Bubble Watch: Tuesday Viewing Guide
I know what you're thinking - late! OMG ACC GAMES ARE ALREADY IN PROGRESS. Yes, but these are like tomorrow's Big Tenteen games - lambs to the slaughter. Not relevant to Bubble Watch. Also, I had meetings most of the day at my day job, which is important because I'm still drawing minion bucks here. It's OK though, I talked J and BD into doubling my salary for every post I make in March. Let's not tell them about how this works out. Deal? Right then, let's get to it.
Last night's results
As expected, Gonzaga and BYU took care of business, dispatching Pepperdine and Portland respectively. I only watched the first half of BYU-Portland, just long enough to confirm that a high-tempo team that's hot from outside will rain death upon ye. Abandon hoops, all ye who enter here. We all knew Gonzaga would win.
Earlier, I watched bits and pieces of two other tournament finals. Wofford had a close call against 10-seed Furman in the Southern Conference championship (if you're wondering about the comments last night, remember that the SoCon is the predecessor of the ACC and the SEC; Davidson, Furman, and VMI were once in the same conference as Wake Forest, Clemson, and North Carolina), which prompted reasonable questions about why smaller conferences have tournaments in the first place. (The short version, which the guy in question did not use, is that small conferences spend a lot of money to send a team that frequently isn't their best to lose in the NCAAs, and the earlier that team goes out, the smaller the payout for that conference is.) Manhattan beat Iona for the MAAC title, which suggests that maybe if you're a high-tempo team you should have a deeper bench. (Iona's 17th in tempo, but 329th in bench minutes.)
Also Northeastern beat William & Mary for the CAA title; I forgot that NBCSN does the same garbage that ESPN does, so I apologize if you clicked on that link and then got no basketball for your trouble.
Current Status: In
Bracket Matrix: 10.92, 101 of 107 brackets. Another tiny bump, slowly moving the Boilers toward a first-round game instead of an opening-round game.
Lunardi: third 11-seed, facing Providence in Columbus, no change.
dratings: third 10-seed, up six spots. Hello! (Indiana's dropped to the third 2-seed in the NIT; Illinois the fourth 1-seed.)
kenpom: 48th, no change.
RPI: 56th, no change.
Tonight's Top Game
WCC Championship: #2 BYU (25-8, RPI 42-tie) vs. #1 Gonzaga (31-2, RPI 8), 9:00 on ESPN
BYU is in the field, but doesn't have a lot of room to spare. Losing to Gonzaga probably doesn't change that, even if it's a blowout loss. Winning obviously gets them in - which is bad for Purdue because it creates a team with a similar profile who can't be bumped. Root for Gonzaga.
Yes, the Horizon League final is tonight (Green Bay at Valparaiso, 7:00 on ESPN). No, it doesn't matter who wins. While both teams have RPIs similar to Purdue (62 and 61 vs. Purdue's 56), the Horizon is not going to be a two-bid league. SOS is a major factor (296 for the Crusaders, 201 for the Phoenix). That's what they get for calling themselves Green Bay. In lieu of a rooting factor, I give you Pacer.
The other finals are the Summit League (North Dakota State vs. South Dakota State, 9:00 on ESPN2) and the Northeast (St. Francis Brooklyn vs. Robert Morris, 7:00 on ESPN2). One-bid conferences, both.