I defy you to tell me that the weeks leading up and during the NCAA tournament are not the best ones of the year. After another exciting weekend and a few bids already clinched, click here for my latest projections through Sunday’s games.
The Last Four In
Penn State (21-10)
All the Nittany Lions had to do to lock up their bid was to win at Iowa on Saturday and they could not pull it off. Thanks to a weak non-conference schedule, they are back on the bubble, which means they cannot afford a loss to Indiana in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament.
New Mexico (21-10)
The Lobos picked up a road win at Wyoming to claim a share of the Mountain West regular season title. Due to a litany of bubble team losses, they are now in the tournament. They will likely get another shot at Utah in the MWC tournament, and a victory there could lock up their bid.
It turned out to be a good thing for the Friars that they were idle over the weekend. That allowed them to just sit back and watch others lose, while they get ready for the Big East tournament. I still think they need at least one win there to get in.
Saturday’s loss to San Diego State gave the Aztecs a season sweep. UNLV still squeaked into the field thanks to a tougher non-conference schedule, where they picked up wins over Arizona and Louisville.
The Last Four Out
The Gophers squandered a double-digit second half lead against Michigan to knock themselves out of the tournament. That loss gave the Wolverines a season sweep over Minnesota. Coupled with a weak non-conference slate, Tubby Smith’s squad is in a must-win game versus Northwestern to open the Big Ten tournament.
San Diego State (21-8)
As mentioned above, they do have a sweep over fellow bubble team UNLV. What they do not have is a decent out of conference win. They get the Rebels again to open the MWC tournament and must knock them off for a third time to strengthen their case.
Saturday’s home win against Kentucky kept the Gators alive, but there is still work to be done. First and foremost, they cannot lose to Arkansas in their round one match-up. I think they would also need to knock off Auburn in round two to truly be considered a tournament team.
Miami (FL) (18-11)
A devastating loss to Georgia Tech last Wednesday kept the Canes from finishing at .500 in the ACC and will likely keep them out of the tournament. The first order of business is to knock off bubble contender Virginia Tech. However, North Carolina is lurking in round two, if they make it that far.
Auburn, Kentucky, Creighton, Davidson, Kansas State, Rhode Island, and Tulsa
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.
Listen to old episodes here or search RotoRadio on iTunes.