Time to start looking at the NCAA Bubble and the Gopher's chances. First of all we have to get ourselves back on the bubble before we can even begin to think about getting a tournament berth.
There are about a bazillion different bracket projections out there. All have the teams they think are locks, barely clinging to life in the Tourney, the first several "out" and teams not under consideration. I can't possibly look at all of them so I'll be using three primary sources. SBN's weekly Bracketology, Joe Lunardi's Bracketology and then the Bracket Project's matrix of the other brazillion predictions.
UPDATE: If you are looking for more BUBBLE TEAM breakdowns, I strongly urge you to check out Blogging the Bracket's bubble watch.
I don't want to scare you all too much but there is a LONG list of teams that are either barely in or on the bubble. This is probably not even a complete list but it is a list of teams the Gophers have to surpass to get themselves into the Big Dance. (note: these are the teams Lunardi has under consideration when he lists his % chance of getting into the Tourney)
|Florida||19-8||53||57||3rd (t)||Likely IN|
|Marquette||17-9||59||50||6th (t)||Likely IN|
|St. Mary's||21-5||46||125||2nd||Better than 50/50|
|UAB||21-5||31||94||3rd||Better than 50/50|
|Rhode Island||20-6||25||61||6th||Better than 50/50|
|Dayton||18-8||43||41||7th||50/50 at this point|
|San Diego State||18-7||38||71||3rd||50/50 at this point|
|Mississippi St||19-8||65||115||4th (t)||50/50 at this point|
|UConn||16-11||45||2||8th (t)||Less than 50/50|
|Cincinatti||15-11||56||16||8th (t)||Less than 50/50|
|Arizona State||19-8||58||74||2nd||Less than 50/50|
|Memphis||20-7||60||107||2nd||Less than 50/50|
|Mississippi||17-9||63||54||7th (t)||Likely OUT|
|Wichita State||21-7||50||126||2nd||Lots of work to do|
|Washington||18-9||60||49||4th||Lots of work to do|
|South Florida||16-10||68||43||8th (t)||Lots of work to do|
|Notre Dame||17-10||80||60||8th (t)||Lots of work to do|
|Minnesota||16-10||76||63||7th||Lots of work to do|
|Seton Hall||15-10||52||11||8th (t)||Lots of work to do|
The Big East is the most interesting conference to watch right now. There are six teams that are virtual locks and then there are another five or six teams scrambling for as many at-large bids the NCAA will allow them. WVU, Syarcuse, Vilanova, Louisville, Pitt and Georgetown are locks. Right on their heels is Marquette who has a good shot at getting in. And then you have five teams with a 6-8 conference record all with varying strengths and weaknesses to their resume (UConn, Cincy, Notre Dame, South Florida and even Seton Hall).
The SEC also has a handful of schools fighting to get in. Florida's resume is fairly strong right now but the Mississippi schools are in a dog fight to get themselves in. Of course a big loss for Florida would be nice for Minnesota's sake.
The Pac-10 is incredibly weak this year which means Arizona State and Washington should have plenty of opportunities for W's as they close out the season. ASU has a couple tough games left @ Cal and hosting USC. Washington has three games left, all on the road but all against the bottom of the conference.
Then of course you have the mid-majors trying to get as many teams in for their conference as possible. For these teams a loss usually does more damage than say Minnesota losing to Purdue this week would do. Mid-major major upsets are what we are cheering for.
Games that Matter this Week, and what we need to happen.
Right now we are cheering for teams currently on the bubble or barely "in" to lose. Of course the other part of this crucial equation is that we need to win. Beating Purdue on Wednesday would do wonders for our RPI and boost us back up toward the bubble. Since I'm "tracking" so many teams lets just go with the first few days of this week before we move on to the weekend. As stated a number of times, if we lose on Wednesday none of this will matter anymore, if we win then Bubble-Ology coverage will pick up significantly here.
- West Virginia @ UConn - The only game of consequence tonight. The Huskies have two straight road wins and finally return home for a big one. Go Mountaineers!
- Tennessee @ Florida - Florida's resume is good enough right now but a home loss would bring them back closer to the bubble.
- Rutgers @ Seton Hall - Considering Rutgers sits very near the bottom of the Big East this one should be a W for Seton Hall.
- South Florida @ Villanova - another matchup of bubble team vs. ranked team. If things keep playing out like this (AND THE GOPHERS WIN) we'll get back into the picture here.
- San Diego State @ BYU - read above.
- Pitt @ Notre Dame - a home loss here might be the nail in the coffin for Notre Dame (and Minnesota for that matter).
- UAB @ UCF - UCF is a .500 team at home. This would be a big upset.
- DePaul @ Cincinnati - Bearcats should be OK here as DePaul is really bad this year.
- Saint Joes @ Charlotte - StJoes is down this year but an upset win here would be doubly good as it would boost our SOS and knock down Charlotte.
- Marquette @ St. John's - praying for an upset here.
- Auburn @ Mississippi - chance to pick up a home win for the Rebels who have lost 3 in a row.
- Wichita State @ Bradley - The Braves did just knock off #1 Northern Iowa last week, can they do the same to the Shockers?
- Alabama @ Miss State - Bama beat the Bulldogs at their place now they go for the sweep!
- Dayton @ Temple - this is a key game for the week. GO Owls!
- Memphis @ Houston - the Tigers beat up Houston pretty good last time around, this would be a pretty surprising upset.