Bubble Watch, NCAA Tournament Bracket Predictions FINAL UPDATE

March 16th, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Bubble WatchThe final bubble watch is in! Here at Bankroll Sports, these are the teams that we think are going to be in the NCAA Tournament. Join us for our final look at our March Madness bubble watch and our NCAA Tournament bracket predictions.

These are the 31 conference champs that have all been taken off of this page. The clubs that are listed are the ones that are going to be taking the 37 at large bids for the dance. Please note that Sunday’s championship game participants are all locked into the NCAA Tournament, though one of the two will take automatic bids, while the other will have at large bids to the dance.

Bubble Watch Update As Of Completed Games On 3/16/13

Atlantic 10
NCAA Tournament Locks: St. Louis Billikens/VCU Rams, Butler Bulldogs, Temple Owls
In the NCAA Tournament: La Salle Explorers
Left Home: Masssachusetts Minutemen

La Salle hasn’t done enough to get itself out of going to Dayton to start off the NCAA Tournament, but we do think that the Explorers are in the field. They really don’t have any glaring losses on the season, and in a year where a whole bunch of teams have done nothing but put together resumes with questionable defeats, that’s important. Are there any remarkable wins? Not really. But again, with no losses that are hurting since November, the Selection Committee has to put the Explorers in. UMass was never really considered a team that had a legitimate shot to get into the dance, and Saturday’s loss to VCU was the end of it.

ACC
NCAA Tournament Locks: Miami Hurricanes/North Carolina Tar Heels, Duke Blue Devils, NC State Wolfpack
In the NCAA Tournament: None
Left Home: Maryland Terrapins, Virginia Cavaliers

Both Maryland and Virginia only have themselves to blame for not getting into the NCAA Tournament. The Terrapins lost a brutal game right at the end of the regular season to the Cavaliers. They did get the job done against the Blue Devils in the second round of the ACC Tournament, but they couldn’t figure it out against North Carolina in the closing moments. There are two great wins against Duke on this resume, but everything else just isn’t going to cut it. UVA’s problem is that it couldn’t take down NC State in the ACC quarterfinals. Had the Hoos picked up that win, they’d be dancing. They didn’t though, and they really don’t have a leg to stand on, knowing that there have been some lousy losses along the way at the end of the regular season. Both of these teams also scheduled relatively poorly outside of the ACC.

Big XII
NCAA Tournament Locks: Kansas State Wildcats, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Oklahoma Sooners, Iowa State Cyclones
In the NCAA Tournament: None
Left Home: Baylor Bears

Nothing to see here. The Bears had a shot in the Big XII Tournament to claim a scalp against Okie State, but they didn’t get the job done, losing in the dying seconds. The Big XII is going to send five teams to the dance this year with ease, while Baylor gets left at home in the NIT.

Big East
NCAA Tournament Locks: Syracuse Orange, Georgetown Hoyas, Pittsburgh Panthers, Marquette Golden Eagles, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Cincinnati Bearcats, Villanova Wildcats
In the NCAA Tournament: None
Left Home: None

The Big East has been fairly cut and dry over the course of the last few days. This would have amazingly been a nine-bid league had UConn been eligible for the postseason. Alas, the Huskies weren’t, but these other eight teams are all going to be dancing. Most are going to be in the top part of the bracket as well. No teams were seriously on the bubble in the end after Providence and St. John’s bowed out at Madison Square Garden relatively early at the Big East Tournament.

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Big 10
NCAA Tournament Locks: Wisconsin Badgers/Ohio State Buckeyes, Indiana Hoosiers, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Illinois Fighting Illini
In the NCAA Tournament: None
Left Home: Iowa Hawkeyes

The Big Ten was largely the best conference, especially at the top this year in America. Seven teams are in the dance for sure, and the question was whether an eighth would join the bunch or not. Iowa’s non-conference schedule was terrible this year, and in the end, in spite of some decent victories, it just wasn’t able to get the job done. The loss to Michigan State kept the Hawkeyes out of the NCAA Tournament once and for all.

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Conference USA
NCAA Tournament Locks: None
In the NCAA Tournament: None
Left Home: Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles

Southern Miss had a chance to get into the NCAA Tournament the easy way on Saturday, and it would have been in the field had it figured out how to beat Memphis even just once this season. Alas, the Golden Eagles were dropped all three times that they played the Tigers, and that last loss in double overtime proved to be a heartbreaking defeat. This is a team that we could see getting the nod from the Selection Committee on Sunday, but it really isn’t warranted.

Missouri Valley Conference
NCAA Tournament Locks: Wichita State Shockers
In the NCAA Tournament: None
Left Home: None

Creighton comes off of the Bubble Watch page as the automatic winners of the Missouri Valley. Some are questioning Wichita State, but the Valley has a rich history here in the dance, and the conference is deserving of a second team in the field of 68.

Mountain West
NCAA Tournament Locks: UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, San Diego State Aztecs, Colorado State Rams
In the NCAA Tournament: Boise State Broncos
Left Home: None

If there is a team that was incredibly happy about how things went on Friday and Saturday, it’s Boise State. The Broncos bowed out of the Mountain West Tournament in the quarterfinals, and they had to sit, watch, and wait. What they saw as they were resting on the sidelines though, were a bunch of games go their way. Boise State deserves to be in the field of 68. The team has some big wins this year in the Mountain West, which was a significantly tougher conference than say, the SEC was for really the whole season.

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Pac-12
NCAA Tournament Locks: UCLA Bruins, Arizona Wildcats, Colorado Buffaloes, California Golden Bears
In the NCAA Tournament: None
Left Home: None

There really wasn’t anything left to doubt in the Pac-12 by the time the conference reached its semifinals. Stanford, Washington, and Arizona State never really had the resumes to get into the field, and they were all really pipe dreams. The other five teams are all getting into the dance without really any degree of doubt. Cal might ultimately end up in Dayton, but it is firmly in the dance.

SEC
NCAA Tournament Locks: Missouri Tigers
In the NCAA Tournament: Ole Miss Rebels
Left Home: Kentucky Wildcats, Alabama Crimson Tide, Tennessee Volunteers

The SEC might be a dominating football conference, but this year, it isn’t going to want to remember anything that happened on the hardwood at this point. Florida is expected to win the SEC Championship at this point, and we are going to assume that it is going to do as much. If not, Ole Miss will make the fact that it is on the bubble elementary. We still think that the Rebels are in the field regardless of what happens on Sunday in Nashville. They did what Kentucky couldn’t do (beat Vandy), and there wasn’t anything that any of these teams in the SEC did that were all that notable in the SEC Tournament. Alabama couldn’t get its statement win over Florida. Tennessee and Kentucky both suffered relatively bad losses that should proving to be fatal.

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Sun Belt
NCAA Tournament Locks: None
In the NCAA Tournament: Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
Left Home: None

If you take the names off of the fronts of the uniforms, you’ll see that the Blue Raiders have a resume to get into the dance. They have a Top 30 RPI, they have a Top 15 non-conference SOS, and they have a 28-5 record. The problem is that a ton of those wins came against Sun Belt teams. The Blue Raiders went 19-1 in conference play in the regular season, but it was beaten by FIU in the league semifinals in a devastating defeat. That being said, look at the rest of this resume. It really is rock solid. There has never been a team fail to get into the NCAA Tournament with a Top 30 RPI, at least 28 wins, and no more than five losses regardless of what conference they came from. It would be upsetting to us if the Blue Raiders were left out.

West Coast Conference
NCAA Tournament Locks: St. Mary’s Gaels
In the NCAA Tournament: None
Left Home: None

Gonzaga is the automatic qualifier out of the WCC, and that could at least make things somewhat interesting for St. Mary’s. Still, that win over Creighton, a good tourney history, and a rock solid SU record should be enough to get the Gaels into the tourney. It would have been really nice to claim at least one win against the Zags at some point this year, though.


Posted in NCAA Basketball on Saturday, March 16th, 2013 at 8:18 pm (EST)
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