Happy Selection Sunday Eve, kids.
While the last two days have gone well for Louisville and most Bracketologists seem to have the Cards in their fields of 68, there’s still little doubt that U of L is still squarely on the NCAA tournament bubble. It’s anyone’s guess how close to being on the wrong side of bubble Louisville is at the moment, but the safe bet is that they’re, at the very least, too close for comfort.
While most potential bid thieves have been extinguished over the last 48 hour or so, there are still a handful of dangerous ones lurking. There are also a couple of fellow bubble teams who, if they haven’t already, have the opportunity to play their way into the field with a win or two today or tomorrow.
We don’t know who these teams would push out of the field if they punch their tickets, but we know there’s at least a possibility that one of those teams could be us.
That being the case, here’s your rooting guide for Saturday:
Wichita State over Cincinnati (3 p.m./ESPN2)
The only way for Wichita State to play its way out of the NCAA tournament would have been to take a loss to South Florida in the quarterfinals. They narrowly avoided that fate on Friday, and now seem destined to be right there with Louisville on that 10/11/First Four line.
The bigger threat to U of L is Cincinnati, whose only prayer of hearing its name called on Selection Sunday is by beating the Shockers today and then winning the AAC tournament title tomorrow. Let’s go ahead and nip that in the bud today.
Houston over Memphis (5:30 p.m./ESPN2)
Memphis State is one of the first teams out of the field according to most Bracketologists. Worst case scenario for Louisville is the Tigers upset a Houston team that is No. 5 in the NET at the moment, secures an at-large spot in the field, and then loses the auto-bid to Cincinnati on Sunday.
Just like the old days, we’re rooting against Cincinnati and we’re rooting against Memphis State. Shouldn’t be hard for any of us to do.
San Diego State over Utah State (6 p.m./CBS)
Utah State probably secured a spot in the field with its Mountain West tournament semifinal win over Colorado State on Friday. That’s not a guarantee though, so there’s no harm in rooting for San Diego State — which is easily in as a single-digit seed — to claim the Mountain West’s auto-bid and keep the Aggies sweating.
Creighton over Georgetown (6:30 p.m./Fox)
This is the first of the two big ones tonight.
Georgetown is seeded ninth in the 11-team Big East tournament but has knocked off Marquette, top-seeded Villanova and Seton Hall to reach the championship game. The Hoyas are 12-12 at the moment and have no hope of playing in the NCAA tournament without an auto-bid. If they upset Creighton, they’re knocking the current “last team in” out of the tournament. It’s as simple as that.
Georgia Tech over Florida State (8:30 p.m./ESPN)
Georgia Tech is No. 38 in the NET at the moment and would need to jump eight spots for Louisville’s Feb. 1 home victory over the Jackets to be promoted to Quad 1 status. It’s highly unlikely, but not impossible.
Like I’ve been saying for years, never doubt Josh Pastner in March.
Colorado over Oregon State (10:30 p.m./ESPN)
The other big one today is just as straightforward as the Big East title game.
Oregon State’s only shot at the tournament is claiming the Pac-12’s auto-bid. Beat Colorado and they’re knocking someone out. Go Buffs.