Welcome to the first installment of the College Hoops Scoops Bubble Report. We will examine in detail who we think is in and out of the NCAA tournament. We know things are far from over as most teams have anywhere from six to eight games remaining in the regular season, but a little speculation never hurt anyone.
Already in: Duke, Maryland, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Georgia Tech.
On the Bubble: Florida State (17-6, 5-4 ACC)
Good wins: Georgia Tech (2), Marquette, Virginia Tech
Bad losses: N.C. State
Outlook: Three of their final seven games against Boston College, North Carolina and Miami, which are all under .500 in conference play. They also have Clemson twice, Virginia and Wake Forest. A 4-3 finish could be enough, but 5-2 would be better.
Clemson (16-7, 4-5)
Good wins: Butler, Maryland
Bad losses: Boston College
Outlook: The Tigers have only one significant loss, but not a ton of quality wins. A .500 finish in conference play won’t be enough. The Tigers need to win five of their final seven and probably one more in the ACC tournament to secure a spot.
Already in: Temple, Charlotte, Rhode Island, Xavier, Richmond
On the Bubble: Dayton (16-6, 5-3, A-10)
Good wins: Georgia Tech, Old Dominion, Xavier
Bad losses: St. Joseph’s
Outlook: The Flyers still have Temple, Charlotte and Richmond left among their final eight games. A 5-3 finish that includes a win over at least one of aforementioned three could be enough to get the A-10 a sixth team in.
Already in: Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Notre Dame
On the Bubble: Marquette (15-8, 6-5 Big East)
Good wins: Xavier, Georgetown
Bad losses: N.C. State DePaul
Outlook: Sorry Marquette fans, but UConn is no longer a good win, but Xavier and Georgetown were quality victories. A 4-3 finish over their final seven games could be enough, especially if two of the wins come against Pittsburgh, Louisville, Notre Dame or Cincinnati.
Cincinnati (14-9, 5-6)
Good wins: Maryland, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame
Bad losses: UAB, St. John’s
Outlook: Cincinnati absolutely has to win five of its final seven to get in. It won’t be easy as the Bearcats face West Virginia, Villanova and Georgetown in their final three contests.
Already in: Michigan State, Illinois, Purdue, Ohio State, Wisconsin
On the Bubble: Minnesota (14-8, 5-5 BIG TEN)
Good wins: Butler, Ohio State, Northwestern
Bad losses: Portland, Indiana
Outlook: The Golden Gophers were riding high for a while, but they’ve dropped five of their last eight and have really hit a wall. With eight games left, Minnesota still has a chance to prove the selection committee it is worthy.
Already in: Kansas, Kansas State, Texas A&M, Missouri, Texas, Baylor
On the Bubble: Texas Tech (16-7, 4-5 Big 12)
Good wins: Washington
Bad losses: Wichita State, Oklahoma State
Outlook: The Red Raiders have won two straight, but they have a four-game stretch over the next two weeks against Texas A&M, Baylor, Texas, and Kansas State. Ouch!
Oklahoma State (16-7, 4-5)
Good wins: Texas Tech, Kansas State, Texas A&M
Bad losses: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Outlook: The Cowboys are in the same boat as Texas Tech.
Already in: The tournament winner
On the Bubble: Old Dominion (18-7, 10-3 CAA)
Good wins: Georgetown, Charlotte
Bad losses: None
Outlook: A mid-major team that finishes with over 20 wins, including a triumph over an elite Big East team is usually a lock. The Monarchs scored big points with their defeat of Georgetown and backed that up with a win over Charlotte. Barring a complete meltdown, Old Dominion should be in.
VCU (17-6, 9-5)
Good wins: Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Richmond,
Bad losses: Western Michigan, Drexel
Outlook: VCU is an interesting case. Wins over Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Richmond would usually put any mid-major in a positive light. But the Rams have a ton of conference losses. The Rams have five games left, including a “Bracketbuster” game against Akron. Winning four of those could keep the Rams in the NCAA conversation. Any less would cross them off the bubble list.
Already in: Conference tournament winner
On the Bubble: UAB (19-4, 7-2)
Good wins: Cincinnati, Butler, Arkansas
Bad losses: Kent State
Outlook: The Blazers are probably already a lock with wins over Cincinnati, Butler and Arkansas. But they have dropped two of their last three games, so a strong finish over their last seven would be in their best interest.
Memphis (16-6, 6-2)
Good wins: UAB
Bad losses: UMASS, SMU,
Outlook: With just one quality win to speak of, it won’t be easy for Memphis. But they’ve beaten UAB and still another game against the Blazers. Winning six of their last eight and a good tournament run is a must, since it is unlikely that C-USA will get three teams in.
Already in: California
On the Bubble: Washington (16-7, 6-5 PAC-10)
Good wins: Texas A&M
Bad losses: Oregon
Outlook: It’s pretty simple for the Huskies. Don’t screw up. They’ve won four straight and have a huge game at Cal on Thursday. A win there could really vault them up the NCAA at-large ladder.
Already in: Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi
On the Bubble: Mississippi State (16-7, 4-4)
Good wins: Old Dominion, Mississippi
Bad losses: Rider, Western Kentucky, Alabama
Outlook: Mississippi State has lost four of its last five. The good news is the Bulldogs still have home games against Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee left. The bad news is they still have home games against Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee left. With eight total games left, beating at least one of those three and finishing 5-3 could be enough. A strong run in the SEC tourney wouldn’t hurt either.
Already in: Gonzaga
On the Bubble: St. Mary’s (21-3, 8-1 WCC)
Good wins: New Mexico State, Northeastern
Bad losses: USC
Outlook: The Gaels have a huge game at Gonzaga on Thursday night. A win would get them that much closer to a NCAA at-large bid. A loss would hurt, but not so much if they win the following four games. But they must get to the West Coast tournament final to lock up a bid.