(The Spread) - With Joe Lunardi's 'Bracketology' seemingly the number one source as to whether an NCAA Tournament hopeful is on the inside or the outside of the bubble, there are a couple of teams today that will play a huge role in the last couple of teams that make it into the field of 68 and the ones that are left out.
Memphis plays in the Conference USA Tournament final against UTEP at 11:30AM EST and Lunardi currently has Memphis as one of his last couple out of the field. But if Memphis wins, they will boot another team out of the field and get its own automatic bid with Conference USA getting an extra team into the field. Oddsmakers and online sports book Bodog.com have made UTEP a 5-point favorite in the matchup. If Memphis does get in, it might assure a team such as Georgia or Penn State or perhaps both are left out of the NCAA Tournament.
Will Barton, a freshman guard, is the lone Memphis player in double figures in scoring average as he leads the balanced attack at 12.4 points per game.
Elsewhere, Alabama plays against Kentucky in an SEC semifinal at 1:00PM EST. Lunardi has Alabama as one of his last teams out of the field as well right now, yet a marquee victory over a ranked opponent such as the Wildcats would go a long way into getting the Crimson Tide into the field. Oddsmakers have listed Kentucky as 6.5-point favorites in the contest.
UTEP is 3-0 against the spread versus Memphis over the last three seasons and 2-1 straight up in the series. Two of the last three games in this series have gone under the total.
Alabama is 3-1 against the spread versus Kentucky over the last three seasons. Kentucky has won three of the four games straight up. Two of the last three games have gone under the total.
Whatever happens in those two games and elsewhere today, it will have a large effect on the mood level of other teams around the country who have already seen the end in their respective conference tournaments.