If the past few days are any indication, apparently a lot of bubble teams don’t actually want to get in the tournament. Regardless, it should make for an interesting weekend and conference tournament season. Click here for my latest projections through Thursday's games:
The Last Four In
St. Mary's (24-5)
Patty Mills is due back for the WCC tournament, and if he plays and gets them to the title game I think the Gaels are in. With him in the lineup, they are clearly one of the top 65 teams in the country.
Texas A&M (22-8)
A road win at Colorado moved the Aggies over .500 in the Big 12, which proved to be enough thanks to losses by Kentucky, Florida, Maryland, Virginia Tech, and Miami (FL) in the past couple days. Non-conference victories over Arizona and LSU also helped their case, but a win over Missouri this weekend would solidify their bid.
Like Texas A&M, an idle Wolverine team gets in by virtue of all the other bubble teams’ losses. That said, they cannot afford to lose this weekend at Minnesota.
Despite falling to Villanova last night, the Friars squeaked into the bracket thanks to victories over Pitt and Syracuse and the horrible performances by other bubble teams. Their Big East season is now complete, but they could use a win or two in the conference tournament to give them some breathing room.
New Mexico (20-10)
It was a very close decision as to whether to include the Lobos. While they have played well in the MWC, I can’t get past some of their horrible early-season losses. Still, a road victory at Wyoming this weekend would probably be their best road win of the year and may be enough to get them over the hump should others falter.
Virginia Tech (17-12)
The Hokies’ loss to North Carolina was not unexpected but dropped them to 7-8 in the ACC with a trip to Florida State coming up this weekend. A win there would likely get them back in the tournament.
Rhode Island (22-8)
The Rams are 10-1 in their last 11 games, and they are making a case for three A-10 teams to make the Big Dance. Their two best wins are over Penn State and Dayton, and they have played some of the nation’s top teams pretty well. The overall weakness of the conference is holding them back though.
After tying Northern Iowa for the regular season title in the Missouri Valley, the Blue Jays will need to at least make the finals to get an at-large bid. A head-to-head win over New Mexico may come in handy if they start to get compared to the Lobos.
Maryland, Kentucky, San Diego State, Miami (FL)
Let me know your thoughts at Bottoms@rotoexperts.com and check back for updated brackets leading up to the tournament. Also be sure to check out my college hoops show on blogtalkradio.com with John Gasaway of BasketballProspectus.com, airing Mondays at 9:00 Eastern.