WeAreDePaul.com Bubble Report - 1/4/06

Check out Mike Adam's whirlwind tour of College Hoops...

I said I'd do the update Thursday morning, then I remembered that there's a college football game of some significance this evening that will keep my attention, so I decided to bump the "Bubble Report" up to today. And we're going back to the "Good", "Bad", "Ambivalent" classifications, with the BIG EAST games getting their own section for right now.

As of this morning, DePaul's RPI rank (according to kenpom.com) is 21.

Summarizing the last 48 hours…


Marquette 94, Connecticut 79. Got to give it up for the Golden Gold (10-3, 1-0), and they helped DePaul's future RPI rank, so a "thank you" to them for that. Did Connecticut (11-1, 0-1) get fat with over a month's worth of cupcakes? Bear in mind, while their national rank was #2, their RPI rank was 42 going into last night's game. It's still early, but that's a heck of a discrepancy between subjective poll ranking and RPI ranking. They really haven't played anyone even remotely challenging since Maui, and Marquette exposed them. You wonder if the "old guard" BIG EAST schools may have misjudged the strength of the C-USA refugees.

Providence 94, Loyola (MD) 81. Still some stragglers playing non-conference games, and the Friars (7-4, 0-0) win a game they were expected to win.

The Good

UAB 68, Virginia Commonwealth 62. The Blazers (9-3, 0-0) are streaking into conference play with a five-game winning street, and we've already identified that Conference USA is pretty weak. If UAB takes care of business during the regular season and gets to the C-USA Tournament finals, they'll likely be in good shape for an NCAA bid. Of course, this is all soured by the fact that Demario Eddins is out for the rest of the year. Despite this loss, they're still no worse than the third-best team in Conference USA, though.

Old Dominion 64, UNC-Wilmington 59. Don't underestimate how big this win is for the Monarchs (9-4, 2-1). A loss would have put them two games behind the conference-leading Seahawks with a trip to Wilmington later in the season. In a one-bid conference, the easier the road to the conference tournament final, the better.

Wake Forest 58, East Carolina 54. Hmm…why was this game so close, especially considering it was at Wake (11-2, 0-0)? Does that make anyone else nervous?

Indiana 70, Michigan 63. The Hoosiers (9-2, 1-0) are more a "lock" for the NCAA Tournament at this point than Michigan, and the Wolverines (10-2, 0-1) would have notched a nice road victory had they picked this one up. So I think this result is good…for now.

The Bad

Duke 84, Bucknell 50. Seriously, who thought Bucknell (8-3, 0-0) was going to win this game? The silver lining is that after playing Duke, Syracuse, Villanova, St. Joseph's (and yes, DePaul) in the pre-conference season, how hard will the Patriot League look?

Miami (OH) 58, Northern Illinois 56. We've seen this movie before. Northern (5-4, 1-1) is…slowly…sinking.

The Ambivalent

Bradley 86, Creighton 69. The Braves (8-3, 2-1) take care of business at home. Now it's time for the Blue Jays (7-4, 1-2) to shake off their two straight conference losses and join the Missouri Valley Conference race before they get left too far behind early.

Georgia Tech 76, Vanderbilt 67. Remember how I was saying Georgia Tech (6-4, 0-0) didn't have a good non-conference win? Yea, scratch that. I put this in the "Ambivalent" section because I think it's yet to be determined at this point which of these teams, if either (or both) are serious bubble threats.

Games to Watch Over the Next 48 Hours

Purdue at Northwestern. Northwestern should win this game. They need to hold serve against inferior opponents on their home court.

Dayton at Fordham. All right, Brian Gregory – get this ship straightened out. There's no excuse for a loss here.

Bradley at Drake. Don't sleep on Dr. Tom Davis' team, but a win for the Braves would give them a nice 3-1 start in the Valley, and a road win, to boot.

Old Dominion at Towson.

Illinois State at Creighton. We'll see how well the Blue Jays respond after the Redbirds shocked them at the end of last week.

Arkansas-Little Rock at Florida International. How could we forget the "MolsonBlue" watch? Will FIU make some noise in the Sun Belt, or will conference season go just like non-conference season did?

Notre Dame at Pitt. I'm not going to list every game in the BIG EAST in this section because it goes without saying that we're watching them all. But with Notre Dame as a mirror opponent for DePaul, the RPI rank could get another little shot in the arm if the Irish could go to Pittsburgh and win.

George Washington at Temple. The first of many, many steps to sort out the Atlantic 10.

Florida State at Clemson. Both have nice non-conference records (FSU: 9-1; Clemson: 11-2). The Tigers are going the wrong way with two straight losses, though, and both of these teams are notable for folding like cheap suits once the heat of the ACC is turned on them. Winner of this game gets a leg up in the "bubble" race over the other.

Northern Iowa at Wichita State. This is a rematch of the game that might have knocked Wichita State out of the NCAAs and put Northern Iowa in. In Wichita, UNI scored the last 11 points, including a three-pointer at the buzzer, to steal this win at the end of last year. Winner here moves to 3-1 in the conference.

Oregon vs. California. The Bears are in a very nice position with the Oregon schools coming to visit this weekend.

Let's go, Demons.

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