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NCAA Tournament Berth Update 3/10

It is the final three days before Selection Sunday! Questions still remain about which teams are safely in the field, and who has some work to do still. We have broken down that information, by conference, below. Take a look and let us know your thoughts!


Definitions:

Lock: could theoretically lose out and still make the field

Should be In: would take a major collapse to miss the field, have a solid resume to this point

Bubble: fall somewhere in the 7-9 seed range all the way to just outside the field. Are in, or just barely out, but not quite safe yet

Almost Flat Bubble: have not been eliminated from at-large contention yet, but are just about in “win out” territory. 5% or less odds to make the field


Conferences:


ACC

Locks: Virginia, Miami, Duke

Should Be In: None

Bubble: Pittsburgh, NC State, Clemson

Almost Flat Bubble: None


Pittsburgh and NC State will be sweating out Selection Sunday regardless of the events that take place over the next three days. With both done playing, neither have anything more they can do to get in. Pitt has a road non-conference win over Northwestern and other solid road wins on its side, with poor metrics and two bad losses. NC State has solid metrics, two good wins, but not much else there to put them safely in. Clemson is the final bubble team here, however, the Tigers are still playing. A win tonight over Virginia would put Clemson in a better position than they are today. A non conference SOS of 333/363 teams, and four losses worse than anyone else on the bubble with average to below average metrics. So, then why is Clemson even on the bubble? The Tigers have six wins over the field as of yesterday, (4/6 of those wins are vs Pitt & NCST), with 2/6 on the road. Is one very good win, one solid win, and four wins over bubble teams enough to offset four bad losses and the worst NC SOS of any team in contention for an at-large bid? No, unless Clemson beats Virginia tonight.


American

Locks: Houston, Memphis

Should Be In: None

Bubble: None

Almost Flat Bubble: None


If Memphis were to lose to in the quarterfinal or semifinal of the AAC tournament, the Tigers seed would fall, but Memphis will remain in the field. A few good non-conference wins, only one head scratching loss, good metrics and a good enough SOS will have Memphis in the field.


Big 12

Locks: Kansas, Baylor, Texas, Kansas State, Iowa State, TCU, West Virginia

Should Be In: None

Bubble: Oklahoma State

Almost Flat Bubble: None


Oklahoma State losing to Texas last night puts the Cowboys at 18-15. OKST has 6 Q1 wins, but a 6-12 Q1 record, and a 13-14 record in Q1-3 games. While 6 Q1 wins is impressive, and OKST has the 6th best SOS playing in the Big 12, you'd think the Cowboys would have more than four wins over the field playing in a league with at least 7 bids. On top of that, Oklahoma State does not have a super relevant non-conference win. The SOS and absolute Q1 win number will keep them in our discussion until Sunday morning, but they can and may get passed.


Big East

Locks: Xavier, Marquette, UConn, Creighton

Should Be In: Providence

Bubble: None

Almost Flat Bubble: None


Providence has 3 Q1A wins. Q1A wins are tracked as the elite wins in Q1, a Top 15 home win, a Top 25 neutral court win, or a Top 40 home win. The issue for Providence is the Friars have only one Q1 home win, over Villanova, a non tournament team. Additionally, Providence does not have a non-conference win in Q1, Q2 or Q3. This along with below average metrics will hurt the Friars seed, and is why Providence is not a lock yet. However, it is more likely than not that this team becomes a lock, despite not playing, before 3/12. Right now look like an 11 seed outside of the first four, with a ceiling of a 10 seed if others around them lose.


Big Ten

Locks: Purdue, Indiana, Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Maryland

Should Be In: Penn State

Bubble: Rutgers, Wisconsin

Almost Flat Bubble: None


Penn State defeating Illinois will almost certainly make it enough for the Nittany Lions to get in. Penn State has a poor non conference strength of schedule, but metrics have improved after that win. PSU also does not nearly have as many head scratching losses as others. It appears this group will be dancing for the first time since 2011, (though they would have during the canceled Covid year). Similar to Providence, Penn State is "should be in", but will almost certainly become a lock even without a win today before 3/12. Rutgers can punch its ticket if the Scarlet Knights defeat Purdue, happening now as I write this article! Rutgers has multiple good road wins, but do carry four Q3 losses. Only one, Minnesota, is a really really bad loss, but it still remains the case. Rutgers also has a non conference SOS in the 300s. It would take at least three bid thieves for Rutgers to miss the tournament if RU loses today by less than 20, but for now, remain on the bubble. Wisconsin has some poor metrics, that is well known. However, Wisconsin also carries four Q1 road wins, and two Q1 non-conference wins, at Marquette and neutral vs USC. Yes, Wisconsin is 17-14 overall, but will the committee consider Wisconsin had an easy game canceled due to weather that very likely improves Wisconsin's metrics a touch and puts them at 18-14? Not likely, but all of those factors included, we still have the Badgers in the discussion pool for now.


Mountain West

Locks: San Diego State, Boise State

Should Be In: Utah State

Bubble: None

Almost Flat Bubble: Nevada


Boise State's win over UNLV locked up a bid for the Broncos. 8-10 seed is the realistic range, with a 9 seed being the most likely outcome. Utah State handled New Mexico last night, and has moved into "should be in". Utah State can lock themselves in with a win over Boise State. The Aggies' metrics have now become too good to ignore. While USU only has one win over the projected field, (Boise at home), with two Q4 losses, the resume metrics are elite. On top of that, predictive metrics like KenPom, BPI and SAG have caught up as well. It is unlikely we lock in Utah State before 3/12 unless the Aggies beat Boise State tonight, but it is very likely this group makes it in as at least a first four team. Nevada remains in the discussion pool, but ending the year with three consecutive losses to non-tournament teams, two of which are Q3, one Q2B, will likely not sit well in the committee room.


Pac-12

Locks: Arizona, UCLA

Should Be In: USC

Bubble: Arizona State, Oregon

Almost Flat Bubble: None


USC should be just fine. The loss to Arizona State last night could impact the seed, but the Trojans have good enough metrics and multiple Q1 road wins. Similar again to a few teams above, USC could become a lock without playing before 3/12. Arizona State kept its hopes alive with the neutral win over USC last night. The hopes are not 100% over if the Sun Devils lose to Arizona tonight, but that would make Sunday a lot easier. Oregon must beat UCLA tonight to have a shot to get into the field.


SEC

Locks: Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Missouri, Arkansas, Auburn

Should Be In: Mississippi State

Bubble: Vanderbilt

Almost Flat Bubble: None


Mississippi State avoiding the loss to Florida yesterday puts the Bulldogs in a solid spot. Win today, and it is a lock, but this group could be fine regardless. Vanderbilt remains on the bubble, but must win today against Kentucky, and likely one more to remain in the discussion on the morning of 3/12.


WCC

Locks: Gonzaga, Saint Marys

Should Be In: None

Bubble: None

Almost Flat Bubble: None


This conference has been this way for awhile. Two locks, carry on!


Other Mid-Majors

Locks: FAU

Should Be In: None

Bubble: None

Almost Flat Bubble: None


FAU is a lock, even if the Owls lose in the semifinal or the final of the C-USA. This group has done enough. With Charleston and Oral Roberts securing automatic bids earlier this week, that does it for this group.



Thanks for reading! DM @TBracketology with questions about the bubble or any other CBB questions!

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