A Weekly List Of Teams On The Bubble

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Conference tournaments start in just a couple of weeks. With that in mind, which teams are in need of a strong showing to ensure that they climb off the NCAA tournament bubble and join the field of 68? Atlantic Coast Conference Maryland, Florida State Realistically, Maryland is the only team that is on the bubble. However, Florida State is 6-6 in the conference which means that they could make a case that they deserve to be in if they finish strong. Atlantic 10 Xavier, Massachusetts, Charlotte, Temple Of these four teams, Xavier is the most likely to get in followed by Temple. Charlotte has an outside shot with 18 wins overall. However, the majority of those wins were against weaker non-conference foes. Big East Villanova, St. John's, Providence Providence probably needs to win out to close the regular season as well as make some noise in the Big East tournament to get off the bubble. However, Villanova and St. John's just need to avoid any long losing streaks to punch their tickets. Big Ten Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois All three teams should make the tournament if they can finish at least .500 in conference play. Illinois is making the strongest case to get in of all the three teams. However, Iowa and Minnesota will make a run at 20 wins this season. In the Big Ten, that should be good enough. Big 12 Iowa State, Oklahoma, Baylor This is another scenario where all three teams should get in with solid finishes to their season. They all have good wins this season and should all finish with 20 wins in the regular season. A win in the conference tournament wouldn't hurt any of these teams either. Mountain West San Diego State, Air Force, UNLV All three teams are 6-5 in conference play. It will most likely take at least one win in the MWC tournament to get all of them over the hump and into the tournament. However, it would not be surprising to see each team get an at-large berth. Pac-12 California, Colorado Although USC is 7-6 in conference play, their 12-14 overall record keeps them off of the bubble for now. The good news is that Colorado and California play in a relatively easy conference. The bad news is that they will need to win a lot of their remaining games to have hopes of going dancing this March. Southeastern Conference LSU, Arkansas Tennessee could also play their way onto the bubble if they win their next couple of games. However, LSU and Arkansas are two teams who could play their way into the field of 68. Arkansas could secure their spot with wins against Florida, Missouri and Kentucky in the final weeks of the regular season. Non-Power Teams In Contention For An At-Large Berth Santa Clara (West Coast Conference) At 19-8, the Broncos are looking to become the fourth team from the WCC to make the tournament this season. The other three teams that should already be in include Gonzaga, St. Mary's and BYU. Southern Miss (Conference USA) If Southern Miss can defeat Memphis on the road on Saturday, they will move a step closer to serious consideration for an at-large. If they make the C-USA conference tournament final, they may sneak their way into a play-in game. Belmont (Ohio Valley) Although a long shot to make the tournament as an at-large, they could get into a play-in game if they lose in their conference tournament final. A win against Stanford improves their resume a bit. Bucknell (Patriot League) Wins over Purdue and La Salle could prove beneficial if Bucknell is a loser in its conference tournament and needs an at-large berth to get in the NCAA tournament. Anticipating who will get into the NCAA tournament and who gets left out is almost as fun as the tournament itself. For the teams listed above, it is time to win out or risk being shut out come March. Although several of these teams will most likely make the NIT, that is still falling short of the ultimate goal. By Don Phan: A part-time sports writer and lifelong Chicago sports fan.


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