Friday and Saturday's Games
*Cornell was the first team to lock up an automatic bid, for the second year in a row, with its win over Penn on Friday night.
*As we head in to the final weekend of the regular season, here are the differences between our bracket and the brackets of other bracketologists:
Joe Lunardi (ESPN.com)
He has: Michigan, New Mexico, Northern Iowa
We have: Arizona, Providence, St. Mary's
Jerry Palm (CollegeRPI.com)
He has: Michigan, Rhode Island, Northern Iowa
We have: Providence, St. Mary's, South Carolina
*R.I.P. Cincinnati...and the Big East getting 9 bids.
*Michigan picked a pretty good time to win a road game. The Wolverines will be in Monday's field, but they'll still need to win a Big Ten tourney game to be safe. Minnesota's fate for Monday will be determined by how the rest of the bubble fares today and tomorrow. Even if they hang on as the eighth Big Ten team, they'll need one (and maybe two) Big Ten wins to like their chances on Selection Sunday. Keep in mind that Minnesota did sweep Wisconsin this season.
*Rakim Sanders just saved BC's season. The Eagles probably would have been out on Monday had Sanders' fadeaway jumper not fallen.
*Albany holds on to upset Vermont. Tony Kornheiser's Binghamton Bearcats have an easier NCAA tourney path now.
*POP! goes Kentucky. The Wildcats are going to have to get to the SEC final, and maybe win it, to get a bid. Their first round game will be against Alabama, followed by LSU and (barring an upset) South Carolina.
*How does Rhode Island reward us for showing them a little Last Four Out love? They lose at home to UMass. The Rams may have to win the A-10 tourney now to get a bid.
*South Carolina avoided the upset bug, and will stay in the field Monday as a result.
*Ginormous win for Texas A&M. They're solidly in right now.
*Interesting move by St. Mary's to add a game against Eastern Washington to the schedule for later this week after the WCC tourney.
*What an absolute mess the Big Ten is. Penn State was unable to lock down its bid at Iowa. Here is what we are left with: Wisconsin swept Penn State and Michigan, Michigan swept Minnesota, Minnesota swept Wisconsin, Ohio State swept Michigan, and Penn State swept Illinois and won at Michigan State. If Northwestern can win at Ohio State today then things will get even messier. It is going to take the conference tourney to sort this all out.
*Maryland blew it at Virginia and opened up a huge door for Virginia Tech if they can win at FSU. All of our ACC posters must really love the fact that the Big Ten is looking more and more like an 8 bid league (we still won't say it is an 8 bid league yet), while the ACC is looking like a 6 bid league.
*New Mexico picked up a huge road win at Wyoming. A trip the the MWC final would put them in good position for an at-large. There are also now some plausible scenarios where the MWC gets 4 bids.
*Creighton down big early...Creighton down big at the half...and Creighton losses big in the end. The Bluejays will be talked about all week and they are definitely in the mix for an at-large bid. They have wins over fellow bubble boys Dayton and New Mexico, and they have an RPI that will likely be in the low 40s. The big problem we think the committee may have with them is that they were only able to share the regular season title with Northern Iowa and that they were unable to reach the conference final. It will be a long week for them (like it was for Illinois State last year) and they will need to have things go their way throughout the week to make it in the end.
*Big win for Auburn today. They are officially on our bubble now having won 8 of 9 and finishing with 10 wins in the SEC. If Florida gets by Arkansas they will face off with the Tigers in the quarters in what will be an elimination game with the winner being right in the mix.
*Radford, East Tennessee State, and Morehead State (wow, what a game) - welcome to the Big Dance.
*We'll be back later tonight...keeping an eye on Stanford at Arizona, Wright State at Butler, and UNLV at SDSU.
*...And we're back. Butler was able to squeeze past Wright State and into the Horizon final, where they will face potential bid-stealer Cleveland State on Tuesday night. The Bulldogs will be in the field win-or-lose come Wednesday. Arizona also held serve at home against Stanford to finish 9-9 in the Pac-10. That should be good enough for a bid, but the Wildcats might want to beat ASU in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament to feel really good about their chances.
*UNLV has the best OOC resume of any MWC team, but they finished with seven conference losses and are on the outside looking in right now after losing at SDSU. It was the second win of the season for the Aztecs over the Rebels, who ended up with the 5 seed in the MWC tourney as a result. SDSU earned the 4 seed, which means that these two will play again on Thursday in an elimination game. The loser of that game will have no at-large hopes, while the winner will need to beat BYU in the semis to like its at-large chances on Selection Sunday. Both of these teams will enter the conference tourney behind New Mexico in the MWC pecking order. The Lobos split with every good MWC team during the regular season, but they finished a game ahead of SDSU in conference and three games ahead of UNLV. They've also won eight of nine overall. The Lobos' first round match-up against Wyoming (again) in the MWC tourney is very winnable. If they beat the Cowboys, and then upset Utah to get to the final, they'll be in great shape for an at-large.
*Who would have thought a week or so ago that all three ACC bubble teams (Maryland, Virginia Tech, and Miami) would finish 7-9? The "luckiest" of these three teams is Maryland, who ended up getting the 7 seed in the ACC tourney. They'll face N.C. State in the opening round. Miami and VT will square off in the 8/9 game. The loser of that is obviously done, while the winner is going to need to upset Carolina to get an at-large. The Terps will also need two wins to get serious at-large consideration.
*Congrats to Northern Iowa for winning the Valley (and for making our lives a little harder over the next week). Creighton is going to be one of the most-discussed and most debated bubble teams all week long. We'll give our updated take on their at-large chances when we release our Monday bracket.
*Ohio State survived Northwestern's upset bid and pulled out a five-point win in Columbus. The loss ends Northwestern's at-large hopes, but we wouldn't be surprised if the still-hot Wildcats make a little noise in the Big Ten tourney.
*Wow...down goes Davidson - to Charleston in the Southern semis. Unlike Creighton, who has a legit at-large resume as a mid-major, Davidson's tournament hopes are all but over. The Wildcats have just one win over the Top 100 (West Virginia), they get crushed in their Bracketbuster game by Butler (with Stephen Curry in the lineup), and they couldn't even get to the championship game of the 20th-ranked conference in the country. Davidson may be clinging to a spot in the Next Four Out list in our bracket tomorrow, but they will need a miracle (or a lot of Steph Curry love from the committee) at this point to get a bid.