Bubble Picture

So, here is the COMPREHENSIVE list of all POSSIBLE bubble teams. There’s not a single team who can get an at-large that isn’t listed here. That also means most of these teams have to have mutliple results go their way to make the field. But I’m including EVERYONE.

SHOULD BE IN (75% or more tourney chance)

Butler – Despite the loss to Providence, they should be dancing. But it isn’t a 100 percent thing, so I won’t lock them.

Pitt – Beating Syracuse for the third time should do it, but only two top 50 wins keeps the Panthers from locking a bid. Beating UNC would have locked them in.

TRUE BUBBLE (25-74% chance)

Vanderbilt – The Commodores are in serious trouble.  All they needed was a win over Tennessee to make the field.  Instead, they are squarely on the bubble.  This could go either way.

South Carolina – With only one win against the RPI top 40, a horrid non-SEC schedule, and three bad losses, South Carolina needs the SEC final to clinch a bid.  A trip to the semifinals would likely get it done, but won’t be a sure bet. Never underestimate the committee’s desire to punish bad non-conference schedules.

St Bonaventure – Losing in the A-10 quarters would likely prevent a bid, but if they can beat VCU in the semis, then they are almost assured of a bid.

St Joe’s –  The Hawks find themselves right in the thick of things.  They’ll likely get George Washington in the quarterfinals. Win and they are likely in.  Lose and they likely are out.

Little Rock – Make the conference tournament finals and it might happen. Lose before that and I can’t see it.

St Mary’s – They lost to Gonzaga and they will be right on the cut line.  That’s what happens when you play eighteen home games out of the WCC.  Schedule tougher, St. Mary’s. You’ve known this for years.

Wichita State – Losing before the MVC final really hurts.  The resume simply doesn’t stack up.  Their fate will be determined by how other bubble teams perform this week.

Tulsa – This one is more up in the air than others.  Beating Memphis might work, but making the final should work.  Their inability to get a top 50 win on their side of the bracket makes this an interesting case.

VCU –  Because they likely won’t get a top 100 team in the quarters, it will take a trip to the finals to feel fairly secure.

Cincinnati – They’ll make it if they beat UConn in their quarterfinal matchup.  If they lose, they’ll be right on the edge.  I think they’ll likely make it in that case, but it will be VERY close.

UConn – They’re one of my last four in.  I think they’re looking at a do-or-die game against Cincinnati.

Syracuse – They would’ve been in with a win over Pitt, but they lost by one. They will be right on the edge of the bubble. This one could go either way.

Temple – Tough to tell how this will work.  If they lose their quarterfinal game, they are out.  If they win that, they have a chance but are likely out without a win over UConn or Cincinnati. Win that, and they’ll be in.

Florida –  Beat Texas A&M and they will likely be dancing. Lose and it probably won’t work out.

Alabama –  Beating Kentucky will probably put them into the First Four.  Losing should end all realistic hope.

Michigan – Beat Northwestern and Indiana and they’re likely in the tournament. Lose either and they’re likely out. Sounds easy enough?

Monmouth – Those wins over Notre Dame, UCLA, USC, and Georgetown are looking worse, but the ambitious scheduling and non-conference performance help. Losing to Iona leaves them cheering against bubble teams. But despite many talking heads saying they will be in the tournament, I simply don’t see it. They are really leaning hard on wins over Notre Dame and USC, which are good but not great wins. And they have three horrible losses on the resume that aren’t going away (Canisius, Army and Manhattan). It’s possible, but unlikely.

LONGSHOTS (under 25% chance but realistic)

Georgia Tech – The Jackets were on a roll until UVA cooled them off. They have three top 50 wins and a strong SOS. They are likely out, but they could be this year’s UCLA, shocking the world with a bid.

Valparaiso – The Crusaders couldn’t take a loss to Green Bay in the semis and expect to have a strong chance. They will certainly merit a lot of consideration, but a road win at Oregon State is the only really strong selling point.  That’s just not quite enough.

George Washington – Beating UVA is a huge boon, but losing at home to VCU was a killer. They need a big A-10 tournament. If they pick up wins against St Joe’s and Dayton on the way to the final, they’ll likely make it.  Less than that probably won’t work.

Ohio State – Three top 100 wins out of the Big Ten? Ouch. Weak scheduling. Beating Michigan State in the quarters might do it, but it will probably take a finals trip.

LSU – They haven’t looked good recently, but Ben Simmons and company have wins over Kentucky, Texas A&M and at Vandy.  A trip to the finals MIGHT get it done, but it will probably take the tournament title.

Houston – Being the two seed might actually be a bad thing.  Their only chance for a decent win before the final is Tulsa.  It will likely take a tournament title, though beating Tulsa at least would give them a shout.

Georgia – Making the SEC final might do it, but anything less certainly won’t.

San Diego State – Making the Mountain West final likely won’t work but… maybe?  They do have a fourteen-point win over Cal on a neutral court.

Virginia Tech – The Hokies are really regretting dropping their first game of the season to Alabama State.  Beating Miami will get them consideration, but won’t likely be close to enough. Adding a win over UVA would put them right on the edge of the bubble.  A trip to the final may or may not do it.  But it would be close. My gut says they get in if they make the final, despite a terrible non-conference SOS and performance.

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