This is going to be one of the more interesting bubbles in recent history. The NCAA Tournament field will be decided on March 17, and it’s looking increasingly likely that the parameters for what will earn a team an at-large bid are set to change. A Texas Longhorns team that might end the season 16-16 is considered to have a shot at making the NCAA Tournament field, and many other teams with profiles that used to be considered middling could end up hearing their names called on Selection Sunday. With so many things in flux, it’s even more important for teams to finish the season with a strong conference tournament showing to ensure they will be in the good graces of the Selection Committee. Here are five teams that need to win multiple games to feel good about their chances. You can bet all the conference tournament games at BetDSI.
Texas Longhorns – Let’s get the Longhorns out of the way now. More than any other team in the country, Texas is a litmus test of what’s to come with the committee’s new approach to selecting at-large teams. In the past, Texas wouldn’t have a chance after finishing the season 16-15 and 8-10 in conference with four losses in five games to end the season. However, a strong non-conference schedule that included wins over North Carolina and Purdue has the Longhorns with a NET ranking of 39, one spot ahead of 19-12 Oklahoma.
Still, there are probably enough old school members on the committee for the Longhorns to need multiple wins to feel comfortable about their chances. A win over Kansas in the Quarterfinals followed by a win in the Semifinals over likely opponent Texas Tech would probably seal the deal, while a one and done will leave them home and two and out will leave them on the wrong side of the bubble.
Georgetown Hoyas – In other years, 19-12 and a .500 record in the Big East would probably leave a team feeling pretty good about its chances of making the NCAA Tournament. However, the Hoyas have a NET rating of 76, and that puts them behind almost every other at-large team.
To feel good about their chances of hearing their name called on Selection Sunday, the Hoyas need at least two wins at the Big East Tournament. Losing to Seton Hall in the opener would likely end the Hoyas’ dreams, while a 1-1 mark would make them a toss-up to be selected.
Indiana Hoosiers – The Hoosiers went just 8-12 in conference play during the regular season, but they had a penchant for beating the big boys, and that gives them a chance to play their way into the NCAA Tournament. They have six Quad 1 wins with a sweep of Big Ten champion Michigan State to their credit, so they certainly have a chance to do it. For Indiana to get into the tournament, the Hoosiers need to beat Ohio State on Thursday and Michigan State on Friday.
Florida Gators – A couple weeks ago, most bracketologists believed that Florida was on the right side of the bubble. The Gators were 17-11 and had recently scored consecutive road wins over Alabama and LSU to help their case. However, losing three straight to end the season (including a home game to a bad Georgia team) has them in a precarious spot. Like every other team on this list so far, the Gators need two wins to feel good about their chances, so they must beat Arkansas on Thursday and LSU on Friday.
Temple Owls – The AAC might not have the depth to send four teams to the NCAA Tournament, and if there is an odd team out, it is likely Temple. The Owls secured a huge win over UCF in their regular season finale and they beat Houston at home earlier in the year, but their profile is not as good as the other three schools and their NET ranking is 22 spots lower than UCF. Temple needs one more quality win against one of those teams to feel good about its chances, as a win over either Wichita State or East Carolina won’t accomplish much in the eyes of the committee. They will likely play Cincinnati in the AAC Semifinals on Saturday, and a win there should be enough.
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