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As well all may know by now, a bid to the NCAA tournament is not a lock right now for the Florida Gators Men's Basketball team. They must get past Arkansas tonight in the first round of the SEC Tournament, and then probably take down Auburn in the second round. Without wins in these two games, the team that won back-to-back national championship just two short years ago is probably destined for the NIT for the second consecutive year. As I mentioned in my last bubble watch, there are many other teams in a similar position to the mighty Gators. Here is a list of games to watch tonight and who gator fans should be rooting for...
I've dropped St. Mary's to the bubble (a high bubble position none-the-less) after their dismal performance against Gonzaga in the WCC championship game. On my last bubble watch, I mentioned that there were SIX (now SEVEN) at-large spots available, and these teams were on the bubble (in order): Michigan, New Mexico, St. Mary's, Arizona, Penn St., Minnesota, San Diego St., Florida, Miami, Creighton, Kansas State, Auburn, UNLV, Providence, Maryland, Davidson, Tulsa, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Temple, and George Mason.
12:00 pm ET - (9) Miami vs (8) Virginia Tech - ACC Tourney - First Round
I had mentioned that Virginia Tech [RPI: 63, SOS: 22] had worked themselves out of a possible at-large spot with a poor end to the regular season. Miami, on the other hand, is still on the bubble and very close to where Florida is at. Miami [RPI: 52, SOS: 26] has had some good wins, including Wake Forest and FSU at home, and BC twice. They also have some bad losses, including Georgia Tech. The Canes and Hokies split the season series.
Therefore, root for Virginia Tech, as it would help the Gators a lot more.
Probable Winner: Miami in a close one
12:00 pm ET - (1) Louisville vs (8) Providence - Big East Tourney - Third Round
Providence [RPI: 72, SOS: 49] won there second round matchup against Depaul, but it wasn't convincing. They are right there on the bubble. They have some good wins, including Pitt and Syracuse. However, they were blown out by UConn, WVU, Nova, and Louisville earlier in the season.
Therefore, root for Louisville to win, and win big.
Probable Winner: Louisville big
12:00 pm ET - (8) Minnesota vs (9) Northwestern - Big Ten+1 Tourney - First Round
After a 16-1 start, Minnesota [RPI: 41, SOS: 43] struggled mightily down the stretch. They have some good wins against Louisville, Illinois, Wisconsin twice, and Ohio State. But they got swept by fellow bubble team Michigan. they split the season series with Northwestern.
Therefore, root for Northwestern to pull the upset.
Probable Winner: Minnesota in a close one
1:00 pm ET - (E4) Kentucky vs (W5) Ole Miss - SEC Tourney - First Round
I've learned a few key things during my time in Gainesville. One is "Whenever it is possible to root against Kentucky, do so feverishly." We have the upper hand against Kentucky, who split the season series with us, and also have some really bad losses at home, including VMI and Georgia. Ole Miss won the only meeting this year, in Oxford.
Root for Kentucky to make it to the NIT instead.
Probable Winner: Kentucky in a close one
1:00 pm ET - (2) Tulsa vs (10) Rice - CUSA Tourney - Quarterfinals
Tulsa is a longshot to make the tournament anyway. However, a loss by them will give Memphis a clearer path toward the auto-bid.
Root for Rice.
Probable Winner: Tulsa big
2:30 pm ET - (7) Michigan vs (10) Iowa - Big Ten+1 Tourney - First Round
In my eyes, Michigan [RPI: 42, SOS: 10] is pretty set to enter the tournament, even with a loss. They have big wins over Duke, UCLA, and Illinois. Iowa has upset them, splitting the season series.
Root for Iowa to pull the upset again, hopefully by a big margin.
Probable Winner: Michigan big
3:00 pm ET - (4) Kansas State vs (5) Texas - Big 12 Tourney - Second Round
Kansas State [75, SOS: 114] has the fourth seed due to some tiebreakers, but is really the 7th best team in the Big 12. They have a bad computer profile. However, they beat Texas in their only meeting, in OT. I already have Texas as a lock for the tournament.
Root for Texas to take this one.
Probable Winner: Texas in a close one
3:00 pm ET - (4) Arizona State vs (5) Arizona - Pac-10 Tourney - Second Round
Arizona [RPI: 54, SOS: 32] is one of those teams that most people can't figure out. They seem to win big games, but don't always play to their potential. They've lost to UAB and Stanford, but they've beaten UCLA, Washington, Gonzaga and Kansas. Very odd. Also, they were pretty bad on the road, and this tournament is not at home. They've lost twice to ASU this year, so let's hope the trend continues.
Root for Arizona St, as they are already a lock for the big dance.
Probable Winner: Arizona St in a close one
5:00 pm ET - (6) Penn St. vs (11) Indiana - Big Ten+1 Tourney - First Round.
Penn St [RPI: 64, SOS: 101] has surprised a lot of people this year, as they are usually the Big Ten+1 doormat. They're good wins are Illinois twice, Purdue, and Michigan St in East Lansing. However, they also lost to Iowa and to fellow bubble teams Rhode Island, Temple, OSU, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Indiana is terrible this year, and Penn St beat them twice, although they were both close.
Root for Indiana in a shocker.
Probable Winner: Penn St in a close one
5:30 pm ET - (4) San Diego St vs (5) UNLV - MWC Tourney - Quarterfinals
This matchup pits two bubble teams and seems like an elimination game to me. San Diego State [RPI: 43, SOS: 61] has some good wins including New Mexico and Utah, and they've only lost to locks or bubble teams (no bad losses). UNLV started off the season hot winning against Arizona, Louisville, BYU twice, and Utah. But they have losses against Colorado State and TCU. Also, San Diego State has beaten UNLV both times this year. Other bracketologists have UNLV settled in the tournament, higher than both Florida and SDST. San Diego St, on the other hand is right next to Florida on that cut line.
Root for UNLV to win, and win big.
Probable Winner: UNLV in a close one
5:30 pm ET - (1) Utah State vs (9) Fresno State - WAC Tourney - Quarterfinals
Utah State should be in the tournament with or without winning the conference tourney. However like with Memphis, the rest of the conference is weak and would be swallowing up an at-large spot with an upset.
Root for Utah State to win out.
Probable Winner: Utah State big
7:00 pm ET - (7) Maryland vs (10) NC State - ACC Tourney - First Round
Maryland [RPI: 67, SOS: 29], like Florida, is on the wrong side of the bubble. But if any other those teams falter, Maryland will be right there waiting. Maryland good wins include Michigan State, Michigan, and North Carolina. however, they've also lost to Morgan State and Virginia. they defeated NC State in their only meeting this year.
Root for NC State to pull the upset.
Probable Winner: Maryland in a close one
7:00 pm ET - (1) Memphis vs (8) Tulane - CUSA Tourney - Quarterfinals
Memphis is a tournament lock with or without winning the conference tourney. However like with Utah State, the rest of the conference is weak and would be swallowing up an at-large spot with an upset. Memphis has won 56 straight games in CUSA play over the last three years.
Root for Memphis to win out.
Probable Winner: Memphis big
11:30 pm ET - (3) New Mexico vs (6) Wyoming - MWC Tourney - Quarterfinals
New Mexico [RPI: 59, SOS: 85] is playing really well as of late, winning their last five. they've beaten BYU, Utah, and UNLV, but they've lost to UCF, Drake, and UTEP. They defeated Wyoming twice this year.
Root for Wyoming to pull the upset.
Probable Winner: New Mexico in a close one