NCAA Basketball

Bubble Watch: Predicting the Last 5 Teams to Miss the Cut for 2014 NCAA Tournament

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NCAA Tournament 2014: Predicting the Last 5 Teams to Miss the Cut

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

It’s almost March Madness and filling out those lottery tickets—ahem—brackets for office pools or Warren Buffet’s money are a few weeks away. The current Top 25 will certainly find a place waiting for them in the NCAA Tournament, but strong play within conferences will make the back end of the field tough to fill out towards from teams 65-68.

The Pac-12, Big-12 and the Big East are the cream of the crop, projecting at six teams per conference making it into the tournament. These are top-tier teams like Arizona, Kansas and the likes of Creighton. Those teams are easier to place in the brackets, but think about some of those No. 16 seeds and their play-in games. Those teams have to do work against other cellar dwellers.

Teams 65-68 are the last of the bubble. Usually, these are teams that aren’t in the mix in their leagues but have some notable wins that might impress the selection committee. Or they may be the conference winner in a really small league (i.e. Horizon League or Atlantic Sun Conference). Teams 65-68 are going to have awkward viewing parties in some student’s dorm painfully waiting, and that includes those proud alumni of (Directional + State) University.

It’s hard to predict the double-digit seeds, because there might be another Florida Gulf Coast University AKA Dunk City lurking in the bracket that no one knows of.

Here are five teams that will be waiting until the final minute of Selection Sunday to see if they go dancing with the big boys. Otherwise, expect these guys in the NIT or CBI.

Erwin Mendoza is a contributing writer for Follow him on Twitter @erwinsports, or add him to your network on Google.

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5. UMass Minutemen

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Notable wins: New Mexico, George Washington, Saint Joe’s, BYU

Notable losses: Saint Joe’s, Richmond, Florida State

Team RPI: 18

Conference RPI: 6

UMass is one of those teams that is borderline, especially since the A-10 is playing really good basketball in 2014. They have a resume that screams pick me, but they could be overlooked for a Big-12 or a Pac-12 team that picks it up during these last few games. I’m going to side with not going to make it for the time being.

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4. Baylor Bears

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Notable wins: Kentucky, Colorado, K-State, Oklahoma State

Notable losses: Kansas, Syracuse, Iowa

Team RPI: 46

Conference: 1

Baylor is another one of those teams with a really strong resume, but being 7th in the nation’s best league might hurt. They have a legitimate shot, but they too like UMass could get passed over in favor of another conference darling.

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3. Saint Mary's Gaels

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Notable wins: La. Tech, North Dakota State

Notable losses: Gonzaga, George Mason

Team RPI Rank: 60

Conference: 9

The Gaels are 4th in conference play, but the field looks dominant and it’s looking like a strong one-bid league with a possibility of adding BYU to the tournament.

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2. Tennessee Volunteers

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Notable wins: Virginia, Xavier

Notable losses: Florida, Wichita State, Kentucky

Team RPI: 51

Conference: 7

It’s hard to back a team that’s 1-4 against the top 25 in RPI. Those two wins are good for the resume, but the SEC is straight up weak this year.

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1. Wyoming Cowboys

Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Notable wins: San Diego State, Boise State

Notable losses: Ohio State, New Mexico, Colorado

Team RPI: 83

Conference RPI: 10

If it's going to be any teams out of the Mountain West, it's going to be San Diego State and New Mexico. If New Mexico gets bounced, then the MWC might be a one-bid league. The win against San Diego State was nice, but that might be their only highlight this season.