How St. Mary's can avoid NCAA Tournament bubble

Virginia spent an entire season exceeding all expectations and making a dominant run through the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Take for example Oklahoma State, which had a sub-par RPI of 86 as of Saturday morning but boasts five Quadrant 1 wins, including a regular season sweep of potential No. 1 seed Kansas and wins over West Virginia and Texas Tech. Seeded eighth in the East Region, the Hokies face Alabama late Thursday night in Pittsburgh.

The Final Four is March 31 and April 2 in San Antonio.

College BB: SEC Tournament championship (ESPN, noon Sunday): It will be a little more crowded at Scottrade Center compared to MVC title game a week earlier, especially if Kentucky is still around.

The Bearcats do have some quality offensive players but no one who is capable of carrying the team against high-level competition. On the second weekend, in Atlanta, the Cavaliers may face a major-conference champion in either Kansas or Arizona in the Round of 16, with No. 3-seeded Tennessee (25-8) or Cincinnati - KenPom.com's fourth-best team over all - potentially waiting in the regional final. Unlike previous year, they have played their way off the bubble and solidly into the projected field of 68. "People just want to start filling out brackets". The Gaels also played Dayton, which went 102-36 (.739) the previous four seasons before posting a sub-.500 record this season. They rank No. 156 in defensive rebounding and No. 141 in offensive rebounding. Out of this list of eight teams, four will make the tournament and four will not when the complete women's tournament bracket is announced Monday during the Selection Special. Loyola-Chicago won the Missouri Valley Conference to earn its first NCAA Tournament bid since 1985, when the Ramblers lost to Patrick Ewing's Georgetown Hoyas in the Sweet Sixteen. Texas got in relatively comfortably with a 19-14 record as a No. 10 seed, but Baylor and Oklahoma State were on the outside looking in. Shortly after that, a commission led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to deliver recommendations from an investigation triggered by an FBI probe that led to charges last fall against assistant coaches, agents, employees of apparel companies and others.

K-State fans would prefer a closer location such as Wichita or Dallas, but those spots seem unlikely unless the Wildcats unexpectedly fall to a No. 11 seed.

This will be one of the most anticipated Selection Sunday shows in recent Notre Dame history.

They don't call it March Madness for nothing.

Friday's matchup between No. 8 seed Creighton (21-11) and No. 9 seed Kansas State (22-11) in Charlotte will offer a reunion for Bluejays senior Marcus Foster with his former school. Think about this: The only regular-season games they played outside the state of California were three league road games (and two more in the WCC tournament), and their total schedule offered only seven Q1/2 opportunities. Most notably, Oklahoma (18-13) dropped from a four-seed to a No. 10 - the product of losing eight of its final 10 games. "But at the same time, it doesn't matter, because it's win or go home".

  • Julie Sanders