College Basketball Bubble Watch
Early fuzzy picture starting to take shape
One of the simple pleasures of childhood back then was seeing a photo spit out of the bottom of one of those cameras, grabbing it and needlessly fanning it in the air, hoping it would develop more quickly.
That's about where we are in the Drive to 65: The early picture is still quite fuzzy, but it's quickly coming more and more into focus, and soon we'll have a relatively representative landscape to judge.
One thing is certain, though: Very few teams can play their way into the Tournament before February, but a number of teams are trying their best to play their way out.
With unbalanced schedules in all high-major conferences but the Pac-10, you can't definitively declare that a team must have a .500 record in conference play to be a viable at-large candidate, but it's still a pretty good benchmark -- one that teams like Maryland (2-5 ACC), Georgia Tech (2-6 ACC), Washington (3-6 Pac-10) and others may have a difficult time reaching.
From a conference standpoint, things are starting to become clearer in the Big Ten and Big 12 and have gotten increasingly muddled in the SEC. It also appears, at this stage, that there is a relatively weak crop of at-large candidates from outside the Big Six and The Valley. That could help teams like those listed above, especially if teams like Nevada, Air Force/UNLV, Memphis and Butler win their conferences' auto bids and leave more at-larges available.
As always, I've tried to be as inclusive as possible while only including teams that would have a reasonable chance of at least being discussed if this were Selection Sunday. If your team's not on here, there's probably a good reason (or three) -- start with the RPI and SOS numbers and work your way down.
If you have a legitimate grievance, or just like talking bubble, send an e-mail. Polite ones with fact-based arguments have a much better chance of receiving a response. I apologize in advance if I can't get back to all of you.
(Please remember, per selection committee criteria, that records displayed are Division I only. Next update: Feb. 7)