Thursday, February 12, 2009

State of the Bubble(Part 4)

The more I think about this year's bubble, the more it resembles 2006 when the committee picked Utah State, Air Force and George Mason over the likes of Cincinnati, Missouri State and others. If anyone gets all 34 at-large teams this year, they'll have earned it. Obviously if no one gets all 34, I wouldn't be surprised. Every year it seems that all of us bracketologists get at least 1 team wrong. With that in mind, here is the last installment of the State of the Bubble.

Likely number of bids: 4-6
Lock: UCLA
Close to lockhood: Arizona State, California, Washington
In the mix: Arizona, Southern California
Losing the edge: Stanford
New coach? Constant roster turmoil? No chance at a bid? No problem if you're Arizona. The Wildcats have rattled of 6 in a row heading into tonights bubble battle with the Trojans. Southern California won the 1st meeting earlier this year in the final moments.

Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: American
Holy Cross might have won the first meeting, but that was in Worcester. The Eagles welcome the Crusaders to Washington for the next one. One that will in all likelyhood determine the top seed here.

Likely number of bids: 3-5
In the mix: Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana State, South Carolina, Tennessee
Losing the edge: Arkansas, Mississippi State
Yes, you're reading it right. There are no locks in the SEC, not even teams that are close. That doesn't suggest that this will be a one bid league. In fact, there's bound to be significant controversy if it gets 5. With Commissioner Mike Silve as the chair of the selection committee, it may very well happen.

Likely number of bids: 1-2
In the mix: Davidson
Just like last year, the Wildcats(or more accurately, Stephen Curry) had a loaded schedule. Their only big win occured against West Virginia at Madison Square Garden, but at least did well early in the season vs. Oklahoma. The most significant result however, was a 2 point loss to the College of Charleston that could deny the Wildcats an at-large berth if needed.

Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: Stephen F. Austin
Who can figure this conference out? I know I can't. Which is why the Lumberjacks are listed here.

Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: Alabama State
Regardless of who wins, the champion is a sure lock to be team #65 on the seed list with a trip to the opening round game in Dayton.

Summit League
Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: North Dakota State
In only their first year of big dance eligiblity, the Bison are storming(so to speak) to their first Summit crown. With the tourney in Sioux Falls, look for the Bison to stop the advance of long time kingpin Oral Roberts.

Sun Belt
Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: Western Kentucky
Unlike last year, there are no at-large hopefuls out of this league, so look for Big Red and his Hilltoppers to once again rule the Belt.

West Coast
Likely number of bids: 1-2
Close to lockhood: Gonzaga
In the mix: St. Mary's
The Gaels may miss their leader Patrick Mills, but this team is was a borderline bubble team even with him. Upsetting the Zags, or perhaps beating Utah State next week could change that perception.

Western Athletic
Likely number of bids: 1-2
Close to lockhood: Utah State
The Aggies were helped last night by Utah's win over San Diego State, but the Aggies probably don't need the help as they could clinch the outright WAC championship this weekend.

And with that, the state of the bubble is fully adressed. We now return you to your regularly scheduled bracket watching.

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