NCAA Teams on the Bubble
Bubble teams are in survive and advance mode as the next two days before Selection Sunday won’t be any bigger as they try to secure a spot in next week’s NCAA tournament.
Perhaps the biggest bubble team may be Tubby Smith’s Minnesota Gophers, and losing to on a buzzer-beater to Illinois on Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament didn’t help. Thankfully, they’re upset of Indiana when the Hoosiers were No. 1 may save them. The Gophers are 20-12 (overall), 8-10 (Big Ten), and finished eighth in the Big Ten regular season standings after starting the year 15-1. Their RPI may help them out a little, as they boast a RPI ranking of 30th in the country.
The Iowa Hawkeyes beat Northwestern yesterday, and today play Michigan State in a pivotal game that could play them into the NCAA tournament. The Hawkeyes are 21-11, and 9-9 with a RPI ranking of 72. Iowa’s big wins have came over Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois.
After beating Duke 73-68 at home, Virginia looked like it was on the way to a berth in the NCAA tournament, but then the Cavaliers lost to Boston College and Florida State on the road. They are 23-9 and 11-7 with a RPI ranking of 64.
In the Big 12, Oklahoma and Iowa State faced off yesterday, and the Cyclones won in the Big 12 Tournament. Both are bubble teams, and the Cyclones have the edge now. Iowa State is 22-10, and 11-7 with an RPI ranking of 45, meanwhile Oklahoma is 20-11, and 11-7 with an RPI ranking of 41. The Sooners big win came against top-5 ranked Kansas, and Iowa State has beaten No. 11 Kansas State and No. 13 Oklahoma State.
The SEC is known for their football, but last year Kentucky won a national championship. This year, the Wildcats may not even make the Big Dance. Kentucky is 21-10, and 12-6 with an RPI ranking of 48, but have lost some big games. They’ve lost to Duke, Notre Dame, Maryland, Baylor, Louisville, Tennessee (twice), Ole Miss, and Florida. However, their win over No. 11 Florida last weekend may have saved them.
Meanwhile, their conference foe, Tennessee, who has beat Kentucky twice, is trying to get in the tournament, too. They are 20-11 and 11-7 with an RPI ranking of 53. The Volunteers biggest was against Florida in late February.
A few non-big conference teams that may be on the bubble are Boise State (21-10, 9-7 Mountain West with an RPI of 43), Temple (23-8, 11-5 Atlantic 10 with an RPI of 36), La Salle (21-8, 11-5 Atlantic 10 with a RPI of 38), Middle Tennessee (28-5, 19-1 Sun Belt with an RPI of 31), and St. Mary’s (27-6, 14-2 West Coast with an RPI of 33).