The Tournament Picture

These teams are locks to play in the NCAA tournament:

AAC (1) – Cincinnati

ACC (5) – Florida State, UNC, Louisville, Virginia, Notre Dame

Big XII (3) – Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia

Big East (2) – Villanova, Butler

SEC (2) – Kentucky, Florida

Pac-12 (3) – UCLA, Oregon, Arizona

Others (1) – Gonzaga

These teams should make the tournament, but aren’t locks:

AAC (1) – SMU

ACC (1) – Duke

Big East (2) – Xavier, Creighton

Big Ten (4) – Wisconsin, Maryland, Purdue, Minnesota

SEC (1) – South Carolina

These teams are on the bubble:

A-10 (3) – VCU (unlikely to get an at-large because they are lacking in quality wins, and the road loss to Fordham is bad), Dayton (not in bad shape with plenty of top 100 wins, but the lack of top 50 wins could do them in), Rhode Island (a neutral court win over Cincinnati is about all they have)

AAC (1) – Houston (a longshot that desperately needs quality wins)

ACC (7) – Virginia Tech (the lack of bad losses and number of good wins will likely be enough), Clemson (lots of solid wins over other bubble contenders, but their atrocious ACC start may derail their bid), Miami (they keep doing enough to stay on the radar, but haven’t made a strong push), Wake Forest (they are lacking in quality wins, but greatly benefit from exceptional computer numbers), Pitt (is on the radar because of a strong start to the year, but the blowout losses will not be forgotten; this team needs to play a lot better to get a bid), NC State (a strong schedule is bolstered by a great road win over Duke), Georgia Tech (the OOC portion of the schedule was bad, but the Jackets have great wins over Florida State and North Carolina to get them squarely in the mix)

Big XII (5) – Kansas State (faces a tough climb because of a very weak non-conference slate, but the wins over West Virginia and at Oklahoma State really help), Texas Tech (a very poor out of league schedule means they need lots of good wins and a decent conference record), TCU (lacks marquee wins, but has avoided truly damaging losses), Oklahoma State (a real at-large contender despite a poor Big XII record), Iowa State (has a solid profile that should only get better)

Big East (3) – Seton Hall (has some decent wins out of conference and no bad losses), Marquette (may regret playing so many RPI 200+ teams, but greatly benefit from the win at Creighton and the home win over Villanova), Providence (is hanging by a thread; it’s unlikely they can overcome some bad losses)

Big Ten (7) – Michigan (has a middling profile that should put them near the cut line), Indiana (will probably make the field because of wins against Kansas and UNC, despite way too many games against RPI 200+ teams), Illinois (has a decent profile, but may be done in by the home loss to Winthrop and too many losses to other bubble teams), Northwestern (has no bad losses and will likely have their first tournament appearance upcoming), Nebraska (has pretty much ruined an excellent non-conference schedule and a good start to conference play; hanging by a thread), Michigan State (has decent computer numbers, but they are simply not winning enough games), Penn State (is unlikely to overcome a couple bad OOC losses, but they have done enough to be in contention)

Pac-12 (4) – Utah (is barely hanging on the bubble with an awful OOC slate and a neutral loss to San Francisco), Stanford (has decent numbers but a serious lack of good wins), USC (has important home wins over SMU and UCLA to pair with solid RPI numbers), California (has a very nice win at USC, but not too much else)

SEC (8) – Vanderbilt (is only under consideration because of a great OOC schedule and a win at Florida), Georgia (has an unremarkable profile, which includes a blowout home loss to Alabama), Arkansas (has a home loss to Mississippi State and a lack of great wins, but their numbers are solid), Ole Miss (has a great non-league slate but no great wins), Tennessee (the Vols are within striking range after picking up a win over Kentucky), Auburn (doesn’t really have much of an argument yet, but can still make a run), Alabama (like their Auburn rivals, they are in position to make it with a run but have no current argument for being in the bracket), Texas A&M (the neutral court win over Virginia Tech is about all they have)

Others (5) – St. Mary’s (should be fine if they avoid bad losses), UNC-Wilmington (needs to hope for a run by St. Bonaventure and no losses before the tournament final), Middle Tennessee (has some good wins that they hope will overcome a home loss to Georgia State), Illinois State (they have a few bad losses and no top 50 wins, so it likely won’t happen but they keep on winning over a decent slate), Nevada (will find it extremely hard to overcome the sweep by Fresno St)

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