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Texas A&M Basketball and the NCAA Bubble Watch (3/11)

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Who's in and who's out? Here's the latest.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Updated Friday March 11 (Before the A&M Game vs. Florida). Next Update: Selection Sunday March 13

Moving Up: Florida, Michigan, Pitt
Moving Down: Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Valparaiso
Locked Up: Colorado, USC, Oregon St.
Eliminated: Florida St., Washington, Virginia Tech


We are only about 55 hours away (and about 55 games to be played across all conferences) from the brackets being revealed and there is still so much to be determined. For A&M they realistically could be anywhere from a 3 to a 6 seed and on the back end of the bubble there are still 25 teams fighting for 12 spots. The Bubble did firm up a little bit over the last few days with multiple potential bid thieves emerging in the MAAC and the WCC as well as several teams in major conferences winning enough to lock themselves up or work their way into the field of 68.


Bubble Teams by Conference

American
The AAC is the conference with the most bubble drama this year. While SMU is ineligible, the 2nd tier of the conference has 5 teams that are all hovering within 5 or so spots of the bubble burst line, so much will be determined with the conference tournament which gets started in earnest on Friday.
Locks: None
Bubble: Tulsa, UConn, Cincinnati Temple, Houston

Atlantic 10
The A10 looks like a pretty safe bet to get 4 in with SJU, VCU and SBU somewhere from 7-11 seeds each along with Dayton in the 6-8 range. GWU is a pretty fringe bubble candidate and VCU may be headed to Dayton again.
Locks: Dayton
Bubble: George Washington, St. Joseph's, VCU, St. Bonaventure

ACC
The ACC has 5 locks but the next tier after that has really struggled to get that definitive win and punch the ticket. Pitt should have the nod over Syracuse to be the 6th team in after beating them for the== 3rd time this year and it most likely will stop at 6 with Syracuse just missing the tournament.
Locks: UNC, Virginia, Miami, Duke, Notre Dame
Bubble: Pitt, Syracuse

Big 12
No bubble drama here Tech makes it 7 locks from the Big 12 with no other bubble candidates.
Locks: Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Iowa State, Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech
Bubble: None

Big East
There isn't much bubble drama here either. Butler may sweat it a little bit after an early Big East tournament exit but they should be in.
Locks: Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence
Bubble: Butler

Big 10
Unless Michigan or Ohio State can make some noise in the Big 10 tournament looks like only 6 in the Big 10 this year.
Locks: Iowa, Maryland, Michigan St., Purdue, Indiana, Wisconsin
Bubble: Michigan, Ohio State

Pac 12
Colorado, USC and OSU all got 1st round wins and that is good enough. Washington hasn't done enough to get consideration and wasn't able to do much in the tournament.
Locks: Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Cal, Colorado, USC, Oregon St.
Bubble: None

SEC
A&M and Kentucky are still alone on the lock line and may be the only 2 locks going into the SEC Tournament. South Carolina looks very solid as a 3rd team in, Vandy took a terrible loss in the SEC Tournament to put their NCAA hopes in serious jeopardy while Florida may be one win away from passing them up as the 4th team in from the SEC. Alabama is still alive in the SEC Tournament but has lots of work to do.
Locks: Kentucky, Texas A&M
Bubble: Florida, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Alabama, Georgia

Non Power Conferences
Chattanooga was about the only #1 seed to win their conference tournament. That has put quite a few mid majors with decent regular seasons on the bubble and potentially sucked up some bids that the power conferences were poised to suck up. Of those only 4 have any threat at all really at an at large, I would rank them as:

-Wichita St. (99% in)
-St. Mary's (60% in)
-Monmouth (40% in)
-Valparaiso (less than 1% in)

Every other conference looks to be a 1 bid league.

Who's in? (Conference listed indicates projected auto bid, bold has already clinched auto bid)

1 Seeds
1. Kansas (Big 12)
2. Villanova (Big East)
3. Virginia (ACC)
4. Michigan St. (Big 10)

2 Seeds
5. Oklahoma
6. Xavier
7. Oregon (Pac 12)
8. Miami

3 Seeds
9. UNC
10. Utah
11. West Virginia
12. Kentucky (SEC)

4 Seeds


13. Purdue
14. Indiana
15. Texas A&M - Not much action around the 4 & 5 seed lines so far this week but that will all change on Friday. The datapoints that were collected however made the previously extremely small chances at a 2 seed or a 7 seed disappear entirely however with some 6 and 7 seeds taking bad losses and the 2s and 3s continuing to win. There is still a pretty tight bunch from teams #12 to #20 so things are still fairly fluid among the last 3 seed up for grabs and who will be a 4 vs. a 5.
A rough swag at SEC tournament finish to seed projection would go something like this:

3-0 = 80% 3 seed, 19% 4 seed, 1% 5 seed
2-1 = 5% 3 seed, 50% 4 seed, 40% 5 seed, 5% 6 seed
1-1= 30% 4 seed, 65% 5 seed, 5% 6 seed
0-1= 10% 4 seed, 60% 5 seed, 30% 6 seed 10%

Remember just because Texas A&M may finish as say the 15th best team in the committees's mind, their slotting procedures A&M still could wind up as a 3 or a 5 seed. These probabilities are my estimation of the % chance we would end up in teams 9-12 (3 seed), 13-16 (4 seed) etc. But don't be shocked if the committee moves teams up or down a seed line just based on pods & bracketing procedures.

16. Maryland

5 Seeds
17. Cal
18. Duke
19. Arizona
20. Iowa State


6 Seeds
21. Notre Dame
22. Baylor
23. Texas
24. Seton Hall

7 Seeds

25. Dayton (Atlantic 10)
26. Iowa
27. Wisconsin
28. Colorado

8 Seeds
29. Providence
30. Texas Tech
31. USC
32. Oregon St.

9 Seeds
33. Bubble Place Holder
34. Bubble Place Holder
35. Bubble Place Holder
36. Bubble Place Holder

10 Seeds
37. Bubble Place Holder
38. Bubble Place Holder
39. Bubble Place Holder
40. Bubble Place Holder
41. American conference auto bid Place Holder

11 Seeds
42. Bubble Place Holder
43. Bubble Place Holder
44. Gonzaga (WCC
45. Arkansas Little-Rock (Sun Belt)
46. San Diego St. (MWC)

12 Seeds
47. Akron (MAC)
48. Yale (Ivy)
49. Northern Iowa(MVC)
50. South Dakota St. (Summit)

13 Seeds Projected Texas A&M 1st Round Opponent
51. South Dakota St. (Summit)
52. UNC-Wilmington (CAA)
53. Chattanooga (Southern)
54. Stony Brook (America East)

14 Seeds
55. Stephen F. Austin (Southland)
56. Iona (MAAC)
57. Hawaii (Big West)
58. Middle Tennessee State (CUSA)

15 Seeds
59. Green-Bay (Horizon)
60. New Mexico St. (WAC)
61. Weber St. (Big Sky)
62. UNC Asheville (Big South)

16 Seeds
63. Hampton (MEAC)
64. Texas Southern (SWAC)
65. Austin Peay (OVC)
66. Fairleigh ****inson (NEC)
67. FGCU (Atlantic Sun)
68. Holy Cross (Patriot)

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

25 teams fighting for the 12 (11 at large plus American auto bid) spots listed above are ranked below

1. South Carolina (RPI 47: 23-7, 11-7) South Carolina went 12-0 OOC then went and finished 3rd in the SEC with 23 D1 wins. So it is really hard to see the committee punishing their horrible SOS (Non Conf SOS #296) enough that they wouldn't actually be included in the tournament. The 3 losses to sub 100 RPI teams in conference and no OOC wins over tournament teams (except maybe Tulsa) will hurt them in seeding quite a bit but they still should be ok. It also helps that Georgia beat Mississippi State on Thursday to eliminate the possibility of a really bad loss in the Quarterfinals. (Next Up: SEC Quarterfinals 3/11 Georgia)

2. St. Bonaventure (RPI 28: 22-7, 14-4) I don't really see a realistic scenario where St. Bonaventure doesn't get in at this point after they won their 5th straight and 10th out of 11 games to end the year and tie for conference championship with Dayton and VCU. That is pretty amazing considering where the Bonnies were coming into January. But now here in March they have beaten St. Joseph's twice and also won @Dayton. They have only 6 top 100 wins and 2 sub 150 losses but they have likely done enough even though they would be sweating a bit with an 0-1 A10 tournament appearance. They get Davidson in the quarterfinals which could be a tricky matchup for them. (Next Up: 3/11 A10 Quarterfinals Davidson)

3. St. Joseph's (RPI 29: 24-7, 13-5) St. Joseph's is really limping into tournament time now after taking a really bad loss to Duquesne to end the year. That loss is by far their worst of the year and you really have to take a step back and ask, is there really anything in this profile that would demand inclusion into the NCAA Tournament? There is a win over Dayton sure, but 0-3 vs. St. Bonaventure and VCU and a couple fairly blah OOC wins over Princeton, Temple and Virginia Tech. Not much to get excited about. They have a tough quarterfinal game against George Washington who is in must win territory. St. Joe's may get in with a win but they would probably be going to Dayton, and after the way they finish they wouldn't be able to complain about that. (Next Up: 3/11 A10 Quarterfinals George Washington)

4. Butler (RPI 44: 21-10, 10-8) Butler was unable to officially punch their ticket by beating Providence on Thursday but still should be in pretty good shape. They are still 5th in the Big East pecking order after losing to Providence 3 times, only 5-8 vs. the top 100 and 9-10 vs. the top 150. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)

5. Wichita St. (RPI 49: 23-8, 16-2) You have never seen me talk about Wichita State and lock in the same sentence this entire bubble season and it so for good reason. That is because Wichita State really only has 1 good win on the year (over Utah). They did beat Evansville twice but they went 1-2 vs. Northern Iowa, the latest of the losses knocking them out of the MVC Semis and into this perilous position of waiting for Selection Sunday on the bubble. They did challenge themselves in OOC but lost 4 in a row to average competition vs. Tulsa, USC, Bama & Iowa and then later to Seton Hall). I still think they get in but it wouldn't really be all that shocking or undeserving if they do get left out when the brackets are revealed. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)

6. Pitt (RPI 45: 20-11, 9-9) Pitt got the must win over Syracuse for their 3rd win of the year over the Orange, that is probably good enough as the loss to UNC in the quarterfinals doesn't hurt them at all. Still only 2 top 50 wins this year over Notre Dame and Duke with 2 sub 100 losses. The OOC slate was pretty uninteresting, lost to Purdue, won on a NC vs. Davidson. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)

7. (American auto bid placeholder) Cincinnati (RPI 37: 22-9, 12-6) Huge win against SMU to end the year. That's their 2nd big win of the year to go along with their win @VCU. Still just 7-8 vs. the top 150 Huge sweep over UConn will help but getting swept by Temple may hurt. They play UConn again in their first AAC game. While it may be possible to get in even with a loss there this feels a lot like a play in game. (Next Up: 3/11 AAC Quarterfinals UConn)

8. UConn (RPI 56, 21-10, 11-7) UConn looked all season like the AAC team most likely to get an at large bid. And then they finished a disappointing 6th place and with SMU out get the 5th seed in the conference tournament and have what feels a lot like an elimination/play in game vs. Cincinnati. If they lose that one it will be their 3rd loss to the Bearcats on the season. Even if they get a win, they likely play Temple who also beat them twice already and a 1-1 tournament may not be good enough either. It may take them getting to the conference final to punch their ticket although they can go along way towards that on Friday. If they do drop the game on Friday they are still in the conversation but you can't like their chances too much. UConn did win at Texas, and on a NC vs. Michigan and also beat SMU earlier in conference play in addition to sweeping Tulsa. (Next Up: 3/11 AAC Quarterfinal Cincinnati)

9. Vanderbilt (RPI 48: 19-13, 11-8) Yikes - Vandy was looking for a coronation on Thursday and only needed to beat a lowly Tennessee team in their hometown in order to pretty much punch their ticket and they couldn't get it done. That is a devastating loss and very possibly could cost them a trip to the NCAA Tournament. I still think I think their chances to get in more than not but they will now be sweating it out on Selection Sunday. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)

10. St. Mary's (RPI 39: 26-5, 15-3) St. Mary's lost a really tough one to Gonzaga in the finals. That is a pretty forgivable loss, especially considering it is only their 5th of the season and they did beat Gonzaga twice in the regular season. Gonzaga at an RPI of 51 and just outside of the top 50 represents their 2 best wins of the year, as their only top 50 game this year was @Cal where they lost another heartbreaker. I think at the end of the day St. Mary's is in, but they will be the only at large with ZERO top 50 wins to do so in quite some time. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)

11. Virginia Commonwealth (RPI 39: 22-9, 14-4) Lost a heartbreaker @Dayton in overtime in the last game of the regular season, a win there would have given them the outright conference championship and would probably have punched their ticket. Now they will be faced with an absolute must win game against UMass, who there is absolutely no reason they should lose that game.Then againthey just lost to them a month ago today. I think a win there and they just sneak in, but 2 wins would have them feeling a whole lot better. (Next Up: 3/11 A10 Quarterfinals UMass)

12. Tulsa (RPI 55: 20-10, 12-6)A really interesting bubble profile here with 20 wins, a season split vs. Temple, Cincy, UConn and SMU as well and an OOC win over Wichita State. They have an absolute must win against Memphis in the AAC Quarterfinals and then probably another one against what will likely be Houston in the Semis. I would think a trip to the finals should be sufficient. (Next Up: 3/11 AAC Quarterfinals Memphis)

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


13. Monmouth (RPI 55: 26-6, 15-3) Monmouth couldn't quite finish off their season with an automatic bid and will be one of the more interesting cases in the committee room in a long time. 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 win 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. Also, even with their tough scheduling their SOS metric is pretty poor even for a non power 5 team. They have a few really bad losses to RPI 200+ Army, Canisius and Manhattan. As of right now they are OUT, but with several teams immediately ahead of them likely to lose today or tomorrow, they could sneak back in. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)

14. Temple (RPI 59: 20-10, 13-5) Temple got several must wins to end the year to keep them hanging right around the bubble cut line and also finish 14-4 in conference and nab the #1 seed in the AAC. That is important because they had a non-conference RPI of 136. 4 top 50 wins, but they are only 7-8 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. A quarterfinals win won't do anything for their resume so it may come down to a play in game in the Semis vs. the Cincy/UConn winner. (Next Up: 3/11 AAC Quarterfinals USF)

15. Syracuse (RPI 64, 19-12, 9-9) Lost 5 out of the last 6 after winning 9 of their previous 10. A handful of good really good wins @Duke, over Texas A&M on a NC, Notre Dame, St. Bonaventure, and over UConn on a NC. Ultimately it may come down to losing to Pitt 3 times and their 3 losses outside of the top 100 and one of them to one loss to St. John's (RPI 200+) which is really hurting them. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)

16. Florida (RPI 54: 19-13, 9-9) Florida stays in the hunt for an at large with a win over Arkansas in the 2nd round of the SEC Tournament. That win doesn't do much for the profile other than giving them an opportunity to play for a much more important game on Friday vs. Texas A&M. Even winning that game probably will not be enough and it may very well take a trip to the finals for them to start feeling good about their chances. Their best SEC regular season win was over Georgia a team that will likely be in the NIT. They do have 2 good wins OOC (@St. Joseph's & West Virginia) and only 1 really bad loss on the year to Tennessee. (Up: 3/11 SEC Quarterfinals Texas A&M)

17. Michigan (RPI 67: 20-11, 10-8) Michigan, like Florida, got a must win in the 2nd round of the Big 10 tournament that gives them the opportunity to knock off the conference's #1 seed in Indiana. Like Florida, that would significantly boost their chances, but it may take 1 more after that to really feel good. 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 3-11 vs. the RPI top 100 is a metric that is a huge red flag and suggests Michigan is not a tournament team. (Next Up: 3/11 Big 10 Quarterfinals Indiana)

18. George Washington (RPI 62: 23-9, 11-7) Pretty clearly the 5th team in the A10 which is a dangerous place to be in March. Only 3 wins vs. the top 50 and 4 vs. the top 100 with 2 losses outside the top 150. They are teed up nicely in the A10 tournament to get some quality wins, they already beat a bad Saint Louis team in the 2nd round and now get a shot at VCU in the Quarterfinals and then most likely Dayton in the semis. If they can win both they may work their way into the field of 68. (Next Up: 3/11 A10 Quarterfinals VCU)

19. (Mountain West) San Diego St. (RPI 43: 20-8, 15-2) Only 1 win vs a top 80 RPI team (California). Bad losses to San Diego and Grand Canyon. Almost certainly need the auto bid. (Next Up: 3/11 MWC Semifinals Nevada)

20. (Sun Belt) Arkansas Little Rock (RPI 52: 25-4, 17-3) UA-LR took a devastating loss in their last game the regular season losing to 250+ Appalachian State. That is the 2nd loss to a 250+ RPI team and sent the RPI tumbling about 15 spots. They do have 2 top 50 wins @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. This latest loss almost certainly ends any discussion of an at large bid. Lucky for them they still get a double bye all the way to the conference semis so really no excuse why they shouldn't be able to win the next 2. (Next Up: 3/12 Sun Belt Semis La-Lafayette/La-Monroe)

21. Houston (RPI 71: 22-8, 12-6) They have the #2 seed in the AAC tournament so you have to at least consider them however in my estimation they would almost certainly need the auto bid to get into the NCAA tournament. Only 1 top 50 win over SMU and split against Cincy, Temple, Tulsa and UConn. If they do get to the Final they will be in the conversation but I just don't see an at large in their future. (Next Up: 3/11 AAC Quarterfinals Tulane)

22. Valparaiso (RPI: 53: 24-6, 16-2) Won 15 out of 17 to end the regular season but went 0-1 in the Horizon tournament losing to Green Bay the eventual tournament champion in overtime. 2 bad losses to Wright St. as well as OOC to Ball St. will probably do them in with only a good OOC win over Oregon St. to balance it all out. (Next Up: Regular Season Over)

23. Alabama (RPI 71: 17-13, 8-10) After losing to Georgia in the last regular season game they will need a trip to the SEC Finals and then a lot of prayer. They started that journey with a win over Ole Miss on Thursday and will have a chance to move up this list in a big way if they can now knock off Kentucky. 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. (Next Up: 3/11 SEC Quarterfinals Kentucky)

24. Ohio State (RPI 75: 20-12, 11-7) Almost certainly done after they lost to Michigan State twice in their last 3 games of the regular season. Other than beating Kentucky they were terrible OOC going 7-5 in their other games with a next best win over Northern Illinois and losses to UTA, Memphis and La Tech. They will probably need to win 4 games in 4 days for the auto bid but if they can knock off Michigan State and then Maryland in back to back days they will be in the conversation. (Next Up" 3/11 Big 10 Michigan State)

25. Georgia (RPI 70: 17-12, 10-8) Georgia will make one last re-appearance here given their play of late (4 straight wins), potential for some high profile wins in the next couple days (South Carolina and Kentucky) and lots of teams around them losing and eliminating themselves (Ole Miss, VT, Washington, etc.). Still very unlikely scenario to see them snatch an at large, they probably need the automatic bid. (Next Up: 3/11 SEC Quarterfinals South Carolina)


Potential Bid Thief Tracker: These teams could potentially make life even harder on these 25 teams:

AAC Quarterfinals: South Florida, Memphis, Tulane
A10 Quarterfinals: Richmond, UMass, Davidson
Big 10 Quarterfinals: Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio State (bubble)
MWC Semifinals: Anyone but SDSU who is on the bubble Nevada, Fresno St., Colorado St.
SEC Quarterfinals: Tennessee, Alabama (bubble), Georgia (bubble)