Despite loss, Bulls get votes (2) in AP Top 25
Sunday's loss at Notre Dame ended the Bulls' four-game winning streak, but USF still made its first appearance -- albeit a small one -- in the Associated Press Top 25, released Monday.
The Bulls picked up two vote-points -- that's either No. 24 on one ballot, or No. 25 on two -- to sneak into the "also receiving votes" portion of the poll, unofficially at No. 44 in the rankings. USF (15-8, 5-6) had beaten two ranked teams -- then-No. 17 Pittsburgh and then-No. 8 Georgetown -- before losing at Notre Dame. Pittsburgh stayed in the poll at No. 25 and Georgetown stayed at No. 7, thanks to a big win against Villanova.
The Big East now has four teams ranked in the top seven of the poll -- No. 2 Syracuse, No. 4 Villanova, No. 5 West Virginia and the Hoyas at No. 7.
-- ESPN.com's newest "Bracketology" projections are out for the NCAA Tournament, and USF is close enough to be listed as one of the "first four out," along with three other Big East teams -- Marquette,Cincinnati and Notre Dame. The Bulls have been swept by Notre Dame, so it makes the Bulls' Feb. 16 home game against Cincinnati all the more important, so they don't have head-to-head issues with two other bubble teams from their own league.
What's more, Louisville is the last of the "last four in," which means five Big East teams are squarely on the bubble with a month of regular-season basketball left to be played. As it stands, ESPN's projections have six Big East teams making the NCAA cut.
In his analysis of the projection, ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi lists USF as having a 40 percent chance of making the NCAA Tournament. That's better odds than Connecticut right now, or Virginia Tech and former USF coach Seth Greenberg. Lunardi writes more about the Big East's bubble teams here.
-- One more projection -- the Bracket Project, which projects the Postseason NIT field, has USF in there as a No. 2 seed. Connecticut is a a No. 1., Cincy and Seton Hall are fellow No. 2 seeds, with Notre Dame and Providence also in the NIT field.
-- ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach has USF in the thick of his "Bubble Watch" update.