The NCAA Tournament Bubble Teams and What They Need to Do to Join the Madness

2023-03-09T12:05:31+00:00 2023-03-21T13:31:25+00:00.


09/Mar/23 12:05
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As the regular college basketball season winds down, teams compete to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament or risk missing out.

Many popular teams are currently on the “bubble,” meaning they may or may not make it into the tournament. This makes the season’s final days potentially chaotic, with many storylines to watch. This guide will analyze these storylines and what each bubble team needs to do to ensure they earn a spot in the tournament.

What are the Odds for North Carolina?

North Carolina, a team ranked No. 1 in the preseason, is currently not in a good position to make it to the NCAA tournament. It will be historic if they fail to make it since no preseason No. 1 team has ever missed the tournament. However, their record in tough games is not favorable compared to other bubble teams. If they manage to beat Duke, they would still be in the bubble but need more quality wins to secure their spot. If they don’t beat Duke, they will most likely have to win the ACC tournament to qualify. Although the team has shown potential in past tournaments, they will need to work hard just to have a chance this year.

To be considered for the NCAA tournament, a team must finish with a record over .500, but historically, teams with 15 or more losses have struggled to receive at-large bids. Additionally, in the past 20 years, no team with less than three games over .500 has made it to the tournament. This year, the strength of the Big 12 and parity in the Big Ten means several teams could be in danger of falling below these thresholds. Betting fans can follow NCAA men’s basketball championship predictions to see the sides that could likely give them money.

With its non-conference loss and upcoming tough games, Michigan is a likely candidate. Wisconsin could also be in trouble if they don’t win against Purdue. Oklahoma State and West Virginia are also in tricky positions and may need to win their respective conference tournaments to have a shot at the tournament. The committee has not been kind to teams with similar resumes in the past, such as Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

For bubble teams hoping to make the NCAA tournament, the automatic bids given to every conference tournament champion can add to the uncertainty. In previous years, teams like Virginia Tech, Oregon State, and Georgetown have won their respective conference tournaments and knocked out projected at-large teams. This year, Villanova is being watched as a potential bid thief, as they have recently beaten Xavier and Creighton and could make a run in their conference tournament. The Conference USA tournament is also worth keeping an eye on, as only Florida Atlantic is likely guaranteed a spot. A team like Utah State or New Mexico from the Mountain West could also claim an otherwise open bid by winning their conference tournament.

Significance of Conference Tournament Results

Last year, there was little emphasis put on conference tournament results by the selection committee, leading to surprises in seeding and even a team being left out despite making a run in their conference championship game. If the committee follows a similar pattern this year, it could hurt bubble teams trying to make their case for an at-large bid. However, it is also possible that the committee overemphasizes conference tournament success and includes a team with a weaker resume but who had a strong showing in their tournament.

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