NCAA: Bubble Watch and Tournament Bracketology

Selection Sunday is right around the corner and what better way to get ready for the NCAA Big Dance than to take a look at what the bracket most likely looks like if the season were to end today.

East South
1Duke 1Virginia
16Prairie View A&M / Norfolk State 16Bucknell
8Ole Miss 8Wofford
9St. John’s 9Auburn
5Florida State 5Maryland
12UCF / Arizona State 12Butler / Auburn
4Kansas State 4Kansas
13Vermont 13Murray State
6Louisville 6Mississippi State
11Minnesota 11VCU
3Marquette 3Purdue
14Texas State 14Old Dominion
7Baylor 7Villanova
10Temple 10Texas
2Michigan State 2Tennessee
15Loyola-Chicago 15Wright State
West Midwest
1Gonzaga 1Kentucky
16St. Francis (PA) / Rider 16Sam Houston State
8Washington 8Syracuse
9Ohio State 9Oklahoma
5Nevada 5Iowa State
12Lipscomb 12New Mexico State
4Texas Tech 4Wisconsin
13Yale 13UC Irvine
6Iowa 6Virginia Tech
11NC State 11Seton Hall
3LSU 3Houston
14Montana 14Hofstra
7Buffalo 7Cincinnati
10TCU 10Florida
2Michigan 2North Carolina
15South Dakota State 15Radford

Conference Breakdown: Big Ten (8), SEC (8), ACC (8), Big 12 (8),  Big East (5),  AAC (4), Pac-12 (2)

Last Four In: Butler, Alabama, UCF, Arizona State

First Four Out: Nebraska, Clemson, Utah State, Furman

Next Four Out: Belmont, Georgetown, UNC Greensboro, Providence

Still In The Hunt: Saint Mary’s

Could Move Into Consideration: Arkansas, Indiana, Creighton, Missouri, Rutgers, DePaul, Northwestern, Xavier, Oregon, Memphis, Oregon State


Bubble Watch


Locks: Houston

Probably In: Cincinnati

On The Bubble: Temple, UCF

Temple is fighting hard for Fran Dunphy in his final season to make the NCAA tournament and with four games left in the regular season the Owls have positioned themselves nicely to stay in the field. They have a quality win over Houston and have a combined seven quad 1/2 wins. Temple will get an opportunity for  a win over UCF but there chances in the regular season could be more detrimental than they are beneficial. Current Projection: 10 Seed

UCF is 20-6 overall but the Knights have yet to earn a quad 1 win this season. Temple and Alabama are the Knights’ best wins of the season and the Knights have taken some tough losses to no tournament teams. UCF’s season may be decided as the regular season winds down when they face the top three teams in the American, Houston, Cincinnati, and Temple.

If the Knights can win two out of three, then they will probably see themselves in the tournament. Win one or none of the games and they may be reliant on a AAC tournament championship to dance in March. Current Projection: 12 Seed, Last Four In


Locks: None

Probably In: None

Bubble: VCU

VCU will most likely make the tournament as they are the now favorites in the A-10. However if the Rams were knocked off in the A-10 tournament they could be a potential bid thief. The Rams have wins at Texas and have also beaten fellow bubble member Temple. Unfortunately for the Rams, the A-10 was very underwhelming in the non-conference and are not giving them much of a chance to pick up any other quality wins. The Rams are 5-6 in quad 1/2 games and have no more opportunities remaining in the regular season. Current Projection: 11 Seed


Locks: Duke, Virginia, North Carolina

Probably In: Virginia Tech, Florida State, Louisville

On The Bubble: Syracuse, NC State, Clemson

Syracuse is one more nice win away from moving themselves into the probably being in the tournament. The Orange struggled early in the season and while they have picked things up they cannot put everything into one basket and rely on a win at Duke to carry them. The Orange have plenty of opportunities remaining and cannot really hurt themselves with any bad losses from here on out. The Cuse should be just fine. Current Projection: 8 Seed

NC State has done everything right this season except for win the big games. The Wolfpack are 20-8 overall but 1-7 in quad 1 as they have let all their opportunities slip through their fingers. A game with Florida State remains in the regular season but besides that the Wolfpack have to play not to lose until they can face another quality opponent in the ACC tournament. Current Projection: 11 Seed

Clemson much like NC State just cannot seem to pick up a win when they need it. The Tigers are 1-8 in quad 1 and a combined 4-11 in quads 1/2. The Tigers only win against a tournament team was over an injured Virginia Tech team. The one thing Clemson does have going for themselves is the fact that they yet to lose a game outside of quad 1/2. The Tigers have North Carolina and Syracuse remaining in the regular season but may need even more help thatn that if they hope to return to the NCAA tournament. Current Projection: First Four Out

Big 12

Locks: Kansas, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Iowa State

Probably In: None

On The Bubble: Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma, TCU

Baylor started the season with a loss to Texas Southern and were only 9-4 in the non-conference but the Bears have battled back. They have suffered a plethora of injuries but still find a way to win the the Big 12. With plenty of chances remaining for the Bears to pick up wins and very few chances that could harm them, it looks like Scott Drew has performed some kind of miracle this season. Current Projection: 7 Seed

Texas is they type of team where you don’t know who is gonna show up to play. The Longhorns have beaten North Carolina and Kansas but have lost to teams like Radford, Providence, and Georgia. They are hanging on by a thread right now because of the big wins they have but at 15-12 it will be hard to get into the tournament with a few more losses. Current Projection: 10 Seed

Oklahoma can’t find a way to win the big games but 8 of their 10 losses have come in quad 1. The Sooners have beaten the teams they are supposed to beat and have lost to the teams they were expected to lose to. The Sooners have Kansas, Kansas State, and Iowa State remaining in the regular season. to move off the bubble they will need at least one win but preferably two out of those three. Current Projection: 9 Seed

TCU has suffered through plenty of injuries but when looking at the whole body of work TCU is cutting it close. The Horned Frogs are only 2-6 in quad 1 and have struggled in quad 2 as well. The benefit is that the Horned Frogs have yet to lose a game against any quad 3/4 opponents. With opportunities still remaining, it’s time for TCU to make a push into the big dance.

Big East

Locks: Marquette

Probably In: Villanova

On The Bubble: St. John’s, Seton Hall, Butler, Gerogetown

St. John’s has struggled to remain consistent this season but swept Marquette and beat Villanova. The Red Storm have the talent to make a deep run but have yet to prove that they are capable of doing so. St. John’s has three games remaining against non tournament teams. They need to win all three to feel safe moving forward into the Big East tournament where all 10 teams have a legitimate chance to win the whole thing. Current Projection: 9 Seed

Seton Hall has been up and down all season and it looks to be on the down at the wrong time. The Pirates wins over Kentucky and Maryland are keeping them in the discussion for an at-large birth but the Pirates are making it difficult on themselves as they struggle to win the games they should be winning. Current Projection: 11 Seed

Butler has still not been able to put everything together this year. The Bulldogs have been very inconsistent and have yet to pick up a signature win. With 5 wins over other bubble teams and no losses outside of quads 1/2, the Bulldogs have put themselves in a position to make another NCAA tournament. They can’t afford a loss to Providence or Xavier moving forward and could really use a road win at Villanova. Current Projection: 12 Seed, Last Four In

Georgetown picked up a big win over Villanova to move the Bulldogs onto the bubble but it may be too little too late as the season is coming to a close. Seton Hall and Marquette remain on the schedule for the Bulldogs as must win games if Georgetown looks to give Patrick Ewing his first trip to the NCAA’s as a head coach. Current Projection: Next Four Out

Big Ten

Locks: Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland, Wisconsin, Iowa, Purdue

Probably In: None

On The Bubble: Ohio State, Minnesota, Nebraska

Ohio State has been another big surprise under Chris Holtman. The Buckeyes have found a way to win and continue to do what they need to do to stay in the field of 64. They have yet to reel off a signature win but still have 4 wins over quad 1 opponents. Current Projection: 9 Seed

Minnesota is slowly playing themselves out of the NCAA tournament. The Golden Gophers are 17-11 overall but struggle to win the much needed games. Their wins over Iowa and Wisconsin are carrying the team as of now but one or two more would be very welcomed as the Golden Gophers move forward. Current Projection: 11 Seed

Nebraska has not been the team they were expected to be and when Issac Copeland went down with an injury things just got worse for the Cornhuskers. Nebraska is still in position in the Big Ten to pick up much needed wins but are at a point where they cannot afford to lose anymore games. Current Projection: First Four Out


Locks: None

Probably In: Buffalo

On The Bubble: None

Mountain West

Locks: Nevada

Probably In: None

On The Bubble: Utah State

Utah State has done everything right this season but unfortunately play in the MWC. Quality wins are hard to come by for the Aggies and they may be just one short moving forward into the NCAA tournament. The Aggies have a shot at home against Nevada on Saturday which may be their last chance at hopes of an at-large bid. Current Projection: First Four Out


Locks: None

Probably In: Washington

On The Bubble: Arizona State

Arizona State has two solid wins. At home versus Kansas and a neutral game over Mississippi State. However they have lost seven games to non tournament teams. Their  4-1 record in quad 1 can only hold so far. The Sun Devils are in a position where losing is not an option. Current Projection: 12 Seed, Last Four In


Locks: Tennessee, Kentucky, LSU

Probably In: Mississippi State

On The Bubble: Ole Miss, Auburn, Florida, Alabama

Ole Miss has been one of the biggest surprises this season and have put themselves in a position to make the NCAA tournament. The Rebels have already exceeded expectations and barring a complete collapse the rest of the season should have no trouble hearing their name on Selection Sunday. Current Projection: 8 Seed

Auburn on the other hand has been the exact opposite of Ole Miss. The Tigers have struggled after so many expectations. The good news for Auburn is that they have yet to really lose a game that hurts them. The bad news is that they are 2-7 in quad 1 and on the road. Current Projection: 9 Seed

Florida helped itself with a big win over LSU but cannot rely on that win to keep them in the field. Florida has struggled at times this year but looks to be figuring things out at the right time. Current Projection: 10 Seed

Alabama has been all over the place this season. A story of inconsistency has allowed them to beat Kentucky and Mississippi Stat but lose to Georgia State and Northeastern. It is do or die time now for the Crimson Tide and winning out the regular season is the first step. Current Projection: 12 Seed, Last Four In


Locks: None

Probably In: Wofford

On The Bubble: UNC Greensboro, Furman

Furman had their opportunity this past weekend but couldn’t seal the deal. Furman has been riding their win over Villanova all season long but may find themselves just short of making the NCAA tournament. Current Profection: First Four Out

UNC Greensboro like Furman had their chance but squandered it. Greensboro has a solid record on the season but looks like they will be sitting on the outside looking in. Current Projection: Next Four Out


Locks: Gonzaga

Probably In: None

On The Bubble: Saint Mary’s

Saint Mary’s has one final shot reaming to stay in consideration for an at-large bid into the field of 68. If the Gaels can take down Gonzaga on Saturday then they may have a chance to squeak into the tournament but without a win they will need to hop for a WCC tournament title to go dancing in March. Current Projection: Next Four Out

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