March Madness 2011 Predictions: Who Fell Short in the Conference Tournaments?
Bubble teams were put to the test this week in their conference tournaments, a last chance to impress those who will ultimately determine their fate.
With the constantly shifting bubble, it's sometimes difficult to tell who is in and who is out.
But for some teams, it becomes crystal clear.
Here are six squads who did not help their own cause this week. Some went out with a bang, while others simply slipped quietly away.
UAB's first-round loss to East Carolina in the Conference USA tournament ended any chance the Blazers had of making the Big Dance.
They needed, at the very least, to get to the final and beat a Memphis or a Southern Mississippi to enhance what was a relatively weak resume.
Their record is good (22-8) and their RPI is very good (30th) but they have only one top 50 RPI win.
They do have 10 wins against the top 100, but the lone win against top competition may be their downfall.
Of note, though, is the fact that two other schools projected to be in the tournament (Utah State and St. Mary's) only have one top 50 win each as well.
After losing a heartbreaking Conference USA final to Memphis, 67-66, the Miners appear to be on the outside looking in.
They do have a decent RPI (48th) and have two top 50 RPI wins, but it likely won't be enough to make a return appearance to the Big Dance.
With the parity, and sometimes inconsistency, of the conference this season, it essentially came down to a one-bid league. I don't entirely agree with this, as UTEP is a very talented team that could give a lot of teams trouble.
I'm hoping to be surprised, but the NIT seems more likely.
As the season slipped away for the Baylor Bears, things went from bad to worse.
Outstanding freshman Perry Jones was suspended just prior to the Big 12 tournament for receiving improper benefits. Won't go into details about that other than to say it was yet another example of the NCAA's hypocrisy.
That said, the Bears were pasted by Oklahoma, a fitting end to what has been a very, very disappointing season.
The NIT may await, but if I were one of the Bears I wouldn't count on it.
Boston College Eagles
The Eagles lost big to the Clemson Tigers on Friday, which could be their death knell in terms of landing an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
The big six conferences get some preference, and BC does have a decent record and strength of schedule, but it is lacking in top 50 RPI wins (one).
Stranger things have happened, but just as Clemson's win puts the Tigers closer to the Dance, Boston College's loss likely moves the Golden Eagles out of consideration.
After a close loss to Arizona yesterday, it appears as though the USC Trojans' late surge to make the NCAA tournament has fallen short.
A win would have given USC 20 for the year, and another quality victory to help offset some early season head-scratchers.
Coach Kevin O'Neill was suspended for the remainder of the Pac-10 tournament after an altercation with an Arizona booster in a hotel. Hard to believe the guy can't stay in one place for too long.
Yesterday's loss to top-seeded (nationally and in the Big Ten tournament) Ohio State was the one that got away.
The Wildcats opened the tournament with a win over Minnesota, and would have at least been in the conversation for an at-large bid with a win over the Buckeyes.
Alas, they fell in overtime, and next season will again search for their first NCAA tournament appearance.
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