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January 15, 2008

SCS.comThe first half of this NCAA Basketball season has been full of different questions. What mid-major programs will be invited to the NCAA Tournament? Which team is number one? Who is the top freshman? But, the question that seems to be on the mind of every fan is: Is my team IN, or OUT of the NCAA Tournament? It may only be mid-Januray, but its never too early to start talking about "Bubble Teams". Which teams are IN? Which teams are OUT? And what do the Bubble Teams need to do to make the NCAA Tournament come March?


League Standings
North Carolina 2-0 17-0
Boston College 2-0 11-4
Miami (Fla.) 1-0 14-1
Duke 1-0 13-1
Clemson 1-1 13-3
Wake Forest 1-1 11-4
Florida St. 1-1 12-5
Virginia Tech 1-1 10-6
N.C. State 0-1 11-4
Virginia 0-1 10-4
Maryland 0-2 10-7
Georgia Tech 0-2 7-8

Teams that WILL be in: North Carolina, Duke
Teams that SHOULD be in: Clemson, Miami
Teams that MIGHT be in: Boston College, Florida State, Virginia, Wake Forest
Teams that SHOULDN'T be in: Virginia Tech, N.C. State
Teams that WON'T be in: Maryland, Georgia Tech

BUBBLE TEAMS: Boston College is a lot better team than their computer rankings show. A bad loss to Robert Morris at home will hurt the Eagles come March. The best thing BC can do right now is win your winnable games. Florida State on the other hand, has nice computer numbers, but no really key wins besides a below-average Florida squad. A win over Duke or UNC would really help them. Virginia is a team that could be as high as a 8 seed on some days, or not even a NIT contender on others. All of their losses came against quality opponents, however they have no quality wins besides the one at Arizona (another up-and-down team). The Cavaliers need help with consistency. Wake Forest may not have the best strength of schedule, but all of their losses have come on the road. One thing is for sure: The Demon Deacons will need a nice road win if they want to be dancing in March.


League Standings
Georgetown 3-0 13-1
Marquette 3-1 13-2
Cincinnati 3-1 8-8
DePaul 3-1 7-8
Pittsburgh 2-1 14-2
Notre Dame 2-1 12-3
Louisville 2-1 12-4
West Virginia 2-2 12-4
Connecticut 2-2 11-4
Syracuse 2-2 12-5
Providence 2-2 11-5
Villanova 1-2 11-3
South Florida 1-3 10-7
St. Johns 1-3 7-8
Seton Hall 0-3 10-6
Rutgers 0-4 8-9

Teams that WILL be in: Georgetown, Marquette, Pittsburgh,
Teams that SHOULD be in: Syracuse, West Virginia, Notre Dame, West Virginia
Teams that MIGHT be in: Villanova, Providence, Connecticut, Lousiville
Teams that SHOULDN'T be in: South Florida, Seton Hall, DePaul
Teams that WON'T be in: Rutgers, St. Johns

BUBBLE TEAMS: Villanova's record is mighty impressive, however, their opponents are not. The Wildcats could really use a win against a top Big East school to claim a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Providence, unlike Villanova, has an ugly record, but very nice computer numbers. The Friars don't need to lose to any cupcake teams to get their record up. Connecticut has seemed to improve game by game. Three of their four losses have come against top 20 teams. However, the Huskies will need one of their remaining games against top 20 schools to turn into a W. Lousiville has quickly made its way out of a 2 seed, down to a 9 seed, and now out of the Tournament. To be fair, the Cardinals are getting their injured players back, and starting to play good basketball. If they can start playing like they were at the beginning of the year, they will have no problem getting selected in March.


League Standings
Indiana 3-0 14-1
Wisconsin 3-0 13-2
Ohio St. 3-1 12-4
Michigan St. 2-1 14-2
Minnesota 2-1 12-3
Purdue 2-1 11-5
Penn St. 2-1 10-5
Iowa 1-3 8-9
Michigan 1-3 5-11
Illinois 0-4 8-9
Northwestern 0-4 5-8

Teams that WILL be in: Indiana, Michigan State, Wisconsin
Teams that SHOULD be in: Ohio State
Teams that MIGHT be in: Minnesota, Purdue
Teams that SHOULDN'T be in: Illinois, Penn State
Teams that WON'T be in: Northwestern, Michigan, Iowa

BUBBLE TEAMS: Minnesota has a very good, well-known coach. Plus one. Minnesota does NOT have a very good, well-known team. Minus one. The Golden Gophers have a very nice record. Plus two. The Golden Gophers do NOT have a very nice resume. Minus two. However, with their next three games against Indiana, Michigan State, and Ohio State, make or break time is already here for Tubby Smith's squad. Purdue is a very inconsistent team. Sure wins against Lousiville and Ohio State look good, and yeah even two three point road losses to Clemson and Michigan State look alright as well, but losses at home to Wofford and Iowa State could kill the Boilermakers when the Selection Committee looks them over. Going .500 in the Big Ten would be a huge boost in their resume.


League Standings
Kansas 1-0 16-0
Texas A&M 1-0 15-1
Baylor 1-0 13-2
Kansas St. 1-0 11-4
Missouri 1-0 11-5
Oklahoma St. 1-0 10-5
Texas 0-1 13-3
Nebraska 0-1 11-3
Oklahoma 0-1 12-4
Iowa St. 0-1 10-6
Texas Tech 0-1 9-6
Colorado 0-1 8-7

Teams that WILL be in: Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M
Teams that SHOULD be in: Kansas State, Oklahoma
Teams that MIGHT be in: Baylor, Texas Tech, Missouri
Teams that SHOULDN'T be in: Oklahoma State, Nebraska
Teams that WON'T be in: Colorado, Iowa State

BUBBLE TEAMS: Baylor, that's right BAYLOR, is one of the most surprising teams this year. The Bears have a nice record, along with some nice wins, including knocking off Notre Dame, Winthrop, and Wichita State to win the Paradise Jam. The only thing that would keep them out of the tournament right now is simply, their name. Texas Tech has a very nice strength of schedule along with a couple of quality wins. However, their 9-6 record is little to brag about. The Red Raiders will need to either get their record a lot better, or find a big win against a top Big XII team. Missouri is a school with a little work left to be done. Though their record isn't the best, their losses have come to quality teams. The recent win against Texas will look very good, but they could use a nice conference run to help them out.


League Standings
UCLA 4-0 16-1
Arizona St. 3-0 13-2
Oregon 3-1 12-4
Washington St. 2-1 14-1
Stanford 2-2 13-3
California 2-2 11-4
Arizona 1-2 11-5
USC 1-3 10-6
Washington 0-3 9-7
Oregon St. 0-4 6-10

Teams that WILL be in: UCLA, Washington State
Teams that SHOULD be in: Oregon, Arizona, Stanford, Arizona State
Teams that MIGHT be in: USC, Cal
Teams that SHOULDN'T be in: Washington
Teams that WON'T be in: Oregon State

BUBBLE TEAMS: USC has played some quality opponents, but just hasn't been able to take one of them down. If they can find a win somewhere against rivals UCLA or Washington State, the Trojans should be in good shape for the Tournament (along with the fact that I think the Selection Committee will let them in to boost the publicity to watch O.J. Mayo in his only NCAA Tournament, but sshhh... "that's not allowed"). California's record is bareable. Even their semi-low computer rankings won't kill the Bears. What will is the brutal Pac Ten schedule that they must face. If they can go .500 in league play, I think they should be in.


League Standings
Eastern Division
Tennessee 2-0 14-1
Florida 2-0 15-2
Kentucky 1-0 7-7
Vanderbilt 1-1 16-1
Georgia 0-1 9-5
South Carolina 0-2 8-8
Western Division
Arkansas 2-0 13-3
Mississippi St. 2-0 11-5
Mississippi 1-1 14-1
Alabama 0-2 11-6
Auburn 0-2 9-5
LSU 0-2 7-9

Teams that WILL be in: Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Teams that SHOULD be in: Ole Miss, Arkansas, Florida
Teams that MIGHT be in: Alabama, Mississippi State
Teams that SHOULDN'T be in: Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky
Teams that WON'T be in: LSU, South Carolina,

BUBBLE TEAMS: Alabama has played some very good teams in Texas A&M, Georgetown, and Clemson. However, zero wins to show for it could hurt the Tide. Winning the West would almost guarantee them into the tournament, while a second place finish wouldn't be too bad either. Mississippi State started out the season slow at 5-5, but the Bulldogs have managed to win seven straight. Their record might not be good, but all of their losses have come to quality opponents. Like Alabama, winning the West might be just the trick.


Other teams not from "BCS" Conferences that will be in the NCAA Tournament are Memphis, Butler, Xavier, and St. Mary's, Gonzaga and Drake look like good contenders right now, as does Rhode Island in the very strong Atlantic Ten.

As in any season, any one of these teams could play their way into, or out of the Tournament over the next two months. Three things the teams on the bubble can do are to beat who you're supposed to beat, stay healthy, and SHOW that your team should be playing in mid-March.

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