Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

March 14, 2010

From 347 to 65: Sunday morning

Filed under: Uncategorized — jsheehan @ 10:13 am

It was a day for theft, as Houston and New Mexico State stole bids from bubble teams by winning the Conference USA and WAC championship games over teams that should now get at-large bids. In a season where so many teams have weak resumes, the dominance of mid-level leagues by Texas-El Paso and Utah State, each of which won going away and reached the championship game, should be enough to warrant invitations even with both lacking top-50 wins.

Washington joined St. Mary’s as a bubble team that ended discussion about its fate by winning its conference tournament. The Huskies would have been one of the more interesting cases, with a middling RPI and just one big nonconference scalp, plus a third-place finish in a soft Pac-10. Their late defensive stand against Cal helped solve the problem.

Georgia Tech, Mississippi State and Minnesota all helped themselves by reaching their conference finals. Georgia Tech is probably in, although I’m holding back just because it seems strange to allow a win over North Carolina State to change their status on my board. Mississippi State and Minnesota are likely in as well, each picking up the top-tier win they needed to enhance their resume.

On the flip side, Rhode Island and Illinois lost key games, and now will sweat out their Sunday afternoon hoping the teams above all lose unimpressively. Rhode Island is likely out, while Illinois will occupy one of the last spots one side of the line or the other.

Here’s where we stand through Saturday. I’ll have a full update this afternoon after the early championship games.

Automatic Bids (27): Vermont (America East), East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun), West Virginia (Big East), Montana (Big Sky), Winthrop (Big South), Kansas (Big 12), UC Santa Barbara (Big West), Old Dominion (Colonial), Houston (Conference USA), Butler (Horizon), Cornell (Ivy), Siena (MAAC), Ohio (Mid-American), Morgan State (MEAC), Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley), San Diego State (Mountain West), Robert Morris (Northeast), Murray State (Ohio Valley), Washington (Pac-10), Lehigh (Patriot), Wofford (Southern), Sam Houston State (Southland), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (SWAC), North Texas (Sun Belt), Oakland (Summit), New Mexico State (WAC), St, Mary’s (West Coast).

In (28): Gonzaga, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Clemson, Texas, Oklahoma State, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Maryland, Texas A&M, Marquette, New Mexico, Florida State, Baylor, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Brigham Young, Texas-El Paso, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Xavier, Purdue, California, Kansas State, Nevada-Las Vegas, Georgetown, Utah State.

Locks (5): Duke, Temple, Richmond, Ohio State, Kentucky.

Those five teams will use from one to four at-large bids, leaving two to five slots for the bubble teams. Here is how I have them this morning, and I’ll go into greater detail this afternoon.

Georgia Tech
Mississippi State
William and Mary
Rhode Island
Wichita State
Virginia Tech
Kent State

I note the lack of feedback links in our basketball Unfiltered module. You can still reach me at jsheehan at baseballprospectus dot com. Or by using the link at the bottom on any inline column. Also, check out @joe_sheehan on Twitter.

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