Bracketology Trust Builder: After a great start, Oklahoma now needs to pick up wins in Big 12 wins play

The Super Bowl is over and conference races are starting to shape up. Though there are still a handful of weeks left in the regular season, the time is now for teams to start making a move toward that 68-team NCAA Tournament field, especially if they are teetering on the edge of relevancy this season. In this space, we aim to break down the teams rising (or falling) toward that goal.

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Stop me if you've heard this one before. Oklahoma got off to a great start this season, but is struggling in Big 12 play. The Sooners did the same thing last season and eventually made the tournament anyway. This season, however, the non-conference performance doesn't have the higher quality wins that last season's did. The Sooners best wins so far are against fellow bubblers Wofford, Florida and TCU. A 3-7 start in the league has put OU in danger of missing out of the NCAA Tournament, but there is plenty of time to recover and a schedule that provides ample opportunity for quality wins.

The Rebels have lost four straight to put themselves on the bubble as we enter the back half of conference play. None of the losses are especially egregious – they are all Quadrant 1 – but two of them came at home and have to be seen as missed opportunities. A third was at Florida, which is an unlikely NCAA Tournament team at the moment. Three of the Rebels next five games are on the road, but the only one in which they are a likely underdog is at Auburn. This is a chance to get things turned back around in the right direction.

The Bisons could be an interesting case for the committee if they become an at-large candidate. The only way this works for Lipscomb is to win out and lose only to Liberty in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. Liberty also has to win all of its non-Lipscomb games by then too. The Bisons won at TCU in non-conference play and beat another likely automatic qualifier in Vermont. Their only losses are by four points at Louisville, and rough night at Clemson, and a sweep by inter-city rival Belmont by a total of six points. The margin for error is small, but this could be a dangerous team in the tournament if it gets there.
CBS Sports Senior Writer

Jerry Palm started writing about sports on the Internet right after Al Gore invented it. He was the first to bring RPI out in the open and is one of the pioneers of predicting the March Madness bracket.... Full Bio

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