NCAA Basketball

Bubble Watch: 15 Preseason Contenders That Might Not Make the Tournament

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15 Preseason Contenders That May Miss 2014 NCAA Tourney

college basketball
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 college basketball season has been as exciting as any in recent memory. Besides all of the fantastic finishes and upsets of top teams, the playing field for teams that are surely headed to the NCAA Tournament is extremely even -- unlike most of the recent years in college basketball.

There's not one team that is heads and shoulders above the rest -- although many would argue that the Syracuse Orange are that team. Just because the Orange are undefeated does not make them unbeatable because they have been exposed a couple of times this season, but have found a way to put out the game in the end -- just ask the Pittsburgh Panthers.

While there are many solid teams that will fight each other for a national title, which usual contenders are not making it to the NCAA Tournament this year or are in severe danger of dropping off the bubble. Being on the bubble can't be a comfortable team and there are many teams that, at the beginning of the season, were expected to contend for conference titles and even a national title.

It's interesting to see which [former] top teams are no longer really considered national title contenders. Let's take a look at the North Carolina Tar Heels, for example. Roy Williams' squad has been known as one of the most inconsistent in the country this season. They can beat a team on the road like the Michigan State Spartans or even take down the Louisville Cardinals, but they can lose to the Belmont Bruins at home.

You can be sure that North Carolina will be on this list somewhere, but let's take a look at the bubble watch of preseason contenders that turned out to be pretenders.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at connor.muldowney@rantsports.com.

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Gonzaga Bulldogs

gonzaga
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 21-4 (11-1)

Preseason Rank(AP/Coaches): 15/14

RPI: 22

SOS: 95

Key Wins: vs. Arkansas(15-8), @ West Virginia(15-10), vs. St. Mary's(18-7)

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Georgetown Hoyas

georgetown
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 15-9 (6-6)

Preseason Rank(AP/Coaches): NR/NR

RPI: 52

SOS: 24

Key Wins: vs. Kansas State(17-7), vs. VCU(20-5), vs. Michigan State(20-4)

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Indiana Hoosiers

indiana
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 14-10 (4-7)

Preseason Rank(AP/Coaches): NR/24

RPI: 75

SOS: 76

Key Wins: vs. Wisconsin(19-5), vs. Michigan(18-6)

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Oklahoma State Cowboys

oklahoma state
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 16-8 (4-7)

Preseason Rank(AP/Coaches): 8/12

RPI: 35

SOS: 29

Key Wins: vs. Memphis(19-5), vs. Colorado(18-6), vs. Texas(19-5), @ West Virginia (15-10)

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Baylor Bears

baylor
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 15-9 (3-8)

Preseason Rank(AP/Coaches): 25/NR

RPI: 59

SOS: 5

Key Wins: vs. Colorado(18-6), vs. Kentucky(19-5), @ Oklahoma State(16-8)

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Xavier Musketeers

xavier
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 17-7 (7-4)

Preseason Rank(AP/Coaches): NR/NR

RPI: 46

SOS: 51

Key Wins: vs. Tennessee(15-9), vs. Cincinnati(22-3), vs. Marquette(14-10), vs. Georgetown(15-9)

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Ole Miss Rebels

ole miss
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 16-8 (7-4)

Preseason Rank(AP/Coaches): NR/NR

RPI: 51

SOS: 83

Key Wins: @ Vanderbilt(13-10), vs. Missouri(16-7)

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New Mexico Lobos

new mexico
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 18-5 (9-2)

Preseason Rank(AP/Coaches): 23/20

RPI: 33

SOS: 80

Key Wins: vs. Davidson(14-11), vs. Cincinnati(22-3), vs. Marquette(14-10), vs. Boise State(16-9)

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Tennessee Volunteers

tennessee
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 15-9 (6-5)

Preseason Rank(AP/Coaches): NR/NR

RPI: 47

SOS: 14

Key Wins: vs. Xavier(17-7), vs. Virginia(20-5), vs. Ole Miss(16-8)

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Colorado Buffaloes

colorado
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 18-6 (7-4)

Preseason Rank(AP/Coaches): NR/NR

RPI: 25

SOS: 31

Key Wins: vs. Kansas(18-6), vs. Oregon(15-8)

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VCU Rams

vcu
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 20-5 (8-2)

Preseason Rank(AP/Coaches): 14/15

RPI: 28

SOS: 96

Key Wins: @ Virginia(20-5), @ Dayton(17-8), vs. Richmond (16-8)

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish

notre dame
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 13-12 (4-8)

Preseason Rank(AP/Coaches): 21/22

RPI: 113

SOS: 33

Key Wins: vs. Indiana(14-10), vs. Duke(19-5), vs. Clemson(15-8)

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Oregon Ducks

oregon
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 15-8 (3-8)

Preseason Rank(AP/Coaches): 19/18

RPI: 41

SOS: 12

Key Wins: vs. Georgetown(15-9), @ Ole Miss(16-8), vs. BYU(17-9)

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Marquette Golden Eagles

marquette
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 14-10 (6-5)

Preseason Rank(AP/Coaches): 17/17

RPI: 76

SOS: 75

Key Wins: @ Georgetown(15-9)

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North Carolina Tar Heels

north carolina
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 16-7 (6-4)

Preseason Rank(AP/Coaches): 12/11

RPI: 37

SOS: 21

Key Wins: vs. Louisville(19-4), @ Michigan State(20-4), vs. Kentucky(19-5), @ Notre Dame(13-12)