NCAAM: 5 Bubble Teams That Likely Won’t Be Called on Selection Sunday
Time is running out for bubble teams to improve their NCAA tournament resumes. With one week left in the regular season and conference tournaments scheduled to run throughout the next week, the door to the Big Dance is closing on several teams that once seemed like locks to make the field of 68. While it may be unlikely to actually happen, there will of course be opportunities for bubble teams to lock up tournament berths by making surprise runs and winning their conference tournaments, as well.
To follow up on our article focusing on five bubble teams that will likely receive tournament bids, here is a look at five bubble teams that likely will not hear their names called on Selection Sunday.
1. Miami Hurricanes
- Record: 18-11
- RPI: 71
- Strength of schedule: 59
- Key wins: Duke (away), N.C. State (home), Illinois (home), Syracuse (away)
- Bad losses: Eastern Kentucky (home), Florida State (away), Georgia Tech (home), Wake Forest (away), Green Bay (home)
The Hurricanes had a chance to help themselves in a big way with games against North Carolina and Louisville in the past 10 days. Unfortunately for Jim Larranaga’s squad, they lost both games, and with that, they likely lost a chance at making the NCAA tournament unless they can win the ACC tournament.
2. Old Dominion Monarchs
- Record: 22-6
- RPI: 41
- Strength of schedule: 139
- Key wins: VCU (home), LSU (neutral), Louisiana Tech (home)
- Bad losses: Texas-San Antonio (away), Western Kentucky (away), UAB (away), Middle Tennessee (away)
ODU has an impressive overall record but has only played two teams, albeit beating them both, in the RPI top 50. Their overall RPI of 41 and strength of schedule ranking of 139 are going to be major red flags for the selection committee, as will losses to Texas-San Antonio, Middle Tennessee, and UAB. The Monarchs have a legitimate chance to win the Conference USA tournament, which is good news for Jeff Jones’s crew, as that is likely the only way they will be able to land a spot in the Big Dance.
3. Stanford Cardinal
- Record: 18-10
- RPI: 56
- Strength of schedule: 57
- Key wins: Texas (away), UConn (home), Wofford (home)
- Bad losses: Colorado (away), DePaul (away), Washington State (away)
The Cardinal have had a solid season and have a bona fide All-American candidate leading them in Chasson Randle, but their mediocre RPI and strength of schedule may seal their fate with the selection committee. They have lost a handful of games that they never should have, and their win against Texas looks less impressive with every game the Longhorns lose.
Outside of their win against Texas, Stanford does not have another win over an RPI top 50 squad. Johnny Dawkins’s team can really help itself if it can close out the season with wins over Arizona State and Arizona on the road, as well as have a solid showing in the Pac-12 tournament. But as it stands now, the Cardinal will likely be left out of the party on Selection Sunday.
4. Pittsburgh Panthers
- Record: 19-11
- RPI: 50
- Strength of schedule: 37
- Key wins: Virginia (away), Duke (away), Louisville (home), Louisville (away), San Diego State (neutral)
- Bad losses: Virginia Tech (away), Hawaii (away), Wake Forest (away), Clemson (home)
Realistically, Pitt’s only chance at earning a berth in the Big Dance is to win the ACC tournament. The Panthers have quality wins over North Carolina and Notre Dame, but they have far too many bad losses, a 2-6 record against RPI top 50 teams, and mediocre RPI and strength of schedule rankings working against them. The Panthers are likely NIT-bound.
5. Kansas State Wildcats
- Record: 15-15
- RPI: 80
- Strength of schedule: 10
- Key wins: Kansas (home), Oklahoma (home), Oklahoma (away), Baylor (home), Iowa State (home), Texas A&M (neutral), Oklahoma State (home)
- Bad losses: Tennessee (away), Long Beach State (away), TCU (away), Texas Southern (home), Texas Tech (away)
The Wildcats have several quality wins on their tournament résumé but they simply will not be able to overcome their subpar overall record, multiple bad losses, and a poor RPI ranking. In fact, it is a minor miracle that K-State is even considered to be a bubble team at this point. While the Wildcats have proven that they can play with any team in the country when they are playing well, this team is destined for the NIT unless they are able to win the Big 12 tournament.
All RPI and strength of schedule data are courtesy of CBS Sports.