Big East up to 10 bids ... for now 

February, 29, 2012

Tu HollowayAP Photo/Al BehrmanTu Holloway and the Musketeers may miss the NCAA tournament.
This is why you play the games. Coming into the season, many presumed that the Xavier Musketeers would be a favorite for the A-10 title and almost certainly an NCAA tournament team. But here we sit, less than two weeks from Selection Sunday, and Xavier has fallen out of the bracket entirely.

Right now, the Musketeers fall right on the cusp as the first team out. They have one game remaining before the start of the A-10 tournament when they take on Charlotte (RPI 162) this Saturday. Lose that game and the Musketeers' bid hopes will be on life support. Xavier's RPI of 54 would suffer (again) and its record would bloat to 18-12 heading into the postseason. The only good news is that the Musketeers' two best wins (at Vanderbilt and against Purdue) are looking better as the season winds down. The Commodores are now up to No. 22 in the RPI after knocking off Florida on Tuesday night, giving the Musketeers their only top-25 RPI victory of the season.

For now, the beneficiary of the Musketeers' misfortune is South Florida. The Bulls become our last at-large team into the field but have their work cut out to stay there. USF travels to Louisville on Wednesday night in a pivotal game not only for an NCAA berth but also a possible top-four finish and double bye in the Big East tournament. More on the Bulls below, but first here's a look at the latest S-Curve.

The S-Curve

This is where teams would fall if Selection Sunday were today. Remember, the curve flows left to right, then right to left, then back again as you read down the chart. Teams with an asterisk currently lead their conference and project to receive an automatic bid, per the rules of bracketology.

GREEN: Teams with tourney odds of 80 percent or better through games of Feb. 28.

YELLOW: "Last four in" (will play March 13-14 in Dayton, Ohio)

GOLD: Lowest four auto-bids (will play March 13-14 in Dayton, Ohio)

RED: "First four out" (teams 69-72 on the S curve)