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WEEKLY DISH BREAKS DOWN THE NCAA BUBBLE
, 2010

In most cases, conference play is more than halfway over. There is plenty of debate over who the best teams in the country are, but few have begun to examine the bubble. This week, the Weekly Dish will give a first hand look at the bubble as it stands now. As of now, the 32 conference leaders are projected as the conference champs giving each an automatic bid. There are 24 other schools that can be considered solidly in at this point. That leaves 12 spots open among 32 schools that are currently on the bubble. Current first place schools will be in all caps as the bubble is broken down by conference.

ACC

Teams Solidly In: DUKE, North Carolina, Florida State

On the Bubble:

Boston College (15-8, 5-4 ACC, RPI 75) Key Wins: Texas A&M, California Bad Losses: Rhode Island, Harvard, Miami As of now: In. The Eagles have wins over other ACC bubble teams Maryland and Virginia Tech. Boston College got off to a good start in non-conference, but do have some bad losses. Boston College has a big game Tuesday night at Clemson.

Clemson (16-7, 5-4 ACC, RPI 30) Key Wins: Florida State Bad Losses: Virginia As of now: Out. Clemson has been very competitive having lost by double-digits just once. A weak non-conference schedule did not help Clemson early in the year and the Tigers have just one signature win. Clemson is just 1-4 on the road in ACC play.

Maryland (15-8, 5-4 ACC, RPI 21) Key Wins: None Bad Losses: None As of now: Out. Maryland has no marquee wins, but no bad losses. The Terrapins blew second half leads against both Duke and Villanova. North Carolina is the only ranked team remaining on the schedule for Maryland, but it is on the road. The Terrapins will need to beat the teams they should beat to reach the NCAA Tournament.

Virginia Tech (15-7, 5-4 ACC, RPI 32) Key Wins: Florida State Bad Losses: Virginia, Georgia Tech As of now: Out. The Hokies played a tough non-conference schedule, but it didnít result in wins. Virginia Tech lost hard fought games to Purdue and North Carolina. Virginia Tech has bad losses within the conference and that could come back to haunt the Hokies as Selection Sunday looms.

Big East Teams Solidly In: PITTSBURGH, Notre Dame, Villanova, Louisville, Syracuse, Georgetown, Connecticut, West Virginia

On the Bubble: Cincinnati (18-5, 5-5 Big East, RPI 27) Key Wins: None Bad Losses: None As of now: In. The Bearcats do not have a big time win to hang their hat on, but went 13-0 in the non-conference and are currently .500 in the best conference in College Basketball. Cincinnati still has plenty of big games on the schedule and finishing 9-9 in Big East play would almost guarantee the Bearcats a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Marquette (14-9, 5-5 Big East, RPI 26) Key Wins: West Virginia, Notre Dame, Syracuse Bad Losses: None As of now: In. Marquette is on the cusp of becoming a team that is solidly in. The Golden Eagles have been very good at home and have USF, Seton Hall twice and Providence remaining on the schedule.

St. Johnís (13-9, 5-5 Big East, RPI 52) Key Wins: Georgetown, Notre Dame, Duke Bad Losses: St. Bonaventure, Fordham As of now: In. Of the three Big East schools on the bubble, St. Johnís is the closest to falling out of the current NCAA field. St. Johnís has been impressive at home and its victory over Duke may end up being the win that ultimately puts the Red Storm in the tournament. The Duke victory made St. Johnís back-to-back losses to Atlantic 10 schools a distant memory.

Big Ten Teams Solidly In: OHIO STATE, Purdue, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota

On the Bubble: Michigan (14-10, 4-7 Big Ten, RPI 54) Key Wins: Michigan State Bad Losses: Indiana As of now: Out. Michigan has come very close to pulling out one upset after another, but have continually come up just short. Michigan still has a chance to make a statement with games against Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Michigan State (13-10, 5-6 Big Ten, RPI 49) Key Wins: Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin Bad Losses: Penn State As of now: Out. The Spartans have made the NCAA Tournament every year since 1998, but this year could be very different. Michigan State has solid wins, but its overall record could be a problem for the selection committee. Michigan State plays four of the conferenceís top five teams in its remaining seven games.

Northwestern (14-8, 4-7 Big Ten, RPI 47) Key Wins: Illinois Bad Losses: None As of now: Out. Northwestern has been competitive, but have been able to pull just one major upset. A 4-7 overall record currently has the Wildcats out. The remaining schedule is favorable, but Northwestern concludes the regular season with Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Big XII Teams Solidly In: TEXAS, Kansas, Texas A&M, Missouri, Baylor

On the Bubble: Oklahoma State (16-7, 4-5 Big XII, RPI 82) Key Wins: Kansas State, Missouri Bad Losses: Texas Tech As of now: Out. The Cowboys have been blown out on a regular basis by the elites in the Big XII and outside the conference. The remaining schedule is tough, but a few marquee upsets would give Oklahoma State an inside track toward making the tournament.

Kansas State (16-8, 4-5 Big XII, RPI 43) Key Wins: Baylor Bad Losses: Colorado As of now: In. Kansas State has won three of four and are hanging by a string. The Wildcats have struggled in conference play, but have solid wins against Virginia Tech and Gonzaga on neutral floors.

Colorado (15-9, 4-5 Big XII, RPI 51) Key Wins: Missouri, Kansas State Bad Losses: San Francisco, Harvard, Oklahoma As of now: Out. Colorado has some solid victories, but inconsistencies could come back to haunt the Buffaloes as Selection Sunday nears.

Pac-10 Teams Solidly In: ARIZONA, UCLA, Washington

On the Bubble: California (13-10, 6-5 Pac-10, RPI 67) Key Wins: Temple Bad Losses: Southern Mississippi, Stanford As of now: Out. Cal has three losses by just two points in conference play. The Golden Bears missed out on a huge opportunity losing to Arizona in two overtimes on Saturday.

Washington State (16-7, 6-5 Pac-10, RPI 41) Key Wins: Baylor, Washington Bad Losses: USC, Oregon As of now: In. Washington State has been very up and down in Pac-10 play, but reaching the final of the Diamond Head Classic could go a long way down the stretch.

SEC Teams Solidly In: FLORIDA, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt

On the Bubble: Georgia (16-6, 5-4 SEC, RPI 58) Key Wins: Kentucky Bad Losses: None As of now: In. Georgia could be a solid in had they Bulldogs held on to late leads against both Tennessee and Florida.

Alabama (15-7, 7-1 SEC, RPI 37) Key Wins: Kentucky, Tennessee Bad Losses: Seton Hall, Iowa, St. Peterís As of now: In. Alabama struggled against a weak non-conference, but have started 7-1 in SEC play. The Crimson Tide have won their last five games.

Ole Miss (15-8, 3-5 SEC, RPI 69) Key Wins: Kentucky Bad Losses: Miami As of now: Out. The Rebels win over Kentucky last week gave Ole Miss a fighting chance to make the NCAA Tournament. Ole Miss will need to finish at least 8-8 in SEC play to make the big dance.

Arkansas (14-8, 4-5 SEC, RPI 101) Key Wins: Alabama, Tennessee, Vanderbilt Bad Losses:LSU As of now: In. Arkansas has a low RPI and did not have a good week, but the Razorbacks still have the wins and pass the eye test as a legitimate NCAA Tournament team.

The Mid-Majors Teams Solidly In: Duquesne, Xavier, Temple, San Diego State

On the Bubble: Mid-Majors In: UNLV, Butler Mid-Majors Out: Missouri State, Northern Iowa, New Mexico, Colorado State, Gonzaga, Memphis, UAB, Old Dominion, Virginia Commonwealth As of now: Butler and UNLV are the only two Mid-Majors on the bubble that are currently in. That is mostly due to strong non-conference play. Winning the Diamond Head Classic could be enough for Butler to offset a tough start in the Horizon League. UNLV beat Wisconsin, Virginia Tech and Kansas State in the non-conference.

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