BYU bubble watch — Selection Sunday

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The Universe will be updating a BYU bubble watch every day leading up to Selection Sunday on March 15. (Twitter)
The Universe will be updating a BYU bubble watch every day leading up to Selection Sunday on March 15. (Twitter)

We’ve made it to Selection Sunday. All tournament questions will be answered in a matter of hours. The conference tournaments have been exciting to this point, and we’re just waiting for a few championships that will take place today.

BYU has benefited from quite a few early-tournament losses by bubble teams as well as a few bid thieves. The Cougars have been on the right side of the bubble all week and seem to be safe, but you never know what will happen in the committee room.

Here’s your update on the teams competing with BYU for an at-large NCAA tournament berth. We’ve included the 16 teams surrounding the “cut line,” according to ESPN’s bracketology expert Joe Lunardi, as well as any teams who were recently on the bubble but have since made their case for selection or fallen off.

Our special Selection Sunday edition includes our gut feeling on each team’s in-or-out status for the tournament. Tune in to CBS for the selection show at 4:00 p.m. (MDT).

Safely in

Cincinnati (22-10, 13-5 AAC)

Gut feeling: IN

Last game: March 13 — L 57-54 AAC quarterfinal vs. 6 UConn

The Bearcats rolled into the American tournament having won five in a row following a three-game losing streak in early February. Sweeping league leader SMU in the regular season should be good enough to get them in despite their last-second loss to defending champion UConn.

Davidson (24-7, 14-4 A-10)

Gut feeling: IN

Last game: March 14 – L 93-73 A-10 semifinal vs. 5 VCU

Davidson won 10 straight games before its loss to the Rams yesterday. That much success in late February and early March means the team is going to the Big Dance. A loss to tournament-bound VCU in the A-10 semis won’t hurt the Wildcats a bit.

Oklahoma State (18-13, 8-10 Big 12)

Gut feeling: IN

Last game: March 12 — L 64-49 Big 12 quarterfinal vs. No. 15 Oklahoma

OSU’s third loss to arch-rival Oklahoma took away its last chance to help its at-large case. The Cowboys are still in pretty good shape, having beaten Kansas and swept Baylor, but a 1-6 record to finish the season might scare away some committee members.

Purdue celebrates a home win with fans. The Boilermakers are in a good position with regard to the NCAA tournament. (Twitter)

Purdue (20-11, 12-6 Big Ten)

Gut feeling: IN

Last game: March 14 – L 71-51 Big Ten semifinal vs. No. 6 Wisconsin

Purdue is a lock for the tournament, considering the number of fellow bubble teams who have lost to bad teams this week. The fact that the Boilermakers didn’t drop their quarterfinal against Penn State is enough for them to get in.

Last four byes

Georgia (21-11, 11-7 SEC)

Gut feeling: IN

Last game: March 14 — L 60-49 SEC semifinal vs. No. 21 Arkansas

Honestly, we have no idea why Lunardi brought the Dawgs back to the bubble on bracketology’s last day. Georgia has a good resume and shouldn’t need to worry at all about its tournament prospects.

Bryan Pearson
The Cougar bench celebrates during BYU’s win in Spokane. The March 1 upset over Gonzaga significantly improved its at-large resume. (Bryan Pearson)

BYU (25-9, 13-5 WCC)

Gut feeling: IN

Last game: March 10 — L 91-75 WCC final vs. No. 7 Gonzaga

The Cougars have done the work needed to get into the Big Dance. After BYU lost to Pepperdine for the second time, NCAA tournament hopes in Provo were dashed. The Cougars then rattled off eight straight, including a huge upset of then-No. 3 Gonzaga, before falling to the Zags in the WCC final. There’s just no way the committee keeps the triple-double king and a top-25 all-time NCAA scorer out of the tournament.

Colorado State (27-6, 13-5 MWC)

Gut feeling: IN

Last game: March 13 — L 56-43 MWC semifinal vs. 2 San Diego St.

The biggest issue facing the committee with regard to CSU and other Mountain West teams right now is the case of Wyoming. The Cowboys beat SDSU in the conference final to steal a tournament bid, and now committee members have to decide if they really want to allow four MWC teams into the tourney when certainly no more than three will be in from the Pac-12. Fortunately for the Rams, their resume is clearly better than Boise State’s, so they will probably be safe.

Texas (20-13, 8-10 Big 12)

Gut feeling: IN

Last game: March 12 — L 69-67 Big 12 quarterfinal vs. No. 13 Iowa St.

Texas had an opportunity to get the last shot in a tie game against the Cyclones March 12. A win would have essentially sealed the Longhorns’ place in the tournament. Instead, Javan Felix decided to take a three with 10 seconds left and give the ball back to Iowa State.

Last four in

Temple (23-10, 11-5 AAC)

Gut feeling: IN

Last game: March 14 — L 69-56 American semifinal vs. No. 20 SMU

Great non-conference scheduling significantly improved the Owls’ chances of dancing. A win against league regular-season champ SMU would have locked them into the tourney; instead, they’ll have to hope the committee likes them.

LSU (22-9, 11-7 SEC)

Gut feeling: IN

Last game: March 13 — L 73-70 SEC quarterfinal vs. 13 Auburn

LSU followed its impressive win against Arkansas with a discouraging loss to 13-seed Auburn. With no more chances to improve their resume, the Tigers will be nervous for a few more hours.

Boise State (25-8, 14-4 MWC)

Gut feeling: OUT

Last game: L 71-66 MWC semifinal vs. 4 Wyoming

See what we wrote about Colorado State for some background on the curious MWC case the committee faces today. Considering this situation, the Broncos are a complete toss-up for the Big Dance.

Ole Miss (20-12, 11-7 SEC)

Gut feeling: IN

Last game: March 12 — L 60-58 SEC second round vs. 11 South Carolina

The Rebels were feeling really good a week ago. They had a solid resume that included an overtime loss to No. 1 Kentucky and two top-25 wins. They had just been upgraded to a “lock” in Eamonn Brennan’s ESPN Bubble Watch. Then they lost four out of their last five and returned to the bubble conversation. They might not get much sleep until Selection Sunday, and they desperately need SMU to beat UConn.

First four out

Indiana (20-13, 9-9 Big Ten)

Gut feeling: IN

Last game: March 13 — L 75-69 Big Ten quarterfinal vs. No. 8 Maryland

The Hoosiers couldn’t pull off another upset of Maryland. This keeps them squarely on the bubble for the duration of Selection Sunday.

UCLA (20-13, 11-7 Pac-12)

Gut feeling: OUT

Last game: March 13 — L 70-64 Pac-12 semifinal vs. No. 5 Arizona

UCLA didn’t drop any farther on the bubble list as a result of its tournament loss to the Wildcats, but that game was the Bruins’ last chance to convince the committee that they’re worthy of a March Madness spot. They don’t have enough good wins to make a real case.

The ‘Canes’ win over Pitt kept them on the bubble for a while, but they’re nervous going into Selection Sunday. (Twitter)

Miami (FL) (21-12, 10-8 ACC)

Gut feeling: OUT

Last game: March 12 — L 70-63 ACC quarterfinal vs. No. 11 Notre Dame

Miami couldn’t capitalize on Notre Dame’s frantic attempt to give the game away in the second half of the ACC Quarterfinal. Had the ‘Canes won they would have vaulted to the right side of the bubble, but now they’ll be glued to the TV on Sunday.

Old Dominion (24-7, 13-5 C-USA)

Gut feeling: OUT

Last game: March 12 — L 59-52 C-USA quarterfinal vs. 6 Middle Tennessee

Old Dominion went into the Conference USA tournament knowing it needed to at least make it to the final. Instead, the Monarchs dropped their first game to a bad team. Doing so effectively ended their tournament hopes. It will take a miracle for ODU to get in.

Next four out

Murray State (27-5, 16-0 OVC)

Gut feeling: OUT

Last game: March 7 — L 88-87 Ohio Valley Championship vs. Belmont

Taylor Barnette’s game-winning 3-pointer to win the OVC title sank the Racers’ NCAA tournament dreams. Murray State had a disappointing non-conference schedule, and its conference isn’t strong enough to deserve another bid. It’ll have to try again next year.

UConn (20-13, 10-8 AAC)

Gut feeling: OUT (unless they win the conference championship)

Last game: March 14 – W 47-42 AAC semifinal vs. 2 Tulsa

Next game: March 15 – American championship vs. No. 20 SMU

Again, we’re not sure what Lunardi is thinking putting the Huskies on bubble watch. UConn certainly has a chance to make the tournament, but that chance is only in winning the AAC’s auto-bid. It doesn’t have an at-large resume whatsoever.

Texas A&M (20-11, 11-7 SEC)

Gut feeling: OUT

Last game: March 12 — L 66-59 SEC second round vs. 13 Auburn

The Aggies finished a mediocre season with a colossally terrible final few weeks. Three straight losses to average or bad teams (Florida, Alabama and Auburn) pushed them straight down to the bottom of the bubble. Barring some bizarre decision-making by the committee, Texas A&M is going to the NIT.

Tulsa (22-10, 14-4 AAC)

Gut feeling: OUT

Last game: March 14 -L 47-41 AAC semifinal vs. 6 UConn

The Golden Hurricane needed at least a good showing against SMU in the conference final. The reigning champion Huskies took that away from the team, and it’ll hope for a better season next year.

Bubble burst

Rhode Island (22-8, 13-5 A-10)

Gut feeling: OUT

Last game: March 14 — L 56-52 A-10 semifinal vs. 2 Dayton

The Rams really don’t have much of an at-large resume. They’ve had chances to beat good teams but didn’t take advantage of them. A win over the Flyers would have helped, but Rhode Island needed the auto-bid to go dancing.

Buffalo (22-10, 12-6 MAC)

Gut feeling: OUT

Last game: March 14 — L 89-84 MAC final vs. 1 Central Michigan

Buffalo is another team that realistically needed to win its conference tourney to get into the national tournament. It didn’t, and therefore it won’t.

Iona (26-8, 17-3 MAAC)

Gut feeling: OUT

Last game: March 9 — L 79-69 Metro Atlantic Championship vs. Manhattan

Here we have another case of a regular-season champion from a lesser conference losing its tournament final. Iona, like Murray State, simply doesn’t have a resume that deserves at-large consideration. The Gaels’ only shot at dancing was stolen by the Jaspers Monday night.

Richmond (19-13, 12-6 A-10)

Gut feeling: OUT

Last game: March 13 — L 70-67 A-10 quarterfinal vs. 5 VCU

Richmond has far too many bad losses, and apart from a 2OT victory over VCU, its best wins are against other bubble teams. Richmond’s bubble has popped at this point, which is a shame, because nobody in the country has a better mascot than the Spiders.

Illinois (19-11, 9-8 Big Ten)

Gut feeling: OUT

Last game: March 12 — L 73-55 Big Ten second round vs. 9 Michigan

The Fighting Illini needed a quarterfinal upset of No. 6 Wisconsin to put them back in the at-large conversation. Instead, they lost in the second round to a terrible Michigan team and dropped off the bubble map.

Oregon’s win over Stanford put the Ducks safely into the tournament while pushing the Cardinals farther down the bubble list. (Twitter)

Stanford (18-12, 9-9 Pac-12)

Gut feeling: OUT

Last game: March 12 — L 80-56 Pac-12 quarterfinal vs. No. 17 Utah

It would have taken at least a pair of upsets over Utah and Oregon for the Cardinals to become relevant again. But they couldn’t hang with the Utes, and their tournament dreams are officially dashed.

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