The 2011 NCAA Tournament is one day closer and the Bubble Watch felt some minor tremors last night. As the St. Mary's Gaels look to win the West Coast Conference tournament this weekend, they'll spend the next few days doing some scoreboard-watching to see how other bubble teams perform. We put together a Saint Mary's Fan Rooting Guide yesterday and had a mixed bag of results.
The first matchup we looked at was Maryland versus Miami. We were rooting for the Terrapins, but the U was able to to pull out a fairly easy 80-66 victory. In reality this game doesn't have a ton of impact on the Gaels at the moment. Miami entered the game ranked No. 69 in the RPI while Marylad was No. 86. Miami's RPI should improve a little bit but they're at a point where ESPN's Bubble Watch doesn't even include them as having work to do. This win likely moves them into that category.
Elsewhere the UAB Blazers stunned the Southern Miss Golden Eagles 67-66 thanks to a Preston Purifoy three-pointer with five seconds remaining. UAB came into the game ranked No. 32 in the RPI and Southern Miss was No. 40. This won't destroy the Golden Eagles RPI, but would seem to knock them almost entirely out of any part of the conversation. I'd have to argue St. Mary's has a slightly stronger case than Southern Miss.
A third game of significance saw Cincinnati defeat Marquette 67-60. Cincinnati has been on the right side of the bubble for the moment and this win gives them a bit of a buffer. It also helps St. Mary's in the sense that Marquette was not able to build on the momentum of their road upset of Connecticut. A win over the Bearcats would have moved Marquette into solid bubble status. Now they find themselves in a bad position.