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College Basketball Bubble Trouble: Crunch Time

[lead align=”default”]This is the final week before Selection Sunday, so if you’re in college basketball bubble trouble, prepare for what’s coming.[/lead]

Symptoms of college basketball bubble trouble include discomfort on Selection Sunday, panic, cold sweats, and fear of the NIT. If you think you’re in bubble trouble, talk to your doctor about getting more wins, stat.

For most of the teams below, they still have that chance in the conference tournaments. One of them, however, may be drawing dead, as they say in poker.

College Basketball Bubble Trouble: Championship Week

[alert heading=”Seton Hall Pirates” type=”alert-info” block=”false” close=”false”]The Pirates have four Top 50 wins, and ten Top 100 victories this season. Entering the Big East Tournament, they’re a 20-win squad. With an RPI in the 40s and strength of schedule in the 50s, one would imagine they’re safe. However, they played a weak non-conference schedule and suffered a bad loss against St. John’s.[/alert]

[alert heading=”Vanderbilt Commodores” type=”alert-info” block=”false” close=”false”]Vandy could end up as the first 15-loss at-large team, which is almost unthinkable. As we’ve been saying for a little while now, this is a flimsy bubble, so it’s entirely possible. The Commodores have played one of the toughest schedules in the nation, including the best non-conference schedule in Division I. They also have five Top 50 wins as part of ten in the Top 100. That loss to Mizzou is an absolute killer and hasn’t gotten better with age.[/alert]

[alert heading=”Wake Forest Demon Deacons” type=”alert-info” block=”false” close=”false”]The Deacs have a great RPI (30) and strength of schedule (12), having also played a very good schedule outside the ACC. They’ve got three Top 50 wins, with one just coming against Louisville. Wake doesn’t have any bad losses per se, just a lot of them. If they do decently in the ACC Tournament, they could very well get into the dance.[/alert]

[alert heading=”Rhode Island Rams” type=”alert-info” block=”false” close=”false”]URI is heading in the right direction, playing themselves back onto the bubble since mid-February. Rhode Island has won five in a row to get to 21-9, though a 13-5 record in a so-so A-10 isn’t necessarily great. Rhody has two bad losses against La Salle and Fordham, with not a lot of quality on the other side.[/alert]

[alert heading=”Illinois State Redbirds” type=”alert-info” block=”false” close=”false”]The Redbirds are going to get consideration from the committee, but they probably blew it on Sunday. Losing to Wichita State is one thing, but they got blown out by the Shockers. Their strength of schedule is too weak, and there’s too little quality within their 27 victories. They had a great year, but it might not have been good enough.[/alert]

[alert heading=”Illinois Fighting Illini” type=”alert-info” block=”false” close=”false”]The Fighting Illini may have screwed themselves by losing to Rutgers a few days ago. Prior to that, they rose in the Big Ten and had a somewhat respectable resume. It still is, with five Top 50 wins and 11 in the Top 100. Some of those are against VCU, Michigan State, and Northwestern. March is still a bad time to take your worst loss of the season to date. Had they won, they’d almost certainly be on the correct side of the cut line today.[/alert]

[alert heading=”Syracuse Orange” type=”alert-info” block=”false” close=”false”]There’s a reason we hesitated from saying Syracuse was a lock after beating Duke. Their record didn’t lend itself to a team that was secure, and it doesn’t now at 18-13 overall. Syracuse’s bad losses to UConn, St. John’s, and Boston College also didn’t go away. Six RPI Top 50 wins are holding them together.[/alert]

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