Each week until Selection Sunday I’ll be picking one team from each power conference (minus the Pac-12 because it will only get one or two teams into the tournament field) and make the case as to whether they’ll make or miss the big dance. When I run out of bubble teams from a power conference, I’ll use a mid-major team instead.
ACC: Clemson (17-11, 7-8)
Net Ranking: 41
Best Win: Virginia Tech by eight when the Hokies were ranked 11th.
Worst Loss: Nebraska by two.
.500 in conference should be good enough to get teams from most power conferences in the tournament. Clemson has a really good win over a Virginia Tech team that beat Duke earlier this week. And the Tigers have avoided any catastrophic losses that can break a bubble team’s chances. They’ll have another opportunity to score a big win this weekend against fifth-ranked North Carolina. If Clemson avoids a bad loss to Notre Dame next week, the Tigers should be in the tournament.
Big East: Seton Hall (16-11, 7-8)
Net Ranking: 65
Best Win: Kentucky at home by a point.
Worst Loss: Swept by DePaul
The Pirates are still holding their hats on an early season win over Kentucky. Getting swept by DePaul, 5-10 in conference, and losing to Xavier, could dog Seton Hall’s chances at making the tournament. With a tough stretch to close the regular season against Georgetown, Marquette, and Villanova, the Pirates will likely miss the tournament.
Big Ten: Minnesota (17-11, 7-10)
Net Ranking: 60
Best Win: At Wisconsin by seven
Worst Loss: Boston College and Rutgers
Minnesota is another bubble team with a brutal stretch to finish the regular season. The Gophers face number 14 Purdue and visit 17th ranked Maryland to end the year. An ugly 7-10 conference record likely doesn’t get better. Considering Minnesota’s remaining schedule, the Gophers will miss the tournament.
Davidson (20-8, 11-4 Atlantic 10)
The Wildcats appear here in place of a team from the Big 12.
Net Ranking: 76
Best Win: None
Worst Loss: At Wake Forest by four, UMASS by three.
The Wildcats best win is conference opponent VCU by seven. But losses to Wake Forest and UMASS, two teams with a combined record of 21-34, will keep Davidson out of the tournament.
SEC: Alabama (17-11, 8-7)
Net Ranking: 48
Best Win: Kentucky by 2.
Worst Loss: Northeastern by 16.
Alabama will probably make the tournament with a solid net ranking at 48 and the benefit of playing in a strong SEC. Losing to Northeastern by double digits is a terrible loss, but in the past few years the committee has prioritized good wins. The Tide can boast three wins against ranked teams.
Graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism. Fan of all sports and a long-suffering Jets fan who will defend Sam Darnold at all times. Also, an above average golfer.