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  • Ryan Hendrix

WASU Bubble Watch

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

As the college basketball regular season nears its end, many teams are vying to make the NCAA tournament. While some teams are sitting pretty knowing they are safely in, while others start to sweat for the rest of the season. From big teams to little ones, here are the teams vying for those final few spots.


ACC:

North Carolina Tar Heels: 16-11 record, 48th in NET

After starting ranked #1 in the AP poll, the Tar Heels now sit with their postseason hopes dangling on a thread. Posting a dismal 0-8 versus Quad 1 opponents, the only thing keeping the heels afloat is the fact that they have no quad 3 or 4 losses. With Duke (29 th in NET) and Virginia (16 th in NET), Carolina has chances to boost their resume. If they lose both of these, we may see the tar heels miss the tournament

for the first time since the 2010 season.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons: 17-10, 77th in NET

The Demon Deacons face an uphill battle to try to get in as an at large bid to march madness. Going 1-6 in Quad 1 games and 4-2 in Quad 2 games, what drags down the deacs are two Quad 3 losses to LSU (157 th in NET) and Loyola Marymount (102 nd in NET). With only one more chance to notch a good win (Versus NC State on 2/22/23), Wake Forest will have to make a run in the ACC tournament to have a chance to make the field.

Clemson Tigers: 19-8, 81st in NET

Clemson has had a very up and down season. At one point, they seemed fairly safe to be in the field atop the ACC standings. As of recent though, the tigers have fallen off the cliff. Posting an egregious three Quad 4 losses this year, including most recently a loss at the hands of Louisville (308 th in NET), the tigers will try to ride on the back of their three Quad 1 wins vs Duke, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. Clemson has little room for error with Syracuse, NC State, Virginia and Notre Dame to close the season. They have chances to build the resume as well as chances to seriously ruin it.

Syracuse Orange: 16-11, 101st in NET

The Orange are in the territory of needing an ACC tournament victory to make the show. Jim Boeheim’s squad only has two wins Quad 2 and none in Quad 1. Having losses to Colgate (100 th in NET) and Bryant (164 th in NET) does not help their case either. The Orange do close their season having games vs Clemson and Pittsburgh however, so not all hope is lost quite yet for the boys in New York.

Virginia Tech Hokies: 16-11, 64th in NET

Rounding out the ACC bubble teams are the Hokies of Virginia Tech. They are another case of good wins (Duke, Oklahoma State, Virginia) and awful losses (Boston College twice, Georgia Tech). They needed a win versus Miami (31 st in NET) Tuesday night to have a real chance at an at large, however they ended up dropping that game 76-70.


Big Ten:

Michigan Wolverines: 15-12, 65th in NET

Juwan Howard and the Wolverines have disappointed throughout much of the year. Going 3-9 in Quad 1 and 4-2 in Quad 2, the Wolverines need some more resume building wins with a Quad 4 loss to Central Michigan (309 th in NET) anchoring them down. They will get that chance closing versus Rutgers, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. All of those teams are Quad 1 or high Quad 2 and would give Michigan the boost needed to get an at large selection.

Wisconsin Badgers: 15-11, 76th in NET

Sitting right around the “Last 4 in” territory for most of the season are the Badgers from Wisconsin. Having five victories in Quad 1 play helps their resume, while losses to Wake Forest and Nebraska weigh it down. The Badgers are safer than some teams but could use a few more good wins to feel good about their chances. The biggest chance to get that win will be when they face Purdue at home on March 2nd .

Penn State Nittany Lions: 16-11, 58th in NET

Penn State is still holding onto their hopes of an at large bid having no bad losses. Their case is that they only have two wins in Quad 1 and four in Quad 2. They will have to end the season hot, same as many others, to make it as an at large. That is easier said than done as they face Maryland (24 th in NET), Rutgers (28 th in NET) and Northwestern (37 th in NET) to finish out the year.


Big East:

Seton Hall Pirates: 16-12, 71st in NET

Shaheen Holloway’s first season coaching his alma mater at Seton Hall has been ok at best. Going 3-7 in Quad 1 and 2-4 in Quad 2, winning the games they should keeps them alive for a bid. They will have a few more chances to build their resume when the face Xavier (25 th in NET) and Providence (38 th in NET). Winning both makes you feel great while splitting those would have them closer to in than out.

Villanova Wildcats: 14-14, 84th in NET

It will be a tough climb for the wildcats to get an at large bid but not impossible just yet. Tuesday night they got their first Quad 1 win vs Xavier and that helps their resume a ton. They were previously 0-9 in Quad 1 as well as being 3-3 in Quad 2. Finishing versus Creighton (13 th in NET) and UConn (8 th in NET), do not count the cats out just yet, even if a good run in the Big East tournament would be needed.


Big 12:

Oklahoma Sooners: 13-14, 61st in NET

The Sooners have been the model of inconsistency this season. Posting huge wins over Alabama (2nd in NET) and then losing to the likes of Sam Houston State (60 th in NET) proves the Sooners have work to do. Their season closes with all Quad 1 opponents (Texas Tech, Kansas State, TCU, Iowa State) so the chance is still there for Porter Moser’s squad.

West Virginia Mountaineers: 16-12, 26th in NET

Trending closer and closer to the safely in category are the Mountaineers from West Virginia. Only 5-11 in Quad 1, but have just a single loss in Quad 2, 3 and 4 help the Mountaineers resume tremendously. With a good strength of schedule to close, things would have to go very wrong for the Mountaineers to miss.

Oklahoma State Cowboys: 16-12, 42nd in NET

The Pokes have had a sneaky good season this year. Going 5-9 in Quad 1 games puts them in this situation. They are not safe however dropping games to UCF (59 th in NET) and Southern Illinois (126th in NET). Being in a tough Big 12 helps them however as losing any of their final three wouldn’t hurt them too much.

Texas Tech Red Raiders: 15-12, 54th in NET

On the outside looking in-side of the Big 12 teams are the Red Raiders. Going only 4-10 in Quad 1 while getting zero wins in Quad 2. They are not dead yet however because with a win over Oklahoma Tuesday night they are right back in the hunt. They close with TCU, Kansas and Oklahoma State, plenty of resume building chances.


SEC:

Florida Gators: 14-13, 52nd in NET

The Gators sit having a lot of work to do to get an at large bid in the SEC. Getting only 3 wins in Quads 1 and 2, Gators lack the all-important marquee wins. Their schedule to close doesn’t do them much justice either with their only Quad 1 opponent being Kentucky (33 rd in NET), the Gators are now in the category of needing to win the SEC tournament.

Mississippi State Bulldogs: 18-9, 43rd in NET

Mississippi State has snuck into a good spot to make march as an at large. Posting three wins in Quad 1 and four wins in Quad 2, the Bulldogs also boast not having a loss in Quads 3 and 4. Bulldogs are still on the line right now but as long as they don’t lose to Vanderbilt (87th in NET) or South Carolina (242nd in NET) they have a good chance to sneak in as a play in squad.

Kentucky Wildcats: 18-9, 33rd in NET

Now sitting pretty after having to sweat it out for weeks are the Kentucky Wildcats. Boasting 9 wins in Quads 1 and 2 they have the wins on their resume to be safe. The one thing dragging them down is an egregious Quad 4 loss at home to South Carolina. The blemishes have diminished in the past month for Kentucky and as long as they don’t drop another bad game, they should get a bye.

Georgia Bulldogs: 16-11, 131st in NET

A long shot is what the Bulldogs are after at one point being as high as a 9 seed. Georgia is now firmly in the must win category for the conference tournament after having three Quad 3 losses to Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss.


Best of the rest:

College of Charleston Cougars: 26-3, 53rd in NET

Hailing from the Colonial Athletic Association are the Cougars of Charleston. Boasting an impressive 26-3 record they have two Quad 2 wins over Virginia Tech and Kent State. What keeps them on the bubble is the fact that they have 2 losses in a relatively weak conference. Those losses being to Hofstra (91st in NET) and Drexel (199th in NET). As long as Charleston wins a decent amount of games in their conference tournament, the door is still open if they don’t get the auto bid.

Kent State Golden Flashes: 22-5, 55th in NET

Coming out of the MAC is Kent State. They boast a good NET ranking and a Quad 2 win over Ohio (135th in NET). Still will be tough for them to get in as an at large however with a Quad 4 loss to Northern Illinois.

Florida Atlantic Owls: 24-3, 21st in NET

The Owls have had a fantastic season and if they win the games they should until the conference tournament they should get an at large bid. They are 2-1 in Quad 1 and 3-2 in Quad 2 with no awful losses.

Liberty Flames: 22-7, 45th in NET

Liberty comes out of the Atlantic Sun conference and while being impressive in the NET rankings, would need a lot to go their way to get an at large. This is due to only one win in Quads 1 and 2 and having three Quad 3 losses.

New Mexico Lobos: 20-7, 47th in NET

At one point being a for sure at large bid was New Mexico. This was until they lost 4 straight and all of those losses being in Quads 3 and 4. They will now need to sweep Boise State (23 rd in NET) and San Diego State (17 th in NET) to get back into a spot where they feel safe.

Oral Roberts Golden Eagles: 25-4, 44th in NET

The final team I will mention will be stars of the Summit League in Oral Roberts. Impressively only having 4 losses, all of which were Quad 1 losses. They also boast a Quad 2 win over Liberty. Look for Oral Roberts to still make the tournament even if they are upset in their conference tournament.


MY LAST 4 IN:

North Carolina

Mississippi State

Charleston

Oklahoma State

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