Last night was insane. A lot of the teams on the bubble shifted around after some shocking wins and confounding losses. I feel pretty strongly that 34 of the 37 at-large bids are locked up, with three left spots up for grabs. Kentucky, La Salle, St. Mary's, Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State, Ole Miss, Maryland, UMass and Baylor are the teams vying for those last spots as long as there are no bid thieves. Lets quickly run through them all.
- Maryland had a huge win against Duke last night, but they are still just 4-9 vs the top 100 and their best out of conference win was against Stony Brook. The are certainly back in the discussion, but I'd say they need to win one more against UNC today before moving into the field.
- Tennessee has done nothing away from home, and their case wasn't helped last night by their loss against Alabama. Still, they at least beat Wichita State in the out of conference slate and have three other wins against the field. That's enough to keep one of the last remaining spots. For now.
- Kentucky is 4-4 since Nerlens Noel went out with a knee injury. They've beaten Florida and Missouri during that time, but have also lost to Vandy and Georgia. It's tough to say how the selection committee will view this team, but they have multiple quality wins and beat Maryland out of conference. That's more than other teams can say.
- St. Mary's has racked up a bunch of top 100 wins, but their only win against a team in the NCAA field this season was against Creighton. Their above .500 record against RPI top 100 is enough for the moment, but their spot seems to be the most tenuous of the final teams in.
- Ole Miss has a gaudy record and several quality wins, but they accomplished absolutely nothing in the out of conference slate. That's a sure fire way to get the cold shoulder from the selection committee. To compensate for that, they'll need to get to the SEC Final at the very least.
- UMass got an extremely impressive win against Temple last night in the A10 quarterfinals. They also beat LaSalle earlier in the year and while they don't have a lot of great out of conference wins, they beat several top 100 teams before A10 play started. I still think they need one more to get over the top, however. A win against VCU today would probably get them in the field.
- Middle Tennessee State was dealt a tough set of cards. They scheduled tough and got a sold win against Ole Miss, but they just don't have a lot to show for it. The Sun Belt is a truly awful conference, so they shouldn't be penalized for that. What's interesting is that their win against Vanderbilt is looking better and better. Even though the Commodores could technically steal a bid from the at-large pool, the Blue Raiders may actually benefit if Vanderbilt wins the SEC tournament.
- Baylor will probably get left out. They have some nice wins, but like Maryland they have a very poor record against the RPI top 100 (5-11). If the Terps can't quite get in the field after two Duke wins, Baylor's wins against Kentucky and Kansas won't quite do it, either. Perhaps if they had beaten Oklahoma State in the Big 12 tournament this would be a different story, but that didn't happen.
- La Salle may only have three quality wins (Butler, @VCU, Villanova), but they were solid enough against the top 100 and have one good win in the out of conference slate, something many of the bubble teams don't have. They were also 8-7 away from home, which is another notch to their already decent resume. I'd be surprised to see the Explorers get left out.