Some bracketing projections heading into tonight's action:
We might not love ESPN around here, but Joe Lunardi is rating a 100 on the Raftery Scale of ESPN Employees in the minds of Bulls fans right now. He's got the Bulls playing UNLV in Albuquerque presently, but of course a loss tomorrow night to either Villanova or Rutgers would put this in terminal jeopardy. If the soul-crushing loss USF normally takes in this spot actually happens, I'll be glad the Baker Act only lasts for 72 hours, and USF will be lucky to get a tour of the Air Force Museum on Monday.
Lunardi also puts his hometown Drexel in the field even after their CAA Championship Game loss last night, but heading to Dayton and thus below the Bulls in terms of overall bid strength. Get well-versed on Drexel and Tennessee, as that will be the interminable debate on who deserves a bid on Selection Sunday, with the Dragons the "Mid-Major Team That Won Everything But Their Conference Tourney" and Team Bar-B-Que as the "High Major Team That Played A Monster Schedule But Didn't Wow Anyone."
CBS's Bracketologist/Bulls hater Jerry "Face" Palm has the Bulls heading to delightful Dayton for the First Four, taking on an incredibly non-descript Cal squad. The winner of that would head either to Nashville for matchup with FSU (oooh!), or Portland to battle Creighton (ewww). A USF vs. FSU game might end with the winning team in the 30's. I'm not even kidding.
With most of the mid-major bids accounted for after last night, the Bulls as of now certainly seem to be on the right side of the bubble. Of course surprise teams can win major conference tournaments too, so keep rooting for the teams in the white uniforms and on the right side of the score panel. This week, we like chalk more than Robbie Fowler.
Team to root for tonight for bubble purposes:
Go Princeton! If they beat Penn, there's no one game playoff in the Ivy, and Harvard gets the Ivy's auto-bid to the dance for the first time since I.M. Pei got his undergrad. Otherwise, it'll be Penn vs. Harvard on a neutral floor (the teams split on home floors during the regular season), but if Harvard loses they're still probably in the tournament. Seriously. And you thought Linsanity just extended to the Knicks...
Team to root for tonight because it's a much better matchup for the Bulls:
Go Villanova! The Bulls beat Villanova by 17 on the road and 14 at home this season, but needed a massively clutch play by Anthony Collins to squeak out a two point win over the Scarlet Knights on New Year's Day. USF is a much better team than they were in early January, but there's no reason to tempt fate, and a 'Cats victory should make tomorrow slightly less stressful.