Road to the Final Four at Ford Field: The Bubble Is Slowly Shrinking

Jameson FlemingSenior Writer IFebruary 24, 2009

Despite North Carolina's loss against Maryland and Oklahoma's two losses without Blake Griffin, the top four seeds are all but set.

Memphis might sneak up on those teams with a few more losses, but it isn't likely. The Tigers' resume lacks quality wins, and would be the thinnest resume for a top seed in awhile.

It also looks like the location of the top four teams is also locked in. Pitt will likely be the top overall seed, and the closest locations for Pitt is actually in Midwest, as a trip to the Final Four would go through Dayton and Indy. UConn would then obviously get the East, North Carolina to the South and Oklahoma in the West.

The No. 2 seeds also are getting close to locked in. Missouri could make a run down the stretch with its remaining schedule which might be enough to steal the No. 2 seed in their region. Clemson and Kansas are also alive for No. 2 seedings, but it will be tough. The Tigers, however, have a better chance than the Jayhawks.

Arizona State and Washington as a No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, is simply a judgement call at this point. Thursday's game between the two teams will likely decide who gets which come tournament time.

It may look like UCLA is too low as a No. 8 seed, but someone try to convince me using the logic other than "it's UCLA" why the Bruins deserve anything better than that.

If it wasn't for Arizona's non-conference losses, the Wildcats would be in that position. Arizona will likely win three of its final four games (if not all four), so there's still a solid chance 'Zona will end up ahead of UCLA.

UAB and Temple may seem as shockers, but if the Blazers can beat Memphis at home and the Owls finish strong like they should, both teams will have the wins to make it into the tournament.

The Bracketbuster losses by Utah State and Davidson killed their at-large chances if they lose their conference tournaments. The Aggies probably have the talent to be in as an at-large, but they killed themselves with a poor non-conference schedule.

Here is a look at my predicted NCAA Tournament field, complete with seedings, and broken down by region. (continues on next page)


No. 1 UConn vs No. 16 Stephen F. Austin State

No. 8 UCLA vs No. 9 Minnesota

No. 4 Wake Forest vs No. 13 Western Kentucky

No. 5 Xavier vs No. 12 Davidson

No. 2 Duke vs No. 15 Binghamton

No. 7 California vs No. 10 Kentucky

No. 3 Villanova vs No. 14 American

No. 6 Illinois vs No. 11 UAB



No. 1 North Carolina vs No. 16 Alabama State

No. 8 Ohio State vs No. 9 Florida

No. 4 Marquette vs No. 13 Virginia Commonwealth

No. 5 Washington vs No. 12 Temple

No. 2 Louisville vs No. 15 Belmont

No. 7 Dayton vs No. 10 BYU

No. 3 Clemson vs No. 14 Cornell

No. 6 LSU vs No. 11 Wisconsin



No. 1 Pittsburgh vs No. 16 Morgan State/Radford

No. 8 Texas vs No. 9 Arizona

No. 4 Purdue vs No. 13 Miami (Ohio)

No. 5 Florida State vs No. 12 Creighton

No. 2 Memphis vs No. 15 UT-Martin

No. 7 West Virginia vs No. 10 UNLV

No. 3 Missouri vs No. 14 North Dakota State

No. 6 Butler vs No. 11 Miami (Florida)



No. 1 Oklahoma vs No. 16 Long Beach State

No. 8 South Carolina vs No. 9 Boston College

No. 4 Arizona State vs No. 13 Utah State

No. 5 Gonzaga vs No. 12 Siena

No. 2 Michigan State vs No. 15 Robert Morris

No. 7 Syracuse vs No. 10 Tennessee

No. 3 Kansas vs No. 14 Weber State

No. 6 Utah vs No. 11 Maryland


Friday's bubble breakdown

The 25 teams that were considered are Wisconsin, BYU, Oklahoma State, Temple, Georgetown, UAB, Southern California, San Diego State, Florida, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Cincinnati, Michigan, Virginia Tech, UNLV, Baylor, Miami (Florida), Penn State, Rhode Island, Saint Mary's College, Maryland, Nebraska, Kentucky, Providence and Kansas State.

The ten teams that made the field are Wisconsin, BYU, UNLV, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan, Temple, Penn State, Kentucky, Southern California, and Wisconsin.


Today's updated bubble breakdown

The 24 teams that were considered are Tennessee, Wisconsin, BYU, Oklahoma State, Temple, Minnesota, Texas A&M, UAB, Kansas State, Miami (FL), USC, UNLV, Saint Mary's, Maryland, Cincinnati, Boston College, Michigan, Baylor, Kentucky, Penn State, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and Rhode Island

Notre Dame is new to the bubble this week. Dropping off the bubble completely is Georgetown, Providence and San Diego State.

Baylor, Kansas State, and Nebraska and Cincinnati are on the verge of also getting the boot from the bubble.