With conference play underway and Selection Sunday a bit more than two months away, it's time to take the first rough look at the shape and texture of the NCAA Tournament bubble. Please realize these first few weeks will be very fluid. With the RPI not exactly foolproof this early in conference play, there's some subjectivity involved in where some teams are situated. Teams only achieve lock status when it appears a virtual certainty that their names will be called on March 16. When in doubt, they get a capsule so you can learn more about them. To make the first cut a bit cleaner, here are a few guidelines that were followed Thursday:
College Basketball Bubble Watch
Updated: January 12, 2008, 11:13 AM ETBy Andy Glockner | ESPN.com
First look at the upcoming bubble
• To be listed, BCS conference teams had to have an RPI of 100 or better. That currently excludes teams like Nebraska, which might have a chance to make a run in league play.
• Teams outside the Big Six and the Atlantic 10, this year's breakout league, had to have an RPI of 60 or better. Yes, Air Force made it a few years ago at No. 70, but league play doesn't usually provide these teams with the same RPI pop as a BCS conference, so this seemed like a decent place to start. That's why teams like one-loss Stephen F. Austin are not listed.
• The current record had to be better than .500, which eliminates teams with schedule-enhanced RPIs like Miami (Ohio) and Southern Illinois.
• 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 in mid-January, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your feedback is a huge part of this drill. This should be fun. Go ahead and dig in. Next update: Jan. 18