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Even with a good win over Arkansas last night, a bid to the NCAA tournament is not a lock right now for the Florida Gators Men's Basketball team. They must get past Auburn tonight in the second round of the SEC Tournament to have a realistic shot at the tournament. If fact, we probably need to win in a very convining manner. Without a win tonight, 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 yesterday's " what to watch for ", 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. With the losses of Arizona, Providence, UNLV, and Rhode Island last night, here are the updated bubble teams. There are SEVEN at-large spots available, and these teams were on the bubble (in order): Michigan, Minnesota, Penn St., South Carolina, New Mexico, St. Mary's, San Diego St., Florida, Arizona, Creighton, UNLV, Auburn, Maryland, Davidson, Kentucky, Providence, Miami, Tulsa, Kansas State, Temple, Rhode Island, and George Mason.
12:00 pm ET - (8) Minnesota vs (1) Michigan State - Big Ten+1 Tourney - Second Round
Minnesota got a big win over Northwestern last night and further strengthened their argument for a bid. A win tonight against Michigan State would lock in their spot. After a 16-1 start, Minnesota [22-9 (9-9), RPI: 41, SOS: 42] 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 got swept by Michigan State this season.
Root for Michigan State to win big.
Probable Winner: Michigan State in a close one
1:00 pm ET - (E4) Kentucky vs (E1) LSU - SEC Tourney - Second Round
Kentucky had an impressive win over Ole Miss last night. They still need to make a big splash in this tournament to make the big dance. 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. LSU won the only meeting this year, in Lexington.
Root for LSU to win.
Probable Winner: LSU in a close one
3:15 pm ET - (W3) Mississippi State vs (E2) South Carolina - SEC Tourney - Second Round
I don't expect South Carolina [21-8 (10-6), RPI: 49, SOS: 94] to lose this one, but if they do big, they will drop big time.
Root for Mississippi State big.
Probable Winner: South Carolina in a close one
4:00 pm ET - (1) Memphis vs (4) Houston - CUSA Tourney - Semifinals
Memphis got a scare last night, trailing early in the second half. But they put Tulane away with a late run. 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 57 straight games in CUSA play over the last three years.
Root for Memphis to win out.
Probable Winner: Memphis big
6:30 pm ET - (7) Michigan vs (2) Illinois - Big Ten+1 Tourney - Second Round
Michigan won big last night against Iowa. In my eyes, Michigan [20-12 (9-9), RPI: 42, SOS: 10] is pretty set to enter the tournament, even with a big loss. They have big wins over Duke, UCLA, and Illinois. Iowa has upset them, splitting the season series.
Root for Illinois to win by 30+.
Probable Winner: Michigan in a close one
6:30 pm ET - (4) Temple vs (1) Xavier - A-10 Tourney - Semifinals
Temple [20-11 (11-5), RPI: 40, SOS: 36] can get a big boost with a win over #1 seed Xavier. In the A-10, I already have Xavier and Dayton as locks, even with losses in the conference tourney. Having a Temple upset would eliminate another at-large spot for the Gators.
Root for Xavier to take this one.
Probable Winner: Xavier in a close one
6:30 pm ET - (2) Tulsa vs (3) UAB - CUSA Tourney - Semifinals
Tulsa won again last night and can get a big boost if they upset Memphis in Saturday's final. In CUSA, I only have Memphis as a lock. Having a anyone else upset them would eliminate another at-large spot for the Gators.
Root for UAB to take this one.
Probable Winner: Tulsa in a close one
7:00 pm ET - (9) Baylor vs (5) Texas - Big-12 Tourney - Semifinals
Baylor scored a huge upset over Kansas yesterday. Baylor must win the conference tourney to make the big dance. In the Big 12, I already have Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Missouri as locks, even with losses in the conference tourney. Having a Baylor Cinderella run upset would eliminate another at-large spot for the Gators.
Root for Texas to take this one, to eliminate any possibilities of a "Georgia-esque" run.
Probable Winner: Texas in a close one
7:00 pm ET - (7) Maryland vs (2) Wake Forest - ACC Tourney - Second Round
Maryland [19-12 (7-9), RPI: 67, SOS: 29], like Florida, is on the wrong side of the bubble. They ended up defeating a weak NC State team last night. 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 Wake Forest to rout them.
Probable Winner: Wake Forest in a close one
9:00 pm ET - (1) Utah State vs (4) New Mexico State - WAC Tourney - Semifinals
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 in a close one
9:00 pm ET - (7) Duquesne vs (3) Dayton - A-10 Tourney - Semifinals
Duquesne scored an upset over Kansas yesterday. Duquesne must win the conference tourney to make the big dance. In the A-10, I already have Xavier and Dayton as locks, even with losses in the conference tourney. Having a Duquesne upset would eliminate another at-large spot for the Gators.
Root for Dayton to take this one.
Probable Winner: Dayton big
9:00 pm ET - (6) Penn St. vs (3) Purdue - Big Ten+1 Tourney - Second Round.
Penn St [22-10 (10-8), RPI: 66, SOS: 103] has surprised a lot of people this year, as they are usually the Big Ten+1 doormat. They dominated Indiana last night and look to face Purdue tonight. A Win over Purdue will likely cement a bid in the tourney. 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.
Root for Purdue to win big.
Probable Winner: Purdue in a close one
9:00 pm ET - (4) San Diego St vs (1) BYU - MWC Tourney - Semifinals
In last night's matchup of two bubble teams, San Diego State beat UNLV for the third time this season. San Diego State [22-8 (11-5), RPI: 43, SOS: 57] has some good wins including New Mexico and Utah, and they've only lost to locks or bubble teams (no bad losses). A win over BYU would lock up a bid.
Root for BYU to win, and win big.
Probable Winner: BYU in a close one
10:05 pm ET - Eastern Washington at St. Mary's
St. Mary's did a very smart thing by scheduling another game after their conference tournament. I don't agree with the rule, but it should work to their advantage. They now have their best player Patty Mills back, and they now get to showcase him in front of the committee.
Root for Eastern Wastington to win, or at least keep it close.
Probable Winner: St. Mary's big