Saturday, March 14, 2009

Live from Tampa: Day 2 - The Bubble Test

Leading Off (The Cuff):
Normally, 22 total wins and 11 wins in the SEC will get teams into the NCAA Tournament.
Why, then, does Auburn open today’s contest with Tennessee in desperate need of a win?
It’s not hard to see – the SEC simply isn’t as strong this year as it has traditionally been.
With Florida’s loss to Auburn last night, the league now has just two teams in the RPI top 50 and features three teams outside the top 100.
Auburn is now in the conversation for an at-large bid, but experts are correct to say the Tigers haven’t done enough to punch a sure ticket – especially with a large list of hopefuls for the final spots.
Be sure to follow Andy Bitter's live blog at War Eagle Extra.

Today’s Starting Lineup:
All eyes on the scoreboard today as Auburn needs both to help itself and to receive help from others.
According to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, Auburn is the third team to miss the tournament.
The Temple-Duquesne game in the Atlantic 10 final ensures that one at-large spot has been eliminated. Baylor, Mississippi State and USC could all earn automatic bids and become teams that make the tournament that likely didn’t have the resumes to support at-large bids.
The other teams for Auburn to watch today are Maryland and San Diego State – a pair of bubble teams that are currently ahead of the Tigers on Lunardi’s bubble.
The other teams currently ahead of Auburn – Creighton, St. Mary’s, Penn State and Arizona – have all been eliminated from their conference tournaments. With a win today, I think Auburn would pass all of them.

From a fans’ perspective, how great has Baylor’s run been? The Bears, who entered the Big XII Tournament as the No. 9 seed and had to pull a minor upset of Nebraska just to escape the first round, have now beaten NCAA Tournament teams Oklahoma and Texas in consecutive games. A Saturday evening win over Missouri would give Baylor an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament.

Detroit mourns the death of Pistons owner Bill Davidson.

Around the League:
Tennessee is eyeing its best run in the SEC Tournament in recent memory. The Knoxville News Sentinel
It looks like the Al Davis-Lane Kiffin feud will continue in the courtroom. ESPN
Nick Saban has suspended two Alabama linebackers in spring practice. The Birmingham News
Alabama turns its basketball attention from postseason hopes to its open coaching search. Ian R. Rappaport

I love my fantasy baseball league. It’s a group of high school friends and we are in our eighth year of what has become a keeper league. What makes the league so great is the debates, like the one that ensued yesterday. I leave for a game yesterday and when I finally check my e-mail again, I have a 70-response e-mail thread on whether or not it’s cheating to use starting pitchers that have relief pitcher-eligibility in a relief pitcher position.
I’m one of the culprits here, since I have Joba Chamberlain, who is eligible at both spots.
The league’s final verdict (split decision): While the pitchers eligible in both spots have more value, it isn’t cheating.

Today's News:
The Good:
Looking for a flight? You might be in luck. Bad news for the airlines means good news for consumers. MSNBC.

The Bad:
Another former WWE wrestler, 33, found dead. ESPN:

The Absurd:
Mascots fight in WAC semifinals over mustache: ESPN.

Ending on a High Note:
Talk about a supportive wife. Here’s a story of a woman trying to find her husband a job in these difficult economic times.

Photo Credit: Auburn University/Todd Van Emst

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