NCAA Tournament bubble getting less crowded for BYU
BYU's place in the NCAA Tournament bracket seems more secure today than it was yesterday at this time, largely because several of its compadres on the proverbial bubble lost in early round games at their respective conference tournaments on Thursday. For instance, Oregon fell last night in the Pac-12 quarterfinals to Colorado, and Northwestern lost to Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament. Of course, Oregon losing is a catch-22 for BYU, because the Cougars defeated the Ducks in December and were counting that as a rare win over an RPI top-50 team. Now Oregon's RPI is 63 (CBSsports.com). The Cougars will be cheering for Nevada, which plays USU-beating Louisiana Tech in the WAC semifinals tonight, in hopes that the Pack not only wins on Friday, but takes the title on Saturday to boost its own RPI and to ensure no other WAC team breaks through to steal a bid. Then again, a Nevada loss might just leave the Pack out of the dance. Scanning the assorted bracketologists this morning, it appears that the Cougars are going to be dancing next week. A sampling: Andy Glockner of Sports Illustrated has BYU as a No. 12 seed, playing No. 5 Vanderbilt in Albuquerque. Notes Glockner: "The Cougars, amazingly, may benefit from this week's carnage. Once left for bracket dead, the Cougars may scrape into the dance despite a fairly unimpressive profile."Jerry Palm of CBSsports.com had BYU at a 10 seed earlier in the week, but has dropped it to a No. 11 seed. He has the Cougars playing No. 6 seed UNLV in Albuquerque. Fox Sports also had BYU squarely in the bracket. Its writers have the Cougars as a No. 12 seed, playing No. 5 Wichita State in Portland. ESPN's Bracketology just updated a few minutes ago, and Joe Lunardi still has BYU as a No. 12 seed, playing No. 5 Temple in Portland. Bracketologists are noting that, although BYU's profile is on the weaker side, it is simply a good year to be a bubble team because there is not an abundance of strong bubble candidates this season. Call it the ol' BYU bounce.