NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Bubble Watch

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As we get set for the final week of the men’s college basketball regular season, the top of the upcoming NCAA Tournament is nearly set. The top seeds are playing like top seeds, and there is very little to decide there.

Not so at the bottom of the field of 68, where a number of at-large teams are jostling for one of the final spots.

ACC Bubble Teams

Hard to believe that we are closing the month of February with only three ACC teams as NCAA Tournament locks – North Carolina, Duke, and Clemson. But that is the state of the former “best conference in the country.”

Wake Forest is probably in because of wins over Duke and Pitt in recent days. But the Duke win is the only standout victory this season. The Demon Deacons haven’t suffered any bad losses, but their top wins are lacking.

Virginia has played in nine of the last 11 NCAA Tournaments. But recent losses to Pitt, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina have them limping toward the end of the season, and has them in danger of missing out on March Madness.

Virginia online sportsbooks think they are in at the moment, paying -155 on them making the field. If they do not make the NCAA Tournament, your bet would pay +120.

Big East Bubble Teams

Marquette is in, UConn is in, and Creighton is in. For everyone else in the Big East, there is work to be done.

College basketball online sportsbooks like Seton Hall’s chances to join those three the best. They are paying -150 to make the NCAA Tournament now that they are 5-5 in Quad 1 games and rank 35th in strength of record (SOR).

Providence is also favored to get in, paying -120 on making the tournament. St. John’s is trending in the other direction, with odds of +145 to make the tournament. The Red Storm is just 2-9 in Quad 1 games, and they will have a harder time making up for lost ground because each of their Big East tournament games are at Madison Square Garden and will count as home games.

Quad 1 games are defined as home games vs. opponents with a NET ranking of 1-30, neutral court games against NET rankings of 1-50, and away games against NET rankings of 1-75. NET stands for NCAA Evaluation Tool, and it was first released by the NCAA in 2018 and is used by the selection committee when choosing at-large teams and tournament seeds.

Pac-12 Bubble Teams

It is one of the worst years for men’s basketball in the Pac-12, with just Arizona locked into a tournament spot. Washington State just won in Tucson a week ago, which helped their resume. But then, two days later, they lost to a bad Arizona State team, hurting the resume.

Colorado is also on the bubble, with just a single Quad 1 win on their season resume. And not helping matters are the two losses to Arizona this year by a combined 67 points. Colorado online sportsbooks have the odds of a tournament berth at +145, and it may take a deep Pac-12 tournament run for the Buffaloes to go dancing in March.

Gonzaga’s Streak in Jeopardy

In 1999, Gonzaga made the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in school history. They haven’t missed it since, appearing in each of the last 24 tournaments. In six of the last seven years, the Bulldogs have won at least 30 games, and in the last 10 tournaments, they have at least been in the Sweet 16.

This year, Gonzaga is in danger of not winning their conference for the first time since 2012, and missing the tournament entirely. They are just 1-5 in Quad 1 games, and early season wins over Syracuse and UCLA no longer carry any weight with the selection committee.

They can still win the regular season conference title. But even if that happens with wins over San Francisco and St. Mary’s this weekend, winning the WCC tournament’s automatic bid is their only guarantee.

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