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NCAA Bubble Watch (2/25): A&M moves to "lock" status

After an undefeated three-game homestand, we can safely say we're in the dance. We take a look at the overall NCAA tournament picture moving forward.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Updated: Thursday Morning February 25.

Next Update: Monday February 29

Moving Up: Colorado, Wisconsin, Tulsa

Moving Down: Temple, Virginia Commonwealth, LSU

Locked Up: West Virginia, Kentucky, Texas A&M

Eliminated: Georgia, Clemson, Creighton, Akron

Bubble Teams by Conference

The AAC is the conference with the most bubble drama this year. While SMU is ineligible as the only top 25 team, the 2nd tier of the conference has 4 teams that are all hovering within 10 spots of the bubble burst line.
Locks: None
Bubble: Tulsa, UConn, Cincinnati Temple

Atlantic 10
Dayton looks like the class of the league so far, but St. Joseph's and now St. Bonaventure are not far behind. GW and VCU look like last 4 in/first 4 out cases
Locks: None
Bubble: Dayton, George Washington, St. Joseph's, VCU, St. Bonaventure

The ACC has separated into tiers with the top achieving lock status and the bottom falling off the face of the map. The field at the bottom has been culled a little bit, within the next week we should see a few more teams reach lock status to really thin down the number of ACC bubble teams.
Locks: UNC, Virginia, Miami
Bubble: Duke, Notre Dame, Pitt, Syracuse, Florida St. Georgia Tech

Big 12
Another great year for the Big 12, which is clearly the class of the country from top to bottom. The Big 12 could have multiple #1 seeds and up to 7 or even 8 tournament teams being a realistic possibility. Locks: Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia
Bubble: Iowa St., Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Kansas St.

Big East
There isn't much to the Big East after Villanova and Xavier who both should be #1 or #2 seeds, a 3rd and possibly a 4th team should sneak in but this is definitely a down year in terms of conference depth.
Locks: Villanova, Xavier
Bubble: Providence, Butler, Seton Hall

Big 10
Still plenty to figure out in terms of how many bids for the Big 10 in what most would describe as a down year for the league with a horrible bottom tier.
Locks: Iowa, Maryland, Michigan St.
Bubble: Purdue, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio St., Wisconsin

Pac 12
Lots of teams playing in must win situations for the Pac 12 this weekend as the number of bubble teams could shrink substantially soon.
Locks: Oregon, Utah, Arizona
Bubble: USC, Colorado, Cal, Stanford, UCLA, Washington, Arizona St.

A&M and Kentucky make it official on the lock line. South Carolina shouldn't be too far behind. After that Florida, Vandy and Alabama all have lots of work to do and LSU should feel honored just to still be on this page.
Locks: Kentucky, Texas A&M
Bubble: Florida, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Alabama, LSU

Non Power Conferences
There don't look to be too many bid thieves out there this year and the last 2 weeks almost assured that with just about every mid and low major "good" team dropping devastating games. Monmouth, Wichita St., St. Mary's & Arkansas Little Rock are worth a peripheral look but none of them are guaranteed to be a bid thief if they lose in their conference tournaments.

Who's in? (Conference listed indicates projected auto bid)

Projected one bid leagues/automatic bids listed first. Then locks from multi-bid conferences. Teams are ranked from 1-N. This is not a ranking of how good teams are or how much of a threat they are for a deep tourney run, it is a measure of if the season ended today based on past selection committee behavior, who is in and who is out and how relatively safe teams are.

1. ACC (Virginia)
2. America East
3. Atlantic Sun
4. Big 12 (Oklahoma)
5. Big 10 (Maryland)
6. Big East (Villanova)
7. Big Sky
8. Big South
9. Big West
10. CAA
11. Conference USA
12. Horizon
13. Ivy
14. MAC
15. MEAC
16. MWC
17. NEC
18. OVC
19. Pac 12 (Oregon)
20. Patriot
21. SEC (Kentucky)
22. Southland
23. Southern
24. SWAC
25. Summit
26. Sun Belt
27. WCC
28. WAC

29. Iowa
30. Kansas
31. Xavier
32. North Carolina
33. Miami
34. Michigan St.
35. Utah
36. Arizona
37. West Virginia
38. Texas A&M It wasn't pretty but the Aggies sweated out another close win and have now done more than enough to remove all doubt about their ability to make the NCAA tournament, even if disaster were to strike and they lost their next 4 games (3 in the regular season plus the SEC Tournament). I have Texas A&M right now as a 5 seed, it is still very fluid but I would project a win out of the remaining 6 games and winning the SEC Tournament is likely a 3 with an outside shot at a 2 as the absolute ceiling. The floor would be losing the next 4 and you are probably looking at a 9 or 10 seed. That is still a pretty big range but each passing game will provide more data to start locking A&M into a much more narrow seed line. As the calendar flips to March I will provide more seeding analysis particularly as it relates to Texas A&M.

At large teams if listed with an italic conference this is the conferences auto bid projection.

49 teams fighting for 30 spots

39. Duke (RPI 12: 20-7, 8-5) Blew their chance at lock status when they couldn't hold on to a late lead at Louisville. That would have made it 6 in a row and removed all doubt. Still, they have 3 great wins in the last 3 weeks winning at UNC and beating Virginia and Louisville. Duke did ok in the OOC but nothing jumps off the page other than winning vs. some bubble teams at home vs. Indiana, and on a neutral court vs. VCU and Georgetown. Only 1 loss outside of the top 50 (@Clemson) so Duke just needs 1 more win to make their lock status official. (Next Up: 2/25 Florida St.)

40. Texas (RPI 23: 18-10, 9-6)This is a very conservative take but I am going to wait 1 more game before officially moving Texas to the lock line. The Horns are in the same situation Texas A&M was prior to this week's Mississippi St. game. That is, that they could PROBABLY afford to lose out vs. a very difficult schedule (Oklahoma, Kansas, @OSU) and sneak in at 18-14 as an 11 seed due to their 12 wins over the top 100 including OOC over UNC and a sweep of West Virginia. However, if they did lose out they would at least be in the conversation to potentially get left out, particularly if the bubble is able to strengthen up at all or if bid thieves emerge in the conference tournaments. 1 more win would remove any doubt. (Next Up: 2/27 Oklahoma)

41. Iowa State (RPI 18: 19-9, 8-7) After losing to West Virginia, they are just 3-5 in their last 8 starting with the loss in College Station. Fortunately for them all the losses during that stretch have been "good losses" to top 30 RPI teams. They do have 7 wins over the top 50 and only 1 bad loss (Northern Iowa). The schedule from here gets much easier and they will be big favorites in each of their next 2. Assuming they can win at least one of them, get to that 20th win and guarantee a .500 in conference finish then they will be dancing. (Next Up: 2/27 Kansas State)

42. Notre Dame (RPI 27: 19-8, 10-5) Beat Wake Forest on the road and have now won 4 of 5 with the other wins in the streak over UNC, @Clemson and against Louisville. No bad losses on the season and wins earlier in the season over Duke and Iowa as well. Just need 1 more win to make things official. (Next Up: 2/27 @Florida State)

43. (Atlantic 10) Dayton (RPI 17: 22-5, 11-3) Dayton avoided disaster on Tuesday by surviving in overtime over Saint Louis to avoid their 3rd straight loss after starting 21-3. It is tough to imagine a team with 22 wins with 5 of them being in the top 50 being left out, but given their recent struggles I am going to wait until they win just one more to make it official since each of the next 2 would be really bad losses. Nice OOC RPI wins over William & Mary, Monmouth, Iowa & Alabama. (Next Up: 2/27 Rhode Island)

44. Purdue (RPI 21: 21-7, 9-6) Tough loss at Indiana this weekend and Purdue has not won back to back games since January. They did however beat Michigan State during this stretch which is their signature win of the season to go along with a handful of other quality ones over Florida, @Pitt, @Wisconsin, Vandy and Michigan. Given the down Big 10 this year Purdue may still be 2 wins away in their final 3 to feel really 100% safe.(Next Up: 2/27 Maryland)

45. Indiana (RPI 29: 22-6, 12-3) It feels a little crazy that a 22 win team in the Big 10 that is 12-3 in conference is still not a lock but that is exactly true for Indiana. That is due to 3 really bad losses to teams outside of the top 100. Still, so long as they can get just 1 more they will be a lock. Their best chance by far to get that win is on deck next @Illinois. (Next Up: 2/25 @Illinois)

46. Baylor (RPI 25: 19-8, 9-6) Lost to Kansas on Tuesday but they are still in great shape in terms of just getting in to the NCAA Tournament. As long as they can take care of business this weekend at TCU they will be fine. No losses outside of the top 25 of the RPI. (Next Up: 2/27 @TCU)

47. California (RPI 20: 19-8, 9-5) Cal is on a 5 game winning streak during which they got a huge win over Oregon and over Oregon and then won at Washington and Washington State which may not sound like much but those were their first road win in conference play and only their 2nd and 3rd road wins of the season. Now 11-7 vs. the top 100 which would suggest that they are pretty solidly in at the moment. Good wins in Pac 12 play vs. fellow bubble teams Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Arizona St. & Stanford. 1 more win should do it but 2 would remove all doubt. (Next Up: 2/25 UCLA)

48. South Carolina (RPI 32: 22-5, 10-5) South Carolina appears to have righted the ship after losing 2 straight including a bad one to Missouri. The Gamecocks beat Florida and Tennessee back to back to get their 22nd win of the year. The win over Florida helps shore up the wins over top 50 metric, giving them a 4th top 50 win. They went undefeated OOC but their best wins were to Tulsa and Hofstra, which are nice but not anything special. One more win would make it official but I will wait to lock them up given their soft schedule down the stretch and what would be a couple of bad losses if they fail to take care of business. (Next Up: 2/27 @Mississippi State)

49. Texas Tech (RPI 24: 18-9, 8-7) Texas Tech was left for dead in early February as a casualty of Big 12 scheduling losing 8 of 10, and then their current 5 game winning streak came. Tech took care of business again in a can't lose game against TCU this week and is just 1 game away from punching their ticket. The next 2 on the road are pretty tough, but as long as they can win the last game of the year against Kansas State they should be dancing at .500 in the Big 12 and an impressive 10-2 OOC record. They have 6 top 50 wins including one over Oklahoma. (Next Up: 2/27 @Kansas)

50. St. Joseph's (RPI 28: 22-5, 11-3) Good rebound from the loss @Davidson by blowing out UMass on the road. They have a great record and only the 1 loss to Davidson outside of the top 50 but on the quality wins side there isn't much there other than the 1 very good win over Dayton. Just need 1 more win would almost certainly clinch their spot in the field of 68 but with their schedule down the stretch it may take 2 to feel 100% certain. (Next Up: 2/28 Saint Louis)

51. USC (RPI 30: 19-7, 8-5) USC got waxed on their home floor by Utah this weekend and is starting to really struggle losing 3 of their last 4. They do have a handful of decent wins over Colorado, Arizona, Monmouth, Arizona St., winning on a NC vs. Wichita St. and sweeping UCLA but still zero top 25 wins (unless Arizona can crack the top 25). They have successfully avoided bad losses which may be the most important thing you can do when playing in the Pac 12 with a weak OOC schedule. 2 road tests coming up and they would do well to win at least one of them or else they could find themselves in a little bit of danger. (Next Up: 2/25 @Stanford)

52. Colorado (RPI 35: 19-9, 9-7) Colorado scored another huge home win on Tuesday in Boulder beating Arizona, to go along with their top 25 wins over Oregon and Cal. That is a great way to make up for an 0-2 week last week and so long as they can take care of business by finishing off Arizona State this weekend at home they can go ahead and punch their ticket. Missed 2 big chances OOC losing in their first game on a NC vs. Iowa St. and their final OOC game vs. SMU. (Next Up: 2/28 Arizona State)

53. Wisconsin (RPI 42: 17-10, 9-5) Wisconsin may be the hottest team in the country and they just knocked off Iowa on the road on Wednesday for their 9th win in 10 games. During this stretch they have also beaten Michigan St. and Indiana and won on the road at Maryland. They do have 4 troubling losses outside of the top 100 including one to 250+ Western Illinois but what they have done the last month or so plus OOC wins @Syracuse and over VCU and Wisconsin is firmly in at the moment. Still a difficult stretch run ahead but if they can just get 1 more of the last 3 they should be able to sneak in, 2 would erase all doubt. (Next Up: 2/28 Michigan)

54. St. Bonaventure (RPI 33: 18-7, 9-4) Winners of 7 of 8 including their best 2 wins of the year @Dayton and @St. Joseph's. The one loss in that stretch is a real head scratcher @La Salle who has an RPI in the 200s. They still have only 5 top 100 wins and 2 sub 100 losses to Duquesne and now La Salle but with a weak bubble and a lack of mid majors swallowing up bids they look like they may be able to sneak in if they can just avoid bad losses down the stretch. (Next Up: 2/27 UMass)

55. Syracuse (RPI 52, 18-10, 8-7) Syracuse had won 8 of 9 and was clicking along with a steadily improving RPI up in the 30s, then came back to back losses @Louisville and then to fellow bubble team Pitt and now all of a sudden the RPI has ballooned back to over 50. They have one loss to St. John's (RPI 200+) which is really hurting them. Great wins on a NC vs. Texas A&M & UConn, @Duke and home against Notre Dame but there are still only 7 top 100 wins and they are actually only 7-9 vs. the top 100. Still quite a bit of work to do with 3 games left. NC State at home feels close to a must win with the last 2 games of the season being on the road. (Next Up: 2/27 NC State)

56. Providence (RPI 36: 19-8, 7-7) Getting swept by Marquette who will not make the tournament is not a good look. Providence has lost 4 of 5 and is fading fast. They do have a huge win @ Villanova but really only one other quality win (vs. Arizona) and 3 losses outside of the top 100. Huge game coming up at Seton Hall (Next Up: 2/25 @Seton Hall)

57. (American) UConn (RPI: 39, 19-8, 10-5) Got the biggest win of their season by beating SMU last week but then dropped a game against Cincinnati for the Bearcats to claim the season sweep and an important H2H indicator. That may be huge if UConn happens to lose to Cincy again in the NCAA tournament (particularly if Cincy doesn't get the automatic berth). In addition to beating SMU they do have 2 other pretty good wins at Texas, and on a NC vs. Michigan. No terrible losses. A couple of the "can't lose" type games coming up in order to hold onto their position on the inside of the bubble. (Next Up: 2/25 South Florida)

58. Pitt (RPI 34: 18-7, 8-6) Huge win at Syracuse on Saturday completing the season sweep of the Orange. The OOC slate was pretty uninteresting, lost to Purdue, won on a NC vs. Davidson. Their win over Notre Dame is currently their only top 50 win now that Syracuse has momentarily dropped out and Florida State is fading fast. No losses outside of the top 100 (Next Up: 2/28 Duke)

59. Oregon St. (RPI 31: 15-10, 6-8) The Beavers won on a miracle 3 at the buzzer over Washington on Wednesday night long after most of the country had gone to bed. That is a huge win and in my book, firmly plants them as the 7th team out of the Pac 12. OSU has the #2 SOS in the country, 6 wins vs. the top 50 (5 vs. the top 30 all in conference). Only one good OOC win over Tulsa but no sub 100 losses. Just being an average team in the Pac 12 is probably good enough this year but they may need to go 2-1 down the stretch to finish at .500 in conference to feel good about their chances. (Next Up: 2/21 Washington St.)

60. Seton Hall (RPI 41: 18-7, 8-5) Won 6 of their last 7 against the bottom of the Big East. Only 1 top 50 win over a quickly fading Providence. No losses outside of the top 100. Decent wins over fringe bubble candidates Wichita St., Georgia, Ole Miss, Georgetown (twice), Creighton. 3 very difficult games coming up next. They need to win at least one, then take the season finale vs. DePaul and perhaps make a little noise in the conference tourney. This weekend's game is huge to try to get the season sweep of Providence and go ahead of them in the pecking order.(Next Up: 2/25 Providence)

61. Florida (RPI 40: 17-11, 8-7) Things are getting very dicey for the Gators losers of 2 in a row and 4 of their last 6. Florida had an RPI around 20 for most of the year but that has plummeted now to #40 with just 2 wins in the top 50, both OOC (@St. Joseph's & West Virginia). Only 1 really bad loss on the year @Tennessee, but sooner or later you have to beat someone good in your conference. They really need to complete the season sweep of LSU to officially knock out the Tigers because up next is Kentucky and potentially a 4th straight loss and #13 on the season. Still lots of work to do here. (Next Up: 2/27 @LSU)

62. (Missouri Valley)Wichita St. (RPI 47: 20-7, 14-2) WSU is in must win territory and they have done their part winning 4 in a row after losing 2 of 3 in early February. They have 1 more can't lose game in their last game of the regular season before heading into Arch Madness where they will get a bye to the Quarterfinals. WSU only has 3 wins over the top 100 (Utah and Evansville twice). They did challenge themselves in OOC but lost 4 in a row to average competition vs. Tulsa, USC, Bama & Iowa). A loss to Illinois State pretty much assures that it will take the automatic bid to get into the NCAA tournament, if they are able to win that game and then avoid a bad loss in the MVC Tournament (perhaps by losing to Evansville in the Final) then they may have a decent chance to sneak in given the weak bubble. (Next Up: 2/27 Illinois State)

63. George Washington (RPI 49: 20-7, 9-5) Have now won 3 in a row over the bottom of the A10 to right the ship after losing 2 to the top of the conference. An absolutely critical game this weekend against VCU to show that they are the 4th team out of the A10, complete the season sweep and get their 4th top 50 win (and only their 5th top 100). The win over Virginia OOC is carrying them but they do have 3 sub 100 losses. (Next Up: 2/27 VCU)

64. Cincinnati (RPI 58: 20-8, 10-5) Big win this weekend over UConn to complete the season sweep of the Huskies. 6-7 vs. the top 100, just about every metric you look at screams bubble team. Hard to see them NOT being one of the last 4 in or first 4 out. Still no top 30 wins although they do have 3 top 50 wins (Next Up: 2/27 @East Carolina)

65. Tulsa (RPI 37: 19-9, 11-5) Beat Temple this week to move the winning streak to 3 at a critical time in the season. Got the season split vs. Temple, Cincy, UConn and SMU as well as beat Wichita St. OOC so lots of data points to compare them against other similarly situated competition. Trouble is, all the data at this point shows that they are somewhere between the 32nd-36th best at large profile right now and things could still go either way on Selection Sunday. 2 cannot lose games to finish the year and then lots will be riding on the conference tournament. (Next Up: 2/28 @Memphis)

66. Alabama (RPI 43: 16-11, 7-8) Lost 2 in a row to follow up their impressive 5 game win streak. Losing at Rupp Arena is usually not going to ding a team too much, but if you believe in the eye test, Alabama was nowhere near competitive at any point in that game and certainly did not look like a tournament team. And that is following taking a loss on their home floor to Mississippi State. Alabama did decent in OOC with wins vs. Wichita St., Notre Dame and at Clemson, and also has a win over South Carolina but the overall record as well as conference record will raise a lot of questions in the committee room. It is a very soft schedule down the stretch so winning 2 out of 3 feels like a must unless they plan on doing major damage at the SEC Tournament. (Next Up: 2/27 Auburn)

67. (MAAC) Monmouth (RPI: 45, 23-6, 14-3) Monmouth took a devastating loss on their home floor vs. Iona this weekend which very likely will cost them a shot at an at large bid. The resume still has a lot going for it Monmouth only played 1 home game before January and went on the road to win some tough games at UCLA and Georgetown as well as on a NC vs. USC and Notre Dame. That kind of scheduling and then getting the result is going to go a long way in that committee room but at the same time several of those wins have lost a lot of luster and Monmouth just hasn't taken care of business in conference. Iona is now their 4th loss to a sub 100 team of the season and their previous 3 are all to RPI 200+ against Army, Canisius and Manhattan. Any loss in the MAAC tournament would be a 5th bad loss and at this point unless the bubble really falters I just don't think they can survive that (even though they would still be IN as of today). (Next Up: 2/26 Rider)

68. Butler (RPI 60: 18-9, 7-8) Butler is running out of time to impressive. 2 top 50 wins over Purdue and @Seton Hall. Only 1 sub 100 loss. A very blah resume and the RPI, conference record and lack of signature wins would give the committee every reason to leave them out at this point. Each of their final 3 are winnable and that may be exactly what it takes to get in. (Next Up: 2/27 @Georgetown)

-------The Bubble Bursts Here------------

69. Michigan (RPI 55: 19-9, 10-6) Michigan has 3 top 25 wins this season over Purdue, Maryland and against Texas on a NC. The problem is they don't have any other top 100 wins after that. No bad losses but being 4-9 vs. the RPI top 100 is a metric that is a huge red flag and suggests Michigan is not a tournament team as the bubble shrinks in March as it always does. Only 2 games left and they are both games they will be big underdogs in. If they can just go 1-1 they will actually move up and potentially into the field of 68 going into the Big 10 Tournament but that may be easier said than done. (2/28 @Wisconsin)

70. (WCC) St. Mary's (RPI 59: 21-4, 13-3) Got the season sweep of Gonzaga to officially make St. Mary's the best at large candidate for the conference heading into March. Still, with zero top 50 wins that is going to be a tough argument to make even if they do have a very good record. St. Mary's losing not once, but twice to Pepperdine is a huge blow to their chances. They need to win out and get to the WCC Final and then get some help to get an at large. (Next Up: 2/25 Santa Clara)

71. Vanderbilt (RPI 53: 17-11, 9-7) Great win at a struggling Florida to complete the season sweep of the Gators to not just stay alive but give themselves a big boost back into the discussion and be right on the verge of getting back into the field of 68. Still only 6 top 100 wins (6-9 vs. top 100) with 2 losses outside of the top 100. Vandy did nothing OOC which is troubling with a best win vs. Wake Forest on a NC and after that perhaps the Stony Brook win. Still a very difficult stretch run coming up vs. Kentucky, Tennessee and @Texas A&M and given their positioning they probably need to win 2 of the 3 to stake their claim to an at large bid. (Next Up: 2/27 Kentucky)

72. (Mountain West) San Diego St. (RPI 51: 18-7, 13-1) Won 14 of 15. Only 1 win vs a top 90 RPI team (California). Bad losses to San Diego, Grand Canyon and now Fresno St. probably means auto bid or bust. (Next Up: 2/27 Boise State)

73. Virginia Commonwealth (RPI 46: 20-8, 12-3) VCU is definitely in some trouble after losing @George Mason as they are now 4th (or even 5th) in the A10 pecking order, only 2 top 50 wins and now 2 losses to sub 150 RPI teams. 5-6 vs. the RPI top 100. The schedule by A10 standards over their last 3 games is brutal (@GW, Davidson, @Dayton) and they probably need to win 2 of 3 to be in good shape headed into the conference tournament. (Next Up: 2/27 @George Washington)

74. (Sun Belt) Arkansas Little Rock (RPI 44: 22-3, 14-2) Another low major with a gaudy record but no meat behind it. Won @SDSU and @Tulsa but the 3rd best win is @UTA. So in other wordsthey may not have beaten any tournament teams when it is all said and done. 2 really bad sub 150 losses. Win out until the final and if everyone else losesthen they probably still wouldn't make it. Still, with the record and RPI where it is they are worth keeping an eye on and hopefully for bubble teams they take care of business in their tournament. (Next Up: 2/25 UTA)

75. Temple (RPI 62: 17-10, 11-5) Have now lost 2 of 3 after winning their previous 5. 4 top 50 wins, but they are only 6-7 vs. the top 150 with 2 really bad losses outside of the top 150. They are really hanging their hat on what they have done against the top tier of the conference beating SMU and sweeping both UConn and Cincinnati. They finish the year with 3 straight against sup 150 RPI competition and they really need to win all 3 to just hang on to the positioning they are in now. (Next Up: 2/27 UCF)

76. Florida St. (RPI 72: 16-11, 6-9) The Seminoles look lost. They have lost 4 in a row including their latest one to Virginia Tech which is by far their worst loss of the season. Also still only 2 top 50 wins (Virginia &@Florida) and then 3 additional so-so top 100 wins. That's not nearly enough to make up for 11 losses. Really feels like 3-0 down the stretch to get back to .500 in conference may be absolutely necessary. That would be 3 more top 100 wins (2 more top 50). (Next Up: 2/25 @Duke)

77. (Horizon) Valparaiso (RPI: 61: 21-5, 13-2) Won 13 out of 15 but it is probably too little, too late with both of their losses during that streak to Wright State who isn't terrible but at an RPI of 150+ still qualifies as 2 bad losses. They also have a horrible OOC loss to Ball St. and other than beating Oregon St. in OOC there probably is not enough meat to justify the bad losses and poor RPI. (Next Up: 2/26 @Milwaukee)

78. (West Coast) Gonzaga (RPI 67: 20-7, 13-3) Gonzaga almost had to beat St. Mary's to have any claim at an at large and they couldn't get it done getting swept on the season series and also failing to beat BYU (and failing to beat SMU) earlier this year. This hasn't been much of an interesting resume outside of the Battle4Atlantis where they lost to Texas A&M and won vs. Washington and UConn. If they win out and get to the WCC final it probably still is not enough but they would at least get into the discussion as one of the teams barely left out. Almost certainly needs the auto bid at this point. (Next Up: 2/25 @San Diego)

79. Georgia Tech (RPI 66: 16-12, 6-9) Won 3 against @Florida State, Notre Dame and Clemson. Still need to continue to win out in order to have any chance at all. Beat VCU and Virginia. (Next Up: 2/27 @Boston College)

80. Ohio St. (RPI 79: 18-11, 10-6) OSU got blown out at home by Michigan State on Tuesday night which is pretty close to the last nail in the Buckeye at large coffin. They do still have 2 more big chances to improve their RPI and resume with their last 2 games against Iowa and @Michigan State but they probably need to win them both. A neutral court win over Kentucky is keeping them on the page for now but still doesn't make up for back to back losses to La Tech and Memphis and 11 losses already. (Next Up: 2/28 Iowa)

81. Kansas St. (RPI 76: 15-13, 4-11) Lost to Texas which is likely enough to eliminate them at a terrible 4-11 record in conference. If they win out and get to the finals of the Big 12 tournament you are talking about adding a number of very impressive wins to a resume that already includes a win over Oklahoma and only 1 loss outside of the top 50 (@Oklahoma St.). Any additional losses before the Big 12 final would eliminate them. (Next Up: 2/27 @Iowa State)

82. UCLA (RPI 68: 15-12, 6-8) UCLA got their first big win in a month by beating Colorado for their 4th top 50 win of the year. The win over Kentucky and Arizona is looking better and better. The 2 losses vs. Wake Forest and Washington St. are still terrible. Big road trip to northern California up next. (2/25 @Cal)

83. BYU (RPI 71: 20-8, 12-4) Won 4 in a row to be at least hanging around as a fringe candidate. They do have 4 losses outside of the top 100 however and zero top 50 wins (although they did beat Gonzaga and St. Mary's). They need to win out including winning against Gonzaga to complete the season sweep. After that they need to beat Gonzaga again in the WCC tournament and then hope for a lot of help if they are unable to get the automatic bid. (Next Up: 2/25 Portland)

84. Davidson (56: 16-9, 9-6) Beat St. Joseph's to stay on the at large radar but they are still a pretty fringe bubble candidate. That win is their only win in the top 100 and in fact they are 1-7 vs. the top 100 with 2 losses outside the RPI top 150. If they can win out down the stretch including over VCU they will wedge their way into the RPI top 50 and into the mainstream at large discussion. (Next Up: 2/27 @Fordham)

85. Washington (RPI 70: 16-12, 8-8) Lost a heartbreaker at Oregon St. on Wednesday night for their 5th loss in 6 games. Need to win out plus do damage at the Pac 12 Tournament. NC split vs. Texas in OOC and 2 good wins so far in the Pac 12 vs, Colorado and USC but they still need to counteract 2 potentially devastating losses to Oakland and to UC Santa Barbara. (Next Up: 2/28 @Oregon)

86. Stanford (RPI 74: 12-12, 6-8) After losing to Washington they must now win out plus do damage in the tournament to get at large consideration. The win over Oregon is carrying their profile at the moment but at just 12-12 any at large inclusion would be nearly precedent setting without a big run. Best OOC win was on a NC vs. Arkansas. (Next Up: 2/25 USC)

87. LSU (RPI 89: 16-12, 9-6) Well that is just about going to do it for the LSU Tigers as they have now lost 4 of 5 after losing @Arkansas. I have been beating the drum for the last month as at no point did LSU ever crack my top 68 but there have always been major holes in this resume despite the fact that Ben Simmons wears Purple and Gold. LSU is just 9-12 vs. the RPI top 150 and has a stunning 5 losses to teams outside of the top 100. Their best OOC win is Oral Roberts. There is zero doubt now that LSU must win out, including beating Florida and Kentucky and then after that do a significant amount of damage in the SEC Tournament and even that may not be enough. (Next Up: 2/27 Florida)

88. Arizona St. (RPI 77: 14-13, 4-10) The record has gotten to a point where now they are required to win out in order to get back into the conversation. They do have 3 quality wins over USC, Texas A&M and Oregon St. (Next Up: 2/25 @Utah)