March Madness starts this week with the Conference Championship Tournaments. The real Madness will start after this Sunday when the Selection Committee picks the 64 teams that have garnered bids to the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament.
Just like every year, plenty of teams from the Power 5 Conferences are on the bubble. Whose bubble figures to burst? Keep reading to find out which teams from the Power 5 Conferences are almost guaranteed to make it to the Big Dance while discovering which of the Power 5 Conference Teams will be left out in the cold.
March Madness 2018 Selection Sunday
No teams in the Big East are on the bubble. That’s why I only write about bubble teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big 12 Conference, the Pac 12 Conference, and the Southeastern Conference. Also, Michigan already won the Big Ten Conference Tournament. Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, and Michigan are all Big Ten squads that will garner bids to the Big Dance.
ACC Bubble Teams
The Cardinals’ best win was actually a loss. Louisville dropped a game 66 to 67 to Virginia on March 1. If Louisville had beaten the Cavaliers, they’d have stamped their ticket to the Big Dance.
Florida State Seminoles
The Seminoles have a quality win over Clemson. They’ve also beaten Louisville in the head-to-head. Losing 69 to 84 to Notre Dame on Feb. 10 won’t help FSU’s NCAA Tournament case. Florida State must beat Louisville on March 7 to have any shot of garnering a bid.
Notre Dame Irish
Now that Bonzie Colson is healthy, Notre Dame is loaded. The Irish have an awesome shot of upsetting Duke later on in the ACC College Basketball Tournament. If the Irish do upset the Blue Devils, they’ll definitely get back to the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament.
The Orange don’t have a real signature win this season. They have beaten Louisville, Clemson, and Miami. Will that be enough? Keep reading to find out!
ACC Bubble Analysis
At 19 and 12, Louisville doesn’t appear to have much shot. Then again, Florida State is 20 and 10, Syracuse is 19 and 12 while Notre Dame is 18 and 13. That tells me whichever team goes furthest in the ACC Conference Tournament this week ends up with the Selection Committee’s bid.
Which team will that be? I think it’s going to be the Notre Dame Irish. Notre Dame’s biggest issue this season was that their best player, Bonzie Colson, missed significant time with an injury. With Bonzie on the court, Notre Dame becomes one of the best teams in the ACC. Colson averages 21 points and close to 11 boards per game. He might be the best player in the ACC. With Colson, the Irish have a legit shot of winning the ACC Conference Tournament.
Does that mean Louisville, Florida State, and Syracuse will be left out in the cold? Not necessarily. I don’t like Florida State to make it because the Seminoles battle Louisville on March 7. The Cardinals have turned it on in the past week. They almost upset Virginia. I think Louisville should beat FSU. That means Louisville might get the nod over FSU when it comes to an NCAA Tournament bid.
Syracuse should beat Wake Forest on March 7. Don’t be surprised if the ‘Cuse upset North Carolina in Round 2 of the ACC Tournament. Syracuse has turned it on as well in the past week or so. The Orange appear to be peaking. Plus, the Selection Committee loves adding as many Atlantic Coast Conference teams into the 64-Team Tournament as they can.
In: Syracuse, Louisville, Notre Dame
Out: Florida State
Big 12 Bubble Teams
Kansas State Wildcats
The Wildcats have won 4 of their last 6 heading into the Big 12 Conference Tournament. The biggest issue for K-State is that they face TCU, a team that beat them 66 to 59, in Round 1 on March 8.
Baylor has gone 1 and 4 straight up in their last 5 heading into the Big 12 Tourney. The Bears only shot of making it appears to be to upset West Virginia in Round 2 of the Big 12 Tournament.
The Sooners have fallen off a cliff. Opponents have adjusted to the brilliant Trae Young. Oklahoma’s offense hasn’t yet made the correct adjustments. The Sooners have lost 7 out of their last 10 games. Sooners need a great Big 12 Tournament to secure a ticket to the Big Dance.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State has gone 3 and 1 straight up in their last 4 games. One of the wins was an 82 to 64 beat down of the Kansas Jayhawks on March 3. The Cowboys are plenty good enough to go deep into the Big 12 Tournament.
Texas’ 4 and 6 straight up record in their last 10 leading up to the Big 12 Tournament isn’t good enough. Sure, the Longhorns have one of the most popular college basketball players on the planet in Mohamed Bomba. Still, their road to the NCAA Tournament appears tough.
Big 12 Bubble Analysis
K-State battles TCU in Round 2 of the Big 12 Tournament. The Kansas State Wildcats must defeat TCU. Then, they must hope that they can beat Oklahoma State, or Kansas in Round 3. Kansas is the key to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State’s chances of garnering a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Jayhawks await the winner of Oklahoma versus Oklahoma State. Whomever loses that game is out. Oklahoma’s been a mess in the second half of the season. Trae Young is great. But, I don’t believe the Sooners beat Oklahoma State.
Can the Cowboys beat the Jayhawks? They absolutely can. This is the time of the season when Kansas kicks it up a notch, but this Jayhawks’ squad isn’t nearly as formidable as Jayhawks’ squads from past seasons. I like Kansas to knock out Oklahoma. I don’t think Kansas can knock out Oklahoma State.
Baylor should beat West Virginia on March 8. That gives the Bears a great shot of garnering a bid to the Big Dance.
Texas is the lone team I’m not so sure about. The Longhorns’ guards probably aren’t good enough for Texas to upset Texas Tech in Round 2. I believe Texas stays home.
In: Baylor, Oklahoma State
Out: Kansas State, Texas, Oklahoma
Pac-12 Bubble Teams
The Huskies have beaten Arizona and Arizona State this season. Those are the big Huskie wins. Washington must play well in the Pac-12 Tournament, though, because they enter the Pac-12 Tourney having gone 3 and 5 straight up in their final 8 regular season games.
Utah is a decent college basketball team. The Utes have played well enough to garner a bid without doing much in the Pac-12 Tournament. The fact that they remain a bubble team means that the Selection Committee is on the fence.
Pac-12 Bubble Teams Analysis
If Washington beats USC in Round 2 of the Pac-12 Tournament, they should garner a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Washington won’t have to do much more than that.
Utah awaits the winner of Oregon versus Washington State. Unless the Utes lose to either Oregon or Washington State, they figure to make it to the Big Dance. I don’t think Utah loses to Oregon or Washington State.
In: Utah, Washington
SEC Bubble Teams
Alabama Crimson Tide
The Crimson Tide enter the SEC Conference Tournament having lost 5 straight. Bama must show up in the SEC Tournament to have any shot of getting a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Texas A&M Aggies
The Texas A&M Aggies finished their regular season winning 3 straight. The Aggies won 7 out of their last 10 games.
SEC Bubble Teams Analysis
This shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out. The Texas A&M Aggies battle the Alabama Crimson Tide on March 8. If A&M beats Bama, it’s difficult to see the Tide rolling into the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament.
Does that mean Alabama has no shot at getting a bid to the Big Dance? Not at all. If Alabama can beat Texas A&M, they’ll be in a position to battle rival Auburn. Should Alabama upset Auburn, their ticket to the NCAA Tournament will be stamped no matter what happens after that.
Texas A&M is in the same boat. The Aggies face Auburn in SEC Tournament Quarterfinals if they get past Alabama in Round 2. A victory over the Auburn Tigers will all but assure the Aggies’ bid to the NCAA Tournament.