The Bracket Big Board takes into consideration past returns, current performance and expected future gains in determining who should be included among the field of 65 (31 automatic and 34 at-large bids). Essentially, the Bracket Big Board is a cheat sheet designed for amateur bracketologists if they were filling out a Tourney Pick ‘Em '09 (Sign up now!) entry today. The Bracket Big Board is updated every Monday/Friday until the dance card is officially unveiled March 15.
Creighton's inability to reach the apex of Arch Madness has Jeff Lebo (Auburn), Keno Davis (Providence) and Frank Haith (Miami) sweating profusely. If Utah State and Butler also get bitten by the underdog, the haggard coaches might drown in their own secretions.
Dana Altman also is very familiar with the post-season pressure cooker.
Although the Blue Jays humiliatingly exited stage left Saturday in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament (slaughtered 73-49 by Illinois State), they should feel somewhat optimistic about their NCAA chances. Sure, Creighton's resume isn't spectacular, but, compared to the overabundance of marginal high-major teams toeing the tourney line, its at-large suitable. Take a look:
Vs. RPI Top 50: 3-2
Key Wins: New Mexico (by 7), Dayton (18), George Mason (13)
Key Losses: at Arkansas Little Rock (2), Illinois St. (18, 24), at Wichita St. (13), Drake (12)
Historically, the selection committee has rewarded quality regular seasons compiled by notable mid-majors. Remember George Mason's controversial at-large bid in 2006? Based on the Valley's competitiveness in previous tourneys and the questionable resumes of so many in bubble country, Creighton deserves to tango. More importantly, for the uncountable number of fans who pray at Cinderella's alter, long-bomber Booker Woodfox (48.9 3PT FG%) just might become this year's Stephen Curry.
*For games played through Monday, March 9
*RPI data provided by Rivals
*Efficiency stats from kenpom.com
*Bolded teams = clinched berth
*Teams in orange = moving up
*Teams in blue/gray moving down
On the Bubble: Auburn (21-10), UNLV (21-9), Rhode Island (22-9), San Diego St. (21-8), Miami (FL) (18-11), Davidson (26-7), Tulsa (22-9), Providence (18-12), Maryland (18-12), Florida (22-9), Kansas St. (21-10), Temple (19-11)
Dropped Out: UNLV, Rhode Island, Davidson, Vermont, Tennessee-Martin, Belmont
Conference Breakdown: American East (1), ACC (6), Atlantic Sun (1), Atlantic 10 (2), Big 12 (6), Big East (7), Big Sky (1), Big South (1), Big Ten (8), Big West (1), Colonial (1), Conference USA (1), Horizon (1), Ivy (1), Metro (1), Mid-American (1), Mid-Eastern (1), Missouri Valley (2), Mountain West (3), Northeast (1), Ohio Valley (1), Pac-10 (5), Patriot (1), SEC (3), Southern (1), SWAC (1), Summit (1), Sun Belt (1), West Coast (2), WAC (1)
Image courtesy of AP