Bubble cheat sheet coming before Sunday. Rapid updates on Twitter (@chris_awk) all throughout next week.
Lock – Memphis, South Florida
Sometimes surviving the bubble and moving up means just taking care of business. And outside of a bizarre stumble at Temple, South Florida’s done that and then some in moving to the brink of an outright AAC title. With wins over Baylor and Memphis, the Bulls are now much closer to a national seed than the bubble.
Memphis remains in solid RPI shape, but they might need to win the AAC Tournament to get a look as a seed contender.
Bubble – George Mason, Saint Louis
George Mason capped off the regular season with two more wins last weekend, sending them into the A10 Tournament on a five match winning streak. GMU didn’t play league champs Saint Louis in the regular season and could be well poised to cause a seismic shock against the runaway league champs. SLU ran the table in the A10 and have now won eleven in a row entering the postseason. Two of their three losses are against formidable Power Five conference opponents Kansas and Vanderbilt, with the Billikens a potentially interesting pick for being an upset sleeper if they can claim the A10’s auto bid.
Lock – North Carolina, Florida State, Duke, Virginia, Boston College, NC State
Bubble – Wake Forest, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Notre Dame
No change in the locks going into this week. It’s there that things get pretty interesting. Wake Forest will likely finish at .500 if they can’t upset North Carolina in the regular season finale. That likely knocks them from the ACC Tournament, with both factors serving as big negatives against a potential NCAA bid. But the Demon Deacons’ RPI itself is solid, and they have four wins against RPI Top 50 teams and a draw against Tennessee. They could be one of the more polarizing teams on Selection Monday.
Elsewhere, Louisville’s case is strengthening, with a win over NC State adding a little more weight to the one area where they had been lacking: big wins. The Cards are in a solid place in the ACC and have a very good RPI ranking. Virginia Tech could be sweating, sitting at 8-6-3 and potentially missing the ACC Tournament. They have just one RPI Top 50 win, that coming against Virginia, though they also have a tie with Georgetown. A loss to Louisville on Thursday could be fatal to their NCAA hopes if things don’t break their way. Clemson has a sagging RPI ranking but have wins over Virginia and Florida State, so it’s hard to see them not get in if they’re in bubble range. Notre Dame is alive but with big caveats. The Irish have to beat Duke to get back to .500, a win that would give them three against RPI Top 30 teams. But they’d also have to avoid a loss in the ACC Tournament (if they qualify), that would drop them back under .500.
Lock – Baylor, Texas, West Virginia, TCU
Bubble – Kansas, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech
Just a couple changes in status for the Big 12. TCU climbs up to the lock line after topping Texas Tech, while Oklahoma finally drops off the watch after a heavy defeat to West Virginia. Others? Kansas looks to be buckling under the weight of a brutal run-in with three straight away games against the league’s best teams. An earlier win over TCU should help its case…but the Jayhawks probably want to avoid an early Big 12 Tournament exit just in case. Their situation isn’t as dire as Oklahoma State, who took an awful loss to Iowa State on Sunday and could miss the Big 12 Tournament if they lose to TCU and ISU wins against Kansas State. The Cowgirls have one RPI Top 50 win, that against Kansas, and a sixth straight loss would surely bounce them from the field of sixty-four. Texas Tech may have lost to TCU this past week but still came in with three straight wins before that. A win against Texas would likely wrap-up a bid, but they still have a decent shot given their recent form, though a lack of truly big results could hurt them.