College Basketball Bubble Watch
Time for bubble teams to make a final push
Separation in many of the major conferences is starting to iron out a good deal of the bubble picture.
If you take all the current "locks" and "should be ins," you get 25 total tournament teams from the six BCS leagues plus the Atlantic 10. Barring a big upset winner in one of those league tournaments, that means 18 of the 34 at-larges will be used. Add in Gonzaga or Saint Mary's from the WCC (assuming the other wins the auto bid) and it looks like there are 15 left.
Next, there are teams that are better positioned than others on the "work left to do" line. Right now, those include Maryland, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Baylor, USC, Arkansas, Mississippi State and A-10 Team No. 3. If you assume all those teams make it, that leaves seven at-large bids and 30 teams fighting for them (to various degrees).
That means that a number of teams that have spent the past three-plus months treading water can use late pushes to get into the NCAA Tournament. It definitely looks like one of those seasons in which there will be more bids available than there are truly good teams.
As always, the records listed are Division I only, per NCAA Tournament selection guidelines. If you have a legitimate grievance or just like talking bubble, send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Next update: Feb. 24.