Bubble Watch - 2-17-11

        We'll be taking a daily look at some of the teams on the bubble in the final weeks of the regular-season. Obviously a lot can happen between now and Selection Sunday, but it starts right now for those teams on the proverbially bubble. They have home wins over Kansas State and Missouri- two teams that have struggled to win on the road this season. 4-7 in Big 12 play just won't cut it though, especially with zero wins on the road since December 8th. The Cowboys are out.

Tennessee 73, South Carolina 67

        Last night's win at home over South Carolina snapped the second three-game losing streak for the Volunteers this season. Even with early losses to Oakland, Charlotte and Charleston, Tennessee boasts wins over Villanova, Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt and Georgia on the road. To go along with their No. 1 rated strength of schedule, Tennessee is in.

San Diego 74, Saint Mary's 66

        Despite by leading by eight at halftime, Saint Mary's couldn't hang out and the formerly-last place Toreros of San Diego came back to stun the WCC-leader Saint Mary's. Although the Gaels have an RPI of 39, they lost to a team with a sub-300 RPI in San Diego. This loss can completely change the team's outlook if it doesn't win the WCC, but luckily, they still have Utah State and Gonzaga on their remaining regular-season schedule. That might be enough.

Illinois 54, Michigan 52
        The Fighting Illini are a tale of two halves- early on this season, Illinois narrowly missed out on taking down Texas, but defeated North Carolina and a Gonzaga team that's been rather hot as of late. They lost to a dreadful UIC team and a Missouri team that's been atrocious on the road this year, but tipped off conference play shooting at a scorching pace and taking down Wisconsin. Ever since, we aren't really sure what Illinois team, especially what Demetri McCamey will show up? They've lost to Penn State, Indiana and Northwestern all on the road. But a much-needed win over Michigan helps here. They are a game over .500 in conference play but have road games against Michigan State, Ohio State and Purdue ahead.

Cincinnati 63, Louisville 54

        What to make of the Bearcats. A 15-0 start over relatively little talent followed by a 7-6 start in Big East play has Cincinnati on the bubble here. This win over Louisville was just what they needed- their first victory all season long over a sure-fire NCAA tournament team. St. John's is probably in the field now, but Cincinnati's other conference wins are over Seton Hall, DePaul (twice), Rutgers and USF- four of the bottom five teams. They'll need more.

Vanderbilt 64, Georgia 56

        Georgia really could've helped its seeding with a win at home, but instead the Bulldogs were smothered late, completing the sweep for Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs still have a win over Kentucky to help their cause, but they could really use another win down the stretch to get in the tournament. Three of the remaining five regular-season games are on the road at Tennessee, at Florida and at Alabama, where the Crimson Tide has been surprisingly good at home, racking up a 13-0 mark.

Duquesne 81, UMass 63

        The Dukes have won 12 of 14, but missed a crucial opportunity to beat Xavier at home and pick-up the A-10 lead. Now, they're tied for second with both Temple and Richmond, more talented teams with better profiles. Could the A-10 get four teams in with Duquesne? They'll have to win out- beating Dayton on the road, Rhode Island at home and finish up with Richmond. And then, win a few more games in the A-10 tournament. The only tournament team they beat is Temple, posting losses to Pitt, West Virginia, George Mason and Xavier.

Colorado State 69, TCU 55

        Could the rams be the third MWC team to make the dance? In conference play, they've lost to New Mexico on the road and BYU and San Diego State at home. Throw in December losses to Colorado and Kansas on the road and the Rams resume doesn't look so bad; but then there are two outstanding blots against Hampton (two point loss) and Sam Houston (by 11) and there's some work to do here. There are games against UNLV, BYU and SDSU on the road remaining so it's not out of the question just yet.

Texas 73, Oklahoma State 55

        We couldn't really expect the Cowboys to realistically hang with the hottest team in the country in conference play, especially playing in Austin, but Oklahoma State is in dire need of a win if they want to make this tournament.

By President Corey Ruff - 2-17-11