Breaking Down The Bubble

Breaking Down The Bubble

Submitted by smwilliams on March 2nd, 2017 at 2:19 PM

After last night's loss to Northwestern, I got a little panicked about the thought of Michigan blowing their next 2 games and missing out on the tournament. To help assauge my fears, I took a look at all the bubble teams (based on Bracket Matrix) and how they fared in the categories we know the Committee tends to weigh heavily in their decision making process. Those categories are: Record, RPI, Non-Conference SOS, Wins vs. Top 50 RPI, Wins vs. Top 100 RPI. Apparently, they have added some emphasis on advanced metrics (my guess is KenPom) to aid in their decision-making process. 

Here are the "Bubble Teams" at the moment:

Atlantic 10: VCU, Rhode Island

American: Houston

ACC: Syracuse, Wake Forest

Big Ten: Michigan, Northwestern, Michigan State, Illinois

Big East: Xavier, Seton Hall, Marquette, Providence

Big XII: Kansas State

Pac-12: USC, Cal

SEC: Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Georgia

Mid-Majors: Wichita State, Illinois State, Middle Tennessee, UNC-Wilimington, Texas-Arlington

TEAM RECORD RPI NCSS VS. TOP 50 VS. TOP 100 (L vs. 100+)
Michigan 19-11 48 84 4-8 11-11 (0)
VCU 23-7 23 83 2-3 7-4 (3)
Rhode Island 20-9 42 20 2-3 4-7 (2)
Houston 20-9 51 85 1-5 3-6 (3)
Syracuse  17-13 78 201 6-7 8-10 (3)
Wake Forest 17-12 38 13 2-9 7-12 (0)
Northwestern 21-9 45 160 4-6 10-9 (0)
Michigan St 18-12 46 21 6-7 11-11 (1)
Illinois 17-12 55 50 5-8 10-12 (0)
Xavier 18-12 31 24 3-8 8-11 (1)
Seton Hall 19-10 50 200 3-6 9-9 (1)
Marquette  18-11 59 249 7-6 9-10 (1)
Providence 19-11 54 171 5-7 10-8 (3)
Kansas St 18-12 58 220 3-8 5-11 (1)
USC 22-8 35 168 2-5 5-7 (1)
Cal 19-10 53 34 1-7 4-9 (1)
Arkansas 22-8 27 39 3-6 10-6 (2)
Vanderbilt 16-14 47 1 4-8 9-13 (1)
Georgia 17-12 49 17 1-7 9-11 (1)
Wichita St 26-4 41 221 1-4 2-4 (0)
Illinois St 24-5 33 139 1-1 2-3 (2)
MTSU 25-4 39 27 2-1 4-1 (3)
UNCW 24-5 36 88 0-1 5-3 (2)
UTA 22-6 37 43 1-2 2-3 (3)

Based on Bracket Matrix, 18 of these 24 teams are currently in the field. Obviously, that # could drop if the mid-majors lose in their conference tournament. If neither WSU/ISU, MTSU, UNCW, or UTA win, there would be at minimum 14 spots for these 24 teams. Where does Michigan stand in each category?

Record:

If Michigan were to lose out and end up at 19-13, they'd be playing with fire. A list of teams with less than 20 wins to garner at-large bids in the last 5 years is as follows:

2016: Vanderbilt (19-13, Play-In), Oregon State (19-12, #7), Texas Tech (19-12, #8), Syracuse (19-13, #10)

2015: Oklahoma State (18-13, #8)

2014: Nebraska (19-12, #11)

2013: N/A

2012: West Virginia (19-13, #10)

2011: Tennessee (19-14, #9), Penn State (19-14, #10), Illinois (19-13, #9), USC (19-14, Play-In), Michigan St. (19-14, #10)

Some years are more leniant than others to teams with less than 20 wins, but picking up that 20th win would make us all feel much safer on Selection Sunday. Not only does that 20th win represent an important benchmark, but it avoids the stigma of Michigan being in a freefall and finishing the year with 3 consecutive losses. That said, you may realize that half of these teams currently have less than 20 wins. I'd root against all of them as hard as you possibly can. 

RPI:

Michigan is currently dead center in terms of RPI with the 12th best RPI among bubble teams. Again, the concern with losing out is that two more losses to average-or-worse teams would probably see their RPI end up in the high 50s or so, which would put them towards the back of the pack depending on what other teams do. I believe last year, Michigan went into Selection Sunday with a RPI in the low-60s and barely made it in. 

Non-Conference SOS:

This is much better. 85 isn't eye-popping, but this stat will remain static (ha!) until Selection Sunday. Michigan sits 14th, but some of these teams have truly dismal numbers. The Valley teams and the Big East might suffer from not having played many good teams outside of their conference (or in-conference in the case of Wichita St. and Illinois St.)

Michigan is in good standing here.

Record vs. RPI Top 50:

And here we get to the good stuff. Michigan currently has the 7th most wins against teams in the RPI Top 50. The mid-major teams are hard to gauge because they haven't had many opportunities, but when you look at teams like Wake Forest, Cal, and Georgia, Michigan is a cut above. This may not matter much for a team like VCU, but UNC-Wilmington has played 1 game against a Top 50 opponent all year. The Committee will not look favorably at that. 

Record vs. RPI Top 100:

And here's our shining star. Michigan is tied with State for the most wins against Top 100 teams of anybody on the bubble. Last year's team had 4, count 'em, 4 wins against Top 100 teams. And much like last year, they have zero losses outside of teams in the Top 100. They have as many wins as almost half the teams have games played. Also, even if they lose their last 2, they'd still be Top 100 opponents (Nebraska is currently at 85). 

Conclusion: 

Of the 37 brackets updated after last night, Michigan is in all of them and is an 8 or 9 seed in 32 out of the 37. They are actually the highest ranked team on the Matrix out of all 24 teams. Even if they lose out, it seems unlikely that 14-18 of these teams will do enough to pass Michigan within the next two weeks. 

That said, beat Nebraska and all of this is moot and the Big Ten Tournament becomes about whether they can climb to a 6-7 seed (if they make the semifinals/finals) rather than spending next Thursday worrying about winning or getting left out. If you'd like to watch some games with an eye towards eliminating some competition, here are my recommendations:

THURSDAY:
Houston at Cincinnati [7:00 p.m., ESPN2] (root hard for Cincinnati)
Tulsa at SMU [8:00 p.m., CBSSN] (root for SMU who is currently a Top 25 win on a neutral floor)
FIU at Middle Tennessee [7:30 p.m., ESPN3] (a loss to FIU would pretty much kill their at-large hopes)
Cal at Utah [11:00 p.m., ESPNU] (Utah isn't bad, but Cal needs to avoid losses)
UT-Arlington at Louisiana-Monroe [No TV] (same deal at MTSU, lose and say good-bye to an at-large bid)
 
FRIDAY:
MVC Quarterfinals [ESPN3] (root for Wichita State, against Illinois State)
 
SATURDAY:
Illinois at Rutgers [12:00 p.m., ESPNU] (GOOOOOO SCARLET KNIGHTS)
Providence at St. John's [12:00 p.m., No TV?] (Johnnies win would severaly damage the Friars chances)
Texas Tech at Kansas St. [1:00 p.m., ESPN News] (a home loss to Texas Tech would put Kansas State on the outside looking in)
Georgia at Arkansas [2:00 p.m., ESPN2] (both bubble teams, but Arkansas is probably in whereas Georgia needs to do some damage)
Florida at Vanderbilt [2:00 p.m., ESPN] (another good win for Vandy would make them very viable)
Michigan State at Maryland [2:00 p.m., BTN] (root against State just because)
Cal at Colorado [2:00 p.m., PAC-12] (if they don't lose to Utah, a loss here would be great)
George Mason at VCU [2:00 p.m., No TV] (VCU is closer to in, but a loss could help Michigan's seeding)
Xavier at DePaul [2:00 p.m., No TV] (DePaul is the Grim Reaper for bubble teams)
Seton Hall at Butler [2:30 p.m., ?] (a road win at Butler could bump the Pirates ahead of Michigan)
Creighton at Marquette [2:30 p.m., ?] (the Blue Jays are in, but sliding down seed lines. Marquette is right on the bubble. I'm torn)
Georgia Tech at Syracuse [4:00 p.m., ACC Network] (I left GT off my list with a RPI in the 80s, this is a weird game and I'm not sure how to feel)
Memphis at SMU [4:00 p.m., ESPN 2] (keep rooting for SMU)
Wake Forest at Virginia Tech [4:30 p.m., ACCN] (VT is technically a bubble team, but they'll make it. Don't let the Demon Deacons get another big win, also the better the Hokies look, the less worse our home less to them is)
Davidson at Rhode Island [6:00 p.m., No TV] (a loss at home to Davidson would send the Rams to the NIT)
FAU at MTSU [6:00 p.m., ESPN3] (see above, any loss is a bad loss for our favorite Sparty-killers)
Washington at USC [6:30 p.m., PAC-12] (Washington is the DePaul of the west this year)
UT-Arlington at Louisiana-Lafayette [8:15 p.m., ESPN3] (any loss is a bad loss, again)
MVC Semifinals
 
SUNDAY:
Purdue at Northwestern [4:30 p.m., CBS] (a win here seals the deal for Northwestern)
MVC Championship Game
 

Question for the Bubble Watchers?

Question for the Bubble Watchers?

Submitted by cp4three2 on March 8th, 2011 at 1:32 AM

 

This seems really weird, but St. Mary's has a game after their conference tournament.  It seems like they're considered a lock now despite losing their conference tournament, but what if they lose to Weber State?  Could that knock them off?  Weber seems to be pretty crappy with an above 100 RPI, could even winning this game hurt their resume?

 

Also, has a team ever scheduled a game after their conference tournament before this?

 

http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/team/schedule/_/id/2608/sain…

Your Saturday Bubble Watch Rooting Guide and Open Thread

Your Saturday Bubble Watch Rooting Guide and Open Thread

Submitted by Tim on March 5th, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Now part of a recurring series. Check out jamiemac's Diary on the Bracket Matrix for more breakdowns as they specifically relate to Michigan.

Tales from Last Night

Last night went much better for Michigan than did Monday. The relevant results for the Wolverines:

  • Harvard beat Penn 79-64. The Crimson are a past opponent, so we want them to do very well.
  • Princeton beat Dartmouth 77-55. We wanted Princeton to lose because they're Harvard's competition for the Ivy League title and NCAA Tournament bid.

It was a small schedule last night, and everything went as expected.

The Bubble

Looks like The Matrix isn't going to update before tonight's relevant games start, so the table below comes from yesterday's update.

Per the Bracket Matrix:

  Bids Bubble In Bubble Out Change
Big East 11 Marq (10)    
SEC 5 Tenn (9), UGa (10), Bama Bama out.
Big Ten 6 Mich (12), MSU (10), Ill (9) Minn, PSU  
ACC 5 Clemson (12), BC (12), VT (11), FSU (9) Mary  
Big 12 5   Neb, Bay, Colo, OkSt  
Pac-10 3 Wash (9), UCLA (8) USC, Washington St.  
Atlantic 10 3 Richmond (11)    
Mountain West 3 UNLV (8) Colo St  
West Coast 2 Zaga (12), St Mary's (11)    
Colonial 2 George Mason (8), Old Domin (8) VCU  
CUSA 2 Memphis (12), UAB (11) USM, UTEP, Marsh, UCF  
WAC 1 Utah State (9)    
Horizon 1 Butler (12) Cleve St, UW-Mil  
Summit 1 1-bid Oakland (13)    
Ivy 1 1-bid Princeton (13) Harvard  

Chart doesn't include last night's results.

Today's Games

Big day. General rule: cheer against bubble teams, and for past Michigan opponents.

  • Kansas @ Missouri (Noon, CBS). The Jayhawks are a past Michigan opponent, so you want them to win.
  • Virginia Tech @ Clemson (Noon, ESPN2). These are both bubble teams, but Virginia Tech has a stronger resume right now and Clemson is also a past Michigan opponent. Pull HARD for the Tigers.
  • Indiana @ Illinois (Noon, BTN). You want Indiana to stay above the 200 RPI threshold, so Michigan's loss to them isn't as bad. Plus, the Wolverines own a win over Indiana but not Illinois. This game could also hurt the Illini's psyche before a possible first-round BTT matchup with Michigan. HOWEVA, Indiana ain't gon' win, so don't worry about it.
  • Duquesne @ Richmond (Noon). The Spiders are a bubble team, and you want the Dukes to do everything in their power to change that.
  • Georgia @ Alabama (1:30, ESPN3). Both are bubble teams, but the Bulldogs are slightly stronger right now, and you want Alabama to knock them down to their level - especially since the Tide probably lost their main at-large chance against Florida the other night.
  • Iowa State @ Kansas State (1:30, ESPN3). Iowa State has no shot at an at-large bid, so you want them to do as much damage as possible to Kansas State.
  • Oregon @ Arizona (2:00, CBS). Haha, most of you have to watch this instead of a game that more than 8 people care about. CBS hates you.
  • Virginia @ Maryland (2:00, ESPN3). Root for the Hoos to end Maryland's chances to get an at-large.
  • UTEP @ SMU (3:00). Though UTEP is a fellow bubble team, they're a past Michigan opponent so you want them to do well. If the MSU game isn't going so hot, switch allegiances to SMU, I guess.
  • Purdue @ Iowa (4:00, ESPN). You want Iowa to spring the upset and stay in the RPI top 200 (not gonna happen).
  • Tulane @ Memphis (4:00). The Green wave can end Memphis's hopes to pick up an at-large bid by saddling them with a bad loss.
  • Oklahoma State @ Oklahoma (4:00, ESPN3). Oklahoma State is on the bubble fringe, but the Sooners can end that on their senior day.
  • UNLV @ Utah (4:00). The Runnin' Rebels are solidly in the tournament, but Utah is a past Michigan opponent.
  • UCLA @ Washington State (5:30). The Bruins are solidly in the tournament, and can knock off Washington State's run.
  • Marquette @ Seton Hall (6:00, ESPN3). Marquette is sliding after Wednesday's loss to Cincinnati, and this could finish them.
  • Princeton @ Harvard (7:00, ESPN3). The Ivy League's website breaks down title scenarios. You are a HUGE Harvard fan in this one (see top section of this post).
  • Southern Utah v. Oakland (7:00). Past Michigan opponent Grizzlies kick off their conference tournament.
  • UCF @ Marshall (7:00). Both teams are on the bubble, so root for UCF because they're a little further behind.
  • East Carolina @ UAB (8:00). UAB is on the bubble, and you want East Carolina to knock them off it.
  • Southern Miss @ Tulsa (8:00). Same goes for this game.
  • Texas @ Baylor (9:00, ESPN). You want Texas to permanently knock Baylor out of the running for a bubble spot.
  • Nebraska @ Colorado (9:00). Both bubble teams, root for the weaker one.
  • Colorado State @ San Diego State (10:00). The Aztecs can knock Colorado State off the bubble.
  • Canisius v. Rider (10:00, ESPN3). Least important game on the docket, since both schools are highly unlikely to get anything other than an autobid. Get good karma by rooting on John Beilein's old team, though.
  • USC @ Washington (10:30). Since USC lost Thursday night, they're going to miss the tournament. Root for them to weaken Washington on their way out.
  • Buffalo @ Bowling Green. The Falcons are a past Michigan opponent, and you want them to end up as respectable as possible.

Tons of games today, but remember that most of them mean nothing unless the maize-and-blue can emerge victorious over MSU.

Go Blue Wear Maize Beat State.

Your Tuesday Bubble Watch Rooting Guide

Your Tuesday Bubble Watch Rooting Guide

Submitted by Tim on March 1st, 2011 at 2:56 PM

In the same spirit as yesterday's post. Check out jamiemac's Diary on the Bracket Matrix for more breakdowns as they specifically relate to Michigan.

Tales from Last Night

All the games in which Michigan had a semi-serious rooting interest last night went the wrong way (though most of those results were expected):

  • Notre Dame beat Villanova 93-72.
  • Florida Gulf Coast beat USC Upstate 81-65.
  • Bethune-Cookman beat NC Central 73-60.
  • Kansas State beat Texas 75-70. The Longhorns have singlehandedly choked their way into getting Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas State onto the bubble.
  • Gonzaga beat Cal State-Bakersfield 96-49.

None of these were killers, to say the least, but Kansas State is solidly in the tournament at this point.

The Bubble

The Matrix hasn't been updated since last night's results, so consider it a day-ish behind. The information isn't changing quickly enough for that to be a huge hindrance to our purposes.

Per the Bracket Matrix:

  Bids Bubble In Bubble Out Change
Big East 11 Marq (10)   None.
SEC 6 Tenn (9), UGa (10), Bama (12)   None.
Big Ten 6 Ill (10), MSU (11), Mich (12) Minn, PSU MSU down from 10, Mich in, Minn out.
ACC 5 BC (12), VT (10), FSU (9) Clem, Mary Seeds reshuffled.
Big 12 5 KSU (8) Neb, Bay, Colo, OkSt KSU up from 9.
Pac-10 3 Wash (9), UCLA (8) USC, Washington St. Washington down from 8.
Atlantic 10 3 Richmond (11) Dayton Duquesne gone.
Mountain West 3 UNLV (8) Colo St None.
West Coast 2 Zaga (12), St Mary's (11)   None.
Colonial 2 Old Domin (8) VCU None.
CUSA 2 Memphis (11), UAB (12) USM, UTEP, Marsh, UCF None.
WAC 1 Utah State (9)    
Horizon 1 Butler (12) Cleve St, UW-Mil  
Summit 1 1-bid Oakland (13)    
Ivy 1 1-bid Princeton (13) Harvard Princeton in, Harvard out.

I've excised all of the conferences that are going to have 1 bid no matter what, because they won't affect our bubble watch (unless a past Michigan opponent goes on a crazy run and wins the conference tourney, of course).

Today's Games

As always, your general principle is to root against all teams on the bubble, whether they're in the tournament for now, or just barely on the outside. Things get a little more complicated when Michigan's past opponents are involved.

  • Illinois @ Purdue (7:00 ESPN). Since Michigan played each of these teams only once, I think you want Purdue to win. The Wolverines are fighting with Illinois for a bubble spot.
  • Baylor @ Oklahoma State (7:00 ESPN2). Both of these teams are on the outside of the Big 12 bubble. I think you want Baylor to win, since they're more likely to lose their final game to Texas (well, with the way Texas is playing, who knows?) than Oklahoma state is to lose to Oklahoma.
  • Alabama @ Florida (7:00 ESPNU). You want Florida to win. They are solidly in the tournament, whereas Alabama is a hardly-deserving bubble team. This could knock them out.
  • Gardner-Webb @ Coastal Carolina (7:00 Gametracker). Gardner-Webb is a past Michigan opponent. They're facing Big South 1-seed Coastal Carolina in the first round of the conference tournament. An upset here would be nice, since this is a 1-bid conference either way.
  • Kent State @ Bowling Green (7:30 ESPN3). Bowling Green is a past opponent. Kent State currently leads the MAC, but it is a 1-bid league either way.
  • Missouri @ Nebraska (8:00 ESPN3). Missouri is solidly in the tournament, whereas Nebraska is barely on the bubble. This would definitely knock the Huskers out for good.
  • Ohio State @ Penn State (9:00 BTN). I'm torn on this game. With a sweep of the Nittany Lions under our belt, you want them to be a top-50 RPI team. On the other hand, that means they strengthen their bubble position, harming Michigan. I still think a tiebreaker of 2-0 head-to-head between UM and PSU would swing things in Michigan's way. I'll say watch this game closely, but no clear rooting interest.
  • Boston College @ Virginia Tech (9:00 ESPNU). This is another game that you could go either way on. One team will knock the other onto the wrong side of the bubble for the time being. I'll say you want BC to lose, since they have a near-automatic win (against Wake Forest at home) up next. You'll be rooting HARD for Clemson to beat Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Get your rootin' shoes on. Hopefully, it'll go better than last night. It should, as you want Kenpom's favored team to win 4 of the 7 games in which there's a clear rooting interest - he also favors Ohio State to knock Penn State down the pecking order, for what it's worth. Last night, we were pulling almost exclusively for underdogs (and a crappy Texas team).

Your Monday Bubble Watch Rooting Guide

Your Monday Bubble Watch Rooting Guide

Submitted by Tim on February 28th, 2011 at 10:44 AM

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
Big Sky 1 1-bid  
Big West 1 1-bid  
America East 1 1-bid  
Atlantic Sun 1 1-bid  
Big South 1 1-bid  
Ohio Valley 1 1-bid  
Patriot 1 1-bid  
Southern 1 1-bid  
Southland 1 1-bid  
Sun Belt 1 1-bid  
SWAC 1 1-bid  

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.