Bubble Watch -- 2/24

Thanks to Florida's win over Tennessee, they would be in the NCAAs if the field was being announced today. Should they falter the rest of the way, that status is not secure yet. As a result, Gator fans need to keep an eye on the other teams on the edge of the tournament. Here are some games tonight that could be beneficial to Florida's chances.


Temple's a sure NCAA team at this point, while most projected NCAA fields have Dayton still knocking on the door. The Flyers were at 42 in the RPI when the week began, so a road win would be huge for them here. With a road game at Richmond still on their schedule, this isn't the last chance Dayton has to make a positive impact on their chances but a loss will put a lot of pressure on them for that game next week. Gator fans love the Owls here.


VT seems like they should be an NCAA lock with records of 21-5 and 8-4 in the ACC. Despite that, they have an RPI of just 44 because of their putrid non-conference schedule. This is one of their two remaining chances at picking up a road win, and with Boston College outside of the RPI Top 100 it would be a damaging loss if they fail to do so. The ACC has just one team ranked in the top 25, yet many are currently projecting seven teams into the NCAA field from the conference. Someone's going to be on the outside looking in with numbers like that, and the Hokies become a candidate with a stumble here.

No one knows just what to expect for Conference USA teams this year. The last couple of seasons everyone but Memphis has been ignored by the NCAA selection committee, but teams like UAB have compiled good enough resumes that it will likely be a multi-bid league in 2010. Of particular concern to Gator fans should the two schools bodies of work be compared is that UAB won at South Alabama, which beat UF in Gainesville. The Blazers also have wins against Arkansas and Georgia. UCF's a .500 team, but they are 9-4 at home so they may have a chance in this one.


The Tigers are in a similar position to Florida right now - definitely in if the field was set today, but there's still potential to let it get away. They're currently 7-5 in ACC play, three of their final four games are on the road against teams with records equal to or better than theirs, and even the one home game is against a Georgia Tech team that beat them earlier this season. Clemson opened the week at 35 in the RPI, and a road win over No. 36 Maryland would probably be enough to make them bulletproof for the NCAAs. There's no reason for Gator fans to want that to happen.


The Bulls home loss to St. John's over the weekend put their hopes of reaching the NCAAs in critical condition. Only something extraordinary can get them back into the mix, and a road win over a potential first or second seed would be the kind of thing that can do that. With a loss it would be impossible for USF to finish over .500 in conference play, and a home game with UConn is the only game left on their schedule that would have any potential to be a quality win. A Wildcats win ensures USF is an NIT team unless they make a remarkable Big East tournament run.

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