Bubble Banter Debut: Countdown to Selection Sunday
By now you know that the lower half of the bracket is wide open. The bubble? Well, it’s wide open, too. There are some highly questionable profiles near the cutline, and that may not change. Written off for the NIT at the end of its non-conference season, UCLA is among the teams back in the at-large picture. Same for Boise State, riding an eight-game winning streak in Mountain West play. And what about the ACC … no league is stronger at the top, but there’s a steep decline once you exit the upper tier.
There are some big-time programs currently on the outside looking in – including aforementioned UCLA, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, and Pittsburgh. There are also traditionally strong leagues – such as the Atlantic 10 – that could put just two teams into the field.
It’s also been a tough year for so-called mid-majors. Old Dominion remains an at-large contender from Conference USA, but other options appear to be longshots. Eastern Washington, Stephen F. Austin, Murray State, Green Bay, and Wofford are solid teams that could be dangerous 12 or 13-seeds. But none has a profile strong enough to garner serious consideration; we’ll revisit if they all continue to win. Even Harvard has struggled. It’ll be a one-bid year again for the Ivy League.
Expect a wild and meaningful Championship Week. Unless the current landscape changes, the Selection Committee may be watching closely to select and seed the final few teams in the field. It’s been that kind of year.