The perceived bubble teams took a significant hit on Friday with several conference tournament favorites -- a few of which are expected to still earn at-large bids to the NCAA postseason -- getting eliminated from their respective conference tournaments.
* The Atlantic Sun tournament has become rather interesting over the past couple of days. Mercer was the favorite to win the tourney, but was eliminated Friday with an ugly 10-1 loss to South Carolina-Upstate. Meanwhile, Florida Gulf Coast, another bubble team, also was eliminated from the tourney, leaving bubble team North Florida left in the mix along with East Tennessee State in the winner’s bracket. Though it was thought the A-Sun might just be a one-bid league entering the week, the elimination of Mercer has turned the A-Sun into a highly likely two-bid league.
* William & Mary was on the good side of the bubble entering the week, and bubble teams are hoping the Tribe finds a way to win the Colonial Athletic Association automatic bid. UNC Wilmington was the clear-cut favorite entering the week, but the Seahawks were eliminated Friday with an ugly 5-4 loss to Northeastern. Interestingly, Towson, which almost dropped its baseball program earlier this season, is in the catbird's seat to earn the automatic bid. Should the Tribe not win the automatic bid, and it goes to the Tigers, the CAA likely will be a three-bid league, knocking some bubble team out there out of the mix.
* The Southern Conference typically has two or three, and even four at times, teams in the mix for NCAA at-large bids. However, Western Carolina, which won the regular season title, is the only team in the mix. Well, the Catamounts surrendered their spot in all likelihood after dropping a 15-4 decision to Appalachian State. WCU has an overall record of 39-20 with an RPI of 55. But keep in mind the Southern Conference has an RPI of 13. For now, it's safe not to count on WCU in the postseason, thus making the SoCon a one-bid league. But don't sleep on the Catamounts, either.
* West Coast: San Francisco's Austin Bailey had a home run, three hits and four RBIs in a nice 10-8 win over San Diego. With that win, the Dons are now a win away from earning the WCC's automatic bid, thus ending questions about their status on the national stage. For now, the WCC is likely to get two or three bids (San Diego and BYU as well), so keep an eye on those two as the weekend progresses.
* Big East: Louisville was the favorite to win the Big East tournament entering the week, but stumbled in ugly fashion, likely ending its chances of earning a national seed. With that said, bubble teams are wary right now as the teams remaining in the tournament include Notre Dame, Connecticut, Pittsburg and Rutgers. All four of those teams were not in our field of 64 that came out earlier this week, so that's one bubble spot taken away no matter what happens this weekend. The real tricky situation is if Pittsburgh gets to the Big East title game, but loses to the Irish or Huskies. That then possibly could get the Big East four bids to the NCAA postseason. Pitt enters Saturday's action with an RPI of 59 and 4-4 mark vs. RPI Top 50.
* Sun Belt: There aren't a lot of changes when it comes to this conference, but just to keep fans updated, this is still a four-bid league from our perspective. South Alabama, Troy and Louisiana-Lafayette remain locks into the postseason, with the Cajuns playing for the bracket championship today. We also continue to feel very good about Florida Atlantic, which is 2-0 in the tournament after beating Troy last night. The Owls are 27 in the latest RPI with an 8-11 mark vs. RPI Top 50 teams.
* Southland: No matter what happens the rest of the weekend in the SLC tournament, someone is likely getting bumped out of the postseason. Sam Houston State dropped a tough 3-1 decision to Lamar on Friday, getting eliminated from the tournament in the process. The Bearkats likely will still make the field of 64 with an RPI of 47 and 3-1 mark vs. RPI Top 50. If the Bearkats don't get into the field, this is a one-bid league with Southeastern Louisiana, Oral Roberts, Lamar and Central Arkansas still alive.
* SEC: Texas A&M likely had a chance to sew up one of those few at-large bids left on the table, but dropped a tough 3-0 decision to Vanderbilt on Friday night. With the loss, the Aggies now await their fate for Selection Monday. A&M ends the SEC tournament with an RPI of 32 and 10-21 mark vs. RPI Top 50 teams. The one feather in A&M's cap that some aren't considering is that athletic director Eric Hyman is on the NCAA Selection Committee. Having that type of political power never hurts. Meanwhile, Auburn and Florida remain squarely on the bubble. This morning, the Tigers have an RPI of 40 and 11-16 mark vs. RPI Top 50, while the Gators have an RPI of 31 with a 14-18 record vs. RPI Top 100.
* Pac-12: Oregon, which is fighting for a national seed, is the main team to watch out of the Pac-12 this weekend, but also keep an eye on Stanford and Arizona, as the two, though it's a long shot, could steal someone's at-large bid at the last second. Stanford beat UCLA on Friday and improved to 67 in the RPI with a 4-10 mark vs. RPI Top 50, while Arizona defeated USC and is now 62 in the RPI with a 5-12 mark vs. RPI Top 50 teams. Also worth noting, Stanford is tied for fourth in the Pac-12, while Arizona remains in seventh place.
* Ohio Valley: The one piece of good news for bubble teams is that Austin Peay is in the driver's seat in the OVC tournament after beating Tennessee Tech 6-2 last night. The Governors already were in the field earlier this week, and have only reaffirmed that with their play this week. Bubble teams must hope the Governors don't get knocked off twice by either Eastern Kentucky or Tennessee Tech. Neither of those teams have a shot at an at-large bid with EKU 205 in the RPI and TTU sitting 81 in the RPI with a 5-4 mark vs. RPI Top 50.
* Conference USA: More potential bad news for some bubble teams arose at the C-USA tournament on Saturday as Jake Drehoff and USM defeated Houston 4-2 to clinch a spot in the C-USA tournament championship. With the win, the Golden Eagles will face either Rice or Memphis in the C-USA tourney title game. If you're a bubble team, especially UH, you want Rice to beat Memphis and win the automatic bid to the postseason. If the Owls don't win the automatic bid, that likely pushes Houston out of the mix.
* Big West: We had the Big West tabbed as a three-bid league entering the week with Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly locks, and UC Santa Barbara barely in over UC Irvine. Well, so far this weekend, both the Gauchos and Anteaters are taking care of business. Updating their resumes, the Gauchos are 57 in the RPI with a 7-9 mark vs. RPI Top 50 and UCI is 71 in the RPI with a 4-7 mark vs. RPI Top 50. For now, UCSB's position is very much in the air, but we feel like the No. 7 Conference RPI league should get three bids at this point.
* Big South: Bubble teams better beware of the Big South. Campbell and Coastal Carolina were in our latest field of 64 earlier this week. The Camels are still alive in the Big South tourney, actually in the driver's seat, but Coastal Carolina was eliminated from the tournament via a pair of losses to host Liberty. Well, things could get very tense for bubble teams should Liberty beat Campbell for the Big South automatic bid. That would put the Big South in position to potentially get three bids to the NCAA postseason, something no one saw coming before the season began.
* Big 12: More bubble team madness, the Big 12 tournament will get very interesting in the next day. Kansas State and Oklahoma, both 2-0 and safely in the field of 64, are playing for one side of the bracket, while either Kansas, TCU or West Virginia will win the other side of the bracket. KU eliminated Oklahoma State on Friday, but the Cowboys likely are still in the NCAA field despite the loss. Should KSU or OU not win the Big 12 tourney title, chances are good the conference improves to a four-bid league, thus knocking someone out.
* Big Ten: It was another rather interesting day at the Big Ten tournament. Nebraska kept its postseason hopes alive with a 7-4 win over Minnesota, and will now face Ohio State for the right to play Indiana in the Big Ten tournament title game. The Hoosiers continued their impressive play Saturday in a dominant win over the Buckeyes, and are now at least in the national seed discussion. Illinois was eliminated from the tournament, but should get into the field of 64 with an RPI of 35 and 3-6 mark vs. RPI Top 50 teams. It's looking like the Big Ten, as expected, will be a three-bid league.
* ACC: The big story at the ACC tournament is the rise of Virginia Tech. The Hokies advanced to the tourney title game with an impressive 3-2 win over Georgia Tech. With that, the Hokies have moved in this morning as one of our NCAA Regional hosts. Miami continues to scuffle, but we think it will make the field when the dust settles, while Clemson is now 0-2 in the tournament, and was passed over by Virginia Tech as a host spot. It must be said that Clemson is still very much in the mix for that host spot, but for now, we're leaning Tech.