This list is completely arbitrary and not a genuine analysis of the relative merits of state fossils.
Your Monday Bubble Watch Rooting Guide
Not a huge slate of games today, but a couple of interest for Michigan fans. I'm using the Bracket Matrix for my list of bubble teams to watch, so keep in mind that it gets just a little bit out of date at times (only 28/47 brackets in their matrix have been updated since all of this weekend's games, and 18 haven't updated in more than a week. I promise you that Minnesota is nowhere near the field, much less solidly in like the Matrix says).
I'm considering 8 and 9 seeds "on the bubble" for now, since most of them have 2 more games plus a conference tournament to go. Going 0/3 would knock a lot of those teams out - unlikely though that may be for a lot of them. Most of those teams will be locks with their next win, so the situation is very fluid for the final week of the regular season.
Per the Bracket Matrix:
|Teams||Bubble In||Bubble Out|
|Big East||11||Marq (10)|
|SEC||6||Tenn (9), UGa (10), Bama (12)|
|Big Ten||6||Ill (10), MSU (10), Minn (11)||Mich, PSU|
|ACC||5||VT (12), BC (11), FSU (9)||Clem, Mary|
|Big 12||5||KSU (9)||Neb, Bay, Colo, OkSt|
|Pac-10||3||Wash (8), UCLA (8)||USC|
|Atlantic 10||3||Richmond (12)||Dayton, Duquesne|
|Mountain West||3||UNLV (8)||Colo St|
|West Coast||2||Zaga (12), St Mary's (11)|
|Colonial||2||Old Domin (8)||VCU|
|CUSA||2||Memphis (11), UAB (12)||USM, UTEP, Marsh, UCF|
|WAC||1||Utah State (9)|
|Missouri Valley||1||Missouri St (13)||Wichita St|
|Horizon||1||Butler (12)||Cleve St, Valpo, UW-Mil|
|Summit||1||1-bid Oakland (13)|
|Northeast||1||1-bid (LIU-Brooklyn)||Robert Morris|
|MAC||1||1-bid (Kent St)||Buff, Miami, WMU|
|Ivy||1||1-bid Harvard (13)||Princeton|
|Metro Atlantic||1||1-bid (Fairfield)||Rider, Iona|
|Mid-Eastern||1||1-bid (Beth-Cook)||Hampton, Morgan St|
As a general rule, you are cheering against all the teams listed (except, of course, Michigan). Some of your biggest cheers should go against:
- Marquette. With no Big East teams on the wrong side of the bubble, the Golden Eagles losing should knock the Big East down to a 10-bid(!) league.
- Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. Same story in the SEC. With no teams on the wrong side of the bubble, losses by these squads will reduce the number of bids for their league.
- Minnesota. They're probably already waaaay on the outside by this point, but one more loss should be the nail in the coffin.
- All the listed ACC teams except Clemson. The Tigers are a Michigan opponent (indeed, a Michigan road win), but the rest of those teams getting knocked out opens up some spots.
- All the listed Big 12 teams. This makes you a huge fans of the great (Kansas and Texas) and terrible (Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Iowa State) Big 12 teams. Double whammy for Kansas, as they're a past Michigan opponent.
- Washington, UCLA, and USC. If these three lose, the PAC-10 could be a 1- or 2-bid league.
- Richmond. The spiders losing will lose bids for the A-10. Dayton and Duquesne are probably done.
- UNLV and Colorado State. Though the Mountain West may end up with a pair of 2-seeds (BYU and SDSU), if UNLV and Colorado State don't finish strong, those could be the only bids.
- Gonzaga and St. Mary's. Next loss by either of these two could drop the West Coast Conference down to a 1-bid league.
- Old Dominion. Bring the Colonial down to a 1-bid league.
- All the Conference USA teams except for UTEP (a past Michigan opponent).
You are also a big fan of some teams:
- Harvard. A past Michigan opponent, you want them to win the Ivy league over Princeton. There's a decent chance the Crimson end the season in the RPI Top 50.
- Utah State. They're probably going to make the tournament no matter what, so you don't want the WAC Tournament to be won by anyone else.
- Butler. They're on the borderline, but almost in the same situation as USU. You want them to be the only Horizon League team in the tourney. Barring that, you want them knocked down a peg so they won't make the tournament unless they win the league.
- Michigan State. Just plug your nose and do it. You want them to be a top-50 team, so Michigan can get 2 wins over them.
And so, without further ado, your rooting guide for tonight's games.
- Villanova over Notre Dame (7:00PM, ESPN). Both teams are solidly in, but the Wildcats only played (bubble squad) Marquette once, whereas Notre Dame split 2 games with the Golden Eagles. Every little bit counts, and you're also weakening the top of the Big East a bit. Plus you get to cheer against Notre Dame.
- South Carolina Upstate over Florida Gulf Coast (7:30PM, live video, audio, and stats here). Michigan played USC-Upstate earlier this season. Strengthen that schedule, baby!
- NC Central over Bethune-Cookman (8:00PM, live audio here). NC Central is a past opponent as well.
- Texas over Kansas State (9:00PM, ESPN). This set of Wildcats is strongly on the bubble. Hopefully Texas can loosen their grasp on a bid.
- Cal State Bakersfield over Gonzaga (9:00PM, gametracker and audio here). As mentioned above, you want Gonzaga to lose their chance at an at-large bid.
There are a few games of interest tomorrow (about as many as today), so I'll update again in the morning. Wednesday should be a pretty huge day of movement on the bubble, so that night's slate of games should have a lot to watch.
As a side note, I'm no expert bracketologist, so if you think I have something wrong, let me know in the comments.