Tennessee Bubble Watch Day 3 - All Eyes on the Big East

Mar 6, 2012; New York, NY, USA; General view of Madison Square Garden during the game between the Providence Friars and the Seton Hall Pirates in the first round of the 2012 Big East Tournament. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

There were no surprises yesterday: UConn, Seton Hall, Dayton, and St. Joseph's all won easily against inferior opponents. The Atlantic 10 Tournament is off until Friday, and the bubble fun starts tomorrow in the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Mountain West, Pac 12, and down in New Orleans for the SEC, with heavy bubble implications for at least one team in each tournament.

That means today our sole focus is in Madison Square Garden, where three of the four second round games feature teams on the bubble (all games on ESPN, all times eastern):

  • West Virginia vs UConn - 12:00 PM - Both of these teams climbed to a 10 seed in this morning's Bracket Matrix, and with West Virginia's RPI at 45 and .500 in conference plus UConn's massively strong strength of schedule, both teams should be safe now. The rooting interest turns to UConn now to help bolster Tennessee's case. This is the 8/9 game in the tournament, which means it should be a good one.
  • Louisville vs Seton Hall - 7:00 PM - The Pirates moved to the Last Four In in the matrix today, but they are still just 5-9 in their last fourteen games, and shouldn't get much credit for beating Providence yesterday. Most of us don't have warm fuzzy feelings for Rick Pitino, but a Louisville win could finish Seton Hall off and make another opening for the Vols.
  • South Florida vs Villanova - 9:00 PM - USF is also in the Last Four In in the matrix, a curious case with an RPI of 44 and a Big East record of 12-6, earning them the six seed in the tournament. They are probably the argument most similar to our own overall with out-of-conference losses to Old Dominion, Penn State, and Auburn, but a challenging schedule (also lost to VCU and Kansas) and very strong play in conference. Still, a Villanova win could be trouble.

Tennessee continues to bide its time, the fifth team out in the matrix this morning, with 14 of 97 brackets (14.4%) posted after the win over Vanderbilt putting the Vols in right now, a number which will only go up with a win on Friday night. But every open spot counts.

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