Bid Thief Alert!: Thursday Bracketeering
Up til today Championship Week had not produced any surprises. Other than Connecticut, every bubble team won at least one conference tournament game and the bid thieves had stayed away. Then came today. Conference USA bubble teams Memphis and UAB both fell in the quarterfinals. Memphis was on the bubble for sure but UAB needed a win and now the Blazers are on the outside looking in. Furthermore, Houston will play Southern Miss in the semifinals, meaning one of those teams will head to the title game with the chance to steal a bid. Now the stage is set for Georgia Tech, Arizona State and possibly Washington to fill the void left by at least one Conference USA team.
Meanwhile, Marquette just keeps on winning and the probability that the Big East gets eight bids is very strong. With the 80-76 win over Villanova the Golden Eagles head to the Big East semis to play Georgetown but more importantly the victory locks up a spot for Marquette. I'm also putting Louisville in the lock column so if Cincinnati can do the impossible and win five games in five days the Big East might get nine bids.
No automatic bids today but the field will continue to shift well into the night.
Automatic Bids: Cornell, Winthrop, East Tennessee State, Murray State, Northern Iowa, Old Dominion, Siena, St. Mary's, Wofford, North Texas, Butler, Oakland, Robert Morris, Montana
Locks: Richmond, Temple, Xavier, Clemson, Duke, Maryland, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin, BYU, New Mexico, California, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Gonzaga, Florida State, Louisville, Marquette
At-Large Probables: Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, UTEP, Notre Dame
Bubble Teams: Rhode Island, Seton Hall, Illinois, UAB, San Diego State, UNLV, Arizona State, Florida, Utah State, Georgia Tech, Memphis
Outside Looking In: South Florida, Charlotte, Dayton, Connecticut, Minnesota, Marshall, Tulsa, Kent State, Wichita State, Washington, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, UAB