Road to The Final Four at Ford Field Bracketology: Bubble Teams Grab Big Wins

Jameson FlemingSenior Writer IFebruary 27, 2009

The top four seeds are pretty safe despite all the losses during the past week. Those four teams needed to lose multiple games down the stretch in order for them to lose their top spots. Oklahoma gets a pass considering the nation's top player, Blake Griffin, didn't play against two tournament quality teams.

Louisville has the best shot at a top seed if the Cardinals can win out, and that includes the Big East Tournament.

If any of the two seeds make a major slip down the stretch, the winner of the Border War between Kansas and Missouri could snag one of those seeds.

It's hard to believe that the winner of the Pac-10 and the winner of the SEC won't do any better than a four and a five seed. LSU could eventually move up to a four seed if it can win the SEC Tournament.

Although Butler is a seven seed, the Bulldogs could easily drop completely out of the tournament with a loss against Cleveland State Saturday and a loss in their conference tournament. In the past, Butler has ended up being seeded a few seed lines lower than expected. If that trend continues this year, two more losses in the Horizon League might actually be enough to completely knock them out of the tournament.

Siena and Creighton have positioned themselves to maybe, just maybe, garner an at-large bid if they lose their conference tournaments, but both have to win out until then.

Bracket and Bubble Breakdown after the page break.



1 Connecticut vs 16 Morgan State

8 South Carolina vs 9 Dayton

4 Wake Forest vs 13 VCU

5 Illinois vs 12 Siena

2 Duke vs 15 Binghamton

7 Butler vs 10 UNLV

3 Villanova vs 14 Cornell

6 Xavier vs 11 Oklahoma State



1 North Carolina vs 16 Alabama State vs. Radford

8 West Virginia vs 9 Minnesota

4 Washington vs 13 Western Kentucky

5 Gonzaga vs 12 Texas A&M

2 Louisville vs 15 American

7 California vs 10 Penn State

3 Kansas vs 14 UT-Martin

6 Florida State vs 11 Kentucky



1 Pittsburgh vs 16 Mount St. Mary's

8 BYU vs 9 Florida

4 Purdue vs 13 North Dakota State

5 LSU vs 12 Miami

2 Michigan State vs 15 Belmont

7 Texas vs 10 Arizona

3 Clemson vs 14 Akron

6 Syracuse vs 11 Creighton



1 Oklahoma vs 16 Stephen F. Austin State

8 Ohio State vs 9 Florida

4 Marquette vs 13 Utah State

5 Arizona State vs 12 Davidson

2 Memphis vs 15 Long Beach State

7 UCLA vs 10 Cincinnati

3 Missouri vs 14 Weber State

6 Utah vs 11 Maryland


Bubble Breakdown

Here's Tuesday's 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.

Of those 24 teams, Temple (loss to La Salle), UAB (Memphis was a must win), Baylor (nine conference losses), and Nebraska (loss to Texas A&M) have been knocked off the bubble.

This week's bubble breakdown features 13 spots that 22 teams are fighting for. The 22 teams considered are Tennessee, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, Dayton, Texas A&M, Minnesota, Ohio State, Florida, Miami, Michigan, UNLV, Arizona, Cincinnati, St. Mary's, USC, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Penn State, Providence, and Notre Dame.

Dayton has dropped into bubble consideration; the Flyers are still safely in the tournament, but could lose two or more remaining games with conference contests against Temple, Xavier, and Duquesne left.

Providence is back into the bubble picture after knocking off Pitt. The Friars still lack enough quality wins, but do have two wins against Cincinnati, which could go a long way.

Rhode Island and Notre Dame make the bubble because both have a realistic chance to pick up a lot of wins down the stretch that could sneak them into the field.

The big wins mentioned in the article's title are Maryland's win over North Carolina, Providence over Pitt, Rhode Island over Dayton, Michigan over Purdue, and Virginia Tech over Clemson.

Only four SEC teams are making the field, Kentucky and Tennessee have shot themselves in the foot too many times for both to go dancing. The Volunteers have a slightly better resume, but the Wildcats hold two head-to-head victories.


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