As days go by, March Madness gets closer and closer. Teams are starting to feel the pressure of making the tournament or not making the tournament. These teams currently live “on the bubble!”
Right now, there are teams that are either 1) most likely to make the tournament, 2) “On the Bubble,” or 3) most likely out of the tournament. Here are the some of the teams I feel fall into these three categories this week.
Most Likely In
1) Oklahoma Sooners (19-9, 10-6, 4th Big 12)
Last week, the Sooners were a definite lock for the NCAA Tournament. Although, that was before they went into Austin, Texas to play the Texas Longhorns on February 27th. Oklahoma led the Longhorns by more than 20 points in the second half, but let Myck Kabongo take over to hit a game tying buzzer beater and then win the game in overtime for Texas. It is true that this is OU’s FIRST bad loss of the season.
They do have wins over Kansas and Oklahoma State (both at home) and are about .500 against the Top 100. Their remaining two regular season games this week will not be “resume builders” as they will play West Virginia (home) and TCU (away), but losses here will be more bad losses.
2) Colorado Buffaloes (19-9, 9-7, 5th Pac-12)
Colorado had a chance to get themselves closer to the NCAA Tournament, but took a minor step back this past week. On Saturday, the Buffaloes lost a tough game to the California Golden Bears. Both Colorado and California will most likely be in the NCAA Tournament, but that was a game the Buffs truly needed to win. However, Colorado has a BIG resume booster on Thursday night in the Oregon Ducks. If they can find a way to win against the Ducks, they could give the committee enough to select them for the tournament. The Buffaloes already have one win against Oregon in Eugene.
3) Creighton Bluejays (24-7, 13-5, 1st MVC)
Last week, I had the Creighton Bluejays in my “Most Likely Out.” That was before they picked up a win over Wichita State on March 2nd. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi (arguably the best bracketologist) has Wichita State as an at-large lock for the NCAA Tournament. Going off of that and the fact that they won the Missouri Valley regular season, the Bluejays should be dancing this March. With that being said, they will need to avoid any crazy upsets.
Last year, Illinois State made a run as Cinderella in the MVC tournament as they 1) beat #1 Wichita State and 2) took #2 Creighton to overtime in the championship game. The only team Creighton “can” lose to in the conference tournament is Wichita State.
4) California Golden Bears (20-9, 12-5, 3rd Pac-12)
One problem I had with the California Golden Bears last week was their record against better opponents. Now, even though they weren’t better in the Pac-12, I believe Cal’s win over Colorado helps this point. The Golden Bears and the Buffaloes were about even in the Pac-12 (even though Cal was technically slightly better record-wise). California made sure that they were better than Colorado after that win. With that being said, one bad loss can put Cal on the bubble. They play their last regular season game against Stanford this week and “should” be able to win the game.