Breitbart Sports Middle 20 Teams Fighting for Final Bids Next Sunday
The following three links take you to lists of the 45 locks for the NCAA tournament, the 164 teams that can only get a bid if they win their conference tournament, and the 118 eliminated teams. The only teams not on one of those three lists are the Breitbart Sports Middle 20, the teams that are on the bubble with a week left to make their case for a bid. You can also click on the stories on Saturday's three new conference champions, Belmont, Harvard, and Florida Gulf Coast. Here is an explanation of where each of those 20 teams stand:
Teams 1-3 deserve to be the last three bids that do NOT have to play an opening round play-in game.
1. St. Mary's, WCC: A very unimpressive, narrow overtime win against lowly San Diego that ended early Sunday morning leaves a little doubt about St. Mary's if they get blown out against by Gonzaga Monday in the West Coast championship. The win over Creighton should get them into the tournament though.
2. Temple, A10: With six straight wins, should be in good shape going into Sunday's tough game against VCU at Noon ET Sunday.
3. Villanova, BE: The only team to beat No. 5 Georgetown, the top team in the Big East tournament, should get a bid, but they must open the Big East Tourney against host St. John's.
Teams 4-7 deserve the last four at-large bids, and would play each other to get into the field of 64.
4. Boise St., MWC: Big upset of San Diego State Saturday makes it five of six in the brutal Mountain West Conference, and Boise State deserves a bid even if they lose a rematch to them Thursday to open the MWC tournament.
5. Tennessee, SEC: The big 2-point win Saturday over Missouri makes it eight of the last nine including the win over Florida, and we believe they deserve to sneak in as the third SEC team.
6. Baylor, B12: Blowout of No. 4 Kansas Saturday has them in the tournament, but they open Big 12 tournament with a brutal matchup with No. 13 Oklahoma State.
7. Bucknell, Pat: Can clinch in the Patriot League title game against No. 2 Lafayette Wednesday, but we believe they deserve a bid anyway with their only loss in the last 12 being being a one-point loss at Lafayette.
Teams 8-10 deserve bids right now, but typically there are about three "spoilers" in conference tournament play, so these three need help to get a bid.
8. Iowa St., B12: Huge wins against No. 13 Oklahoma State and Saturday on the road against West Virginia could nudge them back in, but probably still need to beat Oklahoma to open Big 12 tournament Thursday.
9. Louisiana Tech, WAC: We thought they were questionable for the tournament even when they were ranked No. 25 in the country by the AP last week, and since then they have been blown out twice on the road by New Mexico State and Denver.
10. Mississippi, SEC: They did win four of their last five, but none were impressive wins and the loss was to lowly Mississippi State to make them a close call.
Finally, spots 11 through 20 are teams we do not believe deserve bids, but could certainly get one.
11. Kentucky, SEC: We do not believe they deserve to be in, but will probably be selected based on the big win over No. 11 Florida, who are only 8-6 on the road. The 0-4 mark on the road without Noel, and not being in the RPI Top 50 is tough.
12. Providence, BE: Overtime loss at UConn Saturday or they would have been riding into Wednesday's Big East tourney opener against Cincy on a 4-game win streak.
13. Southern Mississippi, CUSA: Despite closing with a win against Central Florida Saturday, the loss at lowly Marshall probably has Southern Miss out despite a top 40 RPI.
14. Virginia, ACC: Win over No. 3 Duke had them in, but since then they have lost to weak teams like Boston College and Florida State, and need to handle Maryland at home at Noon ET Sunday to have a chance.
15. Iowa, B10: Big win against Illinois Tuesday gives them a shot if they can win a couple in the tough Big Ten tournament this week.
16. Valparaiso, Horz: Valpo can wrap up a bid with a win over Wright State in the Horizon League final, but they have an outside shot of a bid even if they lose.
17. Alabama, SEC: Closing with a narrow home win against Georgia should not offset losing their last three road games, and earlier losing at lowly Auburn.
18. Maryland, ACC: A long-shot losing every other game for the past couple of weeks, but will go into Virginia Sunday at 6 pm ET to try to get an upset that gives them an outside shot.
19. Arizona St., P12: The drubbing by No. 18 Arizona today made it four straight losses and makes it very unlikely they are considered even if they beat Stanford to open the Pac 12 tourney Wednesday.
20. Detroit, Horz: The loss to Wright State in the Horizon semifinal game Saturday was probably the end for Detroit. They can only hope a bunch of teams ahead of them on this list lose.
Finally, we do believe New Mexico State and Denver deserve consideration, but do not believe they are getting it and so they are left off the list.