Bracketology: Which Bubble Teams Need Conference Tourney Runs?

Doug Upstone

Monday, March 5, 2018 4:31 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 5, 2018 4:31 PM UTC

It is Championship Week in college basketball and as we have already seen in some of the other conference tournaments, put the tray in upright position because the ride is going to be bumpy.

All week we will hear the conjecture: Who's in, who's out of the Big Dance? While I agree with ESPN's Jay Bilas that major conferences should not have the advantage over small conferences with teams playing opponents with higher RPI's this week and other such rankings to help their cause if they do well, that is not the narrative the NCAA wants to portray

Making NCAA basketball picks is enough this week, but when you are looking at bubble teams and trying to understand how they might play and that adds to the uncertainty. We will break this down based on conferences for ease of use.

ACC Trio Has to Help Themselves

Most of the bracket experts say Louisville and Syracuse are not locks to make the field of 68. The Cardinals absolutely have to knock off Florida State in the 8/9 game and that will set up a rematch with No. 1 Virginia. To secure a seat, Louisville will need the upset.

Syracuse is right on the bubble, with some thinking it is in and others still having questions. If the Orange beat Wake Forest and North Carolina, they are going dancing. If they just defeat Wake Forest, that will not be enough.

With Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame is a Top 35 team. But he missed two months, and unless the Irish take out Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and Duke to reach the semifinals, I do not see a path with the NCAA basketball odds stacked against them.

Big 12 Tourney Looks Like Wrestlemania

Everyone assumes the Big 12 has seven bids and has an outside chance for nine. Seven still sounds right to yours truly. Oklahoma is in the field presently and beating Oklahoma State is probably enough. A Cowboys' victory over the Sooners enhances their chances, but I doubt seriously if Okie State upsets Kansas twice in six days. OSU will likely remain atop the bubble.

If Texas lassoes Iowa State, the Horns most likely will get an invite, but multiple teams from the Big 12 might be invited with 14 losses. Ugh.

Pac-12 Looking for Third Team

Arizona is just playing for seeding and Arizona State is reportedly in despite an 8-10 record after 12-0 start. USC and UCLA are presumed to be fighting for one spot. The Trojans had the better conference record, but the Bruins swept them. To be certain of a bid, each team has to reach the Pac-12 championship game and both might find a way in if they face each other in that contest.

Three Teams in the Hunt

Boise State is on the outside looking in and they will need to win the Mountain West tournament to play in the Big Dance.

The SEC has been a wild ride all year, and Alabama has all but played its way out of March Madness discussion with five consecutive setbacks. It would seem the Crimson Tide's the only method of getting their name called on Selection Sunday is as SEC tourney champs.

Marquette's name has popped this past weekend by winning four of six and sweeping Creighton. However, those wins are negated by losing at St. John's and at DePaul. Thus, unless the Golden Eagles reach and beat top-seeded Villanova in the Big East quarterfinals, not sure how they are in any discussion.

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