Bubble Watch

CBSSports.com college basketball production editor Brian De Los Santos assesses the résumés of teams that may be sweating it out until Selection Sunday.

Teams that should be safe (58):

ACC (5): *Duke, Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, Wake Forest
Atlantic 10 (3): *Temple, Richmond, Xavier
Big 12 (7): *Kansas, Baylor, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M
Big East (8): *West Virginia, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Villanova
Big Ten (4): *Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan State, Wisconsin
Mountain West (3): *San Diego State, BYU, New Mexico
SEC (3): *Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
West Coast (2): *St. Mary's, Gonzaga
Others (23): *Butler (Horizon), *Cornell (Ivy), *Winthrop (Big South), *East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun), *Murray State (Ohio Valley), *Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley), *Old Dominion (Colonial), *Siena (MAAC), *Wofford (Southern), *North Texas (Sun Belt), *Oakland (Summit), *Robert Morris (Northeast), *Montana (Big Sky), *Lehigh (Patriot), *Houston (Conference USA), *Vermont (America East), *Morgan State (MEAC), *Sam Houston State (Southland), *Washington (Pac-10), *Ohio (MAC), *Santa Barbara (Big West), *Arkansas-Pine Bluff (SWAC), *New Mexico State (WAC)
* -- denotes automatic bid

Assumption: A team listed among our safe teams will win/has won its conference's automatic bid (31 conferences currently listed).

The math: Safe teams (58) + conferences with automatic bids not listed (0) = 58 slots in field filled. That would leave 7 at-large spots available in the tournament of 65. There are 17 teams on our bubble list at this time.

NOTE: Click team name or logo for a detailed breakdown of a team's RPI and SOS. Records exclude games played against non-Division I opponents.

Last updated: March 14, 5:40 p.m. ET
Sunday's automatic bids: Duke, Kentucky, Ohio State, Temple

ACC

Virginia Tech (23-8, 10-6 ACC)
Pros
Eight wins vs. the RPI top 100. Wins of note: vs. Wake Forest, vs. Clemson, at Georgia Tech, vs. Seton Hall (neutral).
Cons
Non-conference SOS (330+) is one of the worst in the country: 15 wins vs. teams outside the RPI top 100, nine vs. teams outside the top 200, three outside the top 300. Objectionable losses: at Boston College, Miami (Fla.) twice (away, neutral).
Outlook
Record is solid, RPI is decent, but non-conference SOS is absolutely abyssmal (bottom 10 in all of college basketball). The Hokies may squeak in, but if they do get left out, it won't be difficult to figure out why.
 
Last game
lost to Miami (Fla.) 70-65
(ACC quarterfinals)
Remaining schedule
Season over
 
Georgia Tech (21-12, 7-9 ACC)
Pros
RPI in the top 40, SOS in the top 20. Five wins vs. RPI top 50, 11 vs. top 100. Wins of note: vs. Duke, vs. Maryland (neutral), vs. Wake Forest, vs. Clemson, vs. Siena.
Cons
Lost only meeting against Virginia Tech (at home) and lost on a neutral court against Dayton, two teams on the bubble. Objectionable losses: at Georgia, at Virginia.
Outlook
Compared to other teams on the bubble, there isn't much to knock them for outside of a subpar non-conference slate. Five RPI top 50 wins and 11 RPI top 100 wins are among the highs for bubble teams. The Yellow Jackets hit a little bump in the road late in the season, but appear to have recovered with a strong showing in the ACC tournament, most notably disposing of second-seeded Maryland in the quarterfinals.
 
Last game
lost to Duke 65-61
(ACC championship)
Remaining schedule
Season over
 

Atlantic 10

Rhode Island (23-9, 9-7 Atlantic 10)
Pros
An RPI in the top 40. Seven wins vs. the RPI top 100. A 10-6 mark in road/neutral games. Wins of note: vs. Oklahoma State (neutral), at Dayton.
Cons
An 0-4 record vs. the RPI top 25. 16 wins vs. teams outside the RPI top 100. Objectionable losses: at St. Bonaventure, at Massachusetts.
Outlook
Rhode Island imploded on the road late in the season, putting a huge dent in what was once a very solid résumé. Its last two losses before the tournament came at St. Bonaventure and at UMass, both of which rank outside the RPI top 150. The Rams failed to snag a victory against any of the top three teams in the Atlantic 10, losing to Temple three times and Xavier and Richmond once each. If they get in, it will be by the skin of their teeth.
 
Last game
lost to Temple 57-44
(A-10 semifinals)
Remaining schedule
Season over
 
Dayton (20-12, 8-8 Atlantic 10)
Pros
An RPI hovering around the top 50 and SOS in the 30s. Three victories vs. the RPI top 50. Strong non-conference schedule. Wins of note: vs. Xavier, vs. Ga. Tech (neutral), vs. Old Dominion.
Cons
A 1-7 mark vs. teams in the RPI top 25, 4-10 vs. the top 100. A 5-10 record in road/neutral games. 16 wins vs. teams outside the RPI top 100. Objectionable losses: at Duquesne, at St. Joseph's.
Outlook
Conference road games absolutely killed the Flyers this season. They have decent computer numbers, but after loss at home to St. Louis in their regular-season finale and with only two wins away from home against a team in the RPI top 150, the Flyers could be grounded on Selection Sunday.
 
Last game
lost to Xavier 78-73
(A-10 quarterfinals)
Remaining schedule
Season over
 

Big East

Seton Hall (19-12, 9-9 Big East)
Pros
An SOS in the top 30. Six wins vs. the RPI top 100. No objectionable losses. Wins of note: vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Louisville, vs. Cincinnati, at Cornell, vs. Notre Dame.
Cons
A 4-9 mark vs. teams inside the RPI top 50 (1-7 vs. the Top 25). A 6-8 record in road/neutral games. Weak non-conference SOS. Lost to bubble teams Virginia Tech and South Florida. 13 wins vs. teams outside the top 100, seven outside the top 200.
Outlook
Every team on the bubble has at least one loss to hide from, but not the Pirates. They have some decent computer numbers too. But they may not have enough "good" wins to offset all the losses, four of which came at home. If they could have beaten the Irish in the Big East tournament they'd have looked a lot better. They'll be an interesting conversation point on Selection Sunday.
 
Last game
lost to Notre Dame 68-56
(Big East second round)
Remaining schedule
Season over
 
South Florida (20-12, 9-9 Big East)
Pros
Six wins vs. RPI top 75. Nine wins in road/neutral games. Wins of note: at Georgetown, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Seton Hall, vs. Connecticut, vs. Kent State.
Cons
Dreadful non-conference schedule with an SOS outside the top 200. 14 wins vs. teams outside the RPI top 100, eight outside the top 200. Objectionable loss: vs. Central Michigan.
Outlook
They're a tough one to figure out. They opened some eyes during a four-game win streak that included victories over Pittsburgh and Georgetown. Then they proceeded to lose four of their next five games. They closed the regular season with three straight wins, topping UConn in the finale, to earn their way back to the bubble. It doesn't look like it will be enough, however. The Bulls likely needeed to beat the Georgetown for a second time in the Big East tournament to receive serious consideration on Selection Sunday.
 
Last game
lost to Georgetown 69-49
(Big East second round)
Remaining schedule
Season over
 

Big Ten

Minnesota (21-13, 9-9 Big Ten)
Pros
Five wins vs. teams in the RPI top 30. Wins of note: vs. Purdue (neutral), vs. Wisconsin, vs. Butler (neutral), vs. Ohio State, vs. Michigan State (neutral), at Illinois.
Cons
So-so computer numbers (RPI in 60s, SOS in 50s). 15 wins vs. teams outside the RPI top 100, seven outside the top 200. Objectionable losses: at Northwestern, swept by Michigan, at Indiana (200+ RPI).
Outlook
Left for dead after an 83-55 debacle at Michigan on March 2, the Gophers have revived their NCAA tournament hopes with back-to-back victories over Michigan State and Purdue en route to the Big Ten championship game. Four losses outside the RPI top 100 is a bit on the high side, but late surge could be enough to put them in the Dance.
 
Last game
lost to Ohio State 90-61
(Big Ten championship)
Remaining schedule
Season over
 
Illinois (19-14, 10-8 Big Ten)
Pros
Five wins vs. teams inside the RPI top 50, including a pair over strong non-conference foes. Wins of note: Wisconsin twice (away, neutral), vs. Vanderbilt, vs. Michigan State, at Clemson.
Cons
13 wins vs. teams outside the RPI top 100, eight outside the top 200. Objectionable losses: at Georgia, at Northwestern, vs. Bradley (neutral), vs. Utah (neutral).
Outlook
Illinois will be one of the more interesting discussions on Selection Sunday. The Illini limped to the finish line, losing five of their final six regular-season games. But they showed signs of life in the Big Ten tourney, knocking off Wisconsin before falling to Ohio State in double OT in the semis. It's tough to say how the committe will weighs their "good" wins vs. their "bad" losses. That'll be the key for Illinois' hopes.
 
Last game
lost to Ohio State 88-81 (2OT)
(Big Ten semifinals)
Remaining schedule
Season over
 

Conference USA

UTEP (26-6, 15-1 Conference USA)
Pros
An RPI in the top 40. Eight wins vs. the RPI top 75. A 12-4 record in road/neutral games. Wins of note: Swept UAB, at Memphis, at New Mexico State.
Cons
Dismal SOS (100+). 18 wins vs. teams outside the RPI top 100, 10 outside the top 200. Objectionable losses: Houston twice (road, neutral).
Outlook
Houston proved to be Conference USA kryptonite for regular-season champion UTEP. The Miners won 16 straight games between losses to the Cougars. While the SOS is quite weak, of their eight top 100 RPI wins, six came on the road, which is outstanding. Despite upset in C-USA tournament final, UTEP appears one of the more likely bubble teams to draw an at-large NCAA tournament invite.
 
Last game
lost to Houston 81-73
(C-USA championship)
Remaining schedule
Season over
 
Memphis (23-9, 13-3 Conference USA)
Pros
An RPI just outside the top 50. Six wins vs. the RPI top 75. A 7-6 record in road/neutral games. Wins of note: swept UAB.
Cons
A 2-5 mark vs. the RPI top 50. 16 wins vs. teams outside the RPI top 100, 10 outside the top 200, five outside 300. Objectionable losses: Houston twice, at UMass, at SMU (200+ RPI).
Outlook
The Tigers boast a solid record and decent RPI, but they lost all their games against major non-conference opponents. Two victories over UAB are the only wins Memphis can truly brag about. After a quarterfinal loss to Houston in the C-USA tournament, it appears Memphis is a longshot for an NCAA tournament bid.
 
Last game
lost to Houston 66-65
(C-USA quarterfinals)
Remaining schedule
Season over
 

Mountain West

UNLV (24-8, 11-5 Mountain West)
Pros
Five wins vs. teams in the RPI top 50 and an 8-5 record vs. the top 100. An RPI in the 40s. An 11-4 mark in road/neutral games. Wins of note: at New Mexico, vs. BYU twice, vs. Louisville, vs. San Diego State.
Cons
Weak non-conference slate (an SOS of 150+). 10 wins vs. teams outside the RPI top 200. Objectionable losses: Swept by Utah, vs. USC (neutral).
Outlook
If not for being swept by Utah during the regular season, UNLV would probably be sitting pretty for an at-large bid. The Rebels avenged their losses to Utah with a win in the MWC quarterfinals, and followed up with their second victory of the year against BYU in the semis. While their resume is far from perfect, it looks good enough to draw an invite.
 
Last game
lost to San Diego State 55-45
(MWC championship)
Remaining schedule
Season over
 

Pac-10

California (23-10, 13-5 Pac-10)
Pros
An RPI and SOS in the top 20. Non-conference schedule ranked as one of the best in the country with only one game played vs. a team outside the RPI top 200. Wins of note: vs. Washington, swept Arizona State.
Cons
A 1-6 mark vs. the RPI top 50. 17 wins vs. teams between 100-200 in the RPI. Objectionable losses: at USC, vs. UCLA, at Oregon State.
Outlook
Though this may have been a down year for the Pac-10, could the selection committee really pass over the Pac-10 regular-season champion, especially with the exceptional computer numbers that Cal sports? It's possible. While the Bears' schedule featured four non-conference foes ranked in the RPI top 30 (three in the top 10), they lost all four. They have just one non-conference win against a team ranked in the top 100.
 
Last game
lost to Washington 79-75
(Pac-10 championship)
Remaining schedule
Season over
 

SEC

Florida (21-12, 9-7 SEC)
Pros
An SOS in the top 40 and an RPI in the 50s. Eight wins vs. the RPI top 100. Eight victories in road/neutral games. Wins of note: vs. Tennessee, vs. Michigan State (neutral), vs. Florida State, at Mississippi, vs. Mississippi State.
Cons
A 3-8 record vs. the RPI top 50, 1-8 vs. the top 25. 13 wins vs. teams outside the top 100, six outside the top 200. Objectionable loss: at Georgia, vs. South Alabama (sub-200 RPI).
Outlook
The Gators don't have a bad résumé, but that South Alabama loss stands out like a sore thumb. Though they happened way back in November, the non-conference scalps of Michigan State and Florida State could be what propels the Gators into the NCAA tournament on Selection Sunday.
 
Last game
lost to Mississippi State 75-69
(SEC quarterfinals)
Remaining schedule
Season over
 
Mississippi State (23-11, 9-7 SEC)
Pros
Eleven wins in road/neutral site games. Wins of note: vs. Vanderbilt (neutral), vs. Old Dominion (neutral), vs. Florida (neutral), swept Mississippi.
Cons
A 2-5 record vs. the RPI top 50. Non-conference SOS of 200+. 15 wins vs. teams outside the top 100, eight outside the top 200. Objectionable losses: at Alabama, at Arkansas, at Auburn, at Western Kentucky, vs. Rider.
Outlook
Five sub-100 RPI losses really bring the computer numbers down for the SEC West division co-champs. As positive as victories over Florida and Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament may be, the Bulldogs still only have two wins against teams in the RPI top 50, awfully low for a major conference program. Mississippi State probably needed the automatic bid to make the NCAA tournament.
 
Last game
lost to Kentucky 75-74 (OT)
(SEC championship)
Remaining schedule
Season over
 
Mississippi (21-10, 9-7 SEC)
Pros
A 9-6 mark in road/neutral games. Only one loss to a team outside the RPI top 75. Wins of note: vs. Kansas State (neutral), vs. UTEP (neutral).
Cons
A 2-6 record vs. the RPI top 50, 2-9 vs. the top 75. 16 wins vs. teams outside the top 100, eight outside the top 200. Swept by Mississippi State. Objectionable loss: vs. Arkansas.
Outlook
The Rebels closed the regular season with four straight victories, but couldn't carry that momentum into the SEC tournament, falling to Tennessee in the quarterfinals. While it's admirable that they have only one "bad" loss, they don't have enough "good" wins to merit much consideration.
 
Last game
lost to Tennessee 76-65
(SEC quarterfinals)
Remaining schedule
Season over
 

Others

Utah State (26-7, 14-2 WAC)
Pros
An RPI in the top 30. A 10-5 record vs. the RPI top 100. A 10-6 mark in road/neutral games. Wins of note: vs. BYU, vs. Wichita State.
Cons
A weak SOS. 16 wins vs. teams outside the RPI top 100, 10 outside the top 200, four outside 300. Objectionable losses: at Utah, at Long Beach St.
Outlook
After opening conference play with losses to New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech, the Aggies ran off 17 straight victories until losing to New Mexico State again, this time in the WAC championship game. The SOS is what could hurt Utah State, with just three games played against the RPI top 50 (though they did manage two wins).
 
Last game
lost to New Mexico State 69-63
(WAC championship)
Remaining schedule
Season over
 
William & Mary (21-10, 12-6 CAA)
Pros
A 2-0 mark vs. the RPI top 25. Six wins vs. the RPI top 75. 12 wins in road/neutral games. Non-conference SOS in the top 30. Wins of note: at Maryland, at Wake Forest, vs. Richmond.
Cons
Conference drags overall SOS down. 15 wins vs. teams outside the top 100, nine outside the top 200. Trio of losses vs. conference champion Old Dominion. Objectionable losses: NC-Wilmington, James Madison, Towson (all three outside the RPI top 200).
Outlook
They are the longest of longshots, but in a weak year for bubble teams, who knows. Those three wins over Maryland, Wake Forest and Richmond are great, but probably won't be able to overcome the Tribe's three sub-200 RPI losses, two of which came at home.
 
Last game
lost to Old Dominion 60-53
(CAA championship)
Remaining schedule
Season over
 
 
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