Lafayette sealed up the 12th auto-bid last night. There are 20 left, most of which will be decided on Saturday. Actually, of those 20, only 9 have potential bubble impacts. 11 of them are for conferences with no at-large contenders, so they'll simply be filling a 12-16 seed line.
There really wasn't a whole lot of noteworthy results last night. Of the games I had an eye on, the favorite won each. The only bubble impact was the loss of Pittsburgh, who fell to NC State. Stanford and Miami each held on with wins in their respective tournaments, but it will get tougher for both teams tonight.
-Stanford faces a Utah team that has lost three of its last five, including most recently at Washington, who the Cardinal beat last night. With a win tonight, the Cardinal would advance to face Oregon, and those two wins may be enough to put them in the field, especially if a few teams ahead of them stumble.
-Miami faces Notre Dame in a rematch of a very hard fought Irish victory at Notre Dame in January. Miami's road is significantly more challenging, with Duke waiting for them tomorrow if they survive tonight.
Here are a few more games tonight with significant bubble implications:
-Alabama vs. Florida. Alabama is in a really bad place. A win against Florida is unfortunately not enough to get them over the bubble, and they'd face Kentucky tomorrow if they pass tonight's test. Barring a miraculous perfection-ending win over the Wildcats, the Tide will be rolling into the NIT come Sunday.
-Auburn vs. Texas A&M. The Aggie's saving grace is that they have no bad losses. Otherwise their resume would have them on the outside of the bubble. As it stands, I have them as one of the last four in, and a loss tonight would knock them out. To make matters worse, a win doesn't gaurantee a spot either, as they'd then face fellow bubbler LSU tomorrow night for what could be a winner-take-bid situation. Unless several other bubble teams falter, either A&M or LSU could be NIT bound tomorrow.
-Middle Tennessee vs. Old Dominion. OD is in an interesting spot. They would be a FFO team if they weren't my favorite to win C-USA. If they were to make it to the finals and lose, they could still have a chance at one of the last few at-large bids if other teams slip.
-USC vs. UCLA. UCLA is in a similar spot as Alabama. Even if they advance tonight, they'd most likely face Arizona tomorrow. To be fair, UCLA over Zona wouldn't quite be the upset of the year like Bama over KY, but it's still a sufficiently difficult task that I'm ready to put a fork in the Bruins.
-Northwestern vs. Indiana. Indiana's 3/4/8 quality win line with just 1 bad loss is relatively safe at this point, but a loss tonight would put them in a precarious position. It would be their 13th overall and 2nd bad loss, enough to move them into a slightly stickier situation.
-South Florida vs. Connecticut. UConn likely has the easiest path of all teams currently outside the bubble. They'll be heavily favored tonight, then would face Cincy and Tulsa, both of whom the Huskies have beaten already this season. The only thing working against UConn is their 13 regular season losses. If they manage to win only two of these three games, they'd end at 19-14, which could be a prohibitively poor record, even with 5 top-50 wins.
-South Carolina vs. Ole Miss. Mississippi needs at least one win to feel secure with their spot on the inside of the bubble. Wins over South Carolina and Georgia would clinch an at-large bid, but a loss to SC would most likely drop them to the FFO.
Finally, a couple top-25 games to watch that will impact the seedings towards the top of the bracket.
-UNC vs. Louisville. At 1/2/9 quality wins, Louisville is in need of another top-25 win to bolster their top-4 seed resume. With 10-losses, UNC could really use a deep ACC run in order to reinforce a top-5 seed with double digit losses. Their #2 SOS and 1/4/9 quality win line both help, but the committee may see a 22-11 record as prohibitive to a top-20 seeding.
-Baylor vs. West Virginia. This quarterfinal matchup is all you need to see to understand how deep the Big 12 is this year. 70% of their conference will be in the field, and all 7 are legitimate Sweet 16 teams. Ultimately, a loss in this game won't seriously hurt either team. In fact, I don't think either would drop a seed line. Baylor's upside is minimal - they could potentially pass Maryland for the top 3-seed, especially if the Terps fail to win the Big 10 tourney. WVU, on the other hand, could move up to the 3-line with a win tonight. This would likely require losses by both Notre Dame and Oklahoma, but it could happen. The winner faces Kansas, who swept Baylor and split with WVU - losing by just 1 in Morgantown.
Okay...enough rambling, here's today's update.
1's: Kentucky, Virginia, Villanova, Duke
2's: Kansas, Wisconsin, Arizona, Gonzaga
3's: Maryland, Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma
4's: Notre Dame, West Virginia, Louisville, Georgetown
5's: North Carolina, Utah, SMU, Northern Iowa
6's: Wichita State, Arkansas, Butler, VCU
7's: Colorado State, Providence, Saint John's, Iowa
8's: Oklahoma State, Texas, San Diego State, Cincinnati
9's: Oregon, Ohio State, North Carolina State, Xavier
10's: Michigan State, Davidson, Indiana, Georgia
11's: Dayton, Temple, LSU, Tulsa, Texas A&M
12's: Ole Miss, Purdue, Old Dominion, Stephen F. Austin, Wofford
13's: Buffalo, Harvard, Valparaiso, UC Davis
14's: North Dakota State, Georgia State, Northeastern, Eastern Washington
15's: North Carolina Central, Belmont, Stony Brook, New Mexico State
16's: Coastal Carolina, Lafayette, Texas Southern, North Florida, Manhattan, Robert Morris
FFO: Illinois, Boise State, Connecticut, UCLA
NFO: Richmond, Stanford, Miami (FL), Rhode Island, Alabama (Next FIVE Out)
Any teams not listed above will need to win their tourney to secure an automatic bid.