Commentary

Bubble Watch

Updated: February 20, 2013, 12:12 PM ET
By Eamonn Brennan | ESPN.com

Editor's note: This file has been updated to include all games through Tuesday, Feb. 19.

As you may or may not know, your humble Bubble Watch author was otherwise occupied Tuesday night in East Lansing, Mich., where two of the Big Ten's locks locked horns in one of the better games we've seen this season -- and if it feels as though we say that every week, it's because we do.

Thanks to these extenuating circumstances, we'll save the lengthy preamble this week and instead just jump right into Bubble Watch, where some teams have joined Indiana and Michigan State in Lockville, others have stood pat, and a few have fallen off, now less likely to make the tournament than ever before. Which are which? Dive in to find out.

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Atlantic Coast Conference

Locks: Duke, Miami

Teams that should be in: North Carolina State

Work left to do: North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia

North Carolina State [19-7 (8-5), RPI: 22, SOS: 18] Time was ("time" being, like, last year) an 84-66 win over Florida State on Feb. 20 would noticeably change your NCAA tournament profile for the positive. Florida State isn't very good this year, so Tuesday night really meant just another nice win for the Wolfpack, who have a few landmines to dodge on the bubble home stretch but who, should they win at UNC Saturday, will be able to lock it up.

North Carolina [18-8 (8-5), RPI: 25, SOS: 15] Every bubble season there is at least one team -- usually more than one, but at least one -- that isn't good enough to beat any of the good teams it plays but easily handles inferior competition, and somewhere along the way, thanks to the vagaries of the RPI and the NCAA's SOS figure, backs into the NCAA tournament anyway. This year, that team is UNC. The Tar Heels aren't safe, but their top-30 RPI and top-15 SOS make them a lot more formidable than you'd think if you, you know, watched them play basketball.

Maryland [18-8 (6-7), RPI: 67, SOS: 104] What the? Really, Maryland? You're going to follow up Saturday's profile-making home win over Duke with a loss at -- wait for it -- Boston College? No. 147 RPI Boston College? That's exactly what Maryland did, which significantly halts whatever bubble momentum Saturday built. One step forward, two steps back.

Virginia [18-8 (8-5), RPI: 76, SOS: 152] UVa fans routinely make the point to me that the Cavaliers were injury-bit during a few really bad early losses, including to No. 322 RPI Old Dominion. That's true, which is why the BPI is so helpful -- it weighs games based on minutes missed by key players. Virginia's BPI is 45, much more flattering than its RPI. But the NCAA doesn't organize its team sheets around BPI, which is why after two respectable road losses (at UNC and Miami, the latter of which was a close 54-50 defeat) this RPI-underrated Virginia team really needs to stack a quality win atop its resume, beginning with Duke at home next week.

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Big East Conference

Locks: Syracuse, Louisville, Marquette

Teams that should be in: Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Notre Dame

Work left to do: St. John's, Villanova

After Tuesday night's win at Seton Hall, the Marquette Golden Eagles are your latest team to join the exclusive resort known as Lockville, where teams are afforded the time to sit back, relax and stop worrying about their at-large chances. (They worry about their seeding instead.) Perhaps noted sartorialist Buzz Williams was aware a trip to Lockville was on the line Tuesday night; reports indicated Williams changed his wardrobe from a suit to a sweater at halftime. High-pressure stuff. Anyway, his first-place team avoided an iffy loss on the road, its computer numbers are peerless and it has one bad loss, on the road. Marquette's in.

Georgetown [19-4 (9-3), RPI: 16, SOS: 41] Give credit to Georgetown coach John Thompson III. There were times this season when the Hoyas looked downright abominable on the offensive end, but Thompson's trademark defense carried them through, and now that Georgetown is scoring at an even mediocre rate on the offensive end, it has rattled off seven straight wins, including Saturday's 63-55 victory at Cincinnati. They're inching ever closer to lock status, but let's make sure nothing goes haywire at home against DePaul Wednesday night, just to be safe.

Pittsburgh [20-7 (8-6), RPI: 38, SOS: 42] Just when you thought Pittsburgh's season couldn't possibly get any weirder, they go out and throw up 42 points at home -- just 0.78 points per possession -- against Notre Dame's 14th-ranked Big East defense. I don't know. You'll have to explain that one to me. Anyway, this week's losses (which also included a defeat at Marquette) won't have too much of an effect on this profile, but they definitely aren't signs that the Panthers were preparing to discover some as-yet-unforeseen dominance. What a weird team.

Cincinnati [19-7 (7-6), RPI: 39, SOS: 30] There could be some minor freak-outs in Cincinnati in the next week or so, so just a reminder: This is a really tough stretch for the Bearcats. After three losses in four games (at Providence, versus Pitt and Georgetown), the Bearcats have to go to Connecticut, to Notre Dame, then host Connecticut, then go to Louisville. I don't know if Mick Cronin is a fan of Pixar films but "just keep swimming" seems applicable here.

Notre Dame [21-6 (9-5), RPI: 43, SOS: 96] I mentioned Notre Dame's awful defense in the blurb above; the Irish really did enter Monday night's game at Pitt giving up the second-most points per trip in the Big East. Pitt's offense was ranked third. The whole thing fails to compute, but then again neither did that five-OT win over Louisville. You take the good stuff as it comes.

Villanova [17-10 (8-6), RPI: 56, SOS: 36] Monday night's home win against Rutgers was a little iffy at times, but the Wildcats pulled it out, which is actually somewhat impressive coming off a nice road win at UConn Saturday. Villanova has four games left on the regular-season schedule. Two -- Marquette and Georgetown -- are at home. Either one would be huge; both would be a dream.

St. John's [15-10 (7-6), RPI: 58, SOS: 17] This is becoming a long shot, but it hardly feels fair to take St. John's off after back-to-back losses -- albeit both by double digits -- at Syracuse and Louisville. A home loss to South Florida Wednesday night might make it official, but the Red Storm aren't out of this thing just yet.

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Big Ten Conference

Locks: Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana

Teams that should be in: Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Illinois

Work left to do: None

Thanks to Illinois' surge, it looks more likely than ever that the Big Ten is going to get seven of its 12 teams in the NCAA tournament. Indeed, it's almost a guarantee. The question is whether the league can get that elusive eighth team -- more specifically: Iowa -- in under the wire. The Hawkeyes' 72-51 win over Minnesota Sunday definitely helped their previously flagging RPI, but it's still up there in the high 70s (thanks to the 323rd-ranked nonconference schedule). Iowa's remaining regular season schedule is as follows: at Nebraska, versus Purdue, at Indiana, versus Illinois, versus Nebraska. Is 4-1 good enough to get in the picture? It's one of the most frequent questions I receive, and the answer is ... I don't know. But we'll find out soon enough.

Minnesota [18-8 (6-7), RPI: 15, SOS: 2] There's probably a perception gap between where Minnesota actually is in the bubble conversation and where it seems like Minnesota should be. After all, it's been a while since we've seen the Gophers play really well; they're just 4-8 in their last 12 games, and on Sunday they were handled at Iowa. So why should they be in? Because losing at Iowa isn't really a bad loss, and only one of of the Gophers' other losses (at Northwestern) could remotely qualify as "bad." Minnesota cautiously avoided cupcakes in the nonconference, which is why they have so many top-100 wins and why, despite recent losses, they have the No. 2 SOS and a top-15 RPI. Numbers that good don't miss the tournament. They just don't.

Illinois [19-8 (6-7), RPI: 27, SOS: 6] Now that the Illini have officially righted the ship -- a combination of "better defense" and "missing fewer 3s," a simple but effective way to stop your team's midseason dirge -- it has become almost impossible to poke holes in their tournament profile. After all, Illinois has road wins at Minnesota and Gonzaga, a neutral-court win over Butler (which itself beat Indiana on a neutral floor), and home wins over Ohio State and Indiana, with at least one win coming in each of the four months since these season began. It is hard to assail a group of wins that good, let alone that temporally diverse, particularly when the computer numbers are so good and the only sub-top-50 losses came in conference play in the midst of an easily recognizable midseason slump against the best league in the country.

Wisconsin [18-8 (9-4), RPI: 28, SOS: 10] In their last five games, the Badgers won at Illinois, held off Iowa in two overtimes, got a half-court regulation buzzer-beater en route to an OT win over Michigan, lost in overtime at Minnesota, and blew Ohio State out at home. Their RPI and overall SOS numbers keep rising along with those performances, and frankly they'd have to lose their next three (at Northwestern, vs. Nebraska and Purdue) for us to entertain the thought of them not getting in. But let's be real: They're getting in.

Ohio State [18-7 (8-5), RPI: 29, SOS: 29] Ohio State is not playing at all well right now -- Wisconsin's league-leading defense exposed just how one-dimensional the Buckeyes are on that end of the floor -- and it's worth noting that Michigan and Wisconsin are the only two top-75 wins the Bucks have on their ledger. There is good news, however: The remaining schedule (Minnesota, Michigan State, at Northwestern, at Indiana, Illinois) is set up such that there's not a whole lot of damage OSU can do to its tournament chances even if it fell apart. The Buckeyes should be able to weather the storm.

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Big 12 Conference

Locks: Kansas

Teams that should be in: Kansas State, Oklahoma State

Work left to do: Oklahoma, Iowa State, Baylor

Kansas State [21-5 (10-3), RPI: 19, SOS: 53] Not much change for the Wildcats this week: They're on the cusp of lock status, but not quite there yet, if only because a rash of bad losses down the stretch could conspire with a merely so-so nonconference schedule to keep them sweating it out late. But that's a huge if. They're in first place in the Big 12 and almost certainly in.

Oklahoma State [19-5 (9-3), RPI: 23, SOS: 72] Oklahoma State's seven-game winning streak -- which included that massive win at Kansas -- has it moving closer and closer to lock territory. An entirely plausible sweep of Kansas in Stillwater Wednesday night would do the trick.

Oklahoma [16-8 (7-5), RPI: 18, SOS: 4] A win at Oklahoma State (fell just short) would've likely bumped the Sooners to "should be in" status. It seems crazy until you look at those RPI and SOS numbers, until you see the No. 12-ranked nonconference SOS, the 7-6 record away from Norman, and so on. The loss to Stephen F. Austin barely qualifies as "bad"; SFA is good. And Arkansas has knocked off Florida and Missouri in recent weeks. Things are trending upward for Lon Kruger's team, but with a landmine-heavy schedule left (with trips to Texas Tech, Texas and TCU still on the docket), a little caution is probably advisable.

Iowa State [17-8 (7-5), RPI: 46, SOS: 76] Iowa State was a No. 10 seed in Joe Lunardi's Monday edition of Bracketology, and that feels exactly right to me: There are a couple of nice home wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma here, but there are bad losses too, and a 2-7 road record. I'm convinced the Cyclones are better than a 10-seed, but their résumé isn't quite there yet. Big game at Baylor Wednesday night.

Baylor [16-9 (7-5), RPI: 55, SOS: 28] The Bears are basically the epitome of Work To Do: Their RPI and SOS numbers aren't way off the board, but they do have a couple of questionable sub-100 home losses (Charleston, Northwestern) and just two top-50 wins, one of which came at Kentucky, whose RPI is probably not going to hold up if it keeps playing like it did at Tennessee. Baylor has home games against Iowa State, Kansas, and Kansas State left. It would do well to win at least two.

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Pac-12 Conference

Locks: Arizona

Teams that should be in: Oregon

Work left to do: Colorado, UCLA, California, Arizona State

Stanford snuck on to the very speculative tail end of the Watch last week, and it is gone just as quickly. Back to back home losses to USC and UCLA, a record of 15-11, a big RPI number and a 1-8 record against the top 50 will do that.

Oregon [21-5 (10-3), RPI: 37, SOS: 116] After losing three straight (at Stanford, at Cal, versus Colorado) in early February, the Ducks managed to avoid a deep slide with three straight wins over Utah, Washington and Washington State. But freshman point guard Dominic Artis remains indefinitely sidelined much longer than anyone originally thought "indefinite" was supposed to mean, and how that could affect the turnover-prone Ducks' chances in the coming weeks remains to be seen. Hard to envision this team not making the tourney, though.

Colorado [17-8 (7-6), RPI: 21, SOS: 7] Colorado's home split last week -- the Buffs handled Arizona and fell to Arizona State by one -- may end up being the best thing for the conference in general: The Buffaloes' strong computer numbers and relative lack of bad losses mean they can afford to lose at home to ASU and not have to worry too much about the repercussions. Avoiding bad losses to Utah and Oregon State down the stretch is really the only worry here.

UCLA [19-7 (9-4), RPI: 42, SOS: 34] Thursday night's loss at Cal wasn't totally outweighed by Saturday's win at Stanford, but it's close enough that there's no real impression left on UCLA's overall chances of making the tournament. It was a week spent in neutral for a team that looks fairly safe but still needs has a little work to do.

California [16-9 (8-5), RPI: 54, SOS: 37] Easily lost in the Mike Montgomery-Allen Crabbe shoving controversy -- a perfectly understandable controversy, by the way -- was the fact that Cal came away from the USC game with a win, its third in a row. That little streak began with a win at Arizona Feb. 10, and if the Bears can do the same at Oregon Thursday night they'll be in suddenly impressive shape.

Arizona State [19-7 (8-5), RPI: 68, SOS: 123] Huge, huge win at Colorado Saturday. Because while the Buffs may have looked vulnerable here and there this season, their top-25 RPI is well-earned, and a road win over at team with that kind of mathematical love behind it is exactly what the Sun Devils and that low RPI needed. Much more work to do, of course, but man, is that a start.

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Southeastern Conference

Locks: Florida

Work left to do: Missouri, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Alabama, Arkansas

Missouri [19-7 (8-5), RPI: 33, SOS: 44] Despite some setbacks here and there, Missouri has been a well-regarded team throughout the season, always (at least seemingly) just one or two components away from being a Final Four contender. Their comeback win over Florida Tuesday night may or may not mean that team is now here, but at the very least it undid the damage of Saturday's loss at Arkansas (and probably that loss at Texas A&M) and put Mizzou back on track to seal their bid sooner rather than later. Huge win. Analysis!

Kentucky [17-8 (8-4), RPI: 45, SOS: 54] How bad do things look for Kentucky? After Saturday's 88-58 loss at Tennessee -- of one of the nation's least inspiring offensive teams, at least before UK came to town -- one UK fan posting on the Catspause.com message board asked whether it was bad form to turn down an invitation to the NIT. So, yeah: It's bad. If this keeps up, the NCAA selection committee will see a team that doesn't have much without Nerlens Noel, and it will drop the Wildcats like a bad habit. But there's still plenty of time to figure it out yet.

Ole Miss [19-6 (8-4), RPI: 52, SOS: 133] There still just really isn't a whole lot going on here. The computer numbers are questionable, the only top-50 win came at home over Missouri (who split the return date) -- it's all just kind of mediocre. With upcoming games against South Carolina, Auburn, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Alabama and LSU, there is very little margin for error. Ole Miss can't start adding bad losses.

Alabama [17-8 (9-3), RPI: 59, SOS: 70] Alabama beat Georgia and South Carolina this past week, which is a slightly less straightforward way of saying their at-large chances haven't diminished or improved since we last gathered. Still plenty of work to be done, despite the sterling league record (ask the 2011 Tide).

Arkansas [16-9 (7-5), RPI: 74, SOS: 85] Every year the bubble brings a handful of teams who come from nowhere, notch a few big upsets, and make us consider the value of recent wins against the entire (ahem) body of work. Arkansas is one of these teams. Since Feb. 2, the Razorbacks are 4-1 with wins over Florida and, most recently, Missouri. They also -- in typical fashion -- lost 67-49 at Vanderbilt. On Jan. 26, they lost 75-54 at South Carolina. So, yeah, there's plenty of work to do here. But the Hogs' surge has led to a couple of quality wins, and at the very least they're on the fringes of the conversation.

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Mountain West Conference

Locks: New Mexico

Teams that should be in: Colorado State, UNLV, San Diego State

Work left to do: Boise State, Air Force

Colorado State [21-4 (8-2), RPI: 13, SOS: 56] After last week's wins over San Diego State and at Air Force -- which is not an easy place to play, or an easy team to beat -- the Rams moved closer to lock status than ever before. Last season, their RPI was consistently inflated, the product of some smart scheduling by former coach Tim Miles. But that number you see above is right on the money for this team, which grabs a higher share of available rebounds at both ends of the floor than any other team in college basketball. They're the real deal.

UNLV [19-7 (6-5), RPI: 18, SOS: 23] The Rebels have lost their past four road games, the most recent of which have come against Boise State, Fresno State and Air Force. But they toppled San Diego State in the Thomas and Mack Saturday to complete a sweep, and they still have those top-25 RPI and SOS figures. They'd have to totally unravel the rest of the way to actually miss the tournament.

San Diego State [19-7 (7-5), RPI: 31, SOS: 40] Poor Wyoming. The Cowboys -- a one-time member of the Watch who have fallen off in a big way in the latter half of the season -- were thrown into the Viejas Arena woodchipper Tuesday night, and what came out was a 79-51 SDSU win, just one more step in San Diego State's march to the tournament. Nearly a lock, but not just yet.

Boise State [16-8 (4-6), RPI: 44, SOS: 65] Outside of Omaha, there are no bigger fans of the Creighton Bluejays than Boise State. Why? Boise's win at Creighton back on Nov. 28 was a profile-maker. Or at least it appeared that way, until Creighton lost three straight in recent weeks and saw its own RPI plummet to just inside the top 50. (BPI, by contrast, still has the Bluejays as a top-20 team.) Anyway, the Broncos can take matters into their own hands: They have home games against Air Force, Colorado State and San Diego State left, plus a trip to UNLV. There are big-time chances there. Boise needs to seize them.

Air Force [15-9 (6-5), RPI: 71, SOS: 69] It's beginning to look a bit like a pipe dream for Air Force, which is a shame; talk about the wrong year to get good in the Mountain West. But even if the Falcons missed a huge opportunity (and barely, 89-86) to topple CSU Saturday, the nice thing about the tough MWC is chances at big wins. Next up is a trip to fellow bubbler Boise, and games at SDSU and at home against RPI royalty New Mexico close the season.

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Atlantic 10 Conference

Locks: Butler

Should be in: Saint Louis

Work left to do: La Salle, Virginia Commonwealth, Temple, Massachusetts

We begin this A-10 portion of the Watch with a fond farewell to the Xavier Musketeers, whose week-old computer numbers (RPI: 82, SOS: 89) already were sketchy enough before Saturday's 11-point loss at Dayton. Now XU's RPI is flirting with triple digits, and though they may be back on the Watch before all is said and done (you never count out the X), if the tournament was seeded tomorrow they wouldn't sniff it.

Saint Louis [20-5 (9-2), RPI: 41, SOS: 87] It took Saint Louis a little while to put it all together -- they missed injured guard Kwamain Mitchell in November and December, and the first week of A-10 play was a bumpy ride -- but now that they have, look out. The Billikens were the perfect bad matchup for VCU, and they exploited every crevice of that matchup Tuesday. That was their eighth straight win in conference play, and Friday night a trip to Butler awaits.

La Salle [18-6 (8-3), RPI: 35, SOS: 75] La Salle has now won four in a row after that tough one-point loss to UMass back on Jan. 30, including at St. Bonaventure and at home against St. Joe's this week. Neither of those wins are good enough to change anything about their status, but at this point "steady does it" is as good a motto as any for the Explorers.

Virginia Commonwealth [21-6 (9-3), RPI: 36, SOS: 78] The good news for the Rams, after their 76-62 thrashing at Saint Louis Tuesday night, is that they don't have any bad losses on their profile, and their computer numbers remain buoyed by that November trip to the Battle 4 Atlantis, this year's most stacked exempt tournament field. But it is worth noting that VCU's best three wins are Memphis, Belmont and Charlotte with trips to Xavier and Temple and a home game against Butler still on the docket. This could get tricky is all I'm saying.

Temple [17-8 (6-5), RPI: 48, SOS: 58] Temple's past five games have been decided by a total -- not an average, a total -- of five points. The good news? Two of those one-point games were wins against fringe bubble teams Charlotte and UMass. The bad news? One of the losses was to Duquesne, whose current RPI number is large enough that if you subtract the same number of years from the current calendar, you wind up in Thomas Jefferson's administration. Fortunately, Temple came back with a big road win this weekend, which helped maintain the Owls' top-50 RPI. Either way: Living on the edge may be fun for a while, but at some point you'd like to see Khalif Wyatt & Co. find a nice 10-point win or two and settle down for good.

Massachusetts [16-8 (6-5), RPI: 57, SOS: 63] The Minutemen had a tough week. They were smoked at VCU and then lost the aforementioned one-point game at home to Temple, only made worse by the fact that Temple had just lost at home to Duquesne. (Duquesne! Seriously! This really happened!) They're still here, but they have to beat Butler when the Bulldogs come to town March 7 for starters.

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Other at-large contenders

Locks: Gonzaga, Creighton, Wichita State

Should be in: Memphis

Work left to do: Belmont, Middle Tennessee, Akron, Saint Mary's, Louisiana Tech, Indiana State

The Bluejays are really making me sweat this thing out. Frankly, we were probably a little too rash to put them in as a lock in the first edition two weeks back, and since then three straight losses to Indiana State, Illinois State and Northern Iowa have called the whole into question. Creighton escaped Evansville with a 71-68 win Saturday, and avoided falling prey to the suddenly dangerous Southern Illinois Salukis Tuesday night. So I still have them as a lock. Stubborn as it is, we don't remove locks unless we absolutely have to. Instead, I'll just keep sweating. As for league rival Wichita State? Welcome to Lockville. OK, so maybe that November win at VCU doesn't look quite as impressive anymore, but after back-to-back road wins against Illinois State and Indiana State, it just doesn't feel as though there's any way this first-place team (23-5, 12-4) with a top-35 RPI misses the Dance with only three regular-season games to go. But Shockers, can you go ahead and beat Detroit in BracketBusters just so you don't pull a Creighton on us?

Memphis [22-3 (11-0), RPI: 24, SOS: 90] Memphis is back. Memphis is ... back? I'm still not exactly sure how to phrase that question, because C-USA is a one-bid league and it has been hard to tell exactly how good the Tigers are now compared to where they were at the beginning of the season. But they've gotten folks' attention because they've clearly improved -- that much is obvious -- and most important, after wins at Southern Miss, versus UCF and at Marshall, Memphis' RPI has climbed all the way from low-40s to No. 24. How good is up for debate, but there's no question things are looking good.

Middle Tennessee [23-4 (15-1), RPI: 26, SOS: 107] This is one of those Bubble Watch blurbs I won't have to update every week (fair warning!), because the Blue Raiders' situation is simple: They have a good (26 RPI!) but not slam-dunk at-large profile with only one bad loss, which they suffered all the way back on Jan. 3. Just as in 2012, there is very little margin for bad-loss error, which the Blue Raiders have thus far done well to avoid. Welcome to life as the Sun Belt's best.

Belmont [20-6 (11-2), RPI: 30, SOS: 66] So, this Valentine's Day Belmont went on the road to Tennessee State and lost. That sounds bad, but the TSU Tigers happen to have a top-100 RPI (thanks, weird RPI numbers!), so the damage isn't quite as bad as you might've originally thought. Either way, if I'm Rick Byrd I'm planning on winning that Ohio Valley tourney title. The NCAA has an occasional habit of hanging the "yeah, but who have they beaten?" albatross around the necks of good mid-majors.

Akron [21-4 (12-0), RPI: 49, SOS: 170] The Zips have a similar profile to Belmont, in that they have a bunch of victories, one good win over Middle Tennessee, and a couple of truly questionable losses. Unfortunately, Akron's nonconference schedule doesn't hold a candle to Belmont's, so the Zips' SOS and RPI don't have quite the same punch. This is a bit of a long shot, one that probably requires Akron to win out, including wins over North Dakota State and at Ohio in their next two games. But a long shot is still a shot.

Saint Mary's [22-5 (11-2), RPI: 51, SOS: 150] In case we needed a reminder that Gonzaga is the class of the WCC -- and one of the best teams in the country -- we got it last Thursday, when the Zags used lockdown second-half defense to rout the Gaels on their own floor, 77-60. The only good news here is that Creighton still comes to town for BracketBusters this weekend, and a win over BYU Thursday night couldn't hurt.

Louisiana Tech [23-3 (14-0), RPI: 53, SOS: 259] Here's our weekly shoutout to La. Tech, which survived two too-close games at Seattle (RPI: 278) and Idaho (RPI: 185) this week to move to 23-3 overall. The Bulldogs beat Southern Miss back on Dec. 8, but that and the tidy record are about all their profile has going for it. The RPI is hovering steadily around 50 or so, but the schedule numbers are so bad, forget Belmont -- the "who did you beat" albatross is in full effect here. General diagnosis remains fixed: Win the WAC tournament.

Indiana State [16-11 (9-7), RPI: 64, SOS: 57] This is a courtesy inclusion at this point. The Sycamores are a fun story, and one worth rooting for -- frankly, I'd love to see their powder blue unis back in the first weekend of the tournament -- but the bottom line is that after the home loss to Wichita State Tuesday they've now lost three in a row, starting with road losses to Missouri State and Bradley. Plus, they already had road losses to Illinois State, Morehead State, Southern Illinois (aka the Dreamkillers) and Drake. Road trips are an issue for this team, and that's something the committee definitely frowns upon.