Tuesday, February 10, 2009

State of the Bubble (Part 1)

With less than 5 weeks before Mike Silve and his fellow selection committee members hunker down in downtown Indianapolis to hammer out the field of 65, here is a (somewhat) detailed look at how the bubble is shaping up:

America East
Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: Vermont
Boston University is the current leader(as of Monday), but the Terriers have to visit the Catamounts on Wednesday night. The winner should have the inside edge for the #1 seed in the conference tournament. Binghamton, the surprise early leader is also in the mix.

Atlantic Coast
Likely number of bids: 6-8
Locks: Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest
Close to lockhood: Florida State
In the mix: Boston College, Miami(FL), Virginia Tech
Losing the edge: Maryland
The Seminoles recent hot streak has them closer to lock status recently, but they probably need one more high profile win(likely @ Wake) to feel secure. The Eagles famously followed up their upset of North Carolina in Chapel by being beat by Harvard at the Conte Forum. Miami and Virginia Tech both have upsets over Wake Forest, but little else. The Terps are all but finished after being routed by the Heels.

Atlantic Sun
Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: Belmont
It's deja vu in the A-Sun, where Vince Gill's favorite team is rising to the top of the standings. With the conference tourney in Nashville, look for the Bruins to get the better of East Tennessee State and Jacksonville.

Atlantic 10
Likely number of bids: 1-3
Lock: Xavier
In the mix: Dayton, Duquesne
Losing the edge: Rhode Island, Temple
Xavier is well entrenched, but a loss to Duquesne helped dent their inviciblilty within the league. The Flyers' hopes have been rocked by losses to Massachusetts and Charlotte. Neither the Rams nor the Owls had the kind of non-conference seasons they could fall back on if their conference seasons faltered.

Big East
Likely number of bids: 7-10
Locks: Connecticut, Louisville, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Villanova
Close to lockhood: West Virginia
In the mix: Cincinnati, Georgetown, Providence
Losing the edge: Notre Dame
If any conference deserves the description muddled, it this one. And I'm going to leave it at that.

More on this later.

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