I'm a little too obsessed with Bubble Watches and bracket projections. I can't help it - as long as the Cougs have a shot I'll keep reading every opinion by Joe Schmoe (or Lunardi). I thought I'd try to simplify the various convoluted scenarios since there are only a few games left prior to the conference tournaments. I am mainly using the amalgamation of brackets found on the Bracket Matrix Project website, but I also tend to trust Glockner's Bubble Watch more than the others so I'll focus on his take on the bubble too. His latest one (Monday) is here.
Currently, WSU resides in either First Four Out or Next Four Out in almost everybody's bracket. A few people still have us in, like RPI Forecast as an 11 seed (in over K-State & Butler...) and Busting Bracketologists (an 11 seed, UCLA is a 12...). Conventional wisdom suggests these guys are hitting the smack, but whatever. We're somewhere between a solid and a fringe bubble team.
Next I'll put a rough list of teams we really want to lose, and lose often. I'll take a cannibalism within the Pac-10 if it gets us a tourney spot but I think a nice scenario would be to get 4 Pac-10 teams in. Thus we should root for UCLA to do well except, of course, when they come to Pullman. I am not sure UCLA tanking down the stretch would necessarily result in an at-large spot for the 3rd place team in the Pac-10 anyway. The list of teams we want to lose does not include teams that are probably going to get into the tournament even if they lose a bunch, mainly because such teams still have to play teams that are closer to us on the bubble and I'd like the better teams to win.
Teams above us we want to lose:
Illinois, UNLV, Florida State, Clemson, Va Tech, Boston College, Cincinatti, Marquette, Old Dominion, Va Tech, Colorado State, Richmond, Missouri State, Michigan State, UTEP, Memphis, Wichita State, UAB, Cleveland State, OK State, Alabama, Georgia
Teams below us we want to lose:
Maryland, VCU, Nebraska, Penn State, Duquesne, Dayton, Rhode Island
We're also playing a nervy game with a few other Bubble Teams. We want K-State, Baylor, Gonzaga and Butler to do well but not TOO well. If possible, it would be great if most of those teams won one more big game and lost the rest. That could keep their RPI decently up while also making their profile inferior to ours.
So a few important games are coming up. There's a neat feature on the ESPN scoreboard where you can look at the scores for ESPN's definition of bubble teams. Just click where you'd normally sort scores by conference and you'll see an option for Bubble Watch. Tonight, for example, it looks like we'd like Temple to beat Richmond, NC State to beat Clemson, Minnesota to beat Penn State, LSU to beat Alabama, and UW and UCLA to win.
Hopefully this has been more enlightening than confusing. Go Cougs!