Sunday, March 13, 2011

Final Bracket Prediction

With a half an hour until the Selection show, here is my final bracket prediction:

(click for full size)

Top Seeds: Ohio State, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Duke

Last 4 IN: Virginia Tech, Georgia, Clemson, Harvard

Last 4 OUT: St Mary's, Boston College, UAB, Alabama

Bubble Breakdown City:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Updated Bracket Prediction

Hey folks. Have you gotten tired of hearing about who Joe Lunardi has in and out of the NCAA Tournament? Well, here's another perspective on the matter. (At least, a quick update on one).

I did some compiling of data from teams that received At Large bids since 2006. Here are some interesting findings:

  • No mid-majors with an RPI over 50 have received an At Large Bid
    • What it means: Richmond (RPI 58) still has work to do
  • No team with an RPI over 70 received an At Large Bid
    • What it means: Alabama (RPI 80) still has work to do
  • All but 1 major conference team with a Top 40 RPI have received At Large Bids
    • What it means: Georgia (RPI 40) barely hanging on
  • For Major conference teams with an RPI in the 40s:
    • All but 1 team with a winning record in conference play received an At Large Bid
    • Only 1 team with a losing record in conference play received an At Large Bid
  • All but 3 Top 30 RPI teams have received At Large Bids
    • What it means: UAB slipped outside the Top 30 after losing to East Carolina and their hopes of making the Big Dance might be in trouble

So without further ado, here's my latest bracket prediction...feel free to agree or disagree in the comments!

(click for full size)

Last 4 IN:
Boston College
Virginia Tech
Penn St

Last 4 OUT:
St Mary's

By Conference:
Big East: 11
Big Ten: 7
Big XII: 6
ACC: 6
SEC: 5
Pac 10: 3
Mtn West: 3
A-10: 3
CAA: 2

I can't wait for Selection Sunday to see how I stack up against Joe Lunardi and company. In the mean time, here are two reads worth your time:

In the Tournament, There's No Place Like (Close To) Home
Bracket Science: Guide to every matchup in the NCAA Tournament

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

NCAA Conference Tournament Preview Part 2

Championship Week is in full swing, with a number of teams that have already punched their tickets to the Big Dance. While last week was all about the little guys, teams from One-Big Leagues earning their way into the Dance, this week is about the big boys. All of the major conferences have their tournaments this week, and since 4 of the last 5 National Champions have won their conference tournament, this week will be a good indication of who is peaking at the right time.

March 10-13

Top Seeds: UNC, Duke

Outlook: At the beginning of the season, Duke and UNC were both considered Top 10 teams. UNC struggled out of the gate and since the installation of Kendall Marshall at point guard, have become that Top-10 team they were projected to be early in the year. Florida St, Boston College, Clemson, and Virginia Tech are still fighting for their NCAA tournament lives. Florida St should be in, but BC, Clemson and VaTech all need wins in the ACC Tournament to ensure their spots in the field.

Big East
New York
March 8-12

Top Seeds: Pitt, Notre Dame, Louisville, Syracuse

Outlook: The Big East has been the best conference in basketball this year. Period. Right now, there are 11 teams with a legitimate shot to make the NCAA Tournament. Most of these teams are just fighting for seeding. Pitt should be a lock for a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament regardless of how they play in New York. Notre Dame could find themselves on the top line on Selection Sunday if they hoist the trophy this weekend. If you're looking for a sleeper, watch out for St. John's. The Johnnies will be playing in front of a favorable home crowd and were 12-3 in Madison Square Garden this season.

Big Ten
March 10-13

Top Seeds: Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin

Outlook: Ohio St is playing better than anyone in the nation right now, but the story here is in the middle of the bracket. 4- and 5-seeds Michigan and Illinois could both use wins to secure their tournament spots, while 6- and 7-seeds Penn St and Michigan St need to avoid bubble-bursting upsets in the first round and then really need a marquee win in the 2nd round to help their tournament resumes. 

Kansas City
March 9-12

Top Seeds: Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas St

Outlook: Kansas St has been the hottest team in the nation over the last month, reeling off upset wins over Kansas and Texas. In the middle of the season, Texas was under consideration for a top seed in the NCAA Tournament, but after losing to Nebraska and Colorado, Texas is on the verge of falling to a #3 seed. The Longhorns demise paved the way for the Jayhawks to be regular season conference champions. Colorado is hovering around the NCAA tournament bubble but needs to avoid a disastrous first-round loss to Iowa St and could use a victory or two beyond the first round to lock up an NCAA Tournament bid.

March 10-13

Top Seeds: Florida, Kentucky, Alabama

Outlook: The SEC East dominated the SEC West this season, and the East will need to continue their show of dominance over the West in order for teams like Georgia and Tennessee to prove they belong in the Big Dance. Alabama won the terrible SEC West but thanks to a bad RPI and horrendous Strength of Schedule, coupled with some bad losses leaves the Crimson Tide sitting on the bubble. Bama will get a likely rematch with Georgia in what could be a winner-goes-dancing-loser-goes-to-the-NIT quarterfinal showdown.

Los Angeles
March 9-12

Top Seeds: Arizona, UCLA

Outlook: Beyond the top 2 seeds, no one here is safely in the tournament, and the Pac 10 could easily steal a bid to the Big Dance.  Teams like USC, California, or Washington St (who finished 4th-6th respectively in the conference) all have the ability to win the Pac-10 Tournament, which should make for an entertaining tournament out west.

Atlantic 10
Atlantic City
March 8, 11-13

Top Seeds: Xavier, Temple

Outlook: The Musketeers somewhat quietly dominated the A-10 this season. The A-10 tournament is always exciting and there are plenty of talented teams in the league this season. Richmond has been hovering on the edge of the bubble this year, their early-season win over Purdue keeping their NCAA tournament hopes afloat. Richmond could use a few wins in the A-10 tourny to solidify their spot in the field. Duquesne had an excellent start to the season but foundered late in the season and is out of the bubble picture. 

Conference USA
El Paso
March 9-12

Top Seeds: UAB, Tulsa, UTEP

Outlook: Conference USA has been one of the craziest conferences all season. There are currently have 6 teams in the Top 62 of the RPI, but will likely only get one team into the tournament because of the lack of quality wins and bad losses that pretty much defines every team in Conference USA.

Mountain West
Las Vegas
March 8-12

Top Seeds: BYU, San Diego St, UNLV

Outlook: San Diego St was a dominant team all season, but have been somewhat forgotten about because of their 2 losses to BYU. Those 2 losses? San Diego St's only defeats this season. BYU boasts National Player of the Year Jimmer Fredette, but stumbled since losing Brandon Davies to suspension for violating the honor code. UNLV is hosting the tournament and could be a surprise champion. All 3 of these teams should make the Big Dance.

Big Sky
Regular Season Champion hosts tournament
March 5, 8-9

Top Seeds: Northern Colorado, Montana

Outlook: I was a little late on getting this preview up, and the championship game is tonight. Northern Colorado joined Division 1 four years ago and now has a chance to make the NCAA Tournament with a win on their home floor against reigning champion Montana.

Big West
March 10-12

Top Seeds: Long Beach St, Cal Poly

Outlook: Long Beach St has easily been the best team in the Big West all season, but this could be anyone's tournament. None of these teams have been great and the tournament champion is most likely looking at a 16-seed.

Ivy League
No Tournament
Regular season Champion receives automatic bid to NCAA Tournament

The Ivy League doesn't have a conference tournament, but thanks to a tie atop the standings at the end of the regular season, Princeton and Harvard will meet in a one-game playoff to determine which team goes to the NCAA Tournament.

March 8, 10-12

Top Seeds: Kent St, Western Michigan

Outlook: This is a one-bid league but don't sleep on any team in this tournament. The MAC has been a competitive conference all season. This should be an entertaining tournament. Kent St, the best team in the conference, finished only 4 games ahead of 8th place team Buffalo. 

March 8-12

Top Seeds: Bethune-Cookman, Hampton, Coppin St

Outlook: This is a wide open conference tournament. Bethune-Cookman ended the season on a 7-game winning streak and is the hottest team in the league entering the tournament. However, the Wildcats only went 1-3 against the top 4 teams in the league with their only victory a double-overtime win over Hampton. Hampton is the best defensive team in the conference, holding opponents to just over 62 points per game. The Pirates haven't given up over 78 points to any opponent this season, but they also struggle to put the ball in the basket. Coppin St has the best offense but one of the worst defenses in the league. All that should come together to make for a great tourny.

March 8-12

Top Seeds: McNeese St, Northwestern St, Sam Houston St

Outlook: No one in this conference has been overly impressive this year, and this looks like a conference where the champion will be a 15-seed at best. Of the 12 teams in the conference, 6 finished within a game of the regular season league title. This is a wide open tournament that anyone could win.

March 9-12

Top Seeds: Texas Southern, Jackson St

Outlook: Of all the regular season conference champions, Texas Southern had the worst RPI, making the SWAC champion a prime candidate for one of the play-in games. The SWAC has been a standard on the 16-seed line over the past few seasons. I just wrote 2 sentences about a conference I know pretty much nothing about. Go me.

Las Vegas
March 9-12

Top Seeds: Utah St, Boise St

Outlook: Utah St has dominated the WAC this year and has an impressive 28-3 overall record. However, the Aggies only have 1 win over a Top 50 team (a victory over St Mary's in the ESPN Bracketbusters special). Their second best win (and only other Top 100 win) was over Long Beach St. No other team in the WAC has a Top 100 RPI so their chances of picking up a 3rd impressive win are limited. Despite their impressive record, the Aggies will likely need to avoid being upset in the WAC tournament in order to go dancing.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

End Of Regular Season Bracket Prediction

For the Major Conference teams, today was the last day of the regular season. For some teams from smaller conferences, some of them are already in the thick of their conference tournaments.

Four teams have already clinched places in the Big Dance by winning their conference tournaments. UNC-Asheville upset top-seeded Coastal Carolina on their home floor in the Big South Championship. One of the best rebounders in NCAA history, Kenneth Faried, led Morehead State to the Ohio Valley title. One of the best shooting teams in the nation, Belmont, blitzkrieged the Atlantic Sun tournament. In a thriller this afternoon, Indiana State beat Missouri State in the Missouri Valley Championship.

As a budding Bracketologist, I like to try my hand at predicting the NCAA Tournament bracket. It's always interesting to see how I stack up against guys like ESPN's Joe Lunardi and CBS's Jerry Palm. You know, people that get paid to do this professionally.

So in that spirit, here is how I would make the bracket if the Tournament started now.

The #1 overall seed in the tournament is....

No real surprise here, Ohio State has been the best team in the nation since Kyrie Irving's injury. They are really hitting their stride and easily secure the #1 seed in the East Region, getting an easy path to the Final 4 through Cleveland and Newark.

The #2 overall seed is the Big XII Champion Kansas Jayhawks. They will be the #1 seed in the Southwest Region. They will play their first round games in Tulsa and regional games in San Antonio.

The Big East Champion Pitt Panthers are the #3 overall seed and the #1 seed in the Southeast Region. They will also play their first round games in Cleveland with the Regional games in New Orleans.

The final #1 seed in my bracket is the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. In my opinion, it's a toss-up right now between Duke and Notre Dame. However, Notre Dame was 10-4 vs the RPI Top 50 while Duke was 7-3 vs the RPI Top 50. Notre Dame gets the benefit of finishing 2nd in the hardest conference in basketball while Duke finished 2nd in the ACC. Notre Dame will be a lock for the #1 seed if they win the Big East Tournament.

So without further ado, here is my bracket (with some logical explanations to follow)...

  • St. John's was actually on my S-curve as a #5 seed, but due to bracketing requirements, I had to bump them down to a #6 seed. 
  • Top Seed First Round Locations:
    • Cleveland: Ohio State, Pittsburgh
    • Washington, DC: Syracuse, Kentucky
    • Charlotte: Duke, UNC
    • Tampa: Florida, Wisconsin
    • Chicago: Notre Dame, Purdue
    • Tulsa: Kansas, Texas
    • Denver: BYU, Louisville
    • Tuscon: San Diego St, West Virginia
  • Bids per conference:
    • Big East: 11
    • Big 10: 7
    • Big XII: 6
    • ACC: 5
    • SEC: 5
    • Pac 10: 3
    • Atlantic 10: 3
    • Mountain West: 3
    • Colonial: 2
    • West Coast: 2
  • Last 4 In:
    • Clemson
    • Richmond
    • Colorado
    • Penn State
  • Last 4 Out:
    • Virginia Tech
    • Virginia Commonwealth
    • Washington State
    • Memphis
  • Next 4 Out:
    • UTEP
    • Colorado State
    • Alabama
    • Missouri State

Now, you might be wondering how I came to some of these conclusions about the last teams in and last teams out. Here's the chart that I started with:

Obviously as you can see, I gave the benefit to teams that had more wins against Top 100 RPI teams. Nebraska, Minnesota, Oklahoma State, and Baylor were eliminated from consideration for having a losing record in conference play. Let's face it: if you don't have a winning record in conference play, you're not going dancing. Yes, I realize that two of my last four teams in the tournament are .500 in conference play. They need at least 1 win, if not 2 in their conference tournaments to get into the Dance.

Even though Colorado has a bad RPI at 77, their 5 wins against Top 50 teams is hard to ignore, especially when that out-paces the rest of the teams on my bubble. 

A lot of people are high on Alabama right now after their victory over Georgia. However, their RPI is still bad (especially considering their strength of schedule). They have 4 losses to teams with 100+ RPIs and are 0-3 on neutral courts, with those 3 losses to Seton Hall (RPI 92), St Peter's (RPI 118), and Iowa (RPI 168). They have some nice wins over Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia, but their only other win against a Top 100 team is over Mississippi (RPI 80). 

I know that Penn State doesn't have the most appealing record or RPI, but their 3 wins over Wisconsin (RPI 13), Illinois (RPI 41), Michigan St (RPI 48), along with their seasons sweep of Minnesota (RPI 62), give them a more impressive slate of victories than Virginia Tech and VCU (who I will address in a minute). The only scar on Penn State's season is a mid-December loss to Maine. Penn State's schedule has been loaded with top-end teams, as they only played 9 games against teams with 100+ RPIs. By contrast, 12 of Virginia Tech's 19 wins came over 100+ RPI teams and 16 of VCU's 23 wins were over 100+ RPI teams. 

After Virginia Tech beat Duke, a lot of people were quick to hand them their dancing shoes. But Virginia Tech missed the memo that they still had 2 games left in the season and went out and lost to fellow bubble teams Boston College by 15 and Clemson by 9. Virginia Tech did beat Penn State head to head, but if you remember back to last year, the Committee put Wake Forest in the tournament (who VaTech beat) and left VaTech out. VT also has some bad losses to Georgia Tech (RPI 170) and got swept by Virginia (RPI 135).  So why did I put Penn State in over Virginia Tech? Despite the head-to-head loss to VaTech, Penn State has less bad losses, more good wins, and played a tougher schedule. It was a hard decision and to be honest, you could make the case either way (or make the case that neither Penn State nor Virginia Tech deserves to be in the tournament).

Unlike Penn State, Virginia Commonwealth (who could make this whole paragraph obsolete by winning the CAA Championship on Monday night) have only beaten 2 teams that are likely to make the tournament (Old Dominion and UCLA). However, those good wins are marred by bad losses to South Florida (RPI 160), Northeastern (RPI 173), and Georgia St (RPI 217).

As I said at the outset, this is all just my personal opinion. As I said many times in the podcast a few weeks ago, the bubble sucks this year. There are a lot of bad teams with bad losses on the bubble, and some of those bad teams are going to get into the tournament. Feel free to debate me in the comments, I welcome the feedback!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

NCAA Conference Tournament Preview Part 1

As the calendar flips into March, we enter one of the most exciting two-week periods of the season. That is, if you're a college basketball fan. If you listened to our comprehensive hour-plus podcast that we made last week, you might have gotten the idea that we dabble a little in college basketball.

Over the next few days, we'll be previewing the 31 conference tournaments, the winners of which will get automatic bids to the NCAA tournaments. Here's a look at some of the tournaments that are starting this week.

America East

March 3-6, 12

Top Seeds: Vermont, Boston U

Outlook: Vermont and Boston have clearly been the class of the conference this year, the only two teams to win more than 10 conference games. Boston swept Vermont in their two meetings this year and could make it a hat trick if the two meet again in the conference finals. With the tournament in Hartford, one might expect the #6 seed Hartford Hawks to get a bit of a home-crowd boost. The Hawks face Maine (a team they beat twice this year) in the first round and have a 4-2 record this year against the top 4 teams in the conference.

Atlantic Sun
March 2-5

Top Seeds: Belmont, East Tennessee St

Outlook: After a grueling 20-game conference schedule, Belmont has emerged as the cream of the crop, going 19-1 in conference play. The Bruins are a formidable team that could cause problems in the NCAA tournament, boasting a 52 RPI and ranking 11th nationally in Points Per Game (80.4) and 41st nationally in field goal percentage (46.6%). Belmont has 5 players that shoot over 40% from beyond the arc. Belmont doesn't have the resume to make the dance if they get upset in the Atlantic Sun tournament, so they will need to continue their winning ways in order to have a shot to play spoiler to one of the big boys. 

Big South
Higher Seeded team hosts game

March 1, 3, 5

Top Seeds: Coastal Carolina, Liberty

Outlook: Coastal Carolina ran through the Big South this year with an impressive 26-4 record. They don't have the resume to earn an at-large bid to the tournament, so this will be a one-bid league any way you slice it. An intriguing scenario could arise if the NCAA casts a ruling on Coastal Carolina (who they are currently investigating). If Coastal Carolina were to win the conference tournament then the NCAA were to rule they were ineligible for postseason play because of violations, a non-conference tournament winner could wind up getting the bid to the NCAA Tournament. That scenario is unlikely to happen though.

Colonial Athletic Association
March 4-7

Top Seeds: George Mason, Old Dominion

Outlook: The CAA is going to be a multiple-bid league this season. As things stand right now, both George Mason and Old Dominion have the resume to make the tournament as at-large teams. At 25-5, George Mason has bulldozed through conference play, having not lost since early January. George Mason boasts a top-25 RPI and has been very impressive this season. Old Dominion has impressive victories over Xavier and Cleveland St (on Bracketbusters weekend on ESPN). A few weeks ago, Virginia Commonwealth was in the running for a tournament bid, but they have lost 5 of their last 8 (including 4 of their last 5) and pretty much played themselves off the bubble. With an RPI of 63, VCU will need a strong showing in the CAA Tournament if they want the committee to consider them for an at large bid. 

Horizon League
Higher seeded team hosts game

March 1, 4-5, 8

Top Seeds: Milwaukee, Butler

Outlook: In one of the biggest shockers of this college basketball season, UW-Milwaukee won the Horizon League regular season title. Wait, what? On January 22, Milwaukee had a 9-11 record, was 4-5 in conference games and was seemingly out of the race in the Horizon league. The following night they went into Indianapolis and upset Butler in overtime. Since then, they haven't lost a game in Horizon League play. Now, Milwaukee (who has lost to 7 teams with 100+ RPIs this season) is the top seed in the Horizon League tournament. The Horizon League has a "double-bye" format, giving the top 2 teams byes until the semi-finals while seeds 3-10 have to win 2 games just to reach the Semis. Butler is the #2 seed and is barely hanging on the tournament bubble as an at-large team. The only way this is a 2-bid league is if Butler doesn't win the tournament.

March 4-7

Top Seeds: Fairfield, Iona

Outlook: Fairfield is looking to get back to the Dance for the first time since 1997. The Siena Saints have played in the MAAC championship game the last 4 years (winning the last 3 years), but they will have to come from the #7 seed and go through #2 seed Iona (who is riding a 7-game winning streak) to get there. Iona, Fairfield, and #3-seed Rider have all been on a torrid pace down the stretch and are all peaking at the right time. The potential semi-final game between Iona (79.1 PPG (15th Nationally), 47.4% FG% (22nd Nationally)) and Rider (74.1 PPG (53rd Nationally), 47.2% FG% (28th Nationally)) would match up two offensive powerhouses. 

Missouri Valley
St. Louis
March 3-6

Top Seeds: Missouri State, Wichita State

Outlook: In a down year for the Missouri Valley Conference, it seems that this will only be a 1-bid league as neither Wichita St (RPI 50, SOS 99) nor Missouri St (RPI 41, SOS 125). What really hurts these teams is that Wichita St is 1-5 against Top-100 RPI teams (plus 2 losses to teams with 100+ RPIs) and Missouri St is 0-4 against Top-100 teams not named "Wichita St" (plus 3 losses to teams with 100+ RPIs). The long and the short of it? Neither of these teams is making the tournament if they don't win their conference.

Higher seeded team hosts game
March 3, 6, 9

Top Seeds: Long Island, Quinnipiac

Outlook: Last year, Northeast Conference Champion Robert Morris came within a shot of upsetting Villanova in the first round of the tournament. This year, Long Island blitzed through conference play, going 16-2. However, they have no wins against Top-100 RPI teams and have played a statistically horrendous schedule (277 SOS). This is a one-bid league, and it's unlikely that the champion gets above a 15-seed in the NCAA tournament.

Ohio Valley
March 2-5

Top Seeds: Murray St, Morehead St

Outlook: The Murray St Racers pulled an upset of Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year, and they have a roster dominated by juniors and seniors that have tournament experience. This is a one-bid league, so if the Racers want to get back to the dance, they are going to have to capitalize on their double-bye in the Ohio Valley Tournament.

Patriot League
Higher seeded team hosts game
March 2, 6, 11

Top Seeds: Bucknell, American

Outlook: The Bison tore through the Patriot League this season and get the advantage of having homecourt advantage throughout the tournament. Their only loss in conference play was to last place Army, who they have to play in the opening round of the tournament. This is a one-bid league, and given the way they have played in the tournament in past years, you can't help but root for Bucknell here. Alright, I'm personally biased as well, I have some friends that went to Bucknell. Go Bison.

March 4-7

Top Seeds: College of Charleston, Western Carolina, Wofford, Chattanooga

Outlook: The SoCon will once again be a one-bid league, but that doesn't mean this won't be a competitive tournament. The top four seeds are all talented teams, with Charleston being the most explosive, averaging 76.8 points per game (26th in the nation). Wofford is capable of shooting the lights out, shooting 47.8% from the field on the season (17th in the nation). Charleston is on a 2-game losing streak entering the tournament and Chattanooga will get the boost of the home crowd. 

Summit League
Sioux Falls
March 5-8

Top Seeds: Oakland, Oral Roberts

Outlook: The Summit League is pretty much Oakland and the "also-rans." Oakland went 17-1 in conference play, outpacing 2nd place Oral Roberts by 4 games. After posting a similar 17-1 record in conference play last year, Oakland ran through the Summit League tournament then got trounced by 23 points by Pitt in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Oakland is one of the best offensive teams in the nation, averaging 84.8 points per game (3rd in nation) and shooting 48.8% from the field (6th in nation). Oakland played a murderous non-conference schedule early in the season, facing West Virginia, Purdue, Illinois, Michigan St, Tennessee, Michigan, and Ohio State. Oakland has scored over 81 points in 16 of their 18 conference games. That's insane.

Sun Belt
Hot Springs
March 5-8

Top Seeds: Florida Atlantic, Arkansas St, UL-Lafayette, Middle Tennessee

Outlook: To be honest, the winner of this tournament will be lucky to get a 15-seed. This is a one-bid league with no team having been terribly impressive. After starting the season going 2-9 in non-conference play then 1-5 in conference play, the Louisiana-Lafayette Rajin' Cajuns exploded down the strech, winning 11 straight to close out the season in a tie for 1st place in the Sun Belt Western Division. If you're looking for a sleeper team, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers have won 5 of the last 10 Sun Belt tournaments.

West Coast
Las Vegas
March 4-7

Top Seeds: St Mary's, Gonzaga

Outlook: Gonzaga and St. Mary's are the clear favorites in this tournament by virtue of getting a double-bye into the semi-finals. The two teams split with each other this season, which sets up a potential rubber match in Vegas for the West Coast Conference title. Gonzaga had a rough start to the season but has rebounded nicely to the point where they have a shot to get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after winning their last 7 games of the season. Gonzaga has some impressive wins this year over Xavier, Marquette, Oklahoma St, and Baylor. St. Mary's was almost a lock for the tournament on February 15, then they pulled a Plaxico and lost to San Diego (RPI 311). St. Mary's followed that loss with two more losses (to Utah St in "Bracketbusters" and to Gonzaga) and now will be squarely on the bubble if they don't win the conference tournament.