Blog Entry

The bounciest sides of the bubble

Posted on: February 20, 2011 12:05 pm

Posted by Matt Norlander

We’re now at the point in the season where results on Saturdays and Sundays, ones worth something of Tournament value, have significant meaning and are coming in heavy doses. Yesterday, though the bubble picture remained clogged, there was some movement up and down that should have impact going forward. Some teams (sorry, Marquette, Nebraska, Butler, etc.) had wins that weren’t of as much value. Below, I’ve listed the results that did carry a fair share of weight.

Bad news first. We start with Duquesne, which isn’t used to having a target on its back in late February. Yesterday, the Dukes went to Dayton and done got did, 64-63. With Temple being the only worthwhile W, and now having dropped three of its last four, Duquesne’s taking on hordes of H2O.

There’s been injuries, and success in the face of that adversity, but Virginia Tech, you were swept by the Cavaliers this year. Those previous eight words are never good, no matter the level of basketball or context. A 61-54 loss to Virginia in Charlottesville puts … I mean, an ESPN studio host was joking last night about Seth Greenberg’s annual Sunday-afternoon/evening appearance on the network. It’s not good right now for 17-8 Va. Tech.

Illinois, meanwhile, is a plane that’s dramatically swooshing and swooping and rising and plunging to the earth. Last night, 61-57 loss to Michigan State, which isn’t shameful, but now puts the 17-10 Illini at 7-7 in the Big Ten, the fourth time this season it’s been at .500. Seeding has been killed and now Bruce Weber’s team has been pulled onto the bubble.

Washington State’s loss was the most overlooked from Saturday. The Cougars fell 71-69 to Arizona State, dropping them to 7-8 in the conference and turning the Pac-10 into a three-bid league in one fell swoop. If the Cougs don’t beat Washington in Seattle one week from today – giving WSU a season sweep of the Huskies — then at-large is out of the question.

Memphis, and it’s not just a loss, but a 67-52 — yes, 15 points! — to 12-14 Rice. Goodbye, at-large hopes, I say. A minimum of four C-USA losses and Gonzaga as your best win is sub-par.

Baylor. We tug with this team more than any other. Last night, the Bears lost 78-69 to Texas Tech, and this happened in Waco, hello. Bears are 17-9, 6-6 in the Big 12 and because of this loss, put themselves in position to need to win at least two of these final four regular-season games: Missouri, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Texas.

Colorado State. The Rams were teetering. A home loss (final tally, 68-61) to Vegas officially sent CSU overboard. NIT will be a fine consolation for this program, though.

Saint Mary’s is now not just flirting with fire, but dancing over it in defiance. First is loses to San Diego and then Utah State at home, 75-65, blowing a 12-point lead it had late in the first half. Gonzaga and Portland are just around the corner. Lose those two and SMC has no shot. Lose one, particularly Portland, and it’s dicier than an angry cook’s countertop.

Now, who did themselves some good? Well, Gerald Robinson (right) and Georgia defeated Tennessee, 69-63, further layering the SEC East by splitting the season series with the Vols. Bulldogs are now 18-8 and two games above .500 in the conference. LSU and South Carolina are ahead, and those winnable games should help squeeze Jawjuh through the Dance’s door.

The flip side of the Illinois loss was Michigan State’s win. A 15-11 team feasts on a falling foe. The Spartans and Illini are closer in resume now than you might think. Or not. Because Illinois has been pretty bad as of late. The Ws over W clubs, Washington and Wisconsin, are MSU’s binky right now. Clinging tight, no doubt.

George Mason got that 77-71 road win against Northern Iowa. The Valley’s demise (relative term) has been commented on plenty in the past 72 hours. But GMU getting this win could be what locks it into at-large territory by the time the CAA conference tournament begins. UNI’s bracket chances were most definitely busted.

West Virginia was on rockier footing than acknowledged. Since Notre Dame, which got felled by WVU, 72-58, yesterday, will be a 5-seed at worst; this is probably the game that gives the Big East a record-breaking nine teams in The Tournament.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Oct 9, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2011 10:40 am

The bounciest sides of the bubble

The defense is horrible?????  What are you talking about??  They are ranked 31st in the nation and 3rd in the ACC!!!  You're blinded by hatred buddy!  And, as far as recruiting, Greenberg has 3 potential top 100 recruits coming to Tech!  A feat never accomplished before at the school!  And if you don't like the newspapers in SWVA then maybe you should move!  They are the local powerhouse in that area whether you like it or not.

Since: Nov 22, 2010
Posted on: February 22, 2011 8:56 am

The bounciest sides of the bubble

The hatred stems from being a local and having to hear the Roanoke Times put them on the front page everytime they beat Radford or VMI.  Tech wins 3 games in a row and every media outlet in SW VA is cheering they are #1 in the country - it's ridiculous and I can't stand it.  You can't walk in a gas station without tripping over the VT hat display, it's gone too far.  There are other schools in the area who have some pretty outstanding accomplishments, but you wouldn't know it from reading the paper or watching the news.

I watch Greenberg get all upset on the sidelines, losing his temper and focus.  The defense is terrible, absolutely not existant and as long as everyone is dishing the ball to Delaney Greenberg seems ok with everything.  The recruiting isn't very remarkable for an ACC team, and the NCAA tourney history for VT is pitiful. 

How do you think he's a good coach is a better question.

Since: Oct 9, 2009
Posted on: February 21, 2011 2:59 pm

The bounciest sides of the bubble

What are you talking about JBALLA???  Your hate of Va Tech stems from something, did you not get into school there?  Let me refresh you, before Seth, Tech was horrible and I should know.  I sat through an 8-win season!  He has done a very good job in making a horrible team relevant in a very short time.  He has started to bring quality recruits to a place that struggles to do that.  And let me also inform you that Virginia Tech doesn't have halfway fans...

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: February 21, 2011 2:03 pm

The bounciest sides of the bubble

What about Gonzaga says they are in? A win over Memphis?

Since: Aug 16, 2009
Posted on: February 21, 2011 3:15 am

The bounciest sides of the bubble

Memphis may have a top-50 SOS, but losing to Rice?, and C-USA is really weak.  I can't see them getting more than 2 teams in.  The A-10 really looked solid - Rhode Island and Dayton, while not going dancing, are very solid middle of the pack teams - and I thought they would get 4 teams in, along with the PAC-10.  But he's right, Duquesne and WashSt losing does not bode well for them.

The WCC should get St. Mary's and Gonzaga in, PAC-10 will get 3 teams in, and the Mountain West looks a little up in the air.  Their top-4, BYU, UNLV, SDSt, and Colorado St are all playing good basketball and it would be nice to see a mid-major conference get 4 teams in.  UNLV should win out, but CoSt is in trouble with BYU and SDSt on the road.  They need an upset to get in.

VaTech, ugh, two losses to a very weak UVA in a down year for the ACC, they may be done.  Clemson may be in.  Interesting, Clemson and VaTech both play Duke and Wake before meeting each other in the season finale on March 5th.  Perhaps the winner of that game gets the nod.

Finally, the weekend's biggest winner might be the CAA: George Mason, ODU and VCU all won their bracketbuster games.

Since: Nov 22, 2010
Posted on: February 20, 2011 10:43 pm

The bounciest sides of the bubble

VT is an engineering school so they should do a "Root Cause Analysis" on Greenberg.  He is the root of the problem, even my dad who is somewhat of a Hokies fan said Greenberg "couldn't coach his way out of a paper bag".  I hate to give them any pointers, b/c I am certainly NOT a fan.... but lose the loser VT.

Since: Jan 1, 2011
Posted on: February 20, 2011 10:06 pm

The bounciest sides of the bubble

You mean 10 teams....Cincy got off the bubble with a 2-0 week and 8-6 in Big East and now 6 road wins on the season....3 top 25 rpi wins...........and maybe the win of the year AT St Johns were 5 of the top 10 could not win.....

Since: May 22, 2009
Posted on: February 20, 2011 9:49 pm

The bounciest sides of the bubble

Hi Matt,

  Nice column.  I have a few inquiries:

1.) What do you make of Old Dominion's defeat of Cleveland State?  The former is 29 in the RPI rankings and CSU is 35.  The importance of this game seems to have been overlooked by many observers, particularly since Cleveland has one of the more talented players in the country, and could potentially pull an upset as they did against Wake Forest several years back.

2.) Virginia Commonwealth's win over Wichita State may have bolstered their at-large campaign and eliminated their opponent's.  Both have RPIs in the mid-50- higher than teams like Marquette and Virginia Tech.

3.) Do you think Utah State is on the safe side of the bubble if the selections were made today?  They would be one of the highest RPI ranked teams in the history of the NCAAs to be excluded from the field, if it happens.

Thanks and take care.

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