This is my bubble tracker, I am going to cover every team I believe could either fall out of the tourney field or move into the field.
In Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology right now I see the 1-8 seeds as safe, also I consider 9 seeds VCU, Virginia Tech, and Arkansas as safe leaving 11-12 spots up for grabs. Everyone else is in danger from 10 seeds to the bottom of the bubble so read below to see what your team has to do to be safe.
Michigan State(9 seed)- MSU just got a win vs Wisconsin which almost made them safe, but not quite. A win vs Maryland secures them a spot, but they just dropped a fairly bad loss to Illinois on Wednesday. If MSU wins vs Maryland they have a good chance to get a key first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament which is in DC this year. Without that first round bye it will be hard for them to win the first game that they may need to make the big tourney.
Syracuse(10 seed)- The Orange got a huge win at the buzzer vs Duke which I thought got them a spot in the tourney, but they turned around and got destroyed by Louisville raising questions. Syracuse could secure a spot when they host Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Seton Hall(10 seed)- Seton Hall is in the same boat as teams like Xavier and Marquette, yesterday they knocked off Georgetown barely. They have a good chance to make a statement when they go to Butler to end the year. They may need a win in the Big East tourney regardless to get a bid if they cannot beat Butler.
Marquette(11 seed)- Marquette just got a huge win at Xavier which saved their very good season, but they have a tough game vs Creighton left for one final test. Marquette for sure secures a bid to me with a win vs Creighton, but I believe they can also get a bid with a win in the Big East tourney. If they lose to Creighton and in the first round they can still get in, but they would have to sit and wait to see.
Xavier(11 seed)- Xavier has struggled as of late, losing 5 straight all to projected tournament teams which makes it a little better, but still not good for their resume. They had a good chance to get a good win Wednesday at home vs Marquette but could not get it done which hurt them even more. Next they go to Depaul where a loss could be trouble going into the Big East Tournament. Xavier’s seed in the Big East tourney was determined by their game with Marquette because both teams were 8-8 in conference, with Providence and Seton Hall also being 8-8 and both getting wins, Xavier dropped below all three teams and will be seeded low making them likely to play an extra game.
Cal(11 seed)- Cal was on fire then randomly dropped a game to Stanford. Since then, Cal ALMOST got a huge win vs Oregon then beat Oregon State. Next, on Thursday Night they got blown out by Utah 74-44 which was a terrible loss for a team on the bubble. They have Colorado left, but the loss to Utah may make it hard to get into the big dance.
USC(11 seed)- USC dropped a terrible game to Arizona State which really hurt. The Trojans have Washington left where a loss could knock them out of contention. After Washington they will have a lot to prove in the PAC 12 tourney.
Providence(11 seed)- Providence has really worked some magic winning vs Butler and Xavier, then overcoming huge deficits to beat Creighton and Marquette. They are currently tied with Seton Hall, and a half a game up on Marquette and Xavier in the Big East. They just have St Johns left where a loss would obviously hurt them, but they are in the drivers seat for a high seed in the Big East tourney.
Wake Forest(11 Seed)- Wake Forest has been quiet lately looking for a huge win. They came close to beating Duke, but not quite. BANG I wrote and Wake listened tonight Wednesday night they have upset #8 Lousiville for a huge win to boost them majorly. Wake is not quite in yet though they still have Vtech on their schedule and will be in a tough spot in the ACC tourney so I think they have more to prove.
Vanderbilt(First 4 Out)- This team looked to be done and came out of no where to win 4 straight, one being to #21 South Carolina at the time. It is gonna be tough for them though, they just lost a hard fought game yesterday where they led the majority of the game @ Kentucky, they have one last chance at home vs Florida. Winning one would get them in to me plus a SEC tourney win.
Georgia Tech(First 4 Out)- Georgia Tech has one last chance to prove that they deserve a spot. They go to Syracuse on Saturday where a win is crucial. A win at Cuse and one win in the ACC Tourney gets them a spot in my eyes.
Rhode Island(First 4 Out)- Rhode Island fell off the bubble then came back winning 3 straight with one of those being against first place VCU. Beating VCU was huge and gave Rhode Island life. Left on the schedule are winnable games being St Joes and Davidson. A loss to St Joes would be devastating, but losing to Davidson would not be as bad. The A10 tourney should be pretty easy for Rhode Island to make it to at least the semifinals which would likely get them in.
KSU(First 4 Out)- KSU got a huge win Wednesday night knocking off TCU and likely ending TCU’s season. Kansas State has a great game left vs Texas Tech which could boost the resume, then they can prove more if they need to in the Big 12 tourney.
Georgia(Next 4 Out)- Georgia came so close to beating Kentucky twice which would have boosted them up. However, they beat Alabama to get back to the bubble and now just barely knocked of Auburn, a battle with Arkansas awaits them which could get them closer to getting in. The SEC tourney is hard to call so we will see.
Illinois(Next 4 Out)- The Fighting Illini have not been on the bubble since mid season, but have been quietly moving closer and closer to it. They swept Northwestern this year and then beat Iowa and Nebraska pretty good. Then they got a huge win knocking off MSU giving them a huge boost to get them back to the bubble where they can close the year with a game @ Rutgers that they CANNOT lose. After that I do not know what it will take for them in the Big Ten tourney.
Clemson(Next 4 Out)- This team has been so close to huge wins, but cannot find a way to get it done. They have one easy game left vs Boston College so it comes down to what they can do in the ACC tourney.
Texas Tech(My Possibilities)- Texas Tech is 5-11 in the Big 12 and have Texas and Kansas State left so it is a stretch for the Red Raiders for sure. They took care of Texas beat need a win vs KSU for sure to have a chance.
Richmond(My Possibilities)- The Spiders have moved into 3rd place in the A10 and have been playing great. Yes, they fell to George Mason last week and could not beat first place VCU, but 11-5 in conference and 17-11 overall should be a bubble team. The have two likely wins left on the schedule being St Louis and Umass, so the Spiders have a chance to make a good push in the A10 tourney to make the big tourney.
Houston(Next 4 Out)- Likely for sure out now with a loss by 18 to Cincy. Even with a run to the semi finals in the AAC tourney will probably not be enough to get them in the big dance.
Indiana- They still have a chance to some, but not to me after a loss to Purdue. If the beat Ohio State and make it to Semis in the Big Ten then maybe, but that may not be enough.
Iowa- Some are saying that with 3 straight wins over Maryland, Indiana, and Thursday Nights win over Wisconsin are enough to give them a spot on the bubble, but I personally do not have them there.
At Large Bid Thieves
At large bid thieves are teams that steal at large bids, meaning a small school steals a bid from a large school by not winning their Conference Tourney, but are viewed as good enough by the selection committee. All the teams that could be candidates of this are listed below. Keep in mind these teams would have to at least make it to the championship in their respective conferences.
Wichita State- Currently Porjected as an 8 seed are the biggest at large thief of them all, and very likely do not have to win the Missouri Valley Conference Tourney to be in, either does Illinois State out of the MVC.
Illinois State- Who currently sits on the bubble could also get in by not winning the MVC. It is likely though that Illinois State or Wichita State will win and the other will be the runner up, so both will likely steal bids.
Middle Tennessee- The Blue Raiders beat Michigan State as a 15 seed last year as we all know, have been playing fantastic ever since with all 5 starters that won vs MSU last year. They are projected a 10 seed right now going into the C-USA tourney so losing in the C-USA Championship would likely still get them into the tourney making them an at large thief.
UNC Willmington- Projected as a 12 seed right now leaves them right on the inside of the bubble. This team has been struggling though and are identical to Monmouth last year losing in conference tourney play and getting snubbed. UNCW has to win it all or lose in the championship and pray just like Monmouth did last year. Getting in would take away another at large bid if they were to lose in that championship game.
Vermont- Vermont finished the year undefeated in American East play and are a projected 13 seed right now. The Selection Committee would have a great team sitting there if they lost in the American East Championship, however the resume may not be good enough. This team could be a huge at large thief it all depends on the committee.
UT Arlington- To me this team is a long shot for an at large, but it helps that the Sun Belt has been very tough this year. If they make it to the Sun Belt Championship and lose this team could also steal a bid.
Princeton- With a great resume and no losses in conference and a projected 13 seed, Princeton could steal a bid if they lost to a team like Harvard in the Ivy League Championship, but it would be a stretch.
Now for one last at large thief,I have the Mountain West Conference. Nevada is projected as a 12 seed and could easily be in the Tournament with a loss in the championship game along with Boise State who is identical with one less win in conference.
Long Shots to be at large thieves: Colorado State(Mountain West), Monmouth(MAAC), and Akron(MAC).