February 25, 2010

Rivals.com Daily NCAA Tournament Tracker

Here's our daily NCAA tournament tracker.

After a couple of days filled with numerous good games, today is a downer. A big downer.

We'll continue our Tracker through the final days of the conference tournaments. We'll also update as needed the "NCAA locks" chart.

NCAA TOURNEY LOCKS (26)
ACC (2): Duke, Wake Forest
Atlantic 10 (3): Richmond, Temple, Xavier
Big 12 (5): Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Texas, Texas A&M
Big East (5): Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia
Big Ten (4): Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin
Horizon (1): Butler
Mountain West (2): BYU, New Mexico
SEC (3): Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
West Coast (1): Gonzaga
ONE-BID LEAGUE REGARDLESS (16)
America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Ivy, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern Athletic, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern Athletic, Summit, Sun Belt.
GAME OF THE DAY

South Carolina at Kentucky, 9 p.m., ESPN2: When this likely rout is the game of the day, you know it's not a scintillating day. South Carolina handed visiting UK its only loss of the season on Jan. 26, but the Gamecocks are 1-4 since. Kentucky, which is in line for a No. 1 seed and perhaps the overall top seed in the NCAA tournament, will be looking for some payback from that earlier loss.

BUBBLE WATCH GAME OF THE DAY

Pepperdine at Saint Mary's, 10 p.m.: Saint Mary's is squarely on the NCAA bubble and can't afford a bad loss. The Gaels are in an eerily similar situation to last season's, when they finished 24-6, were 2-3 against RPI top-50 teams, 4-4 against top-100 teams but were bypassed by the NCAA selection committee. This season, the Gaels are 22-5 overall and are 2-3 against RPI top-50 teams and 5-5 against top-100 teams. At the least, Saint Mary's needs to win its last two regular-season games, then get to the West Coast Conference tournament title game.

OTHER GAMES OF INTEREST

Tulsa at Duke, 7 p.m., ESPN2: Before the season, Tulsa folks probably thought this game would provide a late-season opportunity to boost the Golden Hurricane's NCAA profile. But Tulsa has no shot at an at-large bid. Still, a Tulsa win would hurt Duke's NCAA profile a bit.

Georgia at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m., ESPNU: Vanderbilt, which is in second place in the SEC East, will be looking for revenge against the Bulldogs, who beat the Commodores by 14 in Athens earlier this month. Vandy is on track for a No. 4 NCAA seed and a loss would hurt those chances.

College of Charleston at Wofford, 7 p.m., Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast: This likely determines the regular-season winner of the Southern Conference. There is no at-large bid on the line, just the No. 1 seed in the conference tourney.

Campbell at Jacksonville, 7:15 p.m.: This likely determines the regular-season winner of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Again, there is no at-large bid on the line, just the No. 1 seed in the conference tourney.

Wisconsin at Indiana, 9 p.m., Big Ten Network: Wisconsin has a legit shot at finishing third in the Big Ten, but must win this to keep those hopes in place. The Badgers also are playing for NCAA seeding. Wisconsin pounded the Hoosiers by 28 in Madison on Feb. 13.

WEDNESDAY REVIEW

Maryland 88, Clemson 79: The Terps took control midway through the second half. Unless Maryland loses each of its final three regular-season games, the Terrapins are NCAA-bound. Clemson is another matter. The Tigers have lost five of nine and have a tough closing stretch: at Florida State, vs. Georgia Tech and at Wake Forest. Clemson is 7-6 in the ACC and has some work to do to lock up an NCAA bid.

Temple 49, Dayton 41: Temple solidified its hold on a top-four seed and in the process watched as Dayton slid further down on the NCAA bubble. The Flyers have lost three of their past four and are just 7-6 in the A-10. They need to win out in their three remaining regular-season games, including a game at league front-runner Richmond, to have a legit shot at an at-large bid heading into the league tournament.

Boston College 80, Virginia Tech 60: Man, what a bad loss - especially the manner in which the Hokies were handled. Virginia Tech has lost two in a row. Despite an 8-5 mark in the ACC, the Hokies are in danger of being left out of the NCAA field. They played a pitiful non-conference schedule and have just two RPI top-50 wins. Still, their remaining regular-season schedule is such -- it includes games against Clemson and Georgia Tech -- that the Hokies can play their way into the field.

Florida State 77, North Carolina 67: How far has UNC fallen this season? Beating the Heels really doesn't help the Seminoles all that much, but a loss would've been a really bad one. FSU has a tough closing stretch -- vs. Clemson, vs. Wake Forest and at Miami -- and one more win likely locks up a bid.

Cincinnati 74, DePaul 69: This basically was a must-win game for the Bearcats. Now comes the truly hard work. They are under .500 in the Big East and close the regular season with a monster trio of games: at West Virginia, vs. Villanova and at Georgetown. While Cincy has four RPI top-100 wins, they are 6-11 against top-100 teams and just 11-11 against top-200 teams. The Bearcats have to win two of their remaining regular-season games to stay alive in the at-large chase.

UAB 53, UCF 49: The Blazers prevailed to avoid what could have been a crippling loss. Beating UTEP in the regular-season finale might be the key to the Blazers having a legitimate shot at an at-large bid.

Stony Brook 82, Vermont 78: Stony Brook clinched the regular-season title in America East, which is important because the regular-season champ is guaranteed to host the league tournament title game if it gets that far. Stony Brook never has been to the NCAA tourney.

Marquette 63, St. John's 61: The Golden Eagles had to work overtime to win their seventh game in their past eight outings. But they remain under .500 against RPI top-100 teams and need a few more wins to lock up an NCAA bid.

Charlotte 95, Saint Joseph's 58: Charlotte had been stumbling -- three losses in a row -- but the 49ers righted themselves and crushed the Hawks. Charlotte has three games left, including big ones against Rhode Island and Richmond. The 49ers need to at least split those to still have a shot at an at-large bid going into the Atlantic 10 tournament.

Xavier 73, Saint Louis 71: Xavier has won four in a row and eight of nine, and appears to be peaking at the right time. The Musketeers are tied atop the A-10 standings with Temple and Richmond, and play host to Richmond on Sunday.

Ole Miss 85, Auburn 75: Ole Miss had to have this win after a stretch in which it lost five of six, and now the Rebels have to continue to win. They need to win their final three regular-season games -- at Alabama, vs. LSU and at Arkansas -- to keep their at-large hopes alive going into the SEC tournament.

Purdue 59, Minnesota 58: The Boilermakers rallied late without Robbie Hummel to subdue the Golden Gophers and remain in line for a No. 1 seed.

Mississippi State 74, Alabama 66: The victory allowed Mississippi State to take over sole possession of first place in the SEC West. The Bulldogs' next two are on the road, against South Carolina and Auburn, before they close the regular season at home against Tennessee. Either of the road losses would be a "bad" one. In addition, the Bulldogs need RPI top-50 wins, so beating the Vols is important.

Villanova 74, USF 49: Villanova snapped its two-game winning streak, and in the process, the Wildcats threw dirt on USF's long-shot at-large dream.

BYU 82, San Diego State 68: San Diego State could have taken a giant step toward locking up an at-large bid with a win in Provo. But BYU took charge early and cruised to the win. The Aztecs now need to win their final two regular-season games and make a nice run in the Mountain West tournament.

Baylor 70, Texas A&M 66: Both are NCAA locks, but this could end up having an effect on the NCAA tournament seeding. It was a good win for Baylor.

Texas 69, Oklahoma State 59: Texas won for the third time in four games and Oklahoma State had its three-game winning streak snapped. If Texas remains hot, the Longhorns could play their way into a No. 4 seed - though a No. 5 or No. 6 seems more likely. Oklahoma State, meanwhile, needs a few more wins to truly feel good about itself. The Cowboys get Kansas and Texas A&M in their next two games, and a split in those games likely gets the Cowboys a bid. Lose both and the Cowboys face a must-win game in the regular-season finale against Nebraska; in that scenario, they also likely would need to win a game -- or, rather, avoid a bad loss -- in the Big 12 tournament.

UNLV 78, TCU 62: The Runnin' Rebels cruised to remain steady on the NCAA bubble. A weak non-conference schedule will be held against UNLV, so it would behoove the Runnin' Rebels to win their remaining two regular-season games then make a nice run on their home floor in the Mountain West tournament.

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.


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