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College Basketball Bubble Watch: March 5

Who's on the Bubble in College Basketball?

The NCAA Tournament is nearly here as college basketball conference tournaments are beginning to take place. In a betting perspective, it's important to know which teams still have a fighting chance and which ones are a lock this late in the sesaon.  Let's take a look at where the bubble teams stand as of March 5 with emphasis on strength of schedule and RPI. The RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) is a tool that the selection committee will look before they select their NCAA Tournament picks. 

Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
Who's in?: Duke, Miami, Fla. 

Who is on the right track?

North Carolina State (21-8, 10-6 ACC, RPI: 22, SOS: 23) is finishing strong and faces Wake Forest and Florida State on the road to end. Even if they split, they should be in.  

North Carolina (20-8, 11-5 ACC, RPI: 19, SOS: 15) should be in. They are at Maryland and then host Duke. Two losses probably wouldn’t crush them but they still could use one more big win. Wins over NC State and UNLV are their best.

Who needs help? 

Virginia (20-10, 10-6 ACC, RPI: 60, SOS: 119) beat Duke but then lost at Boston College. Their RPI is still high and that loss could be devastating. A finale at home against Maryland becomes big.

Maryland (20-9, 8-8 ACC; RPI: 68, SOS: 113) beat Wake Forest on the road, which helps, but they probably need to sweep North Carolina and Virginia to have a shot. They probably need one more win in the ACC Tournament as well. 

Atlantic Ten Conference
Who's in? St. Louis

Who is on the right track?
Butler (21-7, 9-5 A10, RPI: 28, SOS: 45) looked to be a lock until they were swept by St. Louis. They were pounded by VCU on the road last week but they still should get in with their strong wins over Gonzaga, Indiana, North Carolina and Marquette. 

VCU (23-6, 11-3 A10, RPI: 31, SOS: 62) got the win they needed over Butler at home. A win over Temple on the road would help. They should be in. 

Who needs help?: 

La Salle (20-7, 10-4 A10, RPI: 45, SOS: 89) has a win over Butler, which is still strong. They beat Duquesne which is not strong. Now they take on George Washington and then are at St. Louis. Now that would be a marquee win. 

Temple (21-8, 9-5 A10, RPI: 42, SOS: 48) still has a shot.  You can never count out a Fran Dunphy-coached team. Beating Detroit in the BracketBusters helps. Hosting VCU at the end may be the game to take them over the top. 

Massachusetts (18-9, 8-6 A10, RPI: 54, SOS: 69) won at Xavier and they still have a shot, even if it’s a long shot. They host Butler on Thursday and there’s the kind of big game they could use. But even a win over Butler doesn’t mean they are in. 

Big East Conference 
Who's In? Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Syracuse.

Who is on the right track? 
Notre Dame (22-7, 10-6 BE, RPI: 47, SOS: 73) lost at Marquette on Saturday. A win would have put them through. They still might be in. A win over Kentucky, Louisville and Pitt are solid though RPI is mediocre.

Who needs help?
Villanova (17-12, 9-8 BE, RPI: 55, SOS: 31) has some great wins but some bad losses. A win over Georgetown in the finale could be enough but they probably need to win a game or two in the tournament. 

Cincinnati (20-10, 8-9 BE, RPI: 48, SOS: 20) is not helping their own cause. They lost to Connecticut, who was playing for pride and then fell to Louisville by double digits. They will definitely need a win or two in the tournament if they continue to slide. 

Big Ten Conference
Who's In? Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Who’s on the right track?
Minnesota (20-9,  8-8 B10, RPI: 16, SOS: 12 has a great RPI and strength of schedule. They also have 13 top-100 wins. They probably need just one more win and they’ll be fine.

Who needs help? 
Illinois (20-9, 8-8 B10, RPI: 34, SOS: 9). The Illini needs a win at Iowa on Tuesday to helped their cause. They also host Ohio State which will be huge. 

Iowa (18-11, 7-9 B10; RPI: 86, SOS: 102). Iowa is fortunate to play in the best conference in the country. They have two home games left with Illinois and Nebraska. Might need another win or two in the tournament. 

Big 12 Conference
Who's In? Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma.

Who needs help?
Iowa State (19-10, 9-7 B12, RPI: 53, SOS: 62) has some more work to do but that could change if they beat Oklahoma State at home on Wednesday. A road loss at West Virginia to end the season would be crippling. 

Baylor (16-13, 8-9 B12, RPI: 67, SOS: 33) continues to falter despite having loads of talent. They take on Kansas, which is not a must-win or it’s NIT-baby.

Missouri Valley Conference
Who’s In?  Creighton

Who needs help?

Wichita State (24-7, 12-6 MVC, RPI: 38, SOS: 94) was on the right track until last week. They had two losses including one at Creighton. They do have wins over VCU and Creighton at home, but that’s probably not enough. 

Mountain West Conference
Who's In? New Mexico

Who’s on the right track? 

UNLV (21-7, 9-5 MWC, RPI: 13, SOS: 17) has two home games left with Boise State and Fresno State. They probably just need one more win before they get to the tournament. 

Colorado State (20-7, 9-5 MWC, RPI: 17, SOS: 25) beat Fresno State at home and then lost at Boise State. They are very close to getting in and need to avoid a collapse. 

Who needs help?:  
San Diego State (18-8, 8-6 MWC, RPI: 32, SOS: 29) lost in New Mexico and probably need a home. They close at Boise State. A win there could put them in.

Boise State (18-8, 8-6 MWC, RPI: 44, SOS: 67) had a strong win over Colorado State that puts them back on the bubble. A win over UNLV would be huge. 

Pac-12 Conference
Who's In? Arizona, UCLA

Who’s on the right track? 

Oregon (23-6, 12-4 P12, RPI: 49, SOS: 104) has wins over UCLA and UNLV on the road. Dominic Artis is finally back and all they need is a win at Colorado or at Utah.

Who needs help?: 

Colorado (19-9, 9-7 P12, RPI: 29, SOS: 20) has some quality wins against Baylor and Arizona, but a win against Oregon at home would make them close to a lock. 

Arizona State (20-10, 9-8 P12, RPI: 92, SOS: 121) doesn’t have the profile right now and with a poor schedule, they are in a tough situation. 

Southeastern Conference
Who's In? Florida, Missouri  

Who’s on the right track?

Kentucky (20-9, 11-5 SEC, RPI: 51, SOS: 59) is pretty close to getting in but a loss at Arkansas kept them still on the bubble. They take on Georgia on the road and Florida at home to end the season.

Who needs help? 

Mississippi (21-8, 10-6 SEC, RPI: 58, SOS: 132) fell at Mississippi State. That’s a horrible loss. They end with a home date with Alabama and then take a trip to LSU. 

Alabama (18-10, 11-5 SEC, RPI: 60, SOS: 88) will take on Ole Miss on Tuesday. A loss could move one of the to the NIT.

Other teams: (Gonzaga, Memphis is in)

Belmont (22-6, 13-2 OVC, RPI: 23, SOS: 87) won the Ohio Valley by two games. Belmont will need to get to the final over the Ohio Valley Conference to probably helped their cause.

Middle Tennessee State (27-4, 19-1, Sun Belt, RPI; 26, SOS: 127) won their league by five games and went 19-1. However, their only big win was over Ole Miss. They probably need  to get to the final to become a lock. That’s a shame because they deserve to be in considering how dominant they were in the league.

Louisiana Tech (25-3, 16-0 WAC, RPI: 48, SOS: 208) takes on New Mexico State on Thursday and Denver on Saturday. Unfortunately, a win over Southern Miss will not be enough.

Akron (22-5, 13-1 MAC.  RPI: 46, SOS: 138) has a win over Middle Tennessee State. They have two more home games against average teams. 

Bucknell (24-5, 12-2 Patriot League; RPI: 52, SOS: 180) beat La Salle and that’s it. Does anybody want to face them in the NCAA Tournament? No way. They’ll probably end up winning the Patriot League tournament. 

St. Mary’s (25-5, 14-2 WCC. RPI: 37, SOS: 115) has two losses to Gonzaga and beat everybody else. A win over Creighton was huge and they also swept BYU. They’ll probably end up in the final in the WCC again.
Posted in: NCAAB

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