Tuesday Tournment Picture

Congrats to the two latest additions to the NCAA field, the Virginia Tech Hokies (making their first March Madness since 2007) and the South Carolina Gamecocks. Both should be looking at single-digit seeds.

Meanwhile,  Indiana and Pitt finally drop out after losing to Purdue and Georgia Tech .

These teams are locks to play in the NCAA tournament:

AAC (1) – Cincinnati

ACC (8) – Florida State, UNC, Louisville, Virginia, Notre Dame, Duke, Miami, Virginia Tech

Big XII (5) – Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma State

Big East (3) – Villanova, Butler, Creighton

Big Ten (5) – Wisconsin, Maryland, Purdue, Minnesota, Michigan State

SEC (3) – Kentucky, Florida, South Carolina

Pac-12 (3) – UCLA, Oregon, Arizona

WCC (2) – Gonzaga, St. Mary’s

These teams should make the tournament, but aren’t locks until they win one (or in some cases two) more:

A-10 (1) – Dayton

AAC (1) – SMU

Big East (1) – Xavier

Big Ten (1) – Michigan

SEC (1) – Arkansas

These teams are on the bubble:

A-10 (2) – VCU (will be in if they win their final two regular season games, which would include a win over Dayton), Rhode Island (a neutral court win over Cincinnati is about all they had until beating VCU; winning their last two regular season games looks like a must just to be in the picture)

ACC (4) – Clemson (the last two regular season games are at home, and the Tigers likely need both and a run in the ACC Tournament), Wake Forest (they are lacking in quality wins, but greatly benefit from exceptional computer numbers; they must beat Louisville at home or Virginia Tech on the road to have a decent shot), Georgia Tech (losing to NC State at home changed their whole outlook; still alive if they can win their last regular season game, but it’s not looking good), Syracuse (the importance of the Duke win cannot be overstated; still need at least one more win to have a good argument)

Big XII (2) – Kansas State (the Cats are falling quickly; winning the last two regular season games and making a tournament run look necessary to have a chance), TCU (they need their final two regular season games and a Big XII tourney run to be a serious competitor)

Big East (3) – Seton Hall (they should go dancing if they win their last regular season game, but they still would not be a lock), Marquette (they’ll probably dance if they win their last two, they’re right in the hunt with one, and it’s unlikely if they can’t get one of their last two), Providence (they got DePaul out of the way; winning over Saint John’s will move them up a category to should be in status)

Big Ten (4) – Northwestern (the Wildcats have moved back down into the bubble fray after a loss at Indiana; one more win should put them in great shape, though), Illinois (has a decent profile, and one more victory might be enough), Ohio State (keep an eye on them if they can win their remaining regular season game over Indiana; not dead yet), Iowa (despite a high RPI, the Hawkeyes will merit a serious look if they can close out the regular season with wins over Wisconsin and Penn State)

Pac-12 (2) – California (must win their remaining regular season games to have a chance; that Dillon Brooks three is unfairly damaging to their profile), USC (the Trojans drop from the land of the “should be in;” they’ve lost four straight and now have a bad loss at Arizona State; they absolutely cannot afford another loss before the PAC-12 tournament)

SEC (4) – Vanderbilt (may really regret losing at Kentucky, because that win would’ve been so strong I was even considering locking them in; winning over Florida at home still might be enough to earn a bid), Georgia (has an unremarkable profile that needs at least two more regular season wins added to it; surviving LSU at home was a must), Ole Miss (probably won’t have much of a chance unless they win their last two), Tennessee (is in serious danger; they’re likely done if they lose another regular season game)

Others (5) – Middle Tennessee (will get a serious look if they need it; they should be UNC-Wilmington and Vandy’s biggest fans), Illinois State (they have a few bad losses and only Wichita State as a top 50 win, so it likely won’t happen even if they lose to Wichita in the Valley final), Wichita State (has excellent efficiency numbers, but didn’t do anything notable in the OOC except lose to competitive teams; their best hope is the rest of the bubble failing miserably), Nevada (will find it extremely hard to overcome the sweep by Fresno St, but they’ll get a look if they win out until the MWC final), UT-Arlington (it’s a longshot, but if the committee loves Saint Mary’s, then a road win over the Gaels might do it)

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