Tuesday Update: At-large hopefuls looking to dodge bullets early on
It was a pretty good night for the bubblers on Monday. Not perfect, but not bad at all.
Saint Mary's emphatic win over Gonzaga locks up two bids for the WCC, although that seemed like a pretty decent possibility anyway, barring a Gonzaga blowout win. Combined with victories by favorites Old Dominion (likely to get in anyway) and Siena (probably not), the size of the bubble stayed pretty much where it was, which is reason for great rejoicing for those at the cutline.
Congratulations also are in order for the Wofford Terriers, who did what William & Mary couldn't, making the NCAAs for the first time in school history. They downed Appalachian State in the SoCon final.
If Butler can close out the Horizon final on Tuesday night, at-large hopefuls will have dodged a good number of bullets -- and it could be a very, very murky couple of days sorting this out at the end of the week. There's also first-round action in the Big East and Atlantic 10, which could impact things.
Duke remains strongly in the mix for a No. 1 seed. Maryland is playing for a protected one. Beyond those two, Clemson and Florida State look set to dance, while Georgia Tech may be playing its way right into the NIT.
Kansas remains locked in as a No. 1 seed, but K-State's hopes of pushing onto that line ended abruptly with two losses this week, including a home shocker to Iowa State. Missouri joins the lock party after getting to 10-6 in the league. The only question, outside of a shock tourney champ, is whether Oklahoma State makes it, and the Cowboys are in solid shape.
Syracuse remains entrenched as a No. 1 seed despite the loss at Louisville. That win very well may send the Cards to the NCAAs.
Is this where it ends for the Big East? Could be.
Purdue has won twice now since losing
As almost everyone else on the bubble slides back, the Pac-10 candidates at least kept winning their games, so Arizona State and Washington are fair game to discuss. They're slated to meet in a Pac-10 semifinal if they both get there, which could double as an NCAA play-in game.
It may be too late for
The teams behind the big three are not making this very easy. It's very possible this league only gets four teams in if the three locks all make the semis. Kentucky will be a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs.
The great league race ended with Temple and Xavier tied at 14-2 and Richmond a game back. The Owls get the 1-seed by virtue of their five-point home win over the X-men. With the other bubblers crippling themselves this week, it very well could end up with just three for a league that looked poised for four or five bids. Disappointing.
Old Dominion held off William & Mary for the CAA crown, and likely will be the only team in the NCAAs from this conference.
New Mexico will be seeded ahead of BYU. Salt Lake City is 300 miles closer to Albuquerque than Houston, so presumably the Lobos would stay in the West and push BYU to the East. We'll see.
UNI pulled away from Wichita State in the second half of the MVC final to nail down the title and remove any at-large doubt. Now Wichita State waits and hopes, but likely is headed to the NIT.
UTEP rallied past UAB Saturday for an enormous win and a league crown by two games over Memphis. The Miners are in pretty decent shape now as a possible at-large, should they need one.
Gonzaga got run over in the last 12 minutes in the WCC final, and that will cost the Zags a seed line or two, but they're still safely in the dance. Butler tries to save an at-large for someone else tonight when the Bulldogs face Wright State. Elsewhere, Utah State is in very legitimate shape for an at-large should they need one.