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15 March 2008

'Nova likely in barring total disaster

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/15/2008 12:26:00 PM
Here is what the Wildcats need to happen to virtually guarantee them a spot:
  • UNC to beat VT (Saturday). Tech might be in with a win over UNC, so that would take one spot away from the bubble. Granted, it might take UMass's or Illinois State's spot, but right now it's too close for comfort.
  • St. Joe's to beat Temple (Saturday). Temple can't really get in without the auto-bid, while St. Joe's is now a lock.
  • Memphis to beat Tulsa (Saturday). A Memphis loss would reduce the number of bubble spots by one.
  • Kent St. to beat Akron (Saturday). A Kent St. loss would give the Flashes an at-large.
  • Georgia to not win three times in 30 hours. The Bulldogs are the only team left in the SEC that is not a lock. Due to a tornado hitting the Georgia Dome last night, the only path for Georgia to an automatic bid is through Kentucky, Mississippi State, and the winner of Tennessee/Arkansas, all in the next day or so.
  • Wisconsin or Michigan State to win the Big 10 (Sunday). This is one Villanova fans might have to really sweat out. If Temple upsets St. Joe's and VT knocks off UNC, Villanova's spot could well come down to the Big 10 championship Sunday afternoon. Michigan State or Wisconsin will face Illinois or Minnesota in the final, ending just minutes before the selection show.
The only way I see Villanova being left out, at this point, is if three or more of the above scenarios go wrong this weekend. Even if three of these points do not go the Wildcats' way, there still should be about a 50-50 chance for the 'Cats to get in.

Remember, there are four at-large spots left, assuming Arizona is now in, even after losing. If there are still four or three spots left Sunday night, Villanova is a virtual lock. If there are just one or two spots left, Villanova will have to sweat it out. If all of the above scenarios go absolutely haywire, including Georgia pulling off one of the greatest weekends in sports history, then tip your hat to them, because the 'Cats will likely be one of the last two teams out.

I now estimate the Wildcats' chances of being included at 85 percent.

Finally, one of the last holdouts has put Villanova in his field of 65: ESPN's Bubble Watcher Andy Glockner.

Glockner held off after "Carnage Thursday" to make sure the bubble did not collapse on Friday. It didn't. According to Glockner,

It still looks like Arizona will make it off the strength of its 10 Top 100 wins. That leaves four spots up for grabs and the tiers as follows (in RPI order):

Tier A: Dayton, Illinois State, UMass, Villanova, Oregon, Arizona State Tier B: Ohio State, Ole Miss, Syracuse, VCU, New Mexico, Virginia Tech, Temple

Forced to choose today, the final four spots would go to Villanova, Illinois State, Oregon and UMass.

He even gives Villanova some breathing room, because Glockner suggests a Temple win over St. Joe's might take UMass's spot.

As Glockner says, if the selection show were right now, Villanova would be in.

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