With just over a week remaining before Selection Sunday, college basketball teams are polishing their resume with hopes of making the NCAA Tournament. While a team can automatically clinch a spot in March Madness by winning their conference tournament, most teams will not be this fortunate leaving their fate in the hands of the committee to decide if they are worthy of one of the at-large bids.
Here is a rundown of some of the best bracketologists and the teams they have on the tournament bubble.
CBS’s Jerry Palm notes that Louisville’s loss to Wake Forest on Wednesday eliminates them from contention for one of the four top seeds. Palm has Rhode Island, Marquette, Wake Forest and Illinois as the final four teams to make the tournament. He has Kansas State, Syracuse, Georgia and Wichita State all outside the tournament but with the best cases (first four in) to work their way back into March Madness.
Palm has the following teams making the tournament (with the seed) but firmly on the bubble: Rhode Island (11), Marquette (11), Wake Forest (11), Illinois (11), Seton Hall (9), Illinois State (12), UT-Arlington (12), Middle Tennessee (11), VCU (10), Cal (10), Michigan State (9), Providence (11), Nevada (12), Xavier (10) and Arkansas (10).
Here’s a look at the bubble teams ESPN’s bracketologist Joe Lunardi has in the tournament: Michigan (9), Illinois State (12), Marquette (11), Seton Hall (10), USC (11), Xavier (11), Arkansas (10), Northwestern (9), Cal (11), Wake Forest (11), Middle Tennessee (10), VCU (9), UT-Arlington (12), Providence (11), Akron (14) and Syracuse (10).
Assembly Call’s Andy Bottom has been the most accurate bracket projector in recent years. Bottom’s bubble teams include Syracuse, Wake Forest, Kansas State, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, Xavier, Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Arkansas, Houston, Rhode Island, VCU, Illinois State, Middle Tennessee, Nevada, UNC-Wilmington, UT-Arlington and Wichita State.
SB Nation has the following bubble teams making the tournament: Michigan State (9), Syracuse (12), Vanderbilt (12), USC (11), Rhode Island (11), Wichita State (10), Marquette (10), Xavier (8), Northwestern (9), VCU (9), Seton Hall (11), Arkansas (10) and Providence (10).
The USA Today has Illinois, Vanderbilt, Wichita State and USC as their last four teams to make the tournament. They have Cal, Georgia, Rhode Island and Ohio State as the first four teams on the outside looking in.
Palm, Linardi and the majority of college basketball analysts have the four top seeds as Kansas, Villanova, North Carolina and Gonzaga. After their recent loss to BYU, Gonzaga looks to be the most vulnerable to drop down to the two line. The bracket will be officially set on Selection Sunday on March 12. The First Four games kick off the tournament on March 14 with the majority of postseason play beginning on March 16.
Here’s a look at some of the key games on Thursday, March 2 that will have an impact on the bubble:
Houston at No. 18 Cincinnati 7 p.m. Eastern (ESPN2)
FIU at Middle Tennessee 7:30 p.m. Eastern (ESPN3)
Stanford at Colorado 9 p.m. Eastern (ESPN2)
Cal at Utah 11 p.m. Eastern (ESPNU)