Bubble Watch Week In Review: What a Difference a Week Can Make
A week ago Connecticut was in the midst of a losing streak and in danger of falling out the top 25. Furthermore, UConn players found out they were going to be without head coach Jim Calhoun, who took a leave of absence for medical reasons.
The Huskies responded by knocking off St. John’s and then handed No. 1 Texas its second loss of the week. Clearly, the Huskies aren’t going anywhere.
One the other hand, North Carolina dropped its third straight game against Wake Forest on Wednesday. The Tar Heels have a pretty sketchy resume at this point and would be a questionable at-large candidate at best.
A couple of teams that have played their way into the bubble position as a result of their recent wins include Seton Hall (Louisville and Pitt) and UTEP (Memphis and UCF). On the other hand, Marshall and Marquette are no longer considered “bubble” teams as a result of their losses during the past week.
However, as I mentioned in last weeks article , at this point in the season it doesn’t take much for a team to ascend or descend into or out of bubble status.
Here are five teams that made the most of their opportunities this past week and five that didn’t.
The Cowboys were definitely a team on the bubble a week ago. But since then, Oklahoma St. has knocked off Colorado and Kansas St. to improve to 3-2 in the Big 12 and have solidified themselves as an at-large team.
After starting 0-3 in conference play, Texas Tech was in desperate need of wins. The Red Raiders responded by winning a pair of games against Iowa St. and Oklahoma. They must find a way for a split this week with Texas and Texas A&M on the road.
I said last week that Charlotte has the ability to do some damage in the A-10. The 49ers backed it up with a big win against Richmond and then backed that up by knocking off LaSalle. Charlotte could really make things interesting when they host Temple this week.
A lot of people considered the Gators an NCAA tournament team last week. I wasn’t so sure. Yes, they had a win against Michigan St., but little else. However, after wins over Arkansas and S. Carolina during the week, Florida has my attention.
In the Pac-10, where mediocrity rules, it was important for Cal to create some separation in the conference standings. The Bears swept the Oregon schools to do just that.
Other Winners: Mississippi, Virginia Tech, Maryland, UNLV, Old Dominion, UAB, Tulsa, Siena, St. Mary’s,
It wasn’t long ago Illinois was sitting atop the Big Ten at 4-0. Since then, the Illini have lost three straight including losses to Purdue and Northwestern during the week. Without many quality wins Illinois is very much in trouble.
Minnesota suffered its second loss in three games to Michigan St. on Saturday. However, it was the loss sandwiched in between against Indiana that has left people scratching their head. The Gophers can’t afford to make any more mistakes if they have an hopes of being an at-large candidate.
It had looked like the Red Storm had recovered from their rough start to the Big East season with wins over Cincinnati and DePaul. Then they go and drop a pair to UConn and Villanova. It looks like St. John’s is slowly fading away.
Coming off a win against California, the Huskies looked like they could compete with the Bears for the Pac-10 title. Instead, losses to UCLA and USC on the road put them 2.5 games behind and a very questionable at-large team.
William & Mary
All the nice wins William & Mary put together before conference play may be all for naught. Back to back CAA loses to VCU and Old Dominion have dropped the Tribe virtually off the bubble picture.
Other Losers: Marshall, Arizona St., N. Carolina, Miami (FL), Dayton
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