Watching the Bubble Watchers: Friday Edition (Bubble Burst?)

Impact of Yesterday’s Games

Well, we all know about the game that had the biggest impact on Northwestern’s Bubble chances – Northwestern vs. Minnesota.  A win would have helped solidify their resume (but by no means would it have locked up a bid), and a loss, well, as we’ve all been thinking and reading since the end in Indy, a loss may just have punched their ticket to the NIT.  Here’s a quick look at some of the other games played in Bubbleland yesterday…

Good news – South Florida and Oregon.  If South Florida had been able to hold on against Notre Dame, instead of falling to them in OT, that would have made them a tourney lock.  Now they are still going to have to sweat it out.  As for Oregon, their loss to Colorado likely keeps them out of the Field of 68.

Bad news – Texas, California.  A loss by either of these teams on Thursday would have put them in a precarious position come Sunday (a spot with which Northwestern fans are now all too familiar).  However, each team took care of business, with Cal knocking off rival Stanford and Texas taking down a tourney-bound Iowa State team, making big strides towards solidifying their tournament resumes.

Unclear – Washington.  The loss by the Pac-12’s top seed at the hands of Oregon State yesterday was ugly, with four missed free throws by UW’s Tony Wroten in the last 18 seconds of an 86-84 game, two of which obviously could’ve sent the game to overtime.  On the one hand, Washington’s loss could create an additional at-large team, going under the idea that the Pac-12’s regular season champ would get a bid.  On the other hand, the Pac-12 was the #10 conference this year, and conventional wisdom suggests that the Pac-12 may only get one team in on Sunday.  So, we’ll have to wait and see on this one.

Bubble Watch Watch

You might want to put down that cup of coffee or snack that you might be chewing on, as this is where your stomach may start to turn.  However, one expert does still thing the Cats will hear them name called on Sunday night…

Joe Lunardi/ – OUT, “First Four Out”

  • Northwestern is now behind Joe’s “Last Four In” of Washington, Mississippi State, Drexel, and Seton Hall, all teams who’ve also already been knocked out of their conference tournaments, (and behind Tennessee in the “First Four Out,” who still have some control over their own destiny, starting with a game tonight against Ole Miss).  So, in Joe’s eyes, it’s not like these four teams could do anything to knock themselves out and open the door for Northwestern to get in.  Joe dropped Northwestern to 71 on his S-Curve (subscription required). “Rule No. 1 when you’re on the bubble: Don’t lose.  It’s a simple enough concept, but wins eluded several teams that badly needed them on Thursday, none more so than the Northwestern Wildcats.  Thursday’s loss to the Minnesota Golden Gophers was precisely what the Wildcats needed to avoid.”
  • In a post on’s College Basketball Nation Blog, Myron Medcalf acknowledges that there’s still a chance for the Wildcats, but based on yesterday, he’s not given them much hope.  “They had their chance to impress and they squandered it…the Wildcats got an F on the eye test against the Gophers. They had something to prove and didn’t play like they knew it in crucial stretches.  They didn’t execute like a tournament team desperate for résumé-boosting victories… I watched the Northwestern-Minnesota game from press row at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. And I did not see a team that belonged in the Big Dance.”
Jerry Palm/ – IN – 12 seed, “First Four” vs. South Florida, Last Four In
  • A little bit of sunshine in the sea of Bubble darkness – Jerry kept Northwestern in his bracket.  Jerry did seem to be higher on Northwestern going into last night’s game than the rest of the group here.  He was the only one of the four who didn’t have the Cats as part of the “First Four.”  Now he does, dropping the Cats to a 12 seed to take on South Florida in Dayton.  Jerry points out that Northwestern wasn’t the only Bubble team to go down, which may have left the door open for the Wildcats –  “Washington, Northwestern, Oregon and Mississippi State were among those that not only lost, but lost badly.  The Wildcats lost to Minnesota, but the other three all lost to triple-digit RPI teams.  Despite Northwestern’s loss, I still have them in the bracket.”   Jerry is far from placing the Cats bid in stone however…
  • not necessarily permanently RT @: jppalm STILL has Northwestern in the field. Gotta let them go, Jerry
    Jerry Palm

Andy Glockner/ – OUT – Last Four Out

  • Andy didn’t have us in his Field of 68 entering yesterday’s game, so it’s not exactly a shock that we are not in there today.  He bumped the Cats down to the last spot in his “First Four Out,” behind Iona, South Florida, and Mississippi State.  Above that, his “Last Four In” are Dayton, Xavier, Drexel, and Tennessee.  So, it would appear that, in Andy’s eyes, there’s nothing that can happen between now and Sunday to move NU into the Field.  All but two of those eight listed schools are done playing, and the two still with court time left are Dayton and Xavier, who are playing each other tonight.
  •  Andy does leave the door slightly open for Northwestern, but more by default than anything else.  “Right now, the bracket has more empty slots than a corrupt casino. Arizona? Tennessee? Ole Miss? Every A-10 team after Temple and Saint Louis? Come on down! Northwestern and South Florida, a combined 2-20 vs. the top 50? Still in the mix!” His case against NU –“The Wildcats suffered a crushing OT loss to Minnesota that may end up costing them their first-ever NCAA bid. There are no bad losses, but there are way too many against one solitary top-50 win.”

Andy Bottoms/ – OUT

  • The first change all week from Andy, and it’s obviously not a happy one for the Wildcat faithful.  And not only did Andy bump us out, but he pushed us way down in his pecking order, beyond the “First Four Out.”  Andy lists 8 “First Schools Out,” and Northwestern is #5 on that there, behind Washington, Seton Hall, South Florida, and Mississippi State.  Andy’s “Last Four In” – Drexel, Tennessee, St. Joseph’s, and Iona.  So, even more so than Mr. Glockner, Andy has the door to the tourney latched closed for Northwestern.

Games to Watch

Not sure there’s a whole lot that matters here at this point.  Four games to keep an eye on…

  • Ole Miss vs. Tennessee, SEC Tournament, Quarterfinal, 6:30 pm CT – Tennessee could play their way into Lunardi and Palm’s projections (and possibly knock Northwestern out), or they could play their way out of Glockner’s and Bottom’s brackets.  We’ll see.
  • Dayton vs. Xavier, Atlantic 10 Championship, Quarterfinal, 8 pm CT, CBS College Sports – A matchup of two Bubble teams, both of whom are currently grasping onto spots in Glockner and Bottom’s bracket.  Xavier is in for Lunardi and Palm.  Palm has Dayton in his “First Four Out,” while Lunardi doesn’t have Dayton anywhere near the tournament, not even listing them among his “Next Four Out.”  So, that all being said, I’d say root for Xavier to push/keep Dayton out of it.
  • Texas vs. Missouri, Big 12 Championship, Semifinal, 9 pm CT, ESPNU – With the win over Iowa State yesterday, Texas moved their way out of everybody’s “Last Four In.”  A win tonight against #5 Missouri would all but engrave their bid, but even without that, Texas is probably safe.
  • Colorado vs. California, Pac-12 Tournament, Semifinal, 10:30 pm CT, FSN – Like Texas, California may have already played their way in, no longer listed in anybody’s “Last Four In.”  However, that is likely because, with top-seeded Washington out of the Pac-12 Tournament, everybody is projecting Cal to win the conference tournament title.  Considering how bad the Pac-12 was this year, a loss tonight would probably put Cal right back on the Bubble Bus, with many experts predicting no at-large bids for the conference.
Top of the NIT?
If Northwestern does indeed not get an NCAA Tournament bid on Sunday, they will most certainly be heading to the NIT, and with a pretty high seed.  The folks over at NITology project Northwestern as a #1 seed.


  • Al

    Sorry, the NIT doesn’t cut it for me anymore.

    • zeek

      The only thing that disappoints me is Carmody’s approach to all of this. No head coach should be telling his kids that it doesn’t matter whether or not they beat Minnesota.

      Given the rest of what happened, a Minnesota win would have virtually guaranteed us a slot.

      If there’s one thing that really makes me unhappy, it’s that. He’s the head coach, he has to have confidence in his kids and make them feel confident. Letting everyone know that he told them it was just another game in the scheme of things was such a bad way to approach it.

      • byebyefitz95

        I wish we had the same AD as Illinois does sometime…someone who has balls.

  • cece

    hey, why should you worry, or look at what pundits think, or try to influence? the body of work speaks for itself, right? after all, this is the
    “what me worry?” approach that the coach takes so why should any of us care? frankly, with this attitude, none of us should even watch any games played for the rest of this season, or until…..

  • PDXCat

    Frankly, nobody but the kids knows exactly what he said. I imagine he doesn’t tell the media verbatim what he says to his players. To think that’s a direct quote is ridiculous. Maybe he was trying to take the pressure by saying it’s like any other game. Stakes are higher but it’s still 40 minutes and you have to score more than the other guy. And despite what you think of him, they play their asses off for him.

    • CM

      +1. Completely agree.


    Add Miami, Dayton, St. Joes and Tennessee to the bubble losers today. The last few bubble teams selected now will inevitably be in the same situation as NU and have lost their ‘must win’ game.

    Seeing teams like Washington, South Florida, Mississippi State, and Seton Hall on the right side of bracket projections has to give the ‘Cats a chance.

    • Aatrain2

      Seriously do you feel like we deserve a bid to the tourney? Truthfully I feel like the selection committee was trying to give us a chance by listing us as the last four in, and with the tourney on the line we lost to the #10 seed in the big ten tourney, we dont deserve it it’s time to move on.

      I wonder will other coaches in the conference go to bat for Carmody like Izzo did for. U of I’s coach??? I’ m guessing no…

      Here is a couple of names of assistants that can probably attract some good ball players. 1. Danny Manny (assistant at Kansas) 2. Rod Strickland (assistant at Kentucky) 3. Wojakowski ( assistant at Duke). Recruit good ball players… I’m guessing one of these guys would take the job.

      • Buffalo Joseph’s Chickeny Winged Empoium

        Don’t forget Isaiah

        • cecece

          NO. not Isaiah. ever. sexual harassment against Anucha Browne, NU hoops star, means never, ever.

          • Professor Kim Thompson, D.F.A.

            @ cece, I see your point. but, ihe’s probably due for a good run about now.

      • PDXCat

        I don’t think the selection committee has anything to do with the Last Four In, First Four Out lists. That’s for the “experts” to show off how much they know. As for Bracketologists, word on the street is Jerry Palm is kind of the guy, in terms of his accuracy. And he still has us in. For what it’s worth. And as he said, people keep losing losing and he doesn’t see anything that would lead him to take NU out. As for deserving, does Vermont “deserve” to be in? Belmont? Davidson? Lamar? Are they among the best in the country? Sure, we didn’t get it done in our league. How many of the teams that are actually in the tournament could we beat?

  • hudhaifa


  • Alum dad

    I hate the U of I, but at least they know when to pull the plug. Hopefully NU will take their cue and do the same. We aren’t going to get any better with BC. He doesn’t seem to be the right guy for a B1G program. If all 12 B1G head basketball coaching positions were open, would any program besides NU even consider talking to BC? I think we all know the answer. No reason we can’t set our sights higher. Just because we haven’t experienced success on a regular basis in the past doesn’t mean we can’t make changes and experience success in the future. It is time to up the ante and get the right guy at NU that wants to recruit and make this a destination. This is a B1G school. I think getting a top coach would be easier than some think. NU, even with their past baggage, would be a great opportunity for a mid-major coach on the rise.

  • zeek

    Well, there’s no reason to watch the bubble now; we’re not even in the “Next Four Out” and Nitology has us as a 2nd seed in the NIT.

    Assuming that Carmody is coming back, next year has to be a must-go year. We can’t be aiming for a 5th NIT bid. At some point, enough has to be enough.

    • wildcat6

      Jerry Palm updated his bracket this AM and still has us in:

      • zeek

        He’s really been in the minority out there the entire time on us though.

        He might end up right, but if he is, it’s because we’re like UAB last year and even he has to realize that he’s sort of gambling on being the contrarian here.

        • Chadnudj

          He may be in the minority….but he’s also been known to be the most accurate (and certainly MUCH more accurate than Glockner/Lunardi)….

          We still have a chance, folks. And if we back in, we’re still IN….and I’d be rooting for the Cats to shock the world and head to the Sweet 16.

          • byebyefitz95

            How do you know he is the most accurate? Can I see where you got your statistics please?

  • Aatrain2

    Here is a couple of names of assistants that can probably attract some good ball players. 1. Danny Manny (assistant at Kansas) 2. Rod Strickland (assistant at Kentucky) 3. Wojakowski ( assistant at Duke). Recruit good ball players… I’m guessing one of these guys would take the job.

    • PDXCat

      As far as a new coach goes, I know what we can do. We can get a guy to come to NU that’s proven he can turn programs around and get us to the tournament. Like, say, Bill Foster. Or, we can get a good, young, up-and-coming coach that’s got a reputation as a great recruiter. Like, say, Kevin O’Neill.

      Maybe the reason that nobody else in the B1G would give BC a sniff is that no other B1G team has to. This isn’t about supporting or not supporting BC. Why would NU be a destination for a coach? Look at our history. That can’t be denied. Sure, just because we’ve always stunk doesn’t mean we always have to. But, the fact remains. Why would someone who is promising choose NU? It would be a stepping stone. So, someone comes in, takes us to our first tourney and then starts flirting with all the more prominent jobs in the land (Gary Barnett). And really, aren’t there better programs that an up-and-comer would choose over us?

    • PDXCat

      And why do you guess they’d take the job? Desperate? It’s not polite to say no? The tradition and visibility of places like Duke, Kentucky, and Kansas are passe and playing in front of a throng of 3500 fans is the new black? Really?