Bubble Games of the Week: Conference Kick-Off

Its that time of year. Non-conference schedules are winding down, and conference games are heating up. Can you smell that? Its Bracketology in the air.

I will be writing weekly “Bubble Games of the Week” which covers not every game that every bubble team is involved in, but simply the games that can help bubble teams. So if Dayton is playing Northern Sisters of the Poor, I won’t include it. If they are playing @ #1 Duke, I will. I will make note of such games at the end of the week (Sunday Night), if Dayton loses, as well as a summary of how these bubble games went.

I’m working on releasing my first “LockBox” and “Resume Rundown”. The LockBox isn’t something I created, but something I find very useful. Its a color coordinated Excel sheet that breaks down what the bubble picture looks like. Its very user friendly, an example: LockBox. The Resume Rundown will also be an Excel sheet of all teams that aren’t conference leaders (standings, tie breaker = RPI) and are vying for an NCAA appearance. Its broken down into teams that are “sitting pretty”, teams that are “Bubble-IN” and teams that are “Bubble-OUT”. Its basically a fleshed out LockBox. Look for these two items to be released early this week. They will be released weekly or semi-weekly and then more frequently as the season progresses. Enjoy.

Note: Bubble teams in BOLD.

Monday, January 3rd:
#13 Georgetown @ St. John’s – 7PM ESPN2 – St. John’s is directly in the bubble picture despite two bad losses to Fordham and St. Bonaventure. The Johnnies have started off 2-0 in the Big East with wins over Providence and West Virgina.
#19 Michigan State @ Northwestern – 7:30 BTN – Northwestern started off their B10 campaign 0-1 after a loss to Purdue. The Wildcats need as many wins as they can muster in conference due to a cupcake filled OOC.

Tuesday, January 4th:
#5 Pittsburgh @ Providence – 7PM ESPN3 – Providence is in need of some big wins, after having none in their OOC. This is a big opportunity.
Arkansas @ #12 Texas – 9PM ESPNU – Arkansas has a bad RPI (147) and SOS (327). A road win against Top 15 Texas will help all facets of their resume.
Missouri State @ Creighton – 8:05 – A bubble battle in the MVC. Both teams have outside shots at an at-large, but this game is a must if either team wants to keep that hope alive.

Wednesday, January 5th:
UAB @ #1 Duke – 7PM ESPN2 – UAB is another team with an outside shot at an at-large. Along with Southern Miss, the Blazers are looking to be the 3rd team out of C-USA.
Drexel @ VCU – 7PM – Drexel is a bubble in team as of now. A win against a decent VCU team will only help their case.
Michigan @ Wisconsin – 8:30PM – A young Michigan squad is looking to squeeze their way into the NCAA tournament. The B10 is stacked, but also provides many chances at big wins. This is one of them.

Thursday, January 6th:
Northwestern @ #20 Illinois – 9PM ESPN2
Xavier @ #25 Cincinnati – 7PM ESPN2 – Xavier is right around the bubble. They have a decent RPI (53) and good SOS (40) but their only good win is against Butler.

Friday, January 7th:
Cleveland State @ Butler – 7PM ESPNU – Huge game in the Horizon League. These are the only two teams with shots at an at-large. Their opponent is also the only chance of a “good win” in the Horizon League. A must win for both; the loser faces a lot more pressure to win the Horizon League tournament (pending the second game later in the season).

Saturday, January 8th:
Marquette @ #5 Pittsburgh – 2PM ESPN3 – Marquette’s blind resume (RPI & SOS) is bad, but those numbers will look a lot better after the Big East season. They still need some big wins, though.
#11 Kentucky @ Georgia – 4PM ESPN3 – Georgia’s sub par SOS (198) is hurting them. Playing Kentucky will help them no matter what, but a win would really help their resume.
West Virginia @ #13 Georgetown – 11AM ESPN2 – West Virginia has great numbers (RPI: 14, SOS: 1) but have started their Big East slate 0-2.
St. John’s @ #15 Notre Dame – 8PM ESPNU
#17 Kansas State @ Oklahoma State – 1PM ESPN2 – Oklahoma State is bubble-in, but due to a low SOS (131) any B12 wins will help.
Tennessee @ Arkansas – 130PM ESPN3
Florida State @ Virginia Tech – 3PM ESPN2 – Both teams aren’t in the greatest shape, Florida State being the more fortunate. A must win for both.
Miami @ Clemson – 6PM ESPNU – Another ACC bubble game. Miami is IN, Clemson is OUT as of now.
Iowa State @ Nebraska – 8PM ESPN3 – Similar to the FSU – VT game, both of these B12 teams need a win, as their RPI and SOS aren’t great. (RPI: 103, SOS: 284 — RPI: 108, SOS: 264, respectively).

Sunday, January 9th:
Maryland @ #1 Duke – 8PM – Always a big rivalry game, but this game holds extra significance for the Terps. They are bubble-OUT and this type of win would be HUGE for their resume, obviously.
#3 Kansas @ Michigan – TBD CBS
Missouri State @ Wichita State – 830PM ESPNU – Another MVC bubble game. Wichita State has the best resume in the MVC, but its borderline at-large worth right now. It will be interesting to see how Missouri State does this week (@Creighton, @ Wichita State), certainly a tough stretch.
UCLA @ USC – 1030PM – Two bubble teams from the Pac-10. UCLA has a more traditional resume: 1.5 bad losses (VCU, Montana), 1 good win (BYU neutral court) and RPI: 62, SOS: 34. USC has 4 Sub100 RPI losses but has wins against Texas and Tennessee. Their RPI is 55 and SOS 23.

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