The Pulse: Welcome to Madness

Updated: March 3, 2006, 3:23 PM ET
Thursday, March 2

Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and chatting with experts in The Show. We collect the daily highlights and put them in The Pulse.

Story of the Day: Bubble Watch
 Leonard Hamilton
Leonard Hamilton has FSU on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.
The NFL appears to be on the brink of salary-cap chaos, but it's a different sort of pandemonium captivating SportsNation this time of year.

Florida State, squarely on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament, ushered in the month's madness on Wednesday night, dispatching Duke in a stunning ACC upset. And elsewhere on the college courts on Wednesday, conference tournaments commenced, as everyone from San Diego State to Maine gets one last shot at an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

College basketball is heating up, and SportsNation voters can't get enough. The NCAA bubble watch topped SportsNaton's list of current big stories, outpacing the NFL mess, NBA and NHL seasons, MLB spring training and the World Baseball Classic.

What most interests you right now? (9,529 votes)
39.8% NCAA bubble watch
25.7% NFL labor situation
15.4% MLB spring training
11.9% NBA or NHL seasons
7.0% World Baseball Classic

Resume Builder
How would Teddy Roosevelt get off the bubble? Speak softly and beat Duke. Before Wednesday's game, just 49% of SportsNation voters thought FSU was going to the NCAA Tournament. But after the free publicity of beating the No. 1 team, the Seminoles are now picked by 74% to make the field. Vote!

"Now that they've actually beaten somebody of consequence, I think it's more of an accurate measure to consider their close losses to Duke and UNC."
Rece Davis in chat

SportsNation Bubble Watch: NCAA or NIT?
NCAA
81.8% Syracuse
76.0% Northern Iowa
71.4% Kentucky
69.5% Creighton
59.8% Southern Illinois
59.4% Air Force
55.4% UNC Wilmington
54.9% Cincinnati
50.6% Western Kentucky

NIT
83.3% Houston
78.1% Maryland
71.9% San Diego St.
68.5% Colorado
62.5% Texas A&M
58.1% Seton Hall
56.3% Indiana
53.3% Hofstra
53.2% California
52.1% UAB

  • Click here to vote on the bubble watch

    Which team does not deserve a No. 1 seed at the moment? (48,480 votes)
    50.8% Gonzaga
    24.8% Memphis
    9.8% Duke
    9.0% Villanova
    5.4% Connecticut


    Voice of the Fan
    Duke should be ranked No. 4, Villanova stays at No. 2 and UConn should stay at No. 1.
    Big Bill (New Jersey)

    Coach K in SportsNation
    JR (Tampa): J.J. Redick is a very clutch player and scorer for this version of Duke basketball. Could you rank your best "clutch" players and scorers?

    Mike Krzyzewski: I'm not ESPN, so I don't rank them. I'm just glad I've had a lot of them. The kid who probably did the most in clutch moments is Christian Laettner. He's got to rank in the top two or three in college basketball history. Also, Shane Battier came up with a lot of clutch performances for us.

  • See Coach K's full chat
  • Why isn't anyone mentioning George Washington or Georgetown as a team that can go deep? When GW gets Pops back, they will be as good as they were before.
    Devlin (Minnesota)

    Jay Bilas says SIX teams from the MVC have a shot at the tournament. I want to see how their tournament shakes out and how many actually make it (can't possibly be more than the four semifinalists, can it?).
    Steve (Ithaca)

    Will the Missouri Valley hurt itself? By having six bubble teams, they might just beat up on themselves in this conference tourney and end up with just three tourney teams.
    Matt (Fairfax)

    While everyone is drooling about Adam Morrison's play, has anyone noticed that he has to do that every night just for Gonzaga to edge past powers like St. Mary's and San Francisco? The Zags are a fraud, and will bow out of the Dance early.
    Tim (San Antonio)

    Can George Washington get a No. 1 seed? You figure they won't lose the rest of the year because of who they play, and all of the teams ranked above them will play tough teams in their conference tournaments and could potentially lose.
    Brian (Newburyport, Mass.)

    Is Gonzaga as fraudulent as I think they are, or do they just play down to the comp. in the WCC? I'm not sure either question will be answered in the next two games, but I'd still like to know for my bracket.
    Reggie (Orlando)

  • Click here for transcript of Dan Shanoff's Morning Quickie


    SportsNation's Show
    Larry (Lexington, Ky.): Do you see Kentucky surging at the right time, and what would a win over Florida and an SEC tourney title get UK in terms of seeding?

    Villanova's Fate
    Despite losing to Connecticut over the weekend, Villanova is still firmly a No. 1 seed in the eyes of SportsNation voters. But are they just setting the Wildcats up for a bracket collapse? Only 35% of voters believe Villanova can win a title without Curtis Sumpter.

    Rece Davis: Just talked about this to a reporter. I have them as a No. 10 at the moment. That's probably low. I think they have a golden opportunity to play their way to the No. 6 or 7 line. But they need to beat Florida and probably make the SEC semis. For the Cats in the SEC tourney, a mere semifinal trip would be a disappointment, wouldn't it?

    Charlie (Seattle, WA): As a Seattleite, I am biased, but what does the rest of the country think about the UW Huskies? A legitimate team or a one-and-done?

    Rece Davis: I think Romar's team is legit. Brandon Roy is a Pac 10 player-of-the-year candidate. Brockman has been an outstanding freshman. I'd be surprised if they go out in the first round. I actually considered throwing UCLA in as my "out of nowhere" Final Four team. The good teams in the Pac 10 -- UCLA, Washington, Cal, Arizona -- are better than advertised. Most of the others are worse than feared.

  • Click here for Davis' chat transcript



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