern: Davidson
Southland: Texas Arlington
SWAC: Mississippi Valley State
Summit: South Dakota State
Sun Belt: Western Kentucky
West Coast: St. Mary’s
WAC: New Mexico State

Here are the 28 teams I view as “in the field” as at-large teams by conference:

**ADDED TEAMS SINCE LAST EDITION – South Florida moves up to “in the field” from bubble with win Wednesday night over Villanova.

America East: -
Atlantic Ten: St. Louis, Xavier
ACC: Duke, Florida State, Virginia
Atlantic Sun: -
Big 12: Missouri, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State
Big East: Marquette, Georgetown, Louisville, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, South Florida
Big Sky: -
Big South: -
Big Ten: Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana
Big West: if Long Beach State was to lose in their conference tournament they would receive a bid, thus eliminating one at-large spot.
Colonial: Drexel
Conference USA: -
Horizon: -
Ivy: -
MAC: -
Missouri Valley: Wichita State
Mountain West: San Diego State, New Mexico
Northeast: -
Ohio Valley: -
Pac 12: California, Arizona
Patriot: -
SEC: Florida, Vanderbilt
Southern: -
Southland: -
Summit: -
Sun Belt: -
West Coast: Gonzaga
WAC: -
That is 59 of the 68 teams that will comprise the field.

Here are the EIGHTEEN true “bubble” teams by conference, of which NINE will currently receive bids – but in some conference tournaments we will see upsets that will reduce the # of these teams receiving a bid from NINE to likely somewhere closer to FIVE OR SIX.  I have also listed here each team that has even the smallest of chances at receiving an at-large selection without winning their conference’s auto-bid just to be thorough (for example, the A10 teams, as I feel none are truly on the “bubble” but if the teams listed reached their tournament final they may have a case) – teams will be weeded out as the week goes on and teams lose in their conference tournaments:

**CHANGES FROM LAST PUBLISHED VERSION: South Florida moves up to “in the field”.  UConn slides onto the bubble, and Seton Hall is removed from consideration.  

America East: -
Atlantic Ten: None truly on bubble BUT if St. Bonaventure, LaSalle, Dayton, UMass or St. Joseph’s (PA) was to reach the A10 Final they may have a case for being one of last four teams into the field, obviously dependent on how other conference tournaments play out.
ACC: Miami (FL), NC State.  Both are likely to receive invites at this point.  Either could seal the deal for certain by advancing to the semifinal round of the ACC Tournament, while both could be in danger of barely missing out should they lose in the first round of the ACCT.
Atlantic Sun: -
Big 12: Texas.  The Horns are likely to receive a bid right now, and could seal the deal by beating Iowa State in the quarterfinal round of the Big 12 Tournament Thursday.
Big East: West Virginia, UConn.  Tough loss for the Mountaineers yesterday blowing a nice size lead late puts them firmly on the bubble with 13 losses and an RPI in the low 40s.  I feel by Sunday they are likely to be one of the last few teams cut from the brackets, but will still leave them here for at least another day or two as we see how other power conference tournaments play out.  UConn advancing to the QF round puts them at 10-10 in conference play.  Prior to the BET I felt they needed to advance to the final, however with the way the matchups have played out a win today vs. Syracuse likely gets them a bid.  Seton Hall was removed as I do not feel they have done enough to warrant a selection.
Big Sky: -
Big South: -
Big Ten: Purdue, Northwestern.  The Boilers are likely in as an at-large, but picking up only one win vs. the other 5 Big Ten teams that are likely to receive invites has me placing them on bubble looking in.  A win over Nebraska in the opening round of BTT would be solid, and a good showing vs. Ohio State would lock them into a spot.  A loss to Nebraska and they will need some help.  If Northwestern was to advance to the BTT semifinals they may receive consideration; if they beat Michigan then Ohio State to reach the final they may have a case as being one of the last four invites.
Big West: -
Colonial: -
Conference USA: Southern Mississippi.  USM likely needs to advance to the CUSA Final to receive consideration, and based on their small margin for error playing a lot of close games during the season I do not see that happening.
Horizon: -
Ivy: -
MAAC: Iona.  With the Gaels losing in the semifinals of their conference tournament I do not think that will be enough for them to receive an at-large bid, but I will still include the on the absolute fringe of the bubble – they will need A LOT of help to grab a spot come Sunday.
MAC: -
Missouri Valley: -
Mountain West: Colorado State.  The Rams probably need to win the MWCT to receive a bid, or at the very least reach the final for any hopes whatsoever.  Both scenarios unlikely in my opinion – and even if they happened there appears to be too many teams in between them and a bid to have a legit shot.
Northeast: -
Ohio Valley: -
Pac 12: Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Colorado.  All four of these teams at a minimum must advance to the semifinal round of the P12T.  This is likely a four bid conference, with an outside chance at five – but I feel that is unlikely with the upsets we will see this week.  I have listed the teams in the order I believe they are stacked in right now.  Stanford, UCLA, and Colorado most likely need to win the auto-bid; while Oregon may sneak in if they reach the semifinals and show well in that spot.
Patriot: -
SEC: Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi State.  Alabama sits on a level above UT & MSU and could have locked up a bid with a win over Ole Miss this past weekend, but now must beat South Carolina in the first round of the SECT to remain alive.  Tennessee is the #2 seed and receives a bye, which oddly enough may hurt them not picking up the extra win.  They at least need to win their first game, facing either Ole Miss or Auburn.  Miss State has the most work to do and at least needs to win two games including beating Vanderbilt to get firmly on the bubble.
Southern: -
Southland: -
Summit: -
Sun Belt: with Middle Tennessee State losing in the QF round of the SBT they are unlikely to receive an at-large bid on Sunday.  Had they advanced to the Final and lost they would have been on the bubble.
West Coast: BYU.  The Cougars did themselves no help getting blown out by 20 to Gonzaga in the semifinals.  They still have a solid RPI, but with two teams locked into bids from the WCC they may need too much help come Sunday.
WAC: if New Mexico State loses in the final of the WACT they may still be alive to receive an at-large, but would likely wind up on the outside looking in.
Here is the order of at-large selections as we stand right now.  Just to reiterate, there are NINE open spots today – but that # will be reduced due to conference tournament upsets – I currently project 6 of these teams will wind up making the dance, with #7-10 being the dreaded “last four out”:

  1. Purdue
  2. Miami (FL)
  3. Texas
  4. Alabama
  5. NC State
  6. Oregon
  7. BYU
  8. Tennessee
  9. West Virginia    

Today’s key games:
Noon: UConn vs. Syracuse –UConn must win this game to receive an invite.

1pm: Southern Mississippi vs. East Carolina – USM is barely hanging onto the bubble, a bad loss to ECU here would remove them.

330pm: Alabama vs. South Carolina – Alabama is positioned well currently, but a bad loss to the Gamecocks here could be fatal.

530pm: UCLA vs. Arizona – Arizona likely will be dancing but a win wouldn’t hurt, while UCLA likely needs to win the P12 title to receive a bid.

530pm: Colorado State vs. TCU – the Rams are barely hanging onto the bubble and at the very least need a win here.

530pm: Northwestern vs. Minnesota – NW’s conference record puts them out of the dance from my perspective, but a couple wins in the B10 tournament could change my opinion.

530pm: New Mexico State vs. Fresno State – NMST has to advance to at least the final to have any hopes of receiving an at-large.

8pm: Purdue vs. Nebraska – Purdue is in with a win here.  A loss and they may be sweating it out come Selection Sunday.

9pm: Stanford vs. California – Cal is likely dancing, but Stanford needs a win here.

9pm: Long Beach State vs. UC-Davis – LBST is also likely dancing, but an early round loss in the BW tournament could put their bid in jeopardy.

9pm: Miami (FL) vs. Georgia Tech – Miami is in with a win here.  A loss and it will be close, and most likely dependent on how other conference tourney’s go.

9pm: Nevada vs. San Jose State – like NMST, Nevada needs to reach the conference final to have any hopes of receiving at-large consideration.

930pm: Texas vs. Iowa State – Texas would really help themselves out with a win over the Cyclones tonight.
10pm: Mississippi State vs. Georgia – MSU finished the season poorly and needs a win here to get back in the discussion.

1130pm: Colorado vs. Oregon – the last game of the day is perhaps the biggest as both teams flat out need to win this game to keep hopes alive.

Multiple Bid Conferences (48 bids here from 11 conferences + 20 additional auto-bids = 68 teams)
BE: 8                      ACC: 6                   B10: 6                    B12: 6                    SEC: 5                    P12: 4
A10: 3                    MWC: 3                WCC: 3                  COL: 2                   MVC: 2                

Team by Team variance vs. Lunardi @
UConn: me OUT, him IN
Seton Hall: me OUT, him IN
Miami (FL): me IN, him OUT
NC State: me IN, him OUT
Northwestern: me OUT, him IN
Tennessee: me IN, him OUT
Mississippi State: me OUT, him IN
Colorado State: me OUT, him IN
Arizona: me IN, him OUT
Oregon: me IN, him OUT
Southern Mississippi: me OUT, him IN


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