On the latest episode of the March Madness 365 podcast (#MM365), March Madness correspondent Andy Katz was joined by NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee Chair Tom Burnett, the commissioner of the Southland Conference, as well as San Francisco's Volodymyr Markovetskyy, Dzmitry Ryuny and Yauhen Massalski.
In the weekly "Katz Ranks" segment, Katz ranked the 10 most intriguing NCAA tournament bubble teams that he's tracking over the next week and a half.
Here are Katz's 10 most intriguing bubble teams.
With two regular-season games remaining, Rutgers is 16-12 overall and 10-8 in the Big Ten, prior to a road game at Indiana on Wednesday and a home date with Penn State on Sunday. The Scarlet Knights are in the midst of a losing streak of three games, which followed a four-game winning streak where each victory fell in Quadrant 1.
"I think the Scarlet Knights need to get to 11 or 12 wins in the Big Ten to get into the NCAA tournament," Katz said.
That would require Rutgers to win one, if not both, of its remaining games.
TCU sits at 18-9 overall and 7-8 in the Big 12 after a massive home win over Texas Tech on Saturday, 69-66. The Red Raiders will play three games in five days this week, including a home-and-road series against first-place Kansas on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively. The Horned Frogs' regular-season finale is on the road at last-place West Virginia.
Indiana followed up its five-game losing streak with back-to-back wins over Maryland and Minnesota to improve to 18-10 on the season and 9-9 in the conference. The Hoosiers host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Wednesday before traveling to rival Purdue for a game on Saturday.
"This Indiana team has the talent to be in the tournament," Katz said. "They've got a big game coming up at home against Rutgers, then at Purdue. I feel like they've got to get one more. If they lose these two, they're going to have to do work in the Big Ten tournament."
4. Virginia Tech
After finding itself at .500 on the season with a 10-10 record, Virginia Tech has won eight of its last nine games to improve to 18-11 and 10-8 in the ACC. The Hokies' final two games are at home against the Louisville Cardinals and on the road against the Clemson Tigers.
"They need more Quad 1 wins," Katz said, "it's going to be hard to get them."
5. Loyola Chicago
Loyola Chicago was one of three teams in the Missouri Valley Conference to finish with a 13-5 conference record and one game behind league champion Northern Iowa after the Panthers knocked off the Ramblers 102-96 in overtime in the final game of the regular season.
"Looking like a team that we thought would be in no matter what and they didn't win the Valley," Katz said. "Lost to Northern Iowa."
6. North Texas
North Texas hasn't lost since Jan. 6 and with just two regular-season games remaining, against UTSA and UTEP on the road, the Mean Green have a shot at a 17-1 record in conference play.
"They've won 14 in a row, they won Conference USA running away. What happens if they don't win that tournament? I think they should get in (to the NCAA tournament)."
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BYU won four of its final five regular-season games to finish with a 21-9 record and a 9-6 mark in conference play.
"Four Quad 1 wins but that Pacific loss really stings," Katz said. "I think BYU absolutely has to get to the semfinal (of the WCC tournament), losing really only to Saint Mary's or Gonzaga."
The Gators sit at 18-11 overall and 8-8 in the SEC with upcoming games against Vanderbilt on the road and Kentucky at home.
Oregon has lost three of its last four games and four of its last six, although the Ducks did beat the UCLA Bruins during that stretch. They're 18-11 and 11-7 in the Pac-12.
"Had a chance to get to 4-0 against the L.A. schools, lost on the last possession to USC and Drew Peterson," Katz said. "So, they're intriguing. They have more work to do. But I ultimately think they can get in and win a game or two."
VCU has been nearly unbeatable since mid-January, winning 10 of its last 11 games since back-to-back losses to St. Bonaventure and Davidson. The Rams will finish with a home game against the Bonnies and a road game against the Saint Louis Billikens.
"I think they should be in as of now," Katz said, "but they probably need to get, minimum, to the semis of the A-10 tournament, maybe the final, but they need to get in, especially — a little biased here — but they were the only team last year that did not get a chance to play in the NCAA tournament."