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Bubble Watch: The bubble narrows, implications of Duke-UNC

Washington

Two weekends of games remain before the final 68 teams will be selected to partake in the NCAA Tournament. During this past week, we got a good look at some of the schools that will not be in the field, narrowing down the bubble. 

Stanford's fourth straight loss to end the regular season has put it in a spot where only the automatic bid can get the Cardinal in. Same can be said for Indiana which fell to Michigan State and will likely miss the tournament again for the fourth straight season. As teams have won, Western Kentucky now is off the bubble conversation but is in the field, holding C-USA's bid. 

A couple of Mountain West teams moved into the conversation to take their place. Colorado State took a hold of the Mountain West's automatic bid and Utah State's run to end the year has it just outside the Big Dance. 

Boise State, Duke and Seton Hall all hurt themselves this past week losing winnable games. Each team now sits on the bad side of the bubble and will likely need a couple of wins in their conference tournaments to even have a chance. It also sets up big implications for Duke-North Carolina to close the year. A Blue Devils win may be enough to vault them back into the field.

Several mid-major conferences are starting their conference tournaments this weekend. Many of which have teams hanging out on the bubble. The biggest interest for the weekend is in the Atlantic 10 and the Missouri Valley. If including Loyola Chicago, which is just outside of the bubble with the league's auto-bid, those two leagues combine for five teams on the bubble. 

 

Those tournaments will likely whittle down the bubble. One MVC team will lock its position. Any early losses by any of those programs will assuredly knock them out of the bubble. At least one Atlantic 10 team should solidify its at-large status, perhaps two. 

*Average seed is a combination of the latest ESPN, CBS, SB Nation and Bracketville bracket projections.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Resume

Record: 14-8 (10-6 ACC)

NET: 38

KenPom: 30

BPI: 40

Average Seed: No. 11 seed (Last Four Byes)

Remaining Schedule: at Wake Forest

Colorado State Rams Resume

Record: 17-4 (14-3 Mountain West)

NET: 41

KenPom: 60

BPI: 70

Average Seed: No. 11 seed (MWC automatic qualifier)

Remaining Schedule: at Nevada

St. Bonaventure Bonnies Resume

Record: 13-4 (11-4 Atlantic 10)

NET: 29

KenPom: 33

BPI: 31

Average Seed: No. 11 seed (A-10 Automatic Qualifier)

Remaining Schedule: vs. Duquesne (at A-10 Tournament)

VCU Rams Resume

Record: 17-6 (10-4 Atlantic 10)

NET: 35

KenPom: 50

BPI: 61

Average Seed: No. 11 seed (Last Four In)

Remaining Schedule: vs. Dayton (at A-10 Tournament)

Michigan State Spartans Resume

Record: 14-11 (8-11 Big Ten)

NET: 74

KenPom: 61

BPI: 69

Average Seed: No. 11 seed (Last Four In)

Remaining Schedule: vs. Michigan

Wichita State Shockers Resume

Record: 14-4 (10-2 American)

NET: 63

KenPom: 71

BPI: 97

Average Seed: No. 12 seed (AAC Automatic Qualifier)

Remaining Schedule: TBD at American Athletic Tournament

Drake Bulldogs Resume

Record: 24-3 (15-3 Missouri Valley)

NET: 42

KenPom: 53

BPI: 63

Average Seed: No. 12 seed (Last Four In)

Remaining Schedule: vs. Northern Iowa (at MVC Tournament)

Seton Hall Pirates Resume

Record: 13-11 (10-8 Big East)

NET: 57

KenPom: 49

BPI: 44

Average Seed: First Four Out

Remaining Schedule: at St. John's

Boise State Broncos Resume

Record: 18-7 (14-6 Mountain West)

NET: 45

KenPom: 57

BPI: 57

Average Seed: First Four Out

Remaining Schedule: TBD at Mountain West Tournament

Saint Louis Billikens Resume

Record: 13-5 (6-4 Atlantic 10)

NET: 40

KenPom: 40

BPI: 32

Average Seed: First Four Out

Remaining Schedule: vs. Massachusetts (at A-10 Tournament)

Utah State Aggies Resume

Record: 17-7 (14-4 Mountain West)

NET: 48

KenPom: 46

 

BPI: 55

Average Seed: First Four Out

Remaining Schedule: vs. Fresno State

Duke Blue Devils Resume

Record: 11-10 (9-8 ACC)

NET: 58

KenPom: 38

BPI: 33

Average Seed: First Four Out

Remaining Schedule: at North Carolina

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No bubble team playing this weekend can afford a loss aside from Michigan State playing against Michigan. Likewise, no games will make a team a virtual lock in the NCAA Tournament either, aside from the MVC champion and potentially one Atlantic 10 team.

The contest that will have a lot of attention will be UNC-Duke, as it always does. The Tar Heels are a near-certainty to earn an at-large bid. Losing to the Blue Devils won't do enough to knock them down to the bubble either, for now. A Duke win, though, would go a long way to convince the committee to put them in the field. 

Bubble Watch Schedule

St. Bonaventure vs. Duquesne, March 5 at 11:00 a.m. (NBCSN)

St. Louis vs. Massachusetts, March 5 at 1:00 p.m. (NBCSN)

VCU vs. Dayton, March 5 at 3:30 p.m (NBCSN)

Drake vs. Northern Iowa, March 5, 6:00 p.m. (ESPN+)

Georgia Tech at Wake Forest, March 5 at 8:00 p.m. (ACCN)

Colorado State at Nevada, March 5 at 9:00 p.m. (CBSSN)

Duke at North Carolina, March 6 at 6:00 p.m. (ESPN)

Seton Hall at St. John's, March 6 at 7:00 p.m. (FS1)

Utah State at Fresno State, March 6 at 9:00 p.m. (FS1)

Michigan vs. Michigan State, March 7 at 4:30 p.m. (CBS)