Exclusive: Middle 50 Teams Fight for Final March Madness Bids

The Breitbart Sports exclusive "Middle 50" ranks the teams not in the AP top 25, but fighting for the final 25 spots in the NCAA tournament (26th to 50th below). The 51st through 75th ranked teams below are desperate to get into the NCAA tournament, but are in position to take NIT bids not claimed by regular season conference winners. Right now Alec Brown (pictured courtesy of Green Bay Athletics) has the Phoenix at 49th just ahead of teams like Providence for a final bid if they do not win the Horizon League.

Based on our rankings, the 26th through 50th placed teams below would make the NCAA based on about 18 teams getting an automatic bid even though they are not really one of the best 68 teams in the country. That covers the 13- through 16-seeded teams. Breitbart Sports ranks Harvard (Ivy League) and Green Bay 47th and 49th, indicating we believe they should sneak in even if they do not win their Leagues. However, this is actually impossible for Harvard since the Ivy League bases the NCAA bid on the regular season, and if Harvard lost their final two to drop out of first in the Ivy, they would also definitely drop out of the top 50 and into the NIT (51st to 75th).

Rnk Likely NCAA teams Notes on opportunities
26 Ohio St 7-8 since 15-0 start with just Sat home game vs Michigan St
27 UCLA will be high seed - at Washington (Thu), Wash St. (Sat)
28 VCU Saturday's win vs. St. Louis puts in solid shape
29 Texas Lost 3 of last 4, but all tough opponents
30 Arizona St chance to improve seed Tues at Oregon
31 Gonzaga (auto NIT) finished with demolishion of St. Mary's on Sat
32 Massachusetts closes at home vs. St. Louis Sat
33 Oklahoma St Now safe after Mon blowout of K-State, Sat win over Kansas
34 Kansas St wants win vs. Baylor Sat after being blown out by OKSt. Mon
35 George Washington need home win Wed vs. St. Joes after 3-4 February
36 Pittsburgh bad home loss Mon to NCState adds pressure at Clemson Sat
37 Stanford just needs 1 with Colorado (Wed), Utah (Sat) coming to town
38 Xavier bad loss at Seton Hall Mon offset by upset of Creighton Sat
39 BYU finished 8-1 including beating Gonzaga
40 Baylor need at least 1 win between Tue Iowa St and Sat K-State
41 Colorado needs to rebound after consecutive double digit losses
42 California needs to close with at least 1 win vs Utah (Wed), Colorado (sat)
43 Southern Miss finale at Tulane to try to finish with 5 straight wins
44 Tennessee winnable games at Aub (Wed), Mizzou (Sat)
45 Minnesota  3-7 finish with only Penn State left (Sunday)
46 Arkansas  winnable games Wed (Miss), Sat (at Ala) could give 7-0 finish
47 HARVARD in now, but losses at Yale and Brown Fri/Sat would mean NIT
48 Oregon hosting Arizona and Arizona St. after 5-game win streak
49 GREEN BAY (NIT guar) 4-2 vs kenpom top 100 including beating Virginia
50 Dayton may need upset at St. Louis Wednesday

Providence, Florida State and St. John's are all scrambling to move up just a couple of spots to claim an NCAA bid. It would probably take conference tournament wins to get many of the 51st to 75th place teams into the tournament, but right now these teams all look like they are in solid position to go the the NIT tournament even if they do not get the NCAA bid:

Rnk NIT Likely teams Chance to move up to NCAA
51 Providence may need upset at Creighton Sat to go NCAA
52 Florida St Close at home against Syracuse for shot
53 St. John’s at Marquette Saturday last game to make statement
54 Nebraska win at Indiana Wed or vs. Wisconsin Sunday gives them shot
55 Utah closes with games at Cal and Stanford - 2 upsets give a chance
56 Louisiana Tech won at Oklahoma in OT earlier in season, but prob. not enough
57 NORTH DAKOTA St (NIT guar) at Notre Dame was only big win
58 Missouri at Tennessee to close season Saturday
59 Marquette must wins at Prov Tues, vs. St. John's for a chance/swept Gtown
60 Georgetown big upset Tue vs. Creighton or at Villanova Sat gives chance
61 BELMONT (NIT guar) will hope road wins at UNC and Middle Tennessee enough
62 Indiana wins at Iowa, OSU give chance if they win Sat at Michigan
63 LSU 3-5 since beating Kentucky, Arkansas at home
64 West Virginia closes at Oklahoma Wed and vs. Kansas
65 TOLEDO respectable 10-pt loss at Kansas only gave vs kenpom top 50
66 Illinois beating Michigan Tues and at Iowa Sat would be 5 straight
67 Richmond 2 straight losses mean need wins vs VCU Thur, at Dayton Sat
68 Southern Miss La Tech at home only big win
69 Boise St 4-1 streak included win over New Mexico
70 Georgia even win at LSU Sat would not be nearly enough
71 Clemson close at home vs Pitt
72 Washington even a sweep of UCLA, USC at home probably not enough
73 Saint Mary’s blown out at home vs. Gonzaga to end hopes
74 St. Bonaventure 3-game losing streak ended hopes
75 Ohio losses to Buffalo, Kent State ended hopes

Florida Gulf Coast, High Point, NC Central and Robert Morris are not in the top 100, but have already clinched at least a spot in the NIT tournament by winning their regular season conference title. Here are the final 25 teams fighting to sneak into the NIT unless they win their conference tournament to go to the NCAA.

76. Indiana St

77. San Francisco

78. Texas A&M

79. UNLV

80. Oregon St

81. Manhattan

82. Middle Tennessee

83.  STEPHEN F. AUSTIN (NIT guar)

84. Cleveland St

85. UTEP

86. GEORGIA ST (NIT Guar)

87. Western Michigan

88. IONA (NIT guar)

89. DELAWARE (NIT Guar)

90. VERMONT (NIT Guar)

91. Boston University

92. NC State

93. Missouri St

94. Purdue

95. Akron

96. Maryland

97. Eastern Michigan

98. New Mexico State

99. Vanderbilt

100. DAVIDSON (NIT Guar)



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