NCAA Bubble Watch 2019: Last 4 In & First 4 Out March 5th

tcu

Getty TCU is one of several teams on the NCAA tournament bubble watch.

With less than two weeks remaining until March Madness starts, college basketball teams are anxiously awaiting to see if they can avoid their bubble being popped. The NCAA bubble watch is intense with so few spots up for grabs. ESPN’s John Gasaway detailed why the bubble is small thanks to the stellar play of several mid-major teams.

A number of unrelated and indeed coincidental factors, ranging from an aberrantly weak Pac-12 to the solid-gold profiles built by mid-major programs such as Buffalo and Wofford, have created conditions that are unusually conducive to bid thieves.

That may not be what actually occurs, of course, and the hoops gods will have the last laugh, as always. But at a minimum, we’re already confronted with a perfect storm of exposure to bid thieves.

Teams in major conferences will be rooting for the mid-major favorites to win their conference tournaments. Teams like Wofford, Gonzaga, VCU and Buffalo are expected to make the March Madness field regardless of the outcome of their conference tournaments.

If any mid-major team with solid footing slips up in conference play, it opens up multiple bids for some of these smaller conferences. Conferences like the American Athletic Conference could send as many as four teams (Houston, Cincinnati, UCF and Temple) to the tournament which would be more than a typical year.

All these factors will likely have a negative impact on teams in power conferences who are on the bubble. The Athletic’s Eamonn Brennan estimates 24 teams still have work to do before they are a “lock” to make the field.

Oh, sure: If you’re a team that still has genuine work to do — and we count 24 of those teams in today’s update, though that number includes teams who are already in the bracket and simply need to avoid the kinds of losses that would drop them out of it — now is as good a time as any to get it done. Every win matters, and more than a few teams along or below the cut line have quality opponents on their schedules this week. For those, the final week of the regular season is a simple continuation of the climb.

Here’s a look at the bubble watch as of Tuesday, March 5th.


ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s Last 4 In

TEAM CONFERENCE
Seton Hall Big East
Arizona State Pac-12
Temple AAC
TCU Big 12

ESPN’s Joe Lundari’s Last 4 Teams With a Bye

These are the teams ESPN projects are in danger of having to compete in a play-in game. As of now, these are the final four teams who would avoid playing in one of the play-in games. These teams are rated higher than the “Last Four In” listed above.

TEAM CONFERENCE
NC State ACC
Minnesota Big Ten
Alabama SEC
St. John’s Big East

CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm’s Last 4 In

TEAM CONFERENCE
Arizona State Pac-12
Seton Hall Big East
Furman Southern
Clemson ACC

CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm’s First 4 Out

TEAM CONFERENCE
Texas Big 12
NC State ACC
Georgetown Big East
Saint Mary’s West Coast Conference

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s First 4 Out

TEAM CONFERENCE
Clemson ACC
Saint Mary’s West Coast Conference
Furman Southern
Murray State Ohio Valley

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