College basketball bubble breakdown: Who's positioned to get an NCAA tournament bid?
Selection Sunday is just a week from Sunday and the bubble is shrinking daily. Penn State and Nebraska are in desperate need of a win Friday in the Big Ten tournament in Madison Square Garden. The Nittany Lions have to knock off Ohio State to have a chance. Nebraska may have to beat Michigan. The rest of the bubble could be reduced even more over the coming days in the final weekend of the regular season.
These are the leagues getting one bid:
- America East
- Atlantic Sun
- Big Sky
- Big South
- Big West
- Sun Belt
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Locked in: Cincinnati, Wichita State, Houston.
23. Atlantic 10
Locked in: Rhode Island
Bubble: St. Bonaventure
The Bonnies should be in the field. If they’re not, then something went askew. St. Bonaventure has won 11 in a row and done what it needed to do since a brief road skid in the league. The Bonnies also did lose two games when Jaylen Adams was out with an ankle injury to start the season. So, the Bonnies are 19-4 when Adams is on the floor. The Bonnies end the regular season at Saint Louis Saturday.
Locked in: Virginia, Duke, Clemson, North Carolina, Miami, Virginia Tech, NC State.
Bubble: Louisville, Florida State, Notre Dame Syracuse.
Louisville suffered a crushing loss at home to Virginia and are 3-8 in Quadrant 1, 2-2 in Quadrant 2. Louisville ends the season at NC State. The road win at Virginia Tech helped a lot, but losing three of the last four put a pause on making the Cardinals a lock. Florida State should be good to go with a 6-6 mark in Q1 and 1-3 in Q2. Losing two in a row on the road shouldn’t be too much concern since the Seminoles end the season against Boston College. Win and all should be fine.
We HAD to wait until last night - because we knew another @BColson_35 top moment was going to occur. For Senior Night, here are 5 of the top plays from Bonzie's career at Notre Dame - with much more to come!#NotDoneYet pic.twitter.com/zzoXaWc8LO— Notre Dame MBB (@NDmbb) March 1, 2018
Notre Dame will be the most interesting case for the selection committee. Bonzie Colson is back. He is one of the best players in the ACC and would have been a legit league player of the year and all-American. The Irish were 11-3 with Colson and won the Maui Invitational with him. They are now 18-12 after he played in the win over Pitt. Irish coach Mike Brey said on our NCAA/Turner Sports podcast March Madness 365 that if the Irish beat Virginia in Charlottesville Saturday they should be in the tournament. Agreed. If they don’t win that game then winning a few in the ACC tournament could do it for the Irish. Syracuse has lost three in a row and four of five and the loss at Boston College didn’t help their case. Beating Clemson at home Saturday would do wonders for the Orange. Syracuse is 2-7 in the Q1.
25. Big 12
Locked in: Kansas, West Virginia, Texas Tech, TCU
Bubble: Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas
Kansas State lost two road games in a row. The Wildcats have to beat Baylor at home or else they may need to get to the Big 12 final. Baylor lost two in a row, but then blew out Oklahoma by 23 at home. Winning at Kansas State could clinch a bid for the Bears. Oklahoma has won just one game since Jan. 30. One. The Sooners only win was over Kansas State at home. Oklahoma has to beat Iowa State Friday night and they may have to do even more in the Big 12 tournament. Oklahoma State has great road wins at Kansas and at West Virginia. The Cowboys beat Iowa State on the road. If Oklahoma State beats Kansas at home Saturday it’s over -- the Cowboys will be in. Texas has won just two games in the past seven. Texas could use a win over West Virginia at home Saturday to enhance its case.
26. Big East
Locked in: Xavier, Villanova, Creighton, Seton Hall, Butler, Providence.
27. Big Ten
Locked in: Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan.
Bubble: Penn State, Nebraska.
The Nittany Lions have to beat Ohio State Friday in the Big Ten quarterfinals. Penn State may have to get to the final, too, since the only elite wins in the Big Ten would all be against Ohio State. Nebraska needs to beat Michigan in the Big Ten quarterfinals Friday. And that may not be enough. The Huskers, who also beat Michigan earlier in the season, could use another win onto the final.
28. Conference USA
Locked in: Middle Tennessee State
Middle Tennessee State should get into the field if it loses in the CUSA final. Watch this team and you will see they deserve a bid. Now, what happens if Middle loses earlier in the tournament? I’m still leaning toward a bid no matter what. Middle is the best team and the Blue Raiders are my pick to win the tournament.
29. Mountain West
Locked in: Nevada
Bubble: Boise State
The Broncos have whiffed on games that they have to win. The loss at San Diego State was crushing for Boise State. Boise State ends with a home game against Wyoming. That’s a must win.
Locked in: Arizona, USC, UCLA, Arizona State
Bubble: Washington, Utah
The Huskies have three Q1 wins and two of them were away from home. That’s important for the committee. The Huskies have two Q1 wins and one is on the road. Washington needs to beat Oregon at home Saturday and then win at least one game in the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas. Utah needed to beat USC at home last week. The Utes lost. Utah must beat Colorado at home and then win probably two games in the Pac-12 tournament. Utah has three Q1 wins (all on the road) and three Q2 wins (all at home).
Locked in: Auburn, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Florida
Bubble: Missouri, Texas A&M and Alabama.
Missouri should be fine with six Q1 wins. Losing three in a row before rebounding at Vanderbilt may have caused a little pause, but nothing too wild. Missouri ends playing Arkansas at home. Texas A&M has resurfaced after losing three in a row to win the past two, both on the road at Vanderbilt and Georgia. That’s significant because road wins matter more! The Aggies have the numbers with five Q1 wins. Alabama has decent numbers with five Q1 wins and six in Q2, but the Tide have lost four in a row. Alabama could use a win at Texas A&M Saturday.
Locked in: Gonzaga
Bubble: Saint Mary’s
The Gaels should be in as long as they get to the WCC final and lose to Gonzaga. If Saint Mary’s were to lose to BYU or someone else in the semifinals then it might cause some pause but ultimately, the Gaels have the look of an NCAA team. Saint Mary’s doesn’t have the non-conference resume or the Q1 resume at 1-1. But this is an example where the committee will look at the team, more than the numbers.