Bracketology Trust Builder: Early hope for rebuilding Pitt and two more bubble teams

With conference play in full swing across the country, college basketball has kicked into full gear now that college football has wrapped up and the NFL is nearing the Super Bowl. That means the time is now to begin looking ahead to the 2019 NCAA Tournament, which teams are on the bubble to enter the field and how the projected bracket looks at this early juncture.

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.

Every week, CBS Sports bracketology expert Jerry Palm takes a look at what three teams need to do to make the NCAA Tournament. The Trust Builder is brought to you by Quicken Loans. 

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The Panthers were not expected to contend for an NCAA Tournament berth this season as new coach Jeff Capel rebuilds.  However, home wins over Louisville and Florida State early in conference play, as well as a neutral court win over Atlantic 10 favorite Saint Louis, has given Pitt and its fans some hope. The road through the ACC will be difficult, but Pitt has put itself into a position to make a run toward the bracket.

Like most Pac-12 teams, the Huskies are lacking a Quadrant 1 nonconference win, which means that the case for an at-large bid must come through a strong performance in the league.  So far, so good, as UW is off to a 3-0 start. The Huskies are the top-rated Pac-12 team in the new NCAA's  new NET rankings at 38, and with no other team in the current top 50, they will have to rely more on a high quantity of wins than high quality ones.

Butler is a name we have seen in most NCAA Tournament brackets for a little over a decade, and it has a chance to make it again this season.  The Bulldogs have a better than expected nonconference win over Mississippi and a split of two games with Florida, neither of which was played at home.  The Big East provides ample opportunity to fill out a tournament resume, and for Butler to do that, it will have to get over the hump on the road.
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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