Blog Entry

Poppin' Bubbles: Do-or-die in league tourneys

Posted on: March 6, 2012 2:06 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 10:02 pm
Seton Hall kept its at-large hopes alive with a dominant win over Providence in the Big East first round. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

It truly is do-or-die time for bubble teams. With a loss, they will be left to sit on the sidelines until Selection Sunday, anxiously awaiting the committee to announce their fate. With a win, they get to keep boosting the profile and also stay squarely in the forefront of the committee’s collective mind. With the Big East and Atlantic 10 tournaments getting underway on Tuesday, several bubble teams have work to do.

Note: This page will be updated throughout the day, with bubble discussion and analysis.


Connecticut: The Huskies, with their quintet of top-50 wins and terrific strength of schedule, seem to still be in pretty good shape. What they couldn’t afford, however, would have been a loss in the first round to DePaul. Jim Calhoun’s troops obliged, cruising to an easy win over the Blue Demons. Connecticut improves to 6-8 away from home, which doesn’t look as bad anymore. The Huskies will play fellow bubble team West Virginia on Wednesday. The winner will be locked in, the loser will sweat until the selections. 

Seton Hall: The Pirates likely had to win two Big East tournament games to get into the NCAA tournament (or at least feel remotely comfortable about it), and they accomplished the first step of that task on Tuesday. Seton Hall overcame a slow start to throttle Providence over the last 20 minutes. Next up for the Pirates is a battle with Rick Pitino and Louisville. Can Seton Hall survive a loss there? Depending on what else happens around the country, they might not be able to. A win would certainly help.

The Flyers still have a extremely strange profile, but they also have at-large hopes after taking care of business against George Washington in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament. In the quarterfinals, Dayton will get Xavier for the third time this season. It's a huge bubble game, as both teams need a win and neither team might be able to overcome a defeat. The Flyers have three very good wins over Temple, Saint Louis and Alabama, but four sub-100 losses makes things difficult.

Saint Joseph's:
The Hawks have a lot of work to do in order to get an at-large bid, but they are still alive after holding off Charlotte in the second half. Next up is a rematch with St. Bonaventure, which beat Saint Joseph's last week and really hurt the Hawks' at-large hopes. If SJU wants to hear its name called on Selection Sunday, it needs to beat the Bonnies and then probably also beat Temple in the semifinals. 
The Crimson will not have to sweat it out on Selection Sunday, and they certainly won't have to sweat a one-game playoff on Saturday. Princeton beat Penn in the regular-season finale, meaning Harvard clinched the outright Ivy League championship for the first time since 1946. Harvard is going to the NCAA tournament.

Everyone else:
With Harvard getting the automatic bid, there is no chance the Ivy League gets two bids to the NCAA tournament. For yet another time this season, it seems power conference teams on the fence are continuing to luck out. The bubble hasn't shrunk yet. 


Proponents of mid-majors:
As I mentioned in the prior sentence, the bubble hasn't shrunk yet. What that means is that we haven't seen the mid-major conferences get any extra bids as a result of a surprising tournament champion. We almost saw it happen in the Missouri Valley, where Creighton had to hold off Illinois State, while Murray State barely escaped Tennessee State in the Ohio Valley. Moreoever, with Penn losing tonight, there's no chance that both Harvard and the Quakers get a bid. Throw in the fact that Oral Roberts, Iona, Middle Tennessee and Drexel all lost in their conference tournaments, and we're on the path to seeing a plethora of middling power-conference teams get a bid -- and very few potential upset picks in the first round. It could make the NCAA tournament slightly less exciting on the first two days. 

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Since: Oct 28, 2010
Posted on: March 7, 2012 6:27 am

Poppin' Bubbles: Do-or-die in league tourneys

Cong largent - saw this question somewhere enforce. The home rule does not apply to the First Four ascitvis the only site for tat round. Dayton could play a home game if slotted there.

Since: Aug 12, 2011
Posted on: March 7, 2012 5:28 am

Poppin' Bubbles: Do-or-die in league tourneys

1 minor complication which might work against Dayton on selection Sunday.  The last 4 at-large teams will play the "1st Round" in Dayton, OH as it does every year.  In Dayton's home arena.  A NCAA team CANNOT play a game on its teams home court.  Can they just push Dayton up to the 12 seed to avoid the conflict (they truely would be a last 4 in team), or would they simply leave the Flyers out to also avoid the conflict.  I can't see the selection commity rewarding a bubble team simply due to venue constraints.  Guess they just need to make it easy and win the A10 tourny.

Since: Feb 6, 2012
Posted on: March 7, 2012 1:06 am
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Since: Mar 6, 2012
Posted on: March 6, 2012 11:28 pm
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Since: Mar 23, 2007
Posted on: March 6, 2012 8:30 pm

Poppin' Bubbles: Do-or-die in league tourneys

Which team has "no impressive wins"?  Both Uconn and Seton Hall have a few top 50 wins, which is more than most "bubble teams".

Since: Dec 16, 2006
Posted on: March 6, 2012 7:32 pm

Poppin' Bubbles: Do-or-die in league tourneys

I hate to break it to you "experts" but 8 - 10 in a watered down big east, no impressive wins to speak of. They're looking up at the bubble and need serious success in their conference tourny to even be considered. I can see 8 from the big east but no more than that. The other team you "experts" love to put in, Texas. Sorry but they deserve to be NIT bound too. 

Since: Apr 13, 2007
Posted on: March 6, 2012 7:32 pm

Poppin' Bubbles: Do-or-die in league tourneys

I wouldn't call her traditionally 'hot' or even attractive really, but she is easy.  So at least that's something..

Since: Dec 8, 2006
Posted on: March 6, 2012 6:53 pm

Poppin' Bubbles: Do-or-die in league tourneys

My wife is hot and she ain't on no bubble!!!!

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