As Selection Sunday approaches, it’s time to check back in on the bubble.
Arkansas, Boise State and Kentucky
Kentucky has won three in a row and has strengthened their resume — largely thanks to the sweep of Tennessee. The Wildcats have moved swiftly from outside of the bracket to a ten-seed. Arkansas seems to get a win just when it needs it, and you certainly can’t ignore their computer numbers. Boise State stayed on the tail of league leader San Diego State by knocking off New Mexico on Wednesday. These three programs are safe for now.
Wisconsin and West Virginia
West Virginia was close to the point of no return just a week ago but a huge win over Oklahoma State solidified their position. WVU is a tough team to handicap as most of their good wins have come at home, and they have a concerning 4-10 record in Quad One. But the computer numbers are better than their seed and you can’t ignore their strength of schedule. I would guess that a week from now this team could very well be on the edge due to their tough schedule.
Wisconsin has always had a resume that matched a team that should be in the field, but their computer numbers are terrible — hence the bad NET ranking. The Badgers haven’t helped themselves with some inconsistent play but beating Purdue could all but seal the deal.
Oklahoma State, Mississippi State and USC
With three sudden blowout losses, Oklahoma State is now in a troublesome situation because their closing schedule is tough. Mississippi State does not have as strong a resume as some in this group, and they also have a questionable strength of schedule — they need to beat A&M on Saturday. USC has a very light resume and not many chances to improve their position. They must win as many as they can and hope the teams around them lose.
Utah State, North Carolina and Michigan
These are the three best candidates at the minute, but it wouldn’t surprise me if other schools came to steal a bid. Utah State can add some solid wins, but they must really rely on teams ahead of them to collapse. North Carolina must start playing more consistently — and beating Duke is a must to strengthen their case. Michigan’s issue is their lack of high-quality wins, but they have some big chances down the stretch.
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LAST FOUR IN: USC, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, West Virginia
FIRST FOUR OUT: Utah State, North Carolina, Michigan, Penn State
NEXT FOUR OUT: Virginia Tech, North Texas, New Mexico, Seton Hall
CONFERENCES WITH MULTIPLE BIDS
Big Ten: 9
Big 12: 8
Big East: 5