“On The Bubble”
1) Kentucky Wildcats (19-8, 10-4, 2nd SEC )
The Kentucky Wildcats became an interesting bubble team after Nerlens Noel went down with an ACL injury on February 12th. Noel was the best player on the Wildcats and was most likely going to go #1 overall in the NBA Draft. After losing Noel, Kentucky lost to the Tennessee Volunteers by 30 points. Not a very good start. Kentucky has four regular season games left and they all could be must win games.
Be assured that the selection committee will judge Kentucky’s tournament chances based off of their play post-Noel. If the Wildcats can win three of their last four regular season games, they should be in. The only game they can survive losing will be their second meeting against the Florida Gators.
2) Villanova Wildcats (18-11, 9-7, 8th Big East )
The 2013 Villanova Wildcats are definitely not your dad’s Villanova team. In the past, the Wildcats would be a shoe-in for March Madness, but not this year. They had to overcome some bad non-conference losses such as their losses to Columbia, La Salle, and Temple. However, they haven’t lost any bad conference games until they lost to Seton Hall.
Villanova is on the bubble and that bubble could easily pop. Their final regular season games against Pittsburgh and Georgetown could be what gets them into the tournament or what keeps them out.
3) Maryland Terrapins (19-8, 7-7, 6th ACC )
Everyone seems to buying into the Maryland hype after their upset win over the Duke Blue Devils. Maryland cannot get into the tournament based solely on their HOME victory against the Blue Devils. Was it a nice win? Yes, but it could be seen as a fluke. The Terrapins have three wins against the Top 100 RPI. However, they are all at home.
Maryland does have three more road games left this season, but they need to get something done or else their bubble will pop.
4) North Carolina Tar Heels (19-8, 9-5, 3rd ACC )
The North Carolina Tar Heels do not seem as powerful as they have been in years past. They are 16-2 against teams outside the Top 50 compared to 2-6 against teams in the Top 50. Since their last loss to the Duke Blue Devils, the Tar Heels have won three straight games including a win over N.C. State. The biggest issue the “experts” have with North Carolina is that they do not have enough road wins. Their remaining road games will be against Clemson and Maryland so they might need to wait until the ACC Conference Tournament for that.
However, the Tar Heels will play the Duke Blue Devils again on March 9th. A win against Duke would do nothing, but help their tournament resume.