UPDATE - Updated Selection Sunday Morning
After a disastrous 3 game losing streak to end the year including taking on the worst 2 losses of the season at home to Alabama and then to Auburn, Aggies everywhere can start dusting off their NIT shirts.
It is especially disappointing looking around at how badly the rest of the bubble (teams 65-75 have done over the last few days) and how easily the Aggies could be sitting pretty right now. I will stand by saying if A&M had just won against Alabama, regardless of the SEC tournament results the Ags would be in the NCAA tournament (at least in Dayton) and just wondering about seeding right now.
That being said it seems like every year there is 1 WTF head scratcher inclusion into the NCAA tournament, could it be the Ags this year? That's probably a pipe dream that's about a 1 in 10,000 shot, especially after Wyoming just stole a bid Saturday night.
The BW below has a writeup on 18 teams however by my estimation there are 7 teams fighting for 5 (or 4) spots. The or 4 of course is because there is 1 bid stealer left to play on Sunday. If UConn upsets SMU then that would steal a bid from the #68 spot and there would be one less bid to go around. That spot is currently held by Texas in my BW.
It is rather funny to watch the development of Joe Lunardi's and other bracketologists over the last couple of days crawfish their way into analyzing the bubble, for example he just recently had Texas A&M ahead of Murray St but now the Ags are nowhere to be found despite nothing happening in the last 48 hours to change that, meanwhile I have consistently had my rankings in that area of the BW unchanged since the various teams seasons have ended. Also for example the lead ESPN Bubble Watch had Ole Miss as a lock a week ago and now all of a sudden they are concernedwhereas to me they have always been less than 10 spots away from their bid slipping away.
All that being said.as of right this second (early Sunday morning) me and Lundardi have the same 68 team field. That is thanks to Wyoming occupying a spot, previously I had UCLA as my last team in JL had Indiana. Now that spot #68 has dried up neither team is in, but to me they are the 2 that are most deserving and have the best chance to sneak in if the Committee decides to do something screwy and leave another SEC team or Texas out.
That being said Lunardi usually does do a last second switch 30 minutes before the brackets are announced after ESPN gets their insider info.
Big Cincy win over Tulsa last week. Still all 3 bubble teams have a degree of uncertainty with 1 week to go. 3 teams is likely.
Bubble: Temple, Cincinnati, Tulsa
Locks: Virginia Commonwealth, Dayton, Davidson
Auto: Notre Dame
Locks: Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, NC State
Half the league has been a lock since February. Oklahoma St. and Texas are trying to withstand late season slides, they both have a good chance to do just that.
Auto: Iowa St.
Locks: Kansas, Oklahoma, Baylor, West Virginia
Bubble: Oklahoma St., Texas
The league with the least bubble drama. Looks like 6 bids all the way here
Locks: Villanova, Butler, Providence, Georgetown, St. John's, Xavier
Iowa is the latest to join the lock party, still 3 more Big 10 teams with at least some level of uncertainty. 7 bids wouldn't shock anyone.
Locks: Wisconsin, Maryland, Ohio St., Michigan St., Iowa
Bubble: Indiana, Purdue
Wyoming disappointed many bubble teams on Saturday night by becoming the first official bid stealer.
Locks: San Diego St.
Bubble: Colorado St., Boise St.
Locks: Utah, Oregon
Bubble: UCLA, Stanford
Locks: Kentucky, Arkansas
Bubble: Georgia, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, LSU
Missouri Valley Conference
The MVC gave us some bubble drama after all with Wichita St. going down in the semifinal and UNI having to rally from 18 down in the championship game in order to come back and take the Auto bid, leaving the rest of the bubble breathing a sigh of relief.
Auto Bid: Northern Iowa
Locks: Wichita St.
West Coast Conference
Gonzaga thankfully secured the auto bid for the WCC to still have a chance to be a 1 bid league, BYU will be in the middle of some bubble drama to potentially be a 2nd team in.
Auto Bid: Gonzaga
Conference listed indicates projected auto bid, team in bold equals auto bid winner
1. America East - Albany
2. American - SMU vs. UConn
3. Atlantic 10 - VCU vs. Dayton
4. ACC - Notre Dame
5. Atlantic Sun- North Florida
6. Big Sky - Eastern Washington
7. Big 12 - Iowa St.
8. Big East - Villanova
9. Big 10 - Michigan St. vs. Wisconsin
10. Big South - Coastal Carolina
11. Big West - UC Irvine
12. CAA - Northeastern
13. Conference USA - UAB
14. Horizon - Valparaiso
15. Ivy - Harvard
16. MAAC - Manhattan
17. MAC - Buffalo
18. MEAC - Hampton
19. Missouri Valley - Northern Iowa
20. Mountain West - Wyoming
21. NEC - Robert Morris
22. OVC - Belmont
23. Pac 12 - Arizona
24. Patriot - Lafayette
25. Southland - Stephen F Austin
26. Southern - Wofford
27. SEC - Kentucky vs. Arkansas
28. SWAC - Texas Southern
29. Summit - North Dakota St.
30. Sun Belt - Georgia St. vs. Georgia St.
31. West Coast - Gonzaga
32. WAC - New Mexico St.
34. North Carolina
40. Wichita St.
43. Arkansas/ Kentucky loser
44. West Virginia
48. Dayton/VCU Loser
49. Ohio St.
50. Michigan St. / Wisconsin Loser
51. St. John's
53. NC State
56. Colorado St.
58. San Diego St.
59. Temple (RPI 34: 23-10, 13-5) Best Wins: Kansas, Cincinnati, La Salle. Worst Losses: NC vs. UNLV, @ St. Joes., Tulsa (twice). It is amazing what an OOC win vs. Kansas can do to make you look past an otherwise lackluster non-conference season with a few questionable losses. Getting swept by Tulsa does not look good on the resume but this is still one of the best 36 at large profiles in the country. Hard to see them not in the field of 68. (Season Over)
60. Purdue (RPI 54: 21-12, 12-6) Best Wins: Indiana (twice), Ohio St., Iowa, N.C. State, Worst Losses: NC. Vs. Kansas St., North Florida, @ Vandy, Gardner-Webb. Hot at the right time of year advancing to the Big 10 Semis and having a stellar conference record to look past a forgettable December with some really bad losses. (Season Over)
61. Georgia (RPI 38: 21-11, 11-7) Best Wins: @ Texas A&M, Ole Miss (twice), Seton Hall, Florida. Worst Losses: @Georgia Tech, NC vs. Minnesota, South Carolina (twice), Auburn. Still easily the 3rd best SEC profile they look pretty solid even with 0 top 50 wins and a handful of bad losses. The number of top 100 wins is impressive. (Season Over)
62. Cincinnati (RPI 37: 22-10, 13-5) Best Wins: San Diego St., SMU (twice), @NC State, UConn, Temple. Worst Losses: @East Carolina, @Nebraska, Tulane. Lost a chance to get to lock status by going 0-1 in the AACT. It's possible they could fall to Dayton but they should be ok. (Season Over)
63. Oklahoma St. (RPI 49: 17-13, 8-10) Best Wins: Baylor (twice), Kansas, Texas (twice). Worst Losses: @ Kansas St., @TCU, @ South Carolina, @Texas Tech. Went 0-1 in the Big 12 Tournament and are sub .500 in conference, despite the red flags and a high 40s RPI with the quality wins and lack of truly horrible losses they are probably ok. (Season Over)
Any team above this line should feel pretty darn safe and it would be a snub of historic proportions to keep them out.
The REAL bubble starts here.
7 teams fighting for 5 (or 4) spots.
64. BYU (RPI 36: 23-9, 13-5) Best Wins: @Gonzaga, Stanford, UMass, Worst Losses: @Pepperdine (twice), San Diego. BYU really did nothing in the WCC tournament to adjust their standing however with the rest of the bubble faltering since then they have started to feel a lot safer. (Season Over)
65. Boise St. (RPI 41: 23-8, 14-4) Best Wins: San Diego St. (twice), Colorado St., @ St. Mary's. Worst Losses: @Fresno St., Utah St., NC vs. Loyola Marymount. The season sweep of SDSU is likely enough to offset the 3 very bad losses outside the top 100 RPI. As the #1 seed in the MWC lost in the Semis to a decent Wyoming team that also beat SDSU to steal a bid. (Season Over)
66. LSU (RPI 57: 22-10, 11-7) Best Wins: @Arkansas, @West Virginia, UMass, Georgia, Ole Miss (twice), Florida (twice) @Alabama. Worst Losses: @Missouri, @Miss St., Auburn (twice). The LSU win in the regular season finale at Arkansas is probably enough to hold up even with a loss to Auburn and an 0-1 trip to the SECT. Still they will do quite a bit of sweating it out until their name is called. (Season Over)
67. Ole Miss (RPI 56: 20-12, 11-7) Best Wins: @Arkansas, Texas A&M, NC vs. Cincinnati, @ Oregon. Worst Losses: Vanderbilt, Charleston Southern, TCU, Western Kentucky, NC vs. South Carolina. Ole Miss lost 4 of 5 to end the year including losing on their home floor to Vandy and then to South Carolina in the SECT. That is a good reminder of the other 3 completely inexcusable losses, all on their home floor to RPI 100+ teams. The win at Arkansas and at Oregon are the big discriminators over Texas A&M, even more so than the H2H win in Oxford. (Season Over)
--------------------- The Bubble Bursts Here IF UConn beats SMU in the AAC Championship
68. Texas (RPI 42: 20-13, 8-10) Best Wins: West Virginia, NC vs. Iowa, @UConn. Worst Losses: Stanford. Texas finished the year nicely but the conference record is still an ugly one. They did get the must win vs. Texas Tech in the 1st round game to avoid a disaster and a trip to the NIT before losing a heartbreaker to Iowa St. That may be enough, however there is still a dearth of quality wins and a sub .500 record in conference to have to look past. (Season Over)
--------------------- The Bubble Bursts Here
69. UCLA (RPI 48: 20-12, 11-7) Best Wins: Utah, Stanford (twice), Oregon, Oregon St. Worst Losses: @ Colorado, @Alabama, @Oregon St., @Oregon, @Cal, @Arizona St. UCLA is a different team at home and they showed that at the end of the year winning their final 3 games all at home. That helps the record out a little bit but none of those wins were anywhere close to what you would call marquee. In my estimation the Wyoming win over SDSU in the MWC cost them an at large bid.(Season Over)
70. Indiana (RPI 60: 20-13, 9-9) Best Wins: SMU, NC vs. Butler, Maryland. Ohio St. Worst Losses: Purdue (twice) Eastern Washington, Northwestern (twice). Went 4-8 in their last 12 how you perform in your last 12 games of the season is no longer a metric that is considered and the Hoosiers are very fortunate for that. That being said that slide has done its damage to what was once a very strong resume and the RPI has dropped from 29 to the mid-50s. (Season Over)
Anything below this line is just a wild WILD pipe dream and would definitely be a head scratcher inclusion.
71. Miami (RPI 65: 21-12, 10-8) Best Wins: @Duke, Illinois, @Florida, NC State, @ Syracuse. Worst Losses: Eastern Kentucky, Georgia Tech, @Florida St., @ Wake Forest. Miami came on strong at the end of the year but it is probably not quite enough to get into the field to make up for a disappointing February. (Season Over)
72. Old Dominion (RPI 46: 24-7, 13-5) Best Wins: Virginia Commonwealth, NC vs. LSU, La Tech. Worst Losses: @Western Kentucky, @Middle Tenn. St, @UAB, @UTSA. They may have been able to survive a loss to UTEP in the Semis or a loss in the finals, but a loss to Middle Tennessee St. in the Quarterfinals? Ouch. I think they are still better positioned than Murray St. from just about every metric you can look at, RPI, quality wins, etc. In line ahead of Murray St. however doesn't mean too much. (Season Over)
73. Tulsa (RPI 45: 22-8, 14-4) Best Wins: @Temple (twice), UConn, Memphis. Worst Losses: @Oral Roberts Southeast Oklahoma St. (DII), one of the worst starts to a season you can imagine with a loss to RPI 200+ Oral Roberts and then a later loss to Division 2 SEOSU. The sweep of Temple is impressive however as is the gaudy conference record but they just couldn't get it done against big time competition against Cincinnati and SMU to end the season. (Season Over)
74. Murray St. (RPI 62: 25-5, 14-0) Best Wins: Illinois St. Worst Losses: Houston, NC vs. Portland, NC vs. Valparaiso. For those that wondered why Murray St. was included on the BW in Mid-February this is the reason why, because they are now very likely in line ahead of Texas A&M to get an at large bid. MSU won 24 straight to end the year and lost a heartbreaker to Belmont in the Finals of the OVC. Likely will not be quite enough to overcome their 1-4 start to the year with a total lack of quality wins. (Season Over)
75. Texas A&M (RPI 67: 20-11, 11-7) Best Wins: LSU (twice), Florida, Arizona St. Worst Losses: @Kansas St., @Alabama. Almost certainly 1 (or 2) wins short of the big dance. A lack of big wins outside of beating LSU twice is the most glaring black mark on this resume as is not really doing a whole lot in the non-conference will be too much to overcome. Probably looking at a 2 seed in the NIT. (Season Over)
76. Iona (RPI 51: 26-8, 17-3) Best Wins: Florida Gulf Coast. Worst Losses: George Mason, St. Peter's, Manhattan, Monmouth. Just looking at the Best Wins/Worst Losses it is tough to make a case for Iona. Could they be the first at large team with no RPI top 100 wins? Probably not with 8 losses. (Season Over)
77. Richmond (RPI 58: 19-13, 12-6) Best Wins: VCU (twice), Davidson, George Washington. Worst Losses: @James Madison, Wake Forest, @La Salle, @George Mason. Good run in conference getting 4th place with a couple nice wins over VCU. Terrible OOC will likely doom the Spiders. (Season Over)
78. Stanford (RPI 59: 18-12, 9-9) Best Wins: @Texas, Wofford, UConn, Arizona St. Worst Losses: @DePaul, @Washington St., @Colorado. The Cardinal lost 8 of their last 11 and had a largely unimpressive Pac 12 tournament after going .500 in a weak conference. (Season Over)
What to Watch: All times Central
Only 1 game left with any consequence at all on the bubble. Again, no consequence on where A&M winds up but this would take a bid away from a Texas or Ole Miss if UConn wins.
2:15 ESPN UConn vs. SMU
Final Selection Sunday Edition of the Bubble Watch
Who will be IN and who will be OUT when the brackets are announced?
UPDATE - Updated Selection Sunday Morning