By Todd Singer @breakingbadfish on March 10, 2014
With the NCAA Basketball regular season over and conference tournaments beginning in earnest, the age old practice of trying to forecast who will be in and out of the NCAA Tournament has picked up significantly. Less than a week away from Selection Sunday, there are a myriad of teams that could be considered "on the bubble." Click through the slideshow to find out who those teams are.
Vitals: 19-11 (11-7), RPI: 35, vs. RPI top 50: 4-7, SOS: 26
Nebraska earned a huge resume building win over Wisconsin in their final regular season game which could've clinched their spot in the tournament. However, for all the feel good stories that win generated, if the Huskers come out and lay an egg in their first Big Ten Tourney game, that could set them back, so they figure to need at least one win.
Vitals: 21-9 (11-5), RPI: 48, vs. RPI top 50: 4-5, SOS: 68
St. Joe's appeared to be cruising to a NCAA tournament appearance but has hit a recent speed bump, losing critical games to George Washington and LaSalle to finish out the regular season. While the Hawks' resume stacks up well against some of their competitors, they'll likely need at least a win or two in the A-10 tournament to go dancing.
Vitals: 20-11 (11-7), RPI: 46, vs. RPI top 50: 2-5, SOS: 16
Tennessee closed out the season very strong, winning their final four regular season games, including a key drubbing of Missouri to finish the regular season. The Volunteers definitely beefed up their resume, but with the SEC being as weak as it is this season, they'd do well to earn a few wins in the SEC tournament to secure their spot.
Vitals: 20-11 (10-8), RPI: 54, vs. RPI top 50: 2-6, SOS: 77
Despite a loss to Creighton in their final regular season game, Providence finished strong and put themselves into definite contention to make the tournament. With their low strength of schedule and poor record vs. the RPI top 50, the Friars will likely need a few wins in the Big East tourney to be a lock for the Big Dance.
Vitals: 21-10 (10-8), RPI: 53, vs. RPI top 50: 4-3, SOS: 89
Arkansas was one of the hottest teams in the country, having reeled off six consecutive wins before a devastating loss to 13-18 Alabama to end the regular season. Before that loss, the Razorbacks looked like a good bet to earn a berth, but now they'll likely have to pick up another win or two in the conference tourney to have their names called on Selection Sunday.
Vitals: 19-12 (8-10), RPI: 49, vs. RPI top 50: 3-8, SOS: 5
Minnesota has a very interesting case among bubble teams; while their conference record is below .500, they possess a top five strength of schedule and signature wins over tournament teams Wisconsin, Ohio State and Iowa. In order to separate themselves from the other teams in the pack, the Golden Gophers need to win at least two games in the Big Ten tournament.
Vitals: 20-11 (10-8), RPI: 57, vs. RPI top 50: 1-7, SOS: 52
St. John's closed the season strong with a key win over Marquette, but they're still situated right on the bubble. The Red Storm boast a solid resume building win over Creighton, but beyond that, they have no other wins against the RPI top 50, which could really hinder their case to the committee. Winning a few games on their home court would solidify their chances.
Vitals: 23-8 (11-7), RPI: 41, vs. RPI top 50: 1-6, SOS: 84
On the surface, Pittsburgh's resume looks pretty solid, but a closer look reveals some serious holes. The Panthers' only RPI top 50 win came over fellow bubble team Stanford back in November, and their next best win came over a suspect NC State team at the beginning of the new year. They're going to need to do some serious work in the ACC tourney.
Vitals: 19-11 (10-8), RPI: 43, vs. RPI top 50: 4-8, SOS: 15
Stanford had lost three straight games to likely tournament teams before righting the ship with a narrow win over Utah to close the regular season. Even with their high strength of schedule, their resume still needs some improving in comparison to other teams on the bubble, so a few wins over some legit programs in the Pac-12 tourney would seal the deal.
Vitals: 19-12 (10-8), RPI: 52, vs. RPI top 50: 4-9, SOS: 31
Much like their rivals at Stanford, Cal finds themselves firmly planted on the bubble heading into the conference tournament. Also like Stanford, the Golden Bears had lost three games in a row before they finally earned a much-needed win over a good Colorado team to finish the season. Cal figures to need a couple of wins to distance themselves from other competitors.
Vitals: 21-10 (9-9), RPI: 56, vs. RPI top 50: 2-3, SOS: 83
Missouri enters the SEC Tournament having dropped three of their last five, and their resume is in some serious need of a boost. The Tigers dropped a key game in Tennessee to close out the regular season and, with Arkansas and Tennessee likely having better overall resumes, Missouri figures to need to reach the conference semifinal to have a good shot.
Vitals: 25-6 (13-3), RPI: 65, vs. RPI top 50: 1-2, SOS: 247
Louisiana Tech has had a great season, but playing in a watered down Conference USA hasn't helped their cause. The Bulldogs' strength of schedule is among the lowest of any bubble teams and, although they hold out hopes of earning an at large bid, it's very likely they're going to need to win their conference tourney to be dancing next week.
Vitals: 18-12 (9-9), RPI: 58, vs. RPI top 50: 3-8, SOS: 47
Florida State lost a golden opportunity to solidify their resume when they fell to Syracuse in the regular season's final game. The Seminoles had won four of five prior to that loss to put themselves back in the conversation, but only one of their top 50 RPI wins came in conference, which could hurt them come Selection Sunday.
Vitals: 24-6 (14-2), RPI: 61, vs. RPI top 50: 1-1, SOS: 165
Wisconsin-Green Bay has had a remarkable year, but the weakness of the Horizon League this year has dragged down their strength of schedule and RPI. The Phoenix entered their conference tournament needing to win it to avoid being on the bubble, but they fell to UW-Milwaukee in the first round, which could ultimately be their downfall.
Vitals: 17-13 (8-10), RPI: 55, vs. RPI top 50: 5-6, SOS: 9
Entering their Feb. 16 contest with St. John's, Georgetown had won four in a row and appeared to be making a strong run at a berth in the NCAA Tournament. However, Georgetown proceeded to drop four of their final six and will likely need to win at least three games in the Big East tourney to secure a spot in the field of 68.
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