Im no fan of Valentines Day, the only love you’ll hear me profess is of my kids and of basketball. Seeing that we are now under a month till Selection Sunday Im changing the classifications. Teams that are Bona Fide Locks for the tourney are now listed as Bona Fide Safe…or BFS, they are more or less marking time till March. You still will have the Solid teams, but they are closer to being safe than the working teams and even further down are the fringe or OTF, they are in some conversations and some bracketologists have them as in, but I still think that they have a lot of cred to earn in my eyes to even garner consideration.
Bona Fide Safe UNC, Louisville, Florida State, Duke, Virignia
Solid: Notre Dame
Work to Do : Virginia Tech, Miami, Syracuse
On The Fringe Wake Forest, Clemson, Georgia Tech,
Skinny On The Acc:The Irish quieted a lot of doubters with their win over the Noles and went back solid, while they arent BFS like the Noles still are, they are in a lot better condition though they tried to give back a lot of that good will with an uneven game against bottom feeding. that say the Hokies are. While getting a much needed win are still at home against Virginia are still in need of a few more wins to get solid. The ACC isnt send 12 teams to the dance, I don’t care how weak the mid majors and bubble are. Im thinking 9 might be the cutoff which puts the Orange and Canes at the cut line.
Key Game: Georgia Tech at Miami 8:00 (ACCNet) Life on the cut line, both teams need this win to stay above suspicion.
Projected Bids: 8
Conference Class- Major
Solid: VCU, Dayton
Work to do: Richmond, Rhode Island
The A-10 Spec is: The Rams are getting safer by the second, but the flyers are hot on their tail
Key Game: VCU at Richmond 9:00 (ESPN2) Many people think this is the Commonwealths best rivalry…these two teams are heated rivals
Projected Bids: 3
Solid: Cincy, SMU
Work to do: Houston, Memphis
Im pretty sure that the Mustangs and Bearcats will face off again in the American final, but both look to be getting close to bona fide but we’ll hold off on that for a week or so. Memphis is still playing way too uneven to merit serious consideration. Houston is trying to force its way into the discussion but are still 2 ½ games out of the American lead.
Key Game: Houston at SMU Sunday 4:00 (ESPN) The Coogs can force their way into the American title picture if they can solve the Moody mystery
Bona Fide Safe: Villanova
Solid: Butler, Xavier, Creighton
Work to Do Marquette
On The Fringe: Seton Hall, Georgetown, Providence,
Big East Skinny: Butler is solid but not bona fide, not yet. Nova is playing for a #1 seed. Xavier is just coming apart at the wrong time, losing key component after key component and getting thumped again by Villanova doesn’t help their case. Creighton is right there. Im tired of hearing teams like Seton Hall and Georgetown talk like they are deserving of seeds when they are near the bottom of their conference.
Key Game: Creighton at Seton Hall 8:00 Wednesday (CBSSN) The Bluejays are just about bona fide a win over the Pirates might put them over the top
Projected bids: 4
Bona Fide Safe Wisconsin, Purdue, Maryland,
Work to Do, Minnesota, Michigan
On The Fringe: Michigan State. Indiana
Northwestern fan, go find your best outfit and block off mid-March cause you’re gonna go dance. There are over 250 D-1 programs that have been to the NCAA tourney and of the Power 5, only the Wildcats have never been. That’s gonna change on March 12th, the mammoth win in Wisconsin all but certified a dance ticket for the Wildcats. This has to irk perennial NCAA blue bloods Michigan State and Indiana who have long looked down their noses at the Wildcats but are right now on the outside looking in. The Hoosiers flaming spad dive out benefits Michigan who keeps hanging in and hangin on. Minnesota is the same way, the Gophers need to keep stacking wins and avoid bad losses.
Key Game: Maryland at Northwestern Wednesday 7:oo (BTN) The Wildcats are flying high, but the Terps are a tourney bound team and will be a real test
Projected Bids: 6
Bona Fide: Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia
Solid: Iowa State, TCU, Kansas State,
On The Fringe: Oklahoma State Texas Tech
Skinny from the heartland: How did Kansas wriggle out of the noose that West Virginia had them in? Both the Jayhawks and Mountaineers are Bona Fides so is Baylor though the Bears are finding new ways to manufacture dumb losses
Key Game: Iowa State at Kansas State Wednesday 8p (ESPN2) The Clones are still in the picture. The Wildcats have a chance to make a statement.
Projected Bids: 5
Solid: Middle Tennessee
Work to do: Louisiana Tech
Oh Say Can You C-USA Spec: The Blue Raiders are getting close to putting the CUSA in the one bids.
Key Game: Middle Tennessee at Western Kentucky Thursday 9p The Blue Raiders are headed into a possible trap game in Bowling Green
Projected Bids: 1
Conference Class-Mid Major
Solid: Wichita State
Work to do: Illinois State
Missouri Valley Skinny: The Shockers are piling up the wins and trying to pull away from the Redbirds who are tied with them. With four games to go till Arch Madness the Shockers want to hold that top seed
Key Game: Wichita State at Southern Illinois Wednesday 7:00 (ESPN3). The Shockers are in no ways home free and the Salukis are a team that can spring a trap.
Projected Bids: 2
Work to do: Boise State Colorado State
Spec from the Mountains: Nevada just found a way to give their free pass away. The Rams and Broncos are ahead of the Pack after their shameful loss in San Diego. Its anybody conference to win now. I still only have a single bid here right now
Key Game: Nevada at Air Force 9p (ESPN3) The Wolfpack is now trying to stay in the MWC race and need to win here and against Utah State get back into a tie with Colorado State who wont play again until the 21st
Projected Bids: 1
Bona Fide: Oregon, UCLA, Arizona
Work To Do Cal, Utah
The Ducks and Wildcats have been marking time since earlier this month and I have got to give UCLA their props. USC is right there but Im just not ready to move them up. That SOS is still kinda high but that win over SMU is starting to carry more weight. If they get a win over UCLA to sweep the regular season, they get more weight but until then. Both Cal and Utah are doing what they should no bad losses and the Bears 5 point loss in Tucson is no bad mark. But still they need to continue to stack wins.
Key Games: Utah at Oregon 9:00 Thursday (ESPN) The Utes could gain a lot of cred if they can go into the woods and knock off the Bona Fide Ducks
Projected Bids: 6
Bona Fide: Florida, UK,
Solid: South Carolina
Work to do: Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee
Spec is Down South: UK and Florida are marking time until March and should go Stone Cold in a week or two. UK smoked Tennessee and is still in the SEC lead but Florida is humming along after ringing up 114 points over Auburn. South Carolina is next in line to join them. Here is where it gets dicey Arkansas has a horrid SOS and nearly pulled off the uneviable feat of losing to all three of the SEC bottom feeders. They only hung on to beat woebegone LSU by 8 after getting beaten at Mizzou and woodshedded by Vanderbilt at home. The Vols and Tide are still a ways away from getting seriously into this conversation though the pundits seem to think Tennessee with 12 losses is legit
Key Game: South Carolina at Arkansas Wednesday 6:30 (SECNet) The Hogs can get serious in their bid to move up if they can knock off the Gamecocks
Projected Bids: 4
Bona Fide: Gonzaga
Solid: Saint Marys
On The Fringe: BYU, San Francisco
There are two teams here, and both are tourney bound. But its still cool to see two archrivals battle for conference supremacy. BYU and San Francisco are getting closer and closer to having to win the WCC tourney in Vegas to get a bid which might make the WCC semis interesting
Key Game: San Francisco at Gonzaga 9:00 The Bulldogs still have a mammoth bullseye on their collective backs. The Dons are on the fringe and could use the win to boost their own lightweight resume.
There are others in the mix to be sure. Teams from the always dangerous Colonial and Big South always are in the mix and can send multiple teams. Of course the champions from the following conferences get an automatic bid: Amer. East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big West, Horizon, Ivy, MAC, MAAC, MEAC, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Sun Belt, Summit, and SWAC and Western Athletic projected bids from these conferences will be posted here starting February 25th
Since this is still early spec, nothing here is solid and we haven’t even brought up the possibility of upsets. But those never happen, right?
Next Spec Feb 18