There was not much change at all in the AP poll this week, other than Kentucky is back to being ranked. This is why we jump straight to bracketology this week!
We have officially entered my favorite time of the year, as conference tournaments have started up. Champ Week is in full force, and teams are competing to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. With that being said, teams that are not fortunate enough to win their conference tournament must receive an at large bid to reach the NCAA Tournament. Below is my updated bracketology, and with this bracketology, I believe that every team from seed 1-9 is safe, leaving seeds 10-12 on the bubble, along with nine teams who are still alive.
With just a few days left in the regular season, teams have just one or two games and one last chance in their conference tournament to make a push towards the tournament. Below are what I believe each bubble team needs to do to better their chances to be selected on Selection Sunday, which is two Sunday’s from now.
Oklahoma- The Sooners failed to solidify a spot in the NCAA Tournament with a win against Baylor last night. I believe one win in the Big 12 Tournament easily gets them a spot.
St Bonaventure- The Bonnies had a tough game last night against Davidson, which they won by four in a high-scoring affair. One or two A10 Tournament wins will get them in.
Texas A&M- The Aggies are pretty safe because they have many fantastic wins early in the season. The only way that they do not get a spot in the tournament is if they do not win a game for the rest of the season.
ASU- ASU is slipping big time. A loss to Stanford or Cal to close the season may really hurt them, plus they still may need one win in the PAC 12 Tournament.
Seton Hall- Seton Hall has two very tough home games with Villanova and Butler coming to town to close the season. A win over one of them gets them in, or a win in the Big East Tournament.
USC- The Trojans can lock down a spot with a win over rival UCLA or by winning one game in the PAC 12 Tournament.
Providence- The Friars have a tough task of going to Xavier in a game they are not expected to win, but they will be expected to win their final game against St Johns. Providence then may or may not need a win in the Big East Tournament.
Kansas State- KSU’s resume looked like a lock to me until I saw that other experts had them on their bubble. I think just one more win before selection Sunday should get the Wildcats in.
Utah- Utah has a must-win game at home against Colorado left on the schedule. Plus, they may or may not need a win in the PAC 12 Tournament for a bid, depending on their opponent.
Louisville- The Cardinals, to me, do not look like a tournament team, and they have two tough games to end the season, hosting Virginia and going to NC State. I could see them losing both, then be challenged to do whatever the committee feels they need to do to receive a bid.
Syracuse- The king of the bubble looks to find a spot in the Big Dance again this year, but they have to go to Boston College in a must-win game, then play Clemson at home, which could punch their ticket before the ACC Tournament starts. With a loss to Clemson, it will be up to the committee once again to decide the Orange’s fate.
UCLA- UCLA needs a win over USC to close the season, or else they may need two wins PAC 12 Tournament.
Oregon- The Ducks HAVE to beat Washington to end the regular season and make the semi-finals of the PAC 12 Tournament to have a chance.
Nebraska- Nebraska proved that they are still alive with their great win over Penn State which knocked them off the bubble. The Cornhuskers still have work to do, but they are likely to have Michigan on their plate in the Big Ten Tournament. Win and they could easily be in, but lose and they will likely be out.
Baylor- Getting the big win over Oklahoma helps, but they still have Kansas State left on the schedule. Also, getting a win in the Big 12 Tournament may not be easy, since they are towards the bottom of the standings. Baylor is the toughest bubble team to call right now in my eyes, so I am not quite sure how many wins the Bears need to be safe.
Notre Dame- The Irish are an interesting story, since they are playing without their best player Bonzie Colson, who should be back anytime now. When Bonzie comes back, this team is easily a top-25 talent, and I know that I would not want to see them in March. Problem is ND may not even have a chance to make the tournament, since they go to #1 Virginia to close the year. A loss to Virginia may mean that this team needs two or more wins in the ACC tournament.
Washington- The Huskies HAVE to beat Oregon to stay alive, plus win a game in the PAC 12 Tournament to have a shot at a bid.
Mississippi State- Miss State has been playing fantastic basketball, but they have sat outside the tournament line all year. For the Bulldogs to receive a bid, they may need to beat Tennessee at home, beat LSU on the road, then win one SEC Tournament game, giving them three solid, but doable wins to end the year.
Boise State- The only way Boise State gets in is by winning out, unless they lose in a close game in the Mountain West Championship game.
Marquette- Marquette stayed alive barely beating Georgetown. Marquette has Creighton left on the schedule at home, which to me is a must-win game. Marquette will then have to win a game or two in the Big East Tournament to even be looked at by the committee.
Texas- The Longhorns are on their last limb here with West Virginia coming to town. Texas may need to beat West Virginia plus reach the semi-finals of the Big 12 Tournament to receive a bid.
At Large Bid Stealers
Two teams can take away two bids this year on Selection Sunday. If Nevada or Middle Tennessee lose late in their conference tournaments, they will likely steal a bid from a bubble team.
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