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.
Patty Mills, possibly the college hardwood's most feared Aussie import (Utah's Luke Nevill also has a strong argument for that title), has been cleared to play in the West Coast Conference tournament. Expected to practice with the team in Las Vegas this weekend, St. Mary's leading scorer (18.7 ppg) and distributor (3.8 apg), who has missed the past nine games with a fractured wrist, gives the disguised left coast team a major tourney boost at the most opportune time.
During Mills' absence the Gaels performed admirably going 6-3, including an enormous 11-point BracketBuster victory over Utah State. But without a healthy Mills, it's tough to argue their deserving of an at-large bid.
If Mills plays at a respectable level early next week, the committee will weigh his absence heavily. That is, if the Gaels don't earn the WCC's automatic berth first. Selection committee chairman Michael Slive noted two weeks ago, the sophomore guard must perform close to full capacity for St. Mary's to be considered one of the 34-best teams.
With upwards of 15 teams vying for roughly five spot, fans a half-continent away will be glued to their televisions to see how good Mills looks.
The pressure is on, mate.
*For games played through Thursday, March 5
*RPI data provided by Rivals
*Efficiency stats from kenpom.com
*Team in red = Baller of the Week
*Team in blue = Faller of the Weak
*Teams in orange = moving up
*Teams in blue/gray moving down
On the Bubble: Virginia Tech (17-12), Kentucky (19-11), Maryland (18-11), Florida (21-9), Providence (18-12), San Diego St. (20-8), Kansas St. (20-10), Tulsa (21-9), Temple (18-11), Auburn (20-10), New Mexico (20-10), Northwestern (17-11), CIncinnati (18-12)
Dropped Out: Florida, Kentucky, Virignia Tech
Conference Breakdown: American East (1), ACC (6), Atlantic Sun (1), Atlantic 10 (3), 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 (1), 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)
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