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NCAA Tournament Bid Update

With now just over a month until we have an official NCAA Tournament bracket, questions loom 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

Should Be In: Miami, NC State, Duke

Bubble: Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Clemson, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech

Almost Flat Bubble: None


If there was any doubt about Virginia becoming a lock, hint there was none, that ended last night. Miami is about one win away from lock status themselves after Monday night's win over Duke. Pittsburgh is closing in on the "should be in" group.


American

Locks: Houston

Should Be In: None

Bubble: Memphis

Almost Flat Bubble: UCF


Houston ranks top five across every selection/seeding metric. That is a lock if I have ever seen one. Memphis is right on the in or out line. UCF is likely around 1-3% odds for an at-large at this point, but we will keep them here another week.


Big 12

Locks: Kansas, Baylor, Texas, Kansas State, Iowa State

Should Be In: TCU

Bubble: West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma

Almost Flat Bubble: None


This conference is nuts. Five locks with over a month to play, and TCU is closing in on lock status themselves. West Virginia's play of late has them closer to "should be in" than falling off the bubble. We will not see 3/3 of WVU, OKST, and OU make the field, so something will give over the next few weeks. If, and big if, Texas Tech rattles off a few in a row, they could make a surprise appearance to that flat bubble/bubble section.


Big East

Locks: Xavier, Marquette, UConn

Should Be In: Providence, Creighton

Bubble: Seton Hall

Almost Flat Bubble: None


Xavier, Marquette, and UConn are all clear locks now. Providence would be the next closest, and Creighton's elite metrics, coupled with picking up wins with some guys back, has both teams near the lock area. Seton Hall is firmly on the bubble, first 4 or next 4 out depending on who you ask. Teams like Butler, Villanova and St Johns are at less then 5% odds, but if either of those three wins out the regular season from here on out, we'd at least take another look.


Big Ten

Locks: Purdue, Indiana

Should Be In: Rutgers, Illinois, Iowa

Bubble: Michigan State, Maryland, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Penn State

Almost Flat Bubble: Michigan, Ohio State


Purdue has been a lock for a while now. Indiana's wins over Purdue and Rutgers over the last five days move them into lock status. Both Rutgers and Illinois are within a game or two of being a lock themselves. It's remarkable that despite picking up arguably the worst upset loss of the season, Iowa is not too terribly far from being a lock either. Michigan State and Maryland have enough wins in their "pockets" to be close to should be in. The rest are squarely on the bubble or just barely holding on.


Mountain West

Locks: None

Should Be In: San Diego State

Bubble: New Mexico, Nevada, Boise State, Utah State

Almost Flat Bubble: None


No locks yet for the Mountain West, but four bids once again is looking like a real possibility. San Diego State remains the closest to locking in a bid. New Mexico's massive road wins over SDSU and Saint Marys give them a nice cushion, and the Lobos are close to should be in territory. Both Nevada and Boise State are bubble teams, but above the last 4 in. Utah State may only be able to afford one more loss, max two, to still have a shot. You could argue UNLV being on the just about flat bubble group, but unless they rip off a big win streak, we will keep them off for now.


Pac-12

Locks: Arizona

Should Be In: UCLA

Bubble: USC, Arizona State, Oregon

Almost Flat Bubble: Utah, Colorado


Arizona is locked in, up in the top tier of total Quad 1A wins in the country. UCLA is very likely a lock, would just like to see them win 1/3 against Oregon State, Stanford and Cal coming up. We don't think that is too much to ask. USC is in a solid position, but still bubble today. Arizona State is headed in the wrong direction, now next 4 out at best, while Oregon is sneaking around late in the year. Utah has a great win over Arizona, but not much else of late. Colorado is likely done from an at-large standpoint, but that resume is so wild, we will let them remain here another week.


SEC

Locks: Alabama, Tennessee

Should Be In: Missouri

Bubble: Auburn, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Florida

Almost Flat Bubble: None


Alabama and Tennessee are easy locks. Missouri avoided the South Carolina land mine last night, and are inching closer to a lock. Auburn and Arkansas would be the "bubble" teams very close to should be in, while Texas A&M, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Florida are all in search of more resume building opportunities.


WCC

Locks: Gonzaga, Saint Marys

Should Be In: None

Bubble: None

Almost Flat Bubble: Loyola Marymount, BYU


This may be Gonzaga's worst team in many years, but the Bulldogs are still a NCAA Tournament lock with over a month to play. Saint Marys pulling off an incredible overtime win last Saturday moved them to lock status as well. No other WCC team sits in a great position, but both BYU and LMU have a game remaining against both Gonzaga and Saint Marys. So for now, they remain alive.


Other Mid-Majors

Locks: None

Should Be In: None

Bubble: FAU

Almost Flat Bubble: Oral Roberts, Charleston, North Texas, UAB, Southern Miss


FAU is in the best position here, by a lot. The Owls are much closer to should be in than they are to falling off the list entirely. The rest of the almost flat bubble odds are small, if that. Oral Roberts and Southern Miss have little to no bad losses. ORU has zero losses outside of Q1, but just one Q1/2 win. Southern Miss have two Q1/2 wins but one Q3 loss as well. Great teams, but likely not enough. Charleston's journey is well documented. This is a dangerous team if they win the CAA, but that is almost certainly the only path with two Q3 losses and zero Q1 wins. North Texas and UAB from the C-USA are great "bid stealer" picks, but as is the theme here unfortunately, the at-large hopes are less than 5%. UAB lost a bit without its best player Jordan Walker, and just beat FAU. If UAB wins out, we would at least look at it again. UNT does not have a quality win left on the schedule, so its likely C-USA tournament champion or no bid.



Thanks for reading! You can also check out our latest Bracketology update from 2/6 and/or our Week 13 Teams of the Week to see who is on the rise of late. DM @TBracketology with questions about the bubble or any other CBB questions!

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