<
>

Who's on the bubble?

Bubble teams liked what they saw Saturday in the MAC and WAC. They loved what they saw early Sunday morning in the MWC.

In fact, things couldn't have gone much better for teams looking to back their way into the Dance.

Three teams on the bubble heading into Saturday -- Western Michigan, Nevada and Utah -- each won their conference tournaments and won't need at-large bids. Whether or not each would have danced without automatic bids is now moot. What is clear is they won't take any bids away from the bubble.

What isn't known is just who'll get that last available -- yes, just one -- at-large bid ESPN.com projects is still unclaimed going into Selection Sunday. That's right, we think 64 of the 65 bids are accounted for heading into Sunday's five title games in the Patriot League, Big Ten, SEC, Big 12 and ACC. And nothing that happens Sunday in those five games will change how the committee divvies out the remaining few bids.

So, is the bid still reserved for BYU, which finished second to Air Force in the MWC, but lost to eventual tourney champion Utah in the semifinals? And how safe is the MWC's regular season champ? Air Force now sports an RPI of 70.

What about Richmond, which hopes to be a fourth team out of the A-10 invited to the Dance, along with Saint Joseph's, Dayton and tournament champion Xavier?

And should the committee give the nod to UTEP -- which won 24 games and shared the WAC regular season title with the team that beat the Miners in the title game Saturday -- or LSU, Missouri, Colorado, Florida State or Georgia?

These questions, and many more, will be debated more than a few times in the selection committee's room.

As for ESPN.com's Bubble Watch formula, remember there are 65 bids. No more, no less. And 31 automatic bids will go to conference champions. Once all the automatic bids have been claimed during Championship Week, there will be 34 at-large spots to hand out.

With just hours until the bracket's official announcement (6 p.m. ET), ESPN.com's projections show 19 conferences will send just one school to the field of 65: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Colonial, Horizon, Ivy, Mid-American, MAAC, Mid-Continent, MEAC, NEC, OVC, Patriot, Southern, Southland, SWAC, Sun Belt and WCC.

Taking those 19 bids out of the equation leaves 12 conferences capable of collecting their 12 automatic bids, plus 34 at-large bids. The 65th- and 64th-ranked teams must play Tuesday, March 16, in Dayton, Ohio, to earn a spot in the 64-team bracket.

Here is the analysis of bubble teams and projected at-large locks by conference through games played on Friday. See ESPN.com's InsideRPI for daily RPI and SOS rankings through Friday's games.

Ron Buck is the men's college basketball editor at ESPN.com.