Itâ€™s the time of the year when the word â€œbubbleâ€ returns to the basketball lexicon â€“ as in teams on the proverbial bubble to make the 65-team field of the Big Dance.
With four days to go before Selection Sunday, there are lots of unanswered questions regarding whoâ€™s in and whoâ€™s out of the NCAA Tournament.
How many teams will make it out of the powerful Big East?Â And how many from the stacked ACC?Â Can Kentucky salvage a streak of 17 consecutive appearances in the Big Dance?
The high-profile Big East tipped off its tournament at Madison Square Garden yesterday with a pair of huge upsets in the first two games of the 16-team event.Â DePaul ended an 18-game losing streak by shocking Cincinnati and St. Johnâ€™s stunned Georgetown.Â Notre Dame, whose bubble may be on the verge of bursting, kept its slight NCAA hopes alive with a win over Rutgers.
Three other teams punched their dance tickets by winning their respective conference tournaments.
Western Kentucky rebounded for a 64-56 victory over South Alabama in the Sun Belt final, while Ben Woodsideâ€™s lean-in jumper with three seconds left vaulted North Dakota State to a 66-64 win over Oakland for the Summit League title and an NCAA berth in its first season of eligibility.
Cleveland State beat Butler 57-54 in the Horizon final.Â With a current No. 16 ranking, Butler surely will receive an at-large berth and that will know someone off â€“ all together now â€“ the bubble.
HAWAII HOOPS:Â The wins have been fewer and farther between for the Rainbow Wahine as compared to their male counterparts at UH this forgettable basketball season.Â But that changed last night in Reno.
The men blew a late lead for a 62-58 loss to last-place Fresno State.Â The women beat last-place San Jose State 70-57, notching their first WAC tourney win since 2003.Â The going gets tougher during todayâ€™s quarterfinal game against regular-season champ Fresno State.
The Hawaii men led by 11 with slightly more than 11 minutes left and still held a five-point edge with 1:30 remaining when the wheels fell off.
The Bulldogs rallied behind Dwight Oâ€™Neilâ€™s go-ahead jumper with 22 seconds left and added three free throws in the final 10 seconds to secure the win despite an 18-point effort by Roderick Flemings.
The season-ending loss was Hawaiiâ€™s fifth straight, with the Bows finished the season with a 13-17 record.
Keisha Kanekoa scored 18 points in leading the Rainbow Wahine to a 70-57 win over San Jose State.
The victory was only the eighth of the season and the fifth in 17 WAC outings for UH.