Bubble Watch -- 3/2

Florida can make this the final edition of this year's Bubble Watch tonight by beating Vanderbilt. Adding a 10th SEC win at the expense of a team currently in the top 20 of the RPI should be enough to secure a spot in the NCAA field barring an extraordinary series of conference tournament upset winners.

If Florida falters, they'll still be in the projected field Wednesday but the margin for surprises becomes much smaller. Here are today's games which could help the Gators circumstances if they don't take care of it themselves.


Cincy looked like they would be a tournament team at one point this year, but after losing five of seven and falling to 58 in the RPI they're not considered likely to get a bid right now. The Bearcats could still change that with a hot final week of the season, as they'll get a chance at picking up wins against teams ranked No. 8 and No. 13 in the latest RPI. A win over the Wildcats would give them a decent chance of accomplishing it, because their final opponent Georgetown has dropped four of their last five. Naturally, Florida would like Villanova to keep that from happening.


Clemson appears to have secured their ticket to the tournament with Sunday's ugly win at FSU. Georgia Tech has the higher RPI of the two teams, and would fall a game below .500 in conference play with a loss here. It will take more than a loss here to put GT in serious trouble, but if Clemson can defend their homecourt it does keep the Yellow Jackets in play as a possible exclusion should they lose their season finale at home and then their first ACC tournament game.


The Illini are on the outside of the tournament field right now but still could claw their way back into the mix. Their RPI is at 73 after losing at home to Minnesota, they're just 18-11 and have dropped three of their past four games. Nothing is better for a team's resume than road wins against quality teams and this trip to Columbus gives Illinois their final shot at picking one up. OSU is comfortably in the tournament, and should be motivated with a possible Big Ten title in their sights. Florida needs the Buckeyes to take care of business here.


Marquette has just rattled off three straight overtime wins, all on the road. Overall they've won eight of the last nine. Despite all of that, they're still just at 49 in the RPI and only 19-9 overall. They've got two home games this week against Louisville and Notre Dame. If they win both, they're a lock. Beating Louisville would likely do the job as well. The Cardinals appear to be securely in after their weekend win over UConn, so them notching another win here is definitely in Florida's interest.

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