NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch: Who will be sweating it out on Selection Sunday

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Selection Sunday has arrived, so her’e a look at teams on the bubble before the bracket is revealed at 5:30 p.m. on CBS.

The only team in action Sunday was Rhode Island which defeated VCU 70-63 in the Atlantic 10 Tournament title game. It won’t have to worry about the bubble - it’ll be in the field of 68.

Here’s a look at the final Bubble Watch.

In after winning automatic bid

Rhode Island beat VCU for the Atlantic 10 championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.  That means the Rams are no longer on the bubble and cannot compete in the First Four as one of the last four teams in the field.  Their spot goes to Xavier, which now leads the last four in, followed by Kansas State, Wake Forest and Vanderbilt.

Probably in

Xavier struggled down the stretch of the season with a six-game losing streak sandwiched by wins over DePaul. The win over Butler in the Big East tournament most likely saved their selection.

The Friars finished the season winning six straight games to put themselves into the bracket. They lost to Creighton in their Big East tournament opener. Their bad losses could come into play, but the wins Providence picked up in that strong finish should help get them a spot in the bracket.

The Wildcats looked left for dead, but have now won three in a row, including a win over Baylor in the Big 12 tournament. The Wildcats now have two away from home wins over the Bears and look a lot safer now than they did on Wednesday. However, I still have them among my last four in, but many of the teams chasing them are now done playing.

Marquette has some good wins, but a lot of losses. The Golden Eagles didn’t play a very good non-conference schedule and is paying for that a little bit now as well. Marquette lost to Seton Hall and now awaits its fate. Eight top 50 wins, including four at home, should keep them in the field.

On the fence

The Redbirds won a share of the Missouri Valley title, which in most years would mean they did enough to earn an at-large bid if they needed one. That is not the case this year, with the league at its lowest point in over a decade. ISU has only two top 100 wins, which usually is not enough. They also have a couple bad losses, including a real clunker at Murray State.

The Commodores are trying to become the first team to get an at-large bid with 15 losses. They definitely have some nice wins, including a three-game sweep of Florida, but 15 losses is a lot of losses, and some of those are mediocre to bad, especially the 20 point loss at Missouri. They also have two losses in three games to Arkansas, and were not terribly competitive Saturday.

No bubble team had a better final week of the regular season than Wake, which beat Louisville and won at Virginia Tech. That helped to fill a couple of big holes in the Demon Deacons tournament resume. However, the Hokies won the rematch in the ACC tournament. Wake Forest figures to have a nervous selection Sunday.

The Bears have just five top 100 wins overall, including one at USC, but that was the only one against a team likely to make the tournament. They were 0-6 against the top three teams in the league, coming close to knocking off Oregon a couple of times. They only have one bad loss, so that could work to their advantage.

Probably out

Monmouth is on the fringes of the bubble, and frankly, they had a better tournament resume last year. This season, the Hawks are lacking the big wins they had last season, but only have three bad losses. Monmouth has three top 100 wins, but none against the top 50 and none against a sure tournament team.

The Bulldogs do not have a high quality win despite some good chances to get one, but they have a decent number of top 100 wins. Georgia lost to Kentucky again -- the third time this year -- and will probably come up short.

The Hawkeyes fell to 18-14 overall after a loss to Indiana in the Big Ten tournament brought their season to an end. They have some pretty nice wins, including at home over Big Ten champ Purdue. They also won on the road at Maryland and Wisconsin, which were part of a four-game winning streak to end the regular season. Iowa also has a couple of bad losses to Memphis and Nebraska-Omaha. Iowa has the slightly better version of Syracuse’s profile, with the main difference being that the Hawkeyes have quality wins away from home. However, it is probably still not enough to get a bid.

The Orange have a nice collection of wins, all at home -- including ones over Florida State, Duke and Virginia. However, the rest of the season was not good, and that is reflected in their RPI, which is now in the mid-80s. That would be the worst RPI ever for a tournament team. They also are just 2-11 away from home, which would be the worst ever for a tournament team. And, finally, the Orange has five bad losses, which would be one short of the record for a tournament team. A team with six top 50 wins gets left out almost every year. No team with their negatives ever gets in.

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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