There was plenty of movement across the NCAA bubble yesterday, but most of it was what didnt happen than what did. . . Were down to just a few teams that could steal a bid from a team thats maybe-in or maybe-out of the tournament, and by the end of today that list could be even shorter. But at least one potential bid thief will make the Big East Final, and that means Saturday night will be a sweat for the teams that are looking for that last spot in The Big Dance. . . And while Duke will not be a part of the field, they werent really a factor here anyway before going home from the ACC Tournament due to COVID-19. But Georgia Tech did lose a chance to help their resume by not getting to play Virginia today because of COVID as well. . . To help find The Chosen 68, we choose the Wisdom of The Crowd to decide which teams are in and which teams are out of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. . . Similar to Nate Silvers model of predicting elections, we take the data from five bracketologists and update it each week. All bracket makers shall be counted equally, and well ask expert for their 16 teams on the bubble. The last eight in the NCAA Tournament in their estimation, and the first eight out. . . Some list this data automatically with their projections, but for the others we reach directly to directly to get their most accurate picture. . . Our model is pretty simple. 16 points for being the eighth-from-last team in the NCAA tournament, to one point for having seven teams between you and even making the First Four. If a team has an average of 9. 0 points or higher, they should reach the NCAA field according to the averages. . . Because some teams will avoid the last-eight-in all-together, while other brackets will have that same team on the bubble, well mark teams Safe that are ahead of the 16 points available on the top next four in line.
INDIANAPOLIS Another day, another career-high. . . One night, its Monika Czinano. The next night, Gabbie Marshall. . . Marshall matched career-highs with 22 points and six 3-pointers, and that was just in the first 17 minutes. Her early theatrics helped send Iowa past 19th-ranked Rutgers, 73-62, in a Big Ten womens basketball tournament quarterfinal Thursday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. . . You always hope for a game like this, Marshall said. I was a little off yesterday. . . A sophomore guard from Cincinnati, Marshall more than redeemed herself. She scored Iowas first points on a trey, had 10 at the end of the first quarter, 22 by halftime and finished with 27. . . She hit 10 of 15 shots, 7 of 11 from long distance. . . Man, she was feeling it today, Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said. She had a lot of good looks. And when she gets good looks, shes money. . . Iowa 17-8 snapped Rutgers nine-game win streak and advanced to the semifinal round Friday against Michigan State 15-7. Tipoff is 3. 30 Central time the game is televised on FS2. . . The Spartans pulled the first significant upset of the tournament, knocking off No. 9 Indiana, 69-61. . . Iowa was the No. 6 tournament seed, Rutgers 14-4 the 3 seed. But after the teams traded early jabs, the Hawkeyes scored 10 straight points and played from ahead the rest of the way. . Im so proud of this group of women. I thought the team played so well together, Bluder said. . . Iowa led 18-9 after a quarter. Czinano who scored a career-high 38 points in the Hawkeyes second-round victory over Purdue on Wednesday was called for her second foul with 4. 43 left in the second quarter and Iowa leading 30-13. . . Czinano sat for the rest of the half, but the Hawkeyes continued to hum. . Caitlin Clark was fouled on a 3-pointer, and made all three free throws for a 20-point lead. Marshalls sixth 3-pointer gave Iowa its largest margin, 39-18, with 3. 30 before intermission. . . Diamond Johnson scored five of her 15 first-half points as Rutgers closed within 39-25 at the break. . . Czinano reached the 1,000-point career mark during a third-quarter flurry in which she scored three straight Iowa hoops. . . Rutgers cut the deficit to single digits at 58-49 on Arella Guirantes 3-pointer with 1. 15 left in the third quarter then again at 69-61 on Johnsons steal and score with 3. 28 remaining in the game. . . But Clark connected with Czinano for her 10th assist of the game with 2. 05 left, and that was the dagger. . . Clark recorded her eighth double-double of the season 21 points, 10 assists. Czinano tallied 20 points, and has made 26 of 33 floor shots this week. . . Marshall got dinged in the head early in the third quarter, sat for about five minutes, then returned and drilled another 3-pointer shortly thereafter.
Thursdays conference tournament slate is about to kick it into another gear and us sports bettors are ready for the college basketball tidal wave that is about to hit us. . . There are north of 50 games starting at 11. 30 AM EST going well into Friday morning. . . Here are two bets I made on a loaded slate of tournament contests. . Georgetown 7. 5, 139. 5 vs. Villanova – 12 PM EST. . Im going back to the Hoyas with this huge number against a banged up Villanova team. . . After looking like a lock to be on the two line come Selection Sunday, Jay Wrights Wildcats are slipping fast, splitting their last six games, but thats underscoring the real issue for Villanova. . . Senior guard Collin Gillespie tore his mcl last week and the team is likely not going to have the secondary ball handler Justin Moore for the Big East Tournament with a sprained ankle. . . Nova leans on seven guys to begin with, so this is a patchwork roster against a Georgetown team that has been able to hang tough with them this season. . . The Hoyas led by double-digits at halftime of their first meeting back in December before melting down in the final minutes to blow a cover. The Hoyas were also able to cover 14 against Nova on the road in early February. . . Patrick Ewings team imposed their will on Marquette Wednesday afternoon, but didnt shoot the ball well. For a team that shoots over 37% from deep in Big East play this season, the Hoyas hit on just four of their 19 three-point shots. . . I expect some positive regression in this department against a Nova defense that is 243rd in the country in three-point defense. . . Nova is incredibly short handed and doesnt have the defense to shutdown the Hoyas offense, Georgetown should keep this game close. . . Pick. Georgetown 7. 5, play to 7. . Oklahoma 3, 138 vs. Kansas – 6. 30 EST. . Similar to Villanova, this is a fade on a team that runs a short rotation and the loss of production cant be overstated. . . Kansas is going to be without big man David McCormack for the Big-12 Tournament due to COVID-19 contact tracing. This is a massive loss for the Jayhawks, who are outside the nations top 300 in bench minutes. . . McCormack leads the team in usage rate and also makes up 30% of the teams shot attempts, not to mention his rebounding on both ends. . . Oklahoma is still going to be a bit outsized on the perimeter against the likes of Kansas wings Jalen Wilson and Ochai Agbaji, but Sooner big men Brady Manek and Kur Kuath should be more comfortable on the floor without having to worry about McCormack. . . While Kansas boasts a top 10 defense in the country, per KenPom, I trust Oklahomas Big 12 best turnover percentage to generate clean offense and get enough stops against a Jayhawks team that may be a bit shaken without their reliable big man on the floor. . . This game is closer to a pick in my opinion with the loss of McCormack, so Im happy to grab 3.