One of the more hectic things to keep track of as the calendar turns to March is the large group of proverbial “bubble teams” in NCAA basketball. Bubble teams are teams that are good enough and have impressive enough résumés to be in consideration for one of the 37 available at-large entries into the tournament, but are nowhere near good enough to be any sort of lock for an at-large bid.
Generally, these teams can be made or broken by a big win or disappointing loss in the final week of the regular season or by a surprising/disappointing showing in their respective Conference tournament.
On that note, here are 10 bubble teams to monitor over the final few days of the regular season and Conference Championship week, as well as their current record, which conference they reside in and any remaining regular season games on their schedules. Depending on how they fare between now and Selection Sunday, some of these teams will find themselves somewhere in the bracket while some others will find themselves merely watching the tournament like you and I.
Iowa State: 20-10, Big 12 Conference, @ West Virginia on Saturday
Tennessee: 18-11, SEC, vs. Missouri on Saturday
Alabama: 19-11, SEC, vs. Georgia on Saturday
Kentucky: 20-10, SEC, vs. No. 11 Florida on Saturday
(With Kentucky’s disappointing loss at Georgia on Thursday night, their Saturday afternoon matchup with the No. 11 Gators, which made my list of games to watch this week, becomes that much bigger)
Mississippi: 22-8, SEC, @ LSU on Saturday
Maryland: 20-10, ACC, @ Virginia on Sunday
Baylor: 17-13, Big 12 Conference, vs. No. 4 Kansas on Saturday
Arizona State: 20-10, Pac 12 Conference, @ No. 18 Arizona on Saturday
Arkansas: 18-12, SEC, vs. Texas A&M on Saturday
Boise State: 20-9, MWC, vs. San Diego State on Saturday
While the 10 schools above are a little more well known even to the casual fan, there are lesser known bubble teams out there to keep an eye on as well. With that, here’s an extra team to watch…
Bonus Bubble Team – La Salle: 21-7, Atlantic-10 Conference, @ No. 16 St. Louis on Saturday
As you can see, while Championship week will determine 30 automatic bids by crowning Conference champions (the 31st automatic bid goes to the Ivy League regular season champion), the final weekend of the regular season and Saturday in particular could be the deciding factor in whether these 11 bubble teams get their own tickets to the dance.