Bubbling Times

Selection Sunday is only three weeks away. On Monday, JJ and myself completed a field of 65. It’s time to start watching some of these bubble teams so you actually know which teams can actually make the tournament and possibly actually pull off a first round upset come March. Here are my top Bubble games to watch this weekend:

SATURDAY

west-virginia.gif West Virginia @ #16 connecticut_logo_2003.gif Connecticut

12 pm ESPN Full Court/ESPN 360

West Virginia, at the moment, has a great shot of getting in the tournament. With a lot of other factors that still need to be played out, a win at Connecticut could really solidify the Mountaineers spot in the tournament.

My Winner – Connecticut

pitt.gif Pittsburgh @ syracuse.gif Syracuse

12pm, ESPN/ESPN 360

Syracuse is the ultimate bubble team. It hurt itself with a loss at South Florida, then bounced back against Georgetown, then dropped two at Louisville and Notre Dame. It now has a good opportunity to bounce right back with a win over a team that has only beaten two Big East teams on the road: South Florida and St. Johns. A loss to the Panthers would be damaging.

My Winner – Syracuse

aggies.gif Texas A&M @ oklahoma.gif Oklahoma

2 pm ESPN/ESPN 360

Both these teams will most likely be in the tournament because the Bubble stinks, but the loser of this game would be in deeper trouble of finding itself on the wrong side of the bubble. But let’s take a look at the Aggies. They still have to go to Baylor and have a home date with Kansas to close the season. If they drop this game to Oklahoma (the most winnable), they could very well lose the next two, which would put them at 7-9 in conference. The Aggies might need this one more.

My Winner – Texas A&M

msu.gif Mississippi State @ florida.gif Florida

4 pm, CBS

Florida really needs this one. The one stat that glares out to me is it’s out of conference strength of schedule which is 285. That’s horrible. At 8-5 in the SEC, Florida needs at least two more wins in conference to feel better about itself. With games against Tennessee and at Kentucky remaining, beating an above average MSU team at home is a must.

My Winner – Florida

ohio-state.gif Ohio State @ minnesota.gif Minnesota4 pm ESPN/ESPN 360

Ohio State is 1-9 against the RPI top 50. That win is against a Syracuse team that isn’t very good. With home games against Purdue and Michigan State looming, a win at Minnesota won’t be easy, but might be necessary if the Buckeyes are to make a push for an at-large spot. If it drops this game, it might be in a lot of trouble.

My Pick – Minnesota

#14 vandy.gif Vanderbilt @ arkansas.gif Arkansas

4:05 pm, ESPN Full Court/ESPN 360

Arkansas right now is a bubble team that is in a better position than most. Their next two games (@MISS, vs. AUB) are not too difficult, but a win over a team that just beat the number one team in the nation, would leave a great impression on the committee.

My Winner – Vanderbilt

SUNDAY
kentucky.gifKentucky @ #1 tennessee.gif Tennessee

12 pm, CBS

Right now, if Kentucky got in to the tournament it would be complete garbage. It would get in based on the fact that Kentucky is written on the front of its jerseys. On Friday, the Wildcats lost their freshman sensation Patrick Patterson for the season. He was second on the team in scoring (16.4) and led the team in rebounding (7.7). How will the Wildcats bounce back against a great team who just lost its number one seeding.

My Winner – Tennessee

villanova.gif Villanova @ # 18 louisville.gif Louisville

4pm, CBS

Here’s another bubble team named Wildcats that needs a win on the road against one of the best teams in its conference. Villanova let a chance slip away at home against Marquette on Monday and now has a great opportunity to redeem itself with a marquee win. The Wildcats could really use this one to separate itself from the rest of the bubble teams and possibly get to that magic number of 10 conference wins.

My Winner – Louisville

Enjoy

Aneesh

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