NCAAM Preview: Bubble Watch One Week Out from Selection Sunday

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 team in the tournament field, and making the case whether it’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.

Big East: Butler (16-14, 7-10)

Net Ranking: 59

Best Win: At Georgetown by four, if that can even be considered a good win.

Worst Loss: Xavier, but both teams are 16-14 so that’s not that bad of a loss.

A theme of this week’s bubble watch is power conference teams with losing records in league play, starting with Butler. To the Bulldogs credit, they don’t have any bad losses, but they don’t have any good wins either. Without good victories to impress the selection committee and an ugly conference record, I expect Butler to miss the tournament.

Big 12: TCU (18-12, 6-11)

Net Ranking: 53

Best Win: Swept Iowa State

Worst Loss: Lipscomb

The Horned Frogs are another team with a bad conference record. Although TCU has two wins over Iowa State, the Cyclones were ranked in the top 20 at the time of both wins, the Horned Frogs 6-11 record in Big 12 play is too much to overcome and Jamie Dixon’s team will miss the big dance.

Big Ten: Indiana (16-14, 7-12)

Net Ranking: 50

Best Win: Marquette, swept Michigan State, Wisconsin

Worst Loss: Northwestern, Nebraska, Rutgers

Every year there is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde team with multiple good wins and multiple bad losses. This year the Jekyll and Hyde team is Indiana. The Hoosiers swept a top 10 Michigan State team, and beat ranked Marquette and ranked Wisconsin. But Archie Miller’s club also lost to perennial Big 10 basement feeders Northwestern, Nebraska, and Rutgers. I easily could be wrong about this prediction, but I think Indiana will miss the tournament.

SEC: Florida (17-13, 9-8)

Net Ranking: 33

Best Win: At LSU

Worst Loss: Georgia

An over .500 record in a strong SEC should propel Florida into the tournament field. The Gators also have a strong net ranking at 33, and the selection committee will want to show off its new toy in year one.

St. Mary’s (20-11, 11-5)

Net Ranking: 37

Best Win: Beating a 19-12 BYU team

Worst Loss: Pepperdine

The committee will tell you what it thinks of Gonzaga’s conference based on what it does with Saint Mary’s. The Gaels are another team with a strong net ranking, and again the committee will want to show off its new toy, but Saint Mary’s resume doesn’t jump off the page at you. The Gaels lost to 14-17 Pepperdine, and the only good win was against a BYU team with a worse record. Saint Mary’s will miss the tournament and the WCC will once again be a one bid league.

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.
Twitter: @BrendonWBaker