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Bubble Banter: 15 spots open with a month to go

Welcome to Bracketville

Crunch the numbers, consider teams that appear to be NCAA tournament locks, throw in handful of those that should be in, and we’re left with 37 teams on the bubble in our latest Bubble Banter.  Those 37 teams are competing for 15 spots.  The race toward Selection Sunday is in high gear.

For now, Butler, Rhode Island, California, and Northern Iowa leave the bubble.  Minnesota, Washington, and Alabama join.  The difference is that Minnesota and Washington are falling, while Alabama is climbing.  Given matchups and schedules, the next two weeks should be telling for many of those with uncertain NCAA status. 

Some quick notes …

  • The Big Ten could end up with as few as four bids or as many as seven.  Best guess is somewhere in between, most likely five.  Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, and Penn State are all question marks.  Ohio State, Purdue, and Wisconsin are the only solid candidates as of this update.
  • Arizona leads the Pac-10 but has a resume light on quality wins.  Washington’s resume is very similar, but the Huskies are now two games back in the league standings.  Depending on Washington, Washington State, and UCLA, the Pac-10 could be a two to four-bid league.  Five if something weird happens in the conference tournament.
  • The SEC East is strong, the SEC West is not.  Alabama is taking full advantage and also has wins over Kentucky and at Tennessee.  The Crimson Tide will be worth watching the next couple of weeks.
  • The Missouri Valley and Conference USA are looking more and more like one-bid leagues.  Memphis is C-USA’s best hope for an at-large at this point; we’ll see if UAB or Southern Miss can step up and win the outright league title.  Wichita State and Missouri State sit atop the MVC, but neither has an out-of-conference win worth noting.
  • In the Atlantic 10, it’s Xavier, Temple …. and … remains to be seen.  History suggests that Temple wins the A-10 tournament.
  • Four teams in the Big 12 are trying to stay in the at-large picture: Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Colorado.  It’s doubtful that all four will make it, odds are that two will, giving the Big 12 up to six bids.
  • With three extra at-large spots, it would be a great year for mid-majors to garner some bids.  So far, however, few teams have made strong cases .  There’s always a few bid stealers during Championship Week, so even with 68 spots, somebody will be squeezed – again.

If you spot something we’ve missed, send a rebound.  Offer some data and evidence.  Conversation is great.

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