Bubble Games of the Week: January 31st – February 6th

No Bubble Games.

Penn State @ #21 Illinois – 9PM BTN – Can the Nittany Lions complete the sweep of the Illini? The Nits need to notch some road wins to add on to their three impressive home wins.
#16 Kentucky @ Ole Miss – 7PM ESPNU – The Rebel’s declining resume needs a boost.
North Carolina @ Boston College – 9PM ESPN3 – Both in decent shape. BC needs the win more than UNC.

#5 Duke @ Maryland – 9PM ESPN – Will Maryland finally notch their first big win?
#7 San Diego State @ Colorado State – 9PM – Colorado State has an outside shot at an at-large. A huge home win against the Aztecs will go a long way.
Marquette @ #12 Villanova – 7PM ESPNU – Villanova has lost two in a row, while Marquette is fresh off a win over the ‘Cuse.
#14 Missouri @ Oklahoma State – 9PM ESPN2 – The Cowboys’ resume is steadily declining. A win over Missouri would turn things around.
Nebraska @ Kansas State – 8PM ESPN3 – More declining stock in this game. Kansas State desperately needs some Big 12 wins over the bottom tier.
Georgia @ Arkansas – 9PM ESPN3 – Georgia played tough against Florida and Kentucky in back to back games, but came up empty. Empty won’t cut it against Arkansas.

No Bubble Games.

No Bubble Games.

Cincinnati @ #4 Pittsburgh – 6PM ESPN3 – Despite a nice record, the Bearcats are the 10th or 11th best team in the Big East.
#2 Kansas @ Nebraska – 4PM ESPN3 – Could be the second big win for Nebraska in three games.
Baylor @ #16 Texas A/M – 2PM ESPN – Important game for both. A/M has lost 2 of their last 3, while Baylor is struggling to string together some wins.
Colorado @ #14 Missouri – 730PM ESPN3 – After a hot start to Big 12 play, Colorado has fallen off. Need this win.
Butler @ Cleveland State – Noon ESPN2 – Butler is only 6-4 in Horizon League play. They need all the wins they can get.
St. John’s @ UCLA – 1PM CBS – Fresh off their demolishing of Duke at the Garden, the Johnnies take on fellow bubble team UCLA.
Virginia Tech @ Boston College – 1PM – Virginia Tech is right around the bubble. They need to climb the ACC standings.
Memphis @ Gonzaga – 4PM ESPN – Two teams that will be in trouble if they don’t win their respective conferences. The loser probably won’t have much of an at-large shot.
Ole Miss @ Arkansas – 6PM ESPN2 – Must win for both SEC teams.

Freeman Wills Georgetown to Win

You could feel it in the air. Something was brewing in the Wells Fargo Center. The Villanova Wildcats erased a 10 point deficit with 6:37 to play by implementing a three-quarter court press, and then a full court press. Georgetown looked rattled. Fortunately for Hoya fans, star guard Austin Freeman was immune to it all.

Someone forgot to tell Mr. Freeman that the 19,000 howling fans, including hoards of raucous Villanova students, were supposed to be intimidating. Freeman tallied 30 points on 10-19 shooting, 6 assists and was perfect from the foul line (8 for 8). I’m no doctor, but I think the insulin that’s injected into Austin Freeman’s veins to treat his diabetes has a side-effect: cold-bloodedness.

Try to prove otherwise.

Georgetown's Austin Freeman celebrates after an NCAA college basketball game against Villanova, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011, in Philadelphia. Georgetown won 69-66. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Freeman scored 10 of Georgetown’s last twelve points. The other two? A visionary pass from a doubled Austin Freeman to a wide open Nate Lubick, who threw down a thunderous jam which left the backboard gyrating, and the crowd stunned.

Since that 6:37 mark, the Cats kept clawing. The lead was cut to 8, then 6 after an acrobatic Maalik Wayns shot in the lane. Austin Freeman fired back with two foul shots, extending the lead back to 8. A Maalik Wayns jumper, Corey Stokes three and two Maalik Wayns free throws later and the lead was suddenly just 1 point. The crowd was in a “Jump Around” type frenzy.

Austin Freeman would have none of it.

In the final 1:43, Freeman would go on to score 6 points and make a beautiful pass for the other two. After Nate Lubick’s slam that extended the lead to 3 with :25 to play, Wayns made yet another shot, imitating Austin Freeman. The Georgetown guard proved that an imitation is not quite as good as the original, by drawing a foul and sinking two free throws with :14 remaining to extend the lead back to three. This time, Villanova had no answer.

Antonio Pena was forced to attempt a 3PT shot with :05 remaining because of a stout Hoya defense. The shot was strong, and guard Dominic Cheek didn’t have time to grab the rebound, race to the arc, square his body, and get off a mechanically sound shot before the buzzer sounded. His fading away attempt was way short.

The Georgetown bench erupted and ran onto the court to celebrate with their teammates. The Wells Fargo Center was eerily silent, save the Georgetown players and their rowdy classmates who rose hell in the cheap seats all day. You could only hear one thing…

“Hoya, Saxa! Hoya, Saxa! Hoya, Saxa!”

LockBox: January 28th

Add: George Mason, Northwestern
Remove: Drexel, Marshall, Michigan, Rhode Island

Last 4 IN: Washington State, Penn State, UCLA, Butler
Last 4 OUT: Wichita State, Gonzaga, Richmond, Miami

Bubble Games of the Week: January 24th – 30th

Monday, January 24th:
Baylor @ Kansas State – 9PM ESPN – Both teams aren’t in the best shape. No idea how Joe Lunardi has Baylor in his field… they aren’t even close.

Tuesday, January 25th:
NC State @ Clemson – 7PM – Both teams remain on the outside looking in. Must win.
Richmond @ Dayton – 7PM ESPNU – Richmond has slipped up, and Dayton is right around the bubble. Crucial for both.
#6 Kansas @ Colorado – 8PM ESPN3 – After a hot start in the Big 12, Colorado has slipped a bit. Another scalp opportunity.
#5 UConn @ Marquete – 9PM ESPN3 – Marquette is either the 10th or 11th team from the Big East that is IN at this point. Big opportunity here.

Wednesday, January 26th:
St. John’s @ #20 Georgetown – 7PM ESPN3 – Johnnies continue their brutal stretch of Top 25 opponents.
#8 Texas @ Oklahoma State – 730PM ESPN – Nice opportunity for Oklahoma State. Their good win tally can use a boost.
North Carolina @ Miami – 730PM ESPN2 – Miami has started 1-4 in the ACC, not a must win, but the lack of strength in the ACC might come back to bite them.
UCF @ Memphis – 8PM – After an awesome OOC, UCF is 1-4 in the C-USA.

Thursday, January 27th:
UCLA @ Arizona – 9PM ESPN2 – Battle for second in the Pac-10. Isn’t it sad that the #2 team in the Pac-10 could be a bubble team?
#24 Saint Mary’s @ Gonzaga – 11PM ESPN2 – The Gaels were demolished against Vanderbilt this weekend, while Gonzaga has dropped two straight head scratchers to San Francisco and Santa Clara.

Friday, January 28th:
No Bubble Games.

Saturday, January 29th:
Florida State @ Clemson – Noon – Another must win for Clemson.
Colorado @ Baylor – 130PM ESPN3 – Bubble-OUT battle in the Big 12. Big game for both.
NC State @ UNC – 2PM ESPN – NC State is in the same situation as Clemson, need a win.
Butler @ Valparaiso – 2PM ESPN3 – Butler has not performed well in the Horizon League so far. They go up against the first place Crusaders.
#11 Texas A/M @ Nebraska – 2PM – Nebraska has a nice looking record, but their numbers aren’t good at all.
#10 Syracuse @ Marquette – 3PM ESPNU – The scalp opportunities keep piling up for Marquette.
Tennessee @ Ole Miss – 4PM ESPN3 – Its quite simple: Rebs need wins.
#15 Wisconsin @ Penn State – 4PM BTN – Will Penn State continue their tremendous performance streak against Top 25 opponents? They could use another scalp.
Kansas State @ #6 Kansas – 7PM ESPN – The Wildcats could really be reeling if they lose to Baylor earlier in the week.
UAB @ UCF – 7PM – Must win for both C-USA teams.
USC @ Arizona – 730PM – USC has been up and down all season, they need to be up in this match up.

Sunday, January 30th:
#3 Duke @ St. John’s – 1PM CBS – Can’t say on Selection Sunday that St. John’s didn’t have opportunities.
Dayton @ Duquesne – 2PM – Duquesne has taken Rhode Island’s place in the Atlantic 10 bubble situation. They are 5-0 in league play.
Miami @ Virginia Tech – 530 FSN – Two of the more fortunate ACC bubble teams.
#17 Washington @ Washington St – 10PM FSN – Big intrastate Pac-10 match up. Washington State’s numbers will be boosted, but a win is preferable.

LockBox: January 23rd

This week’s LockBox was extra hard to complete -i t was difficult to find the three last teams in. After some deliberation, I chose UCLA, Penn State and Miami.

Last Four IN: ODU, Miami, UCLA, Penn State
First Four OUT: Butler, Wichita State, Dayton, Maryland

Resume Rundown: January 19th

I removed a lot of near lock teams because its a bit pointless and time consuming to update teams that will likely not be in bubble contention. In addition to those removals, I added Colorado to the board.

Bubble Games of the Week: Jan. 17th – Jan. 23rd

Monday, January 17th:
#2 Kansas @ Baylor – 930PM ESPN – After a loss to Iowa State, Baylor really needs to kick it in gear. They are nowhere near an at-large bid (100+ RPI, 180+ SOS, no quality wins).

Tuesday, January 18th:
Tennessee @ Georgia – 7PM ESPNU – An 0-2 start in the SEC for the Vols was redeemed with a win over Vanderbilt. Georgia destroyed fellow bubble team Ole Miss in their last game.
Colorado @ Nebraska – 7PM ESPN2 – Colorado has played themselves into the middle of the bubble picture with a 3-0 start in Big 12 play.
Clemson @ UNC – 8PM – UNC is looking to rebound from an embarrassing loss to Georgia Tech against bubble-OUT Clemson.

Wednesday, January 19th:
Penn State @ #14 Purdue – 830 BTN – Can Penn State notch its 3rd upset against Top 20 teams in four tries?
#4 Duke @ NC State – 7PM ESPN – A 1-2 start to ACC play does not bode well for the Wolfpack. Here is a major opportunity.
#25 Cincinnati @ #16 Notre Dame – 7PM ESPN2 – When was the last team a ranked team (Cincy) was on the bubble? They need some big wins.
St. John’s @ #19 Louisville – 7PM ESPN3 – Will this be the 4th big win for the Johnnies in Big East play?
Memphis @ Southern Miss. – 7PM – Believe it or not, So Miss’ resume is slightly better than Memphis’.
Arkansas @ South Carolina – 8PM ESPN3 – Both teams need a win here, since their resumes aren’t that great.
Florida State @ Miami – 9PM – ‘Noles looking to build on their win over #1 Duke.

Thursday, January 20th:
Arizona @ #20 Washington – 1030PM FSN – Arizona doesn’t have any big wins yet, a win over ranked Washington would do wonders for their resume, and put them into first place in the Pac-10.
Virginia Tech @ Maryland – 9PM ESPN2 – Important for both teams to get a win over an intra conference bubble opponent.

Friday, January 21st:
No Bubble Games.

Saturday, January 22nd:
Tennessee @ #8 UConn – 2PM CBS – The inconsistent Vols are looking for their third major win over a Big East opponent (Pitt, Nova). That would be hard to deny on Selection Sunday.
Marquette @ #16 Notre dame – 7PM ESPN3 – Marquette has two nice wins in Big East play, but they could use another.
Temple @ Xavier – 3PM ESPN2 – Temple was just routed at the hands of Duquense… they need to rebound.
#22 St. Mary’s @ Vanderbilt – 2PM – Much like Cincinnati, the Gaels are ranked, but they could use a signature win other than St. John’s.
Clemson @ Maryland – 230 PM – ACC bubble battle.
Oklahoma St @ Baylor – 4PM ESPN3 – Another opportunity for Baylor to gain traction in the Big 12.
#25 Cincinnati @ St. John’s – 4PM ESPN3 – The ranked opponent streak continues for St. John’s.
Boston College @ Florida State – 7PM ESPNU – Two of the more fortunate ACC bubble teams. Big win for both sides.
Memphis @ UAB – 7PM ESPN2 – UAB, like So. Miss, has a similar resume to Memphis.
Arkansas @ Florida – 8PM ESPN3 – Another chance for Arkansas to get back in the bubble picture.

Sunday, January 23rd:
Miami @ NC State – noon – NC State needs this win, Miami is in much better shape.