Wednesday, February 11, 2009

State of the Bubble(Part 2)

Big Sky
Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: Weber State
Having already beaten fellow contenders Montana and Portland State, the Wildcats have the edge for homecourt advantage in the conference tournament.

Big South
Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: Virginia Military
The Keydets, the highest scoring team in country, are tied with Radford for 1st, but hold the edge for the top seed due to a win at the Highlanders. Liberty has beaten the Keydets in Lexington, VA and could do so again should they meet in the finals.

Big Ten
Likely number of bids: 5-7
Locks: Michigan State
Close to lockhood: Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue
In the mix: Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State, Wisconsin
To say the Big Ten is overachieving this year is an understatement. But the matter is simply the league is close to regaining the prominence it had in 2005. Of the four teams in the mix, the Badgers are the closest to being close to lockhood, but a six game losing streak in the middle of conference play cannot be overlooked. Purdue might fall off to the in the mix line if Robbie Hummel can't get back quickly.

Big 12
Likely number of bids: 4-6
Locks: Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma
Close to lockhood: Texas
In the mix: Baylor, Kansas State, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M
The first three are solidly safe, then there's a dropoff to the Longhorns, and then another sharp drop to the in the mix crowd. Could the top four be the only ones to make the dance? Maybe, but even then Texas may continue to slide(Last night's win over Oklahoma State not withstanding).

Big West
Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: Long Beach State
Dan Monson has done a respectable job of reviving the 49ers. Whether or not it gets Long Beach to the dance is another matter, Cal State Fullerton, UC Davis and Northridge State will have something to say about that.

Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: Northeastern
The Boston based Huskies weren't expected to contend for the overall crown, yet they're a game up over the competition including Virginia Commonwealth, whom the Huskies beat on the Rams' home court.

Conference USA
Likely number of bids: 1-2
Locks: Memphis
In the mix: UAB, Tulsa
Memphis is once again the prohibitive favorite to win the automatic bid. The Blazers and Golden Hurricane are on the verge of falling off the bubble entirely, but both have chances to knock the Tigers off(Tulsa actually came close to beating the Tigers at home in their first meeting, but the Tigers won on a last second shot).

Part 3 tomorrow.

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