Bracketology: A very bubbly day ahead

There are a lot of important games to day with potential impact on the bracket, and the bubble in particular.

The biggest bubble game of the day is in the Big East, where Providence faces St. John's.  The Friars are in better shape at the moment, but that may not be true if they lose for a second time to the Red Storm.  A lot of people look at a game like this and call it a "play-in game," but it's more likely a play-out game.  The loser is in trouble.  The winner still isn't a sure thing.

In the ACC, Pitt plays Wake Forest looking to avoid its first bad loss of the season.  The Panthers have only one win against a sure tournament team, so the best thing you can say about them is that they don't have any bad losses.  That needs to still be true after today.

SMU faces Houston in the American quarterfinals today.  The Mustangs have done a decent job against the better teams on their schedule, but they have a horrible non-conference schedule and two bad losses already.  It would be in their best interests to avoid a third.

Dayton is another team looking to avoid a bad loss.  The Flyers got hot down the stretch to put themselves into the conversation, but they have to beat Fordham today or all that effort could go to waste.

Xavier is one of the teams I list in the first four.  The Musketeers have a tough first round opponent in the Big East tournament in Marquette.   Xavier isn't a lock with a win, but it will be a very nervous selection Sunday if they lose.

In the Big Ten, Minnesota is trying to fight its way back over the cut line.  That will require at least one quality win in the conference tournament.  The Gophers will have to beat Penn State for the second time in a week to get that opportunity.

Southern Miss' at-large chances are slim at best, but they're almost zero if they lose today at UTEP in the Conference USA tournament.

In the very bubbly SEC, both Arkansas and Missouri will try to avoid devastating losses in their first tournament games against South Carolina and Texas A&M, respectively.

And finally, a little further up the bracket, Arizona can lock up a No. 1 seed if it hasn't already with a win over Utah.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Jerry Palm started writing about sports on the Internet right after Al Gore invented it. He was the first to bring RPI out in the open and is one of the pioneers of predicting the March Madness bracket.... Full Bio

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