College Basketball Bubble Watch
Bubble watch: Calculating at-large possibilities
It's Championship Week. Selection Sunday is just around the corner, so let's get straight to the updated look at the at-large picture.
Here are the teams that are "locks" or "should be in"s from the six biggest conferences:
ACC: Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, Miami
Big East: Georgetown, UConn, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pitt, Marquette, West Virginia
Big Ten: Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State
Big 12: Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor
Pac-10: UCLA, Stanford, Washington State, USC
SEC: Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State
Assuming there are no surprise automatic-bid winners from these leagues, that means 21 of the 34 at-large bids are accounted for, leaving 13 up for grabs.
Next, three leagues are in very good shape to get two teams in:
WCC: Gonzaga, Saint Mary's
Missouri Valley: Drake, Illinois State
Mountain West: BYU and (right now) UNLV
That would leave 10 at-large bids. That number could drop, though, if any of the following teams don't win their conference tournaments:
C-USA: Memphis (lock)
Horizon: Butler (lock)
Sun Belt: South Alabama (should be in)
MAC: Kent State (should be in)
A-10: Xavier (lock)
CAA: VCU (bubble candidate)
SoCon: Davidson (bubble candidate)
The most likely scenario right now is that seven or eight bids will remain, assuming two or three of those teams won't win their respective conference tourneys.
From the remaining teams, Arizona, Arizona State, UMass, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Kentucky look to be best-positioned right now, but most of those teams face extremely important quarterfinal games in their conference tourneys, so that picture could change in a hurry.
If all those teams do hang on to their current position, that leaves a maximum of four bids -- and more likely just one or two -- for the following group of teams (listed in alphabetical order): Dayton, Florida, Houston, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio State, Oregon, Saint Joe's, Syracuse, Temple, UAB, Villanova, Virginia Tech, Western Kentucky. Davidson and VCU also are possibilities.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
One more bit of good news: Bubble Watch is now daily, so every day from now through Selection Sunday, you'll get a fresh look at the at-large picture.
Next update: Monday, March 10.