College Basketball Bubble Watch

Updated: March 3, 2007, 7:25 AM ET
By Andy Glockner | ESPN.com


Bubble fans unite to root on Winthrop's Eagles

Penn might have broken the bracket ice Friday night, clinching the Ivy's regular-season crown and the first bid to the 2007 NCAA Tournament, but Saturday is the first real day of bracket business -- and Bubble Nation has its first team to cheer for.

If you are a fan of Purdue or Georgia Tech or Kansas State or any other team harboring at-large dreams, you'll want to tune in at 2 ET on ESPN2 and root your tail off for Winthrop to win the Big South title.

Some good fortune has smiled upon the bubblers already. With 13-18 VMI's unlikely march to the Big South final from the 6-seed, a loss for the Eagles would be much, much more harmful for their at-large profile than had they lost to High Point, the conference's No. 2 team. Still, the best result for every team in the tables below is for Winthrop to get the auto bid and remove itself from at-large contention.

There was one other large development from Friday night that also helped the bubble teams -- App State's tough 89-87 OT loss to College of Charleston in the SoCon semis.

A rough pre-game calculation of App State's profile exclusively with transfer Donte Minter in the lineup showed the Mountaineers at 19-3 with an RPI in the high 30s and away/neutral wins over Virginia, Vanderbilt, VCU and Wichita State. That is a profile worth very serious at-large consideration, especially as it held up in a modest conference.

Now? The Mountaineers almost certainly are done, victimized by a sensational performance by CofC guard Dontaye Draper (38 points, including 29 after halftime) and an awful shooting night from guard D.J. Thompson (1 of 15 before a meaningless 3 at the buzzer). Saturday's Bobby Cremins-back-to-the-NCAAs angle against Davidson is nice, but being denied the battle of the SoCon titans, possibly with an at-large in the offing, is a bit disappointing -- for everyone but fans of bubble dwellers. Yes, Davidson is 26-4, but a lack of real profile heft makes them an at-large long shot if they lose to the Cougars.

Here's the updated look at the bubble. Make sure to check out the newly created bubble scoreboard each day for all the important games on one page.

Here's the latest bubble picture, compliments of the chef:

The Bubble Breakdown
CONFERENCE LOCKS SHOULD BE INS AT-LARGES TAKEN (OUT OF 34)
(assuming no auto bid outlier)
ACC 6 0 5
Big East 5 2 6
Big Ten 2 2 3
Big 12 3 0 2
Pac-10 5 1 5
SEC 4 0 3
MVC 1 1 1
MWC 2 1 2
TOTAL 28 7 27

If your team's not on here, there's probably a good reason (or three) -- start with the RPI and SOS numbers and work your way down.

(Please remember, per selection committee criteria, that records displayed are Division I only. Next update: Mar. 2)

If you have a legitimate grievance, or just like talking bubble, send an e-mail. Polite ones with fact-based arguments have a much better chance of receiving a response. I apologize in advance if I can't get back to all of you.