College Basketball Bubble Watch

Updated: February 20, 2007, 11:02 AM ET
By Andy Glockner | ESPN.com


Breaking down the bubble is not child's play

After watching 11 Top 25 teams lose this weekend and having a plethora of BracketBusters games go against form, it seems appropriate that this was the week we fully introduced our toddler to the game Chutes and Ladders.

It feels like every time a team takes a couple of positive steps forward in the at-large chase, it suddenly slides right back down to the pack. Likewise, teams that look down and out suddenly win a couple of games and quickly rise a few levels in the pecking order.

While the board game is all chance, the hardwood version -- Shoots and Ladders -- is more skill- and schedule-based. That said, given how soft this year's bubble appears right now, the difference between the last few teams in and out could be as thin as the children's game's playing board.

There are even gradients of elevation and descent, just like in the board game. As big a win as Appalachian State got at Wichita State in BracketBusters, the Mountaineers really only made their way up a small ladder to the next level, for now. Louisville, though, landed smack on that huge one that carries you from spot 27 to 86 after beating both Pitt and Marquette on the road. The Shockers? They appear to have found their way to a massive, grease-covered slide that ends up in the NIT.

Without further ado, here's the current (and convoluted) bubble picture:

The Bubble Breakdown
CONFERENCE LOCKS SHOULD BE INS AT-LARGES TAKEN
(assuming no auto bid outlier)
ACC 2 3 4
Big East 3 0 2
Big Ten 2 1 2
Big 12 2 1 2
Pac-10 2 4 5
SEC 2 2 3
MVC 2 0 1
MWC 2 1 2
TOTAL 17 12 21

Usually at this time of year, the available number of at-larges is shrinking. This season, the number appears to be growing as teams continue to play their way back to the main pack.

As always, I've tried to be as inclusive as possible while only including teams that would have a reasonable chance of at least being discussed if this were Selection Sunday. If your team's not on here, there's probably a good reason (or three) -- start with the RPI and SOS numbers and work your way down.

If you have a legitimate grievance, or just like talking bubble, send an e-mail. Polite ones with fact-based arguments have a much better chance of receiving a response. I apologize in advance if I can't get back to all of you.

(Please remember, per selection committee criteria, that records displayed are Division I only. Next update: Feb. 21)