Sunday, March 15, 2009

Final Bubble Update

Well, Selection Sunday is finally here folks. I believe there are 3 bids still available, and that there are 7 teams fighting for these 3 spots. I'd like to share my rankings of the 7 teams, and comment on why I think the teams will or won't get in.

1. Maryland
2. St. Mary's
3. San Diego State
4. Penn State
5. Creighton
6. Auburn
7. Arizona

-Maryland is the team I feel the best about. The Terps have alot of negatives on their resume (7-9 in ACC play, losses to Morgan State and Virginia, 6-9 road/neutral record, 8-11 vs Top 100 teams, RPI in the 50s), but the marquee wins over North Carolina, Michigan State, and Wake Forest show that they are capable of winning games in the tournament. I think that will ultimately allow them to sneak into the field.

-St. Mary's is the hardest team figure out because of the injury to Patty Mills. The San Diego State loss in the Mountain West finals was huge for them. St. Mary's beat the Aztecs on a neutral court in December, and since their resumes are so similar, it's hard to see the committee taking SDSU and not the Gaels.

-Penn State deserves an NCAA bid, but they'd be the 8th team from the Big 10, and regardless of what the committee says, I have a hard time believing that fact would not persuade some members to keep the Nittany Lions out of the field. Along the same lines, it would not surprise me at all to see Auburn in the field tomorrow despite not having an NCAA resume. Will the committee really give the SEC just 2 bids if Mississippi State loses tomorrow? We shall see.

-Creighton's situation is very similar to Illinois State from last year. ISU finished 2nd in the Valley and had an RPI in the 30s, but the lack of quality wins and blowout loss in the MVC tournament kept them out of the NCAA tournament. This year, Creighton got blown out by Illinois State in the semi's. Despite winning 11 of their last 12 and being an impressive 9-5 against the Top 100, their best wins were at home against Dayton and Illinois State. Based on last year's precedent, I just don't think they will make it.

-Arizona really shouldn't be in, but they're a big name school, have been to the tournament 24 years in a row, have 6 wins against Top 50 teams (including marquee wins over Kansas, UCLA, and Gonzaga, and a win over fellow bubble team SDSU), and have only 1 bad loss (@Stanford). With that much working in their favor, I'm not willing to declare them dead just yet.

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