The bubble remains to be extensive open

Mar 14, 2019

John GasawayESPN Insider

CloseESPN Insider school basketball contributor
First started overlaying school hoops in 2004
Has written for Basketball Prospectus and the Wall Avenue Journal

Editor’s word: The NCAA match Bubble Watch has been up to date by means of video games performed Thursday, March 14.

Thursday dawned with cheery can-do speak from Bubble Watch about how absolutely all of this upcoming basketball would convey some much-needed readability to the bubble image.

Certainly it did! We will now see clearly that if each bubble staff loses the committee will nonetheless must get to 68 groups in some way.

Effective, not each bubble staff misplaced. However let’s rapidly run down the outcomes.

Of the 16 groups Joe Lunardi had listed below final 4 byes, final 4 in, first 4 out and subsequent 4 out going into the day, here’s what transpired:

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A hearty Bubble Watch salute is due to this fact to ensure that Florida, Ohio State, Arizona State and Alabama. These groups mastered their second and gained video games at an important time. The Crimson Tide specifically wanted the win over Ole Miss to maintain even a dialogue going for an at-large bid.

Conversely, NC State, TCU, St. John’s, Texas, Indiana, Creighton and Georgetown all misplaced. The conventions of sportswriting and social media alike dictate that when a staff loses in its convention match we should proclaim that its at-large-bid hopes have been dashed.

That customized is not going to work so effectively this season. (It would not truly work too effectively in any season. Each staff however one from any convention enters the NCAA match having misplaced its earlier recreation. It is uncanny.)

With a number of bubble groups shedding comparatively early of their convention tournaments, our behavior of writing off each shedding staff simply cannot work mathematically. The committee is working with a set variety of at-large bids, and a staff right here and there’ll virtually absolutely find yourself wanting prefer it backed its approach into the match.

Rejoice, Belmont and mid-major defenders in all places: The Bruins are again within the bracket.

This is how we’re projecting the bubble:

Bids from conventional “one-bid” leagues: 19 groups
Locks: 36 groups
The bubble: 23 groups for 13 accessible spots
Ought to be in: 5 groups
Work to do: 18 groups

ACC | Huge 12| Huge East | Huge Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | American | Others


Locks: Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Syracuse
Work to do: NC State, Clemson

Work to do

NC State Wolfpack

A nail-biter of a win towards Clemson was adopted by a 20-point loss to Virginia, and so NC State’s run within the ACC match is completed. Did the Wolfpack do sufficient between November and March for an at-large bid? When Kevin Keatts’ males tipped off towards the Cavaliers, they had been ranked within the 30s on the NET and projected as a No. 11 seed that had presumably six groups beneath them within the area of 68. In different phrases, there might be room right here for a secure touchdown, and, anyway, how a lot of a penalty is the committee going to impose for shedding to the 29-2 Hoos? On the flip aspect, at 22-11, did NC State actually beat the proverbial anybody this season? The very best win on the profile is undoubtedly the 78-71 victory at dwelling over Auburn in December. Previous that, you are neutral-floor wins over Penn State and Clemson, and people are your three Quad 1 victories. Final, this staff performed an exceptionally comfortable nonconference schedule, statistically talking. That truth’s already mirrored within the NET rating and within the quadrant information, however, who is aware of, perhaps the committee will wish to voice displeasure there. If not, nonetheless, the 19-2 report exterior Quad 1 and significantly the NET rating might be enough. (Up to date: March 14)

Clemson Tigers

After shedding by a degree to NC State within the ACC match, Clemson will likely be on a number of “final 4 in” and maybe extra “first 4 out” lists. That is preferable to “subsequent 4 out,” actually, but it surely’s nonetheless a precarious place to occupy in the course of what’s all the time a wild and tumultuous Championship Week. Even the slightest contraction of the bubble led to by even a single bid thief, for instance, might show calamitous to the Tigers. Granted, on the finish there might nonetheless be an at-large bid within the offing for Brad Brownell’s group, which completed its taking part in days exhibiting up within the 30s within the NET rankings. Stranger issues have transpired within the committee room, goodness is aware of. A extra applicable working assumption for Brownell and his males, nonetheless, is that their 1-10 report in Quad 1 video games will have to be both fully ignored by or in some way ingeniously smuggled previous the committee to ensure that this staff to get an at-large. (Up to date: March 13)

Huge 12

Locks: Kansas, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Kansas State, Baylor
Ought to be in: Oklahoma
Work to do: TCU, Texas

Ought to be in

Oklahoma Sooners

The profile is about in stone for the Sooners. Proven as a No. Eight seed heading right into a 72-71 loss to West Virginia within the Huge 12 match, Lon Kruger’s group has overwhelmed Wofford at dwelling, taken care of Florida on a impartial flooring and stands at Four-10 in Quad 1 video games. (For the report, the Sooners are 15-Three in Quads 2 and three, and Zero-Zero towards Quad Four.) The early exit from the convention match might drop Oklahoma to a double-digit seed, however, at 7-11 within the Huge 12, the Sooners will gladly turn into the primary staff in over 20 years to earn an at-large with fewer than eight wins in an 18-game convention season. TCU may be a part of that membership as effectively. (Up to date: March 13)

Work to do

TCU Horned Frogs

The Horned Frogs closed out their profile with a little bit of a three-game curler coaster. One recreation after taking part in their approach onto the No. 12 and even 11 line in mock brackets with a giant win at Texas, Jamie Dixon’s staff blew a 21-point lead within the second half and practically misplaced to Oklahoma State within the first spherical of the Huge 12 match in Kansas Metropolis, Missouri. Fortuitously for TCU followers, nonetheless, the Frogs escaped 73-70, solely to bow out 70-61 to top-seeded Kansas State within the quarterfinals. At 20-13 with a season sweep of Iowa State and a highway win in Austin to point out within the Quad 1 trophy case, the Horned Frogs could have performed sufficient for a bid. However it may be shut. (Up to date: March 14)

Texas Longhorns

Bubble Watch has waxed eloquent (naturally) with reference to not writing off “work to do” groups simply because we noticed them lose their final recreation. Within the particular case of the Longhorns, nonetheless, we’re confronted with a unique query totally. Is the committee going to offer a bid to a staff with a 16-16 report? That reply has by no means been “sure” earlier than, whether or not with respect to the 16 losses or the .500 report. Phrases like “by no means” don’t sound promising for UT’s match hopes. (Up to date: March 14)

Huge East

Locks: Marquette, Villanova
Ought to be in: Seton Corridor
Work to do: St. John’s, Creighton, Georgetown, Xavier

Ought to be in

Seton Corridor Pirates

Myles Powell exploded for 29 factors within the first half, and Seton Corridor breezed previous Georgetown 73-57. The Pirates will likely be within the match; the one questions are their seed and diploma of second-weekend potential. The seed is creeping up into single-digit territory and that development would speed up with a win over Marquette within the Huge East semifinals. As for the Corridor’s potential, this staff can most actually give some No. 1 or 2 seed a recreation within the spherical of 32 if Powell retains taking part in like this. (Up to date: March 14)

Work to do

St. John’s Pink Storm

St. John’s was projected as a No. 11 seed going into the Marquette recreation, and Bubble Watch supposes, if a number of extra bubble groups had gained a number of extra video games this week, there might be a dialogue on whether or not this staff is now in actual hassle. Chris Mullin’s males had been blown out 86-54 by Marquette, and the NET rating hooked up to the Pink Storm even going right into a lopsided loss already was within the mid-60s. Now consider that, within the eyes of the ranking system, the Johnnies truly had been taking part in a “dwelling” recreation at Madison Sq. Backyard once they had been hammered by 32 factors. Which means this NET rating might get ugly. Nonetheless, there are also two issues going on this staff’s favor. First, even after the debacle towards the Golden Eagles within the Huge East match, St. John’s remains to be Three-2 towards Marquette and Villanova for the season. Second, effectively, the committee does must get to 68 in some way. (Up to date: March 14)

Creighton Bluejays

A two-point loss to Xavier within the Huge East match most likely leaves Creighton simply in need of the match area. The Bluejays coated a great deal of floor to make it that far, and a win towards the Musketeers would have modified this image significantly. As an alternative, CU has stopped taking part in at 18-14, leaving it troublesome to level to anybody aspect of the profile that recommends Greg McDermott’s staff on the expense of different at-large candidates. Creighton’s NET rating is within the 50s, which is okay however not nice, an outline that additionally may apply to the Three-10 Quad 1 report and the 13-Three mark in Quads 2, Three and Four. It was a spirited turnaround from 13-13, but it surely would not look like fairly sufficient. (Up to date: March 14)

Georgetown Hoyas

Georgetown gave this factor a run for its cash when just about nobody in mid-February noticed the run coming, but it surely seems the Hoyas have come up brief. Shedding by 16 in your convention match quarterfinals (to Seton Corridor) whenever you’re being proven as “subsequent 4 out” materials doesn’t typically presage receiving an at-large bid. The all-freshman backcourt of James Akinjo and Mac McClung offers the Hoyas all types of hope for the longer term, and who knew earlier than the season that this could be the fastest-paced staff in Huge East play? Alas, it simply wasn’t sufficient, apparently, to get into the sphere this time. (Up to date: March 14)

Xavier Musketeers

The Huge East part of Bubble Watch is relatively intensive, but it surely’s vital to make distinctions even throughout the league’s spacious “work to do” part. Whereas a staff like St. John’s is taking part in to (it’s assumed) keep within the bracket, Xavier has an extended distance to journey earlier than it will probably even be glimpsed in “first 4 out” territory. Nonetheless, the space that continues to be to be traversed is nowhere close to as huge as what the Musketeers have already got navigated over the previous month. This can be a staff that was 11-13 and Three-Eight within the Huge East. Getting into the Huge East semifinals, conversely, that total report is now 18-14. A win towards Villanova at Madison Sq. Backyard would give Travis Steele’s group not solely its fifth Quad 1 victory of the season but in addition the perfect entry on its profile. Such a win additionally would offer a wanted enhance to a NET rating that, even at this late date, is a bit on the low aspect, straddling the 60s and 70s. (Up to date: March 14)

Huge Ten

Locks: Michigan State, Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin, Maryland, Iowa
Ought to be in: Minnesota
Work to do: Ohio State, Indiana

Ought to be in

Minnesota Golden Gophers

It wasn’t fairly and the Golden Gophers trailed for nearly the complete contest earlier than taking the sport into additional time. However Minnesota did beat Penn State 77-72, and Richard Pitino’s staff has reached the Huge Ten quarterfinals. That proper there may be possibly sufficient to get this staff a bid, significantly after numerous groups just under Minnesota within the mock brackets went out and misplaced early of their respective tournaments. In fact, a win towards Purdue might solely improve the Gophers’ seed. (Up to date: March 14)

Work to do

Ohio State Buckeyes

If we take the time period “elimination recreation” significantly, then all that is modified since we final mentioned Ohio State is that the Buckeyes, after beating Indiana 79-75, nonetheless have not been eradicated. Kaleb Wesson returned from suspension, and OSU gained a recreation for the primary time this month. That is preferable to shedding, however, to be clear, there’s nothing significantly profile-enhancing about defeating the Hoosiers on a impartial flooring (it was a Quad 2 win), and that is an Ohio State staff that was proper on the lower line to start with. Chris Holtmann’s group remains to be alive, and, now, this staff can start taking part in its approach again into the sphere. Michigan State is up subsequent for the Buckeyes. (Up to date: March 14)

Indiana Hoosiers

It could be very a lot in step with an Indiana staff that is confounded each succeeding expectation, each good and dangerous, all through the whole thing of 2019 if the Hoosiers not solely obtained a bid however earned a excessive seed. Alas, it seems as a substitute that this wild and all the time unpredictable IU curler coaster has lastly reached its last flip. With the four-point loss to Ohio State, Archie Miller’s staff sits at 17-15. The purpose of that season sweep of Michigan State, in spite of everything, was by no means that these two video games alone would propel Indiana into the sphere of 68. Somewhat, the expectation was that two wins towards the Spartans would give the Hoosiers the platform to point out what they may actually do. However a first-game exit from the Huge Ten match may need introduced this dialog to an in depth eventually. (Up to date: March 14)


Lock: Washington
Work to do: Arizona State

Work to do

Arizona State Solar Devils

That modern “one-bid Pac-12” speak from a number of weeks in the past is not wanting so good for the time being, partially as a result of Arizona State is wanting extra stable. The Solar Devils are proven as a No. 11 or perhaps a 10-seed in most mock brackets, and Bobby Hurley’s staff beat UCLA 83-72 to achieve the convention match semifinals. A catastrophic blowout loss within the subsequent recreation isn’t really useful and bid thieves nonetheless lurk nationally, however a second consecutive bid for ASU could develop into much less of an in depth name than was the earlier invite. (Up to date: March 14)


Locks: Tennessee, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Auburn, Ole Miss
Work to do: Florida, Alabama

Work to do

Florida Gators

If it is potential for a projected No. 11 seed to beat a good opponent (Arkansas) by 16 factors and nonetheless not be totally secure, Florida is that staff. UF possible performed the sport towards the Razorbacks already within the hypothetical real-time area of 68, however not by a lot. A Quad 2 win towards Mike Anderson’s group would not put a lot if any distance between the Gators and hazard and, the truth is, a bid thief or two might eradicate that respiratory house totally. The NET rating within the 30s goes to serve this staff effectively, however, at 18-14, Mike White’s males will certainly wish to maintain going, beginning with the quarterfinal towards LSU. (Up to date: March 14)

Alabama Crimson Tide

Congratulations to Alabama for choosing up its third Quad 1 win of the 12 months, a 62-57 victory over Ole Miss. Avery Johnson’s staff is now 18-14, however much more importantly, Avery Johnson’s staff remains to be taking part in. The Crimson Tide started the sport 4 or 5 groups on the incorrect aspect of the bubble. Then once more, most of the groups above Alabama within the mocks misplaced on the identical day the Tide gained. Nobody is (or needs to be) utilizing the phrases “ticket punched” in Tuscaloosa simply but, however heading into Alabama’s quarterfinal towards Kentucky, issues look much better than they did simply 40 basketball minutes in the past. (Up to date: March 14)


Locks: Houston, Cincinnati, UCF
Work to do: Temple

Work to do

Temple Owls

UCF’s late-season ascendance was excellent news for Temple. The Owls beat the Knights 67-62 in Philadelphia within the season finale, and it was very a lot a Quad 1 win. Paired with the house victory towards Houston, Fran Dunphy’s staff now has a few actual profile boosters to flaunt because it fights for a bid. Proper, about that battle: Temple entered the sport towards UCF perched proper on the boundary line between “in” and “out.” Clearly, beating the Knights pushes you within the right course, however a single recreation cannot push you all the best way to security. So it is excellent news for Owls followers that their staff now has an opportunity to place much more distance between itself and jeopardy due to an American match populated by the Quad 1-opponent likes of UH, Cincinnati, UCF and Memphis. (Up to date: March 9)


Locks: Gonzaga, Nevada, Buffalo, Wofford, Saint Mary’s, Murray State
Ought to be in: VCU, Utah State
Work to do: Belmont, UNC Greensboro, Furman, Lipscomb

Ought to be in

VCU Rams

Mike Rhoades’ males are driving a 12-game win streak thanks primarily to excellent protection. Now, at 25-6 total and carrying an outright Atlantic 10 regular-season title, VCU has a No. Eight or 9 seed ready for it in a matter of days if mock brackets are to be trusted. There are not any remaining Quad 1 alternatives for the Rams even in any potential A-10 match recreation, however the 54-53 win at Texas in December will proceed to fill that want on the profile fairly satisfactorily. (Up to date: March Eight)

Utah State Aggies

The Aggies are possibly taking part in to enhance their seed at this level, however you may’t appear to be you are simply taking part in to enhance your seed. Within the Mountain West quarterfinals, New Mexico gave USU a recreation earlier than falling 91-83. Let’s haven’t any extra of that, Utah State. Now, again to that match seed: Craig Smith’s staff is being projected for a spot on the No. 9 or 10 line. A bid would mark the Aggies’ first journey to the NCAA match since 2011. (Up to date: March 14)

Work to do

Belmont Bruins

Now, the Bruins should wait. Ja Morant erupted for 36 factors, and Murray State beat Belmont 77-65 within the Ohio Valley Convention title recreation. Rick Byrd’s staff hopes the committee will put inventory within the positives on this profile. There may be, for starters, the NET rating that was, a minimum of when Belmont stopped taking part in, larger than these of Iowa, Ohio State, Indiana, TCU, Temple, Minnesota, Alabama, Arizona State and the complete Huge East bubble (Creighton, St. John’s, Xavier and Georgetown). The Bruins additionally had been short-handed towards the Racers and performed with out Nick Muszynski. Lastly, Belmont was 5-Three this season towards Quads 1 and a couple of. Conversely, Byrd’s males will not need the committee to linger on a destructive just like the Three-2 report towards Quad Three. In any occasion, the Bruins profile is about, however the bubble will proceed to shift in methods that may both assist or damage Belmont’s probabilities. (Up to date: March 9)

UNC Greensboro Spartans

For 35 minutes within the Southern Convention title recreation, the Spartans had been the superior staff towards Wofford. Then the Terriers closed the competition on a 20-Three run, and Mike Younger’s staff captured the automated bid 70-58. As for at-large prospects, UNCG truly shares some profile similarities with Wofford. Just like the Terriers, Wes Miller’s staff has a superb report (28-6) constructed on a small variety of “good” losses, to LSU, Kentucky, Furman and, sure, Wofford (thrice). The Spartans personal two Quad 1 wins (at East Tennessee State and over Furman on the impartial flooring within the SoCon semifinals), and Francis Alonso & Co. are an immaculate 24-Zero in Quads 2, Three and Four. May all the above plus the spectacular exhibiting towards the Terrier juggernaut (21-Zero towards SoCon opponents this season) pry an at-large bid from the committee? In Bubble Watch’s estimation, it is a lengthy shot. (Up to date: March 11)

Furman Paladins

The season is within the books for the Paladins after a 66-62 loss to UNC Greensboro within the Southern Convention match semifinals. Bob Richey’s staff sits at 25-7 with the memorable win at Villanova to its credit score. Alas, that win (plus a candy NET rating within the 40s) may type the sum whole of the case for Furman on Choice Sunday. It is not a foul case, however the Dins may need hassle standing out from the group. Saint Mary’s, to take one instance, has a NET rating that is even sweeter than Furman’s. (Up to date: March 10)

Lipscomb Bisons

The Bisons present two Quad 1 wins on their profile, at TCU and at Liberty, and their NET rating is within the 40s. These are the weather that saved Casey Alexander’s group within the at-large dialogue for weeks, however Lipscomb let its most secure likelihood slip away when it misplaced 74-68 on its dwelling flooring to Liberty within the Atlantic Solar convention title recreation. An at-large now seems to be an extended shot. (Up to date: March 10)

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