Time to separate the pretenders from the contenders. Championship Week almost always provides clarity to the bubble, and this year should be no different.
21 teams…10 spots. Let’s look at the games that you’ll want to pay attention to this week.
ND vs. VT – It’s not quite a win and in for the Irish (as long as they beat Pitt…they better beat Pitt). Win and then beat Duke on Thursday…that would do it for sure.
Louisville vs. FSU – The Cards won at FSU earlier this year. A loss probably ends their hopes.
Syracuse vs. UNC – The Orange have to avoid a landmine against Wake on Tuesday, but then will get a chance to play their way in the tournament.
Oklahoma St vs. Oklahoma – Okie State needs this to have any chance at a bid…the RPI (87) and non-conference SOS (278) are a black eye to their resume. The Sooners are probably safe.
Arizona St vs. Colorado – Hurley’s boys went 8-10 in the Pac 12, and should still be in, but probably have to take out the Buffs to solidify the bid.
Baylor vs. WVU – Baylor has a very similar resume to 2017 Wake Forest, who ended up in Dayton. They don’t have a bad loss, and losing to Huggy Bear likely won’t kill them.
Texas vs. Texas Tech – See directly above, and the same is true for Texas.
Kansas St vs. TCU – K State is probably in good shape, but that 325th ranked non-conference SOS could be a problem if they lose to the Frogs.
Oregon vs. Utah – As long as Oregon avoids the landmine against WSU, this is an elimination game.
USC vs. Washington – USC is in better shape than Washington, I think. The Huskies better take care of Oregon State on Wednesday.
UCLA vs. Stanford – One more win and UCLA is in.
Marquette vs. Villanova – The Fighting Wojos have DePaul on Wednesday, and a loss would kill their chances. If they beat Nova…lock them in.
Providence vs. Creighton – I really don’t think Providence is anywhere close to safe. This win would help, but of the 21 teams still in the mix for a bid, there are five total losses to Q4 teams. Providence has three of them.
Butler vs. Seton Hall – Butler’s resume isn’t very good, as they are only 2-9 in road/neutral games against Q1/Q2 teams. Win and they are in.
Alabama vs. Texas A&M – I really think Alabama may win this tournament. But if they lose to A&M, they have no shot at 17-15. Remember, Vandy at least got to 19 wins last year.
LSU vs. Tennessee – This presumes that LSU gets by Mississippi St on Thursday, but beating Tennessee would get them a seventh Q1 win and probably get them in the field.
Who hits the landmine and who plays their way in? We’ll have some clarity by Friday. To the bracket…
Last Four In – UCLA, USC, Providence, Marquette
Reminder, St. Mary’s would be in here, but I’m projecting that they take care of BYU and then Duke West in the WCC finals.
In Consideration – Alabama, Louisville, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Oklahoma St, LSU, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Penn State, Nebraska, Boise State
SOUTH – Atlanta
|Charlotte||1 Virginia (1)||16 Penn/Texas Southern|
|8 Oklahoma||9 MTSU|
|5 Gonzaga||12 Loyola-Chicago|
|Boise||4 Wichita State||13 Vermont|
|Dallas||3 Michigan State||14 Charleston|
|6 Miami||11 Baylor|
|7 Seton Hall||10 St. Bonaventure|
|Nashville||2 Auburn||15 Wright State|
WEST – LA
|Wichita||1 Kansas (4)||16 SF Austin|
|8 Virginia Tech||9 Creighton|
|5 Ohio State||12 St. Mary’s|
|San Diego||4 Arizona||13 Murray State|
|Wichita||3 Tennessee||14 Montana|
|6 Nevada||11 UCLA/Providence|
|7 Missouri||10 Kansas State|
|Pittsburgh||2 UNC||15 UCSB|
EAST – Boston
|Pittsburgh||1 Villanova (2)||16 Radford/Hampton|
|8 NC State||9 Rhode Island|
|5 Florida||12 S. Dakota State|
|Boise||4 WVU||13 Louisiana|
|Dallas||3 Michigan||14 UNC Greensboro|
|6 Texas A&M||11 Texas|
|7 Houston||10 Arizona State|
|Charlotte||2 Duke||15 Wagner|
MIDWEST – Omaha
|Detroit||1 Xavier (3)||16 Lipscomb|
|8 Arkansas||9 Florida State|
|5 Texas Tech||12 New Mexico State|
|San Diego||4 Clemson||13 Buffalo|
|Nashville||3 Purdue||14 Bucknell|
|6 Kentucky||11 USC/Marquette|
|7 TCU||10 Butler|
|Detroit||2 Cincinnati||15 Iona|