Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Burstin' Bubbles: March 3

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As you all know by now, Michigan sits firmly on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament, and probably needs at least two more victories (@MINN on Saturday, 1st round of the BTT) to secure a spot in the Big Dance. Burstin' Bubbles will run down the relevant bubble games of the day leading up to the tourney. Jamiemac over at mgoblog has been doing a tremendous job of this, but it never hurts to spread the love a bit:

Michigan's Resume (for comparison's sake):
18-12 (8-9 Big Ten)
ESPN InsideRPI: 49
SOS: 10
3-5 vs. RPI 1-25
2-4 vs. RPI 26-50
4-2 vs. RPI 51-100
Signature win(s): Duke (home), UCLA (neutral-site)
Bracket Matrix: Sixth team out; made 11 of 62 brackets.

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Tonight's games of note:

Cincinnati (18-11, 8-8 Big East; RPI: 53) @ South Florida (8-20, 3-13) [ESPNU, 7:00]: The Bearcats sit one spot above the Wolverines in the Bracket Project's Bracket Matrix. Even though we're sitting behind them, I think U-M has the better tournament resume. Cinci is 1-8 against the RPI top 25, with their signature victory coming against West Virginia, who sits 20th in the RPI but is currently unranked in the major polls. However, if Cinci wins out, it's going to be tough to keep a 20-win Big East team with a 10-8 conference record out of the tourney. An upset here is quite unlikely, but an outsider would have said the same about the Michigan/Iowa game last week.

Kansas State (20-9, 8-6 Big 12; RPI: 72) @ Oklahoma State (19-9, 8-6 Big 12; RPI: 32) [ESPN2, 7:30]: A quick glance at the records might make you think that it doesn't matter who wins this, but OK State sits pretty firmly in the tournament field thanks to the 11th-toughest schedule in the country and Saturday's victory over Texas, while K-State's creampuff schedule (SOS: 99, nonconference SOS of 311) puts them on the outside looking in. A Cowboy victory probably locks up a spot for OK State and deals a huge blow to K State's tourney hopes.

Georgetown (15-12, 6-10 Big East; RPI: 40) @ St. John's (14-15, 5-11): The Hoyas boast the country's No. 1 SOS, which is the only think keeping their heads above the water right now. They have to win their last two games to garner even a sideways glance from the tournament committee. They're 3-9 in their last 12 games, but just had a huge road W at Villanova on Saturday. If they win their last two and make a little noise in the Big East Tourney, it might be tough to keep a team that played this tough a schedule out. Hopefully the Johnnies will take care of that.

No. 10 Wake Forest (22-5, 9-5 ACC) @ Maryland (18-10, 7-7 ACC; RPI: 52): Maryland in all likelihood needs to at least split its last two games to guarantee a spot in the tourney field. They have two huge victories (North Carolina at home in OT, pasting Michigan State on a neutral court) and also beat Michigan at home earlier this season. I don't really see us jumping the Terps unless they drop their last two. According to the Bracket Matrix, they sit as a 12-seed, making 36 of 62 brackets.

Utah (20-8, 11-3 MWC) @ New Mexico (19-10, 10-4 MWC; RPI: 70): Utah is going to make the tourney, and the Mountain West Conference will in all likelihood send three teams, with Brigham Young likely in and UNLV in solid shape to get a bid. That leaves the Lobos on the outside looking in unless they can upset Utah and get some help the rest of the way. If Utah takes this one, New Mexico should be out of the picture completely barring a huge run in the conference tournament.

Ohio State (18-9, 8-8 Big Ten; RPI: 42) @ Iowa (14-15, 4-12 Big Ten; RPI: 105) [Big Ten Network, 9:00]: This game has twofold importance for Michigan. Ohio State would currently get a bid over U-M, thanks to a better record, a higher RPI, and two head-to-head wins, so a loss here and against Northwestern to close the season would be helpful. Also, a victory for Iowa would probably vault them back in the RPI top 100, which would make Michigan's loss to them no longer fall under the "bad loss" category. Not like you need any more reasons to root against the Buckeyes anyway.

1 comment:

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