Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bubble Watch: Heading Into Selection Sunday

 As we head into Selection Sunday, the bubble just continues to grow. Teams like Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Iowa all had chances to firmly put themselves in the NCAA tournament and failed to do it. So as things stand now, the bubble is still 11 teams fighting for 8 spots.

The one bubble team still playing is Ole Miss, so every other bubble team will be rooting against them in the SEC title game. Should they lose they could still get in, but they'll be 50/50 at best. They really need to win that game.

We did add a whole lot of locks to the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, as expected. First, we had 13 automatic bids handed out, 9 of which went to teams that were not previously locks: Albany (America East), Akron (MAC), Montana (Big Sky), New Mexico State (WAC), North Carolina A&T (MEAC), Northwestern State (Southland), Oregon (Pac-12), Pacific (Big West) and Southern (SWAC).

In addition, two teams sealed at-large bids: Iowa State and Missouri. That meant 11 new teams into the bracket total, which brought the total number of locks to 53. 7 of the 8 teams playing today are already locks, but Ole Miss can become the 54th lock if they win the SEC title game.

So depending on the result of the SEC title game today, we will have either 14 or 15 spots open on Selection Sunday, with 8 true "bubble" spots, and only around a dozen teams really sweating out the final Selection Show. We're a long way from two months ago when I had well over 100 teams with a chance to end up on the bubble.

Anyway, here is how the bubble stands as we head into Selection Sunday:

Tournament locks (53 teams):
Albany, Duke, Miami (Fl), North Carolina, NC State, Florida Gulf Coast, Butler, St.Louis, VCU, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Montana, Liberty, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Pacific, James Madison, Memphis, Valparaiso, Harvard, Iona, Akron, North Carolina A&T, Creighton, Colorado State, New Mexico, UNLV, LIU, Belmont, Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, Bucknell, Florida, Missouri, Davidson, Northwestern State, Southern, South Dakota State, Western Kentucky, Gonzaga, New Mexico State

Automatic bids yet to be awarded (4, of which 0 are not projected to be won by teams currently locked into the Tournament):
ACC, A-10, Big Ten, SEC)

Teams that look safe (2):
Cincinnati, San Diego State

Teams definitely in the Tournament... for now (5):
Villanova, Illinois, Minnesota, Wichita State, Colorado

The Bubble (11 teams for 8 bids):
Virginia, La Salle, Temple, Iowa, Oklahoma, Boise State, California, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee, St. Mary's

Best of the rest (5):
Maryland, UMass, Baylor, Alabama, Middle Tennessee

Long shots (4):
Southern Miss, Arizona State, Stanford, Louisiana Tech


Daffy Duck said...

I don't see how Ole Miss does not get in. I don't know if it's fair or not, but giving the SEC only two teams is not something I see the committee doing. I'd say Ole Miss will get in regardless, but a win today would still be nice. I think Kentucky and Tennessee will both be left out of the tournament. Kentucky is very shaky to make it simply because of all of the media attention on them about not making it into the tournament. If the committee snubbed a mid major like La Salle for Kentucky, it'd be talked about for awhile. However, by putting in La Salle over Kentucky will cause much less commotion since Kentucky is known to be on the outs already.

Jeff said...

The Selection Committee does not take into consideration things like a conference "deserving" a certain number of seeds. Ole Miss could get in if they lose today, but that wouldn't be the reason why.