As the days to selection sunday dwindle, so do the hopes of many familiar teams.
Conference tournaments are a time for bubble teams to play their way into the NCAA tournament or out depending on the resume. Many teams have helped themselves squarely on the bubble but few have played themselves into it. Here’s how the bubble looks with three days to go before selection sunday.
Assessing the eliminated:
Syracuse: Well it seems like Syracuse is always on the bubble and this season is no different. The Orange beat Wake Forest 73-64 to extend their bubble hopes but dropped their Wednesday night game to North Carolina. Syracuse is 311th in the nation in points per game at 67.5 and have dropped four of their last six. Including conference tournament play, they finished 9-11 in conference.
A red flag is then shown because the committee does not favor under .500 conference records. Losses to Wake Forest and Georgia Tech killed ‘Cuse’s chances throughout this season as they are the two worst loses on the resume. Syracuse has a lot of things going against them and seem to be a long shot to find an at-large bid.
Oklahoma: It seems like Oklahoma hasn’t gotten a win since they beat Kansas January 23. The reason for that? Well they really haven’t. Since that huge win for the Sooners in Norman they are 3-9. They give up 81.6 points per game which is good for 337th in all of division one basketball. This is the same in conference 9-11 that Syracuse has only it is valued slightly more due to the depth of the Big 12.
Although Oklahoma has some very large wins, they are reeling right now. If a few at-large bids get stolen in the next couple of days, the Sooners, and Trae Young could be on the outside looking in.
The ones in trouble:
Oklahoma State: I find it hard to believe that Oklahoma will get in but Oklahoma State won’t. Oklahoma State is 2-1 against both Kansas and the Sooners themselves this season.
They have wins over Texas Tech, West Virginia and even Florida State. The Cowboys have many wins against teams that are more than likely making it to the NCAA tournament. They finished at the same 9-11 in conference that everyone has so far but has beaten the Sooners twice which is a team valued ahead of them. Oklahoma State is one of the best 68 teams in the country, we will see if they get in.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils wrap up the eliminated teams on the list. The Sun Devils have struggled ever since they were ranked fourth in the country. Since that day they are 8-11. They have lost five of their last six and got bounced in the first round of the Pac 12 tournament by Colorado.
The Sun Devils are 8-11 in conference this season and are trending in the wrong direction. Despite some very solid non conference wins, the Arizona State Sun Devils seem to be on the wrong side of a bubble that’s ready to pop.
The Teams with life:
UCLA: The Bruins have really turned on the jets lately. They took care of business in their first Pac 12 tournament and are 8-3 in their last 11. The Bruins have put themselves in great position being that they are 12-7 in conference games this season and have a nice road win against Pac 12 regular season champ Arizona.
They now draw Arizona again and barring an embarrassing loss, look to have played their way into the NCAA tournament.
Boise State: Well Boise State has been very impressive. They are 23-7 this season and are second in the Mountain West only to Nevada. Nevada is arguable an at-large team and looked rather unimpressive against UNLV Thursday afternoon.
It’s hard to beat any basketball team three times and with a possible Nevada and Boise State Mountain West final looming, Boise State could either play their way in, or steal an automatic bid at the same time.
In the best shape:
This is obviously the teams in the best shape of the ones that have been listed.
Alabama: Yes they have won one of their last six, but Thursday afternoon’s win was a huge one for the Crimson Tide. They now draw a chance to play a reeling Auburn team that they have already beaten once this season. More importantly they live to fight another day and take their shot Friday and further solidifying their spot inside the bubble.
Finally we have Providence: with wins against Xavier and Villanova who both might be one seeds the Friars continue to make noise in the Big East. They knocked off Creighton Thursday and have severely increased their chances. With upperclassmen leadership all over the place, the Friars could be a tough out for any team in March.
Featured image from Syracuse.com.
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