Beginning conference championship week as one of the “last four to enter,” Indiana clawed its way into the NCAA Tournament field by defeating Illinois in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals on Friday before succumbing to a last-second loss to Iowa in the semifinals.
The Hoosiers have still done enough to hear their name on Selection Sunday. They are a classic example of a power conference team that was on the outside looking in before last week but jumped ahead of other bubble teams at the last minute.
Virginia Tech also falls into that category, though we can no longer call the Hokies a bubble team after a dominant 15-point victory over Duke to claim the automatic ACC bid in the final tournament on Saturday night.
Like Indiana and Virginia Tech, Texas A&M has used conference championship week to bolster its overall profile. After a big win over Auburn on Friday, the Aggies followed up with another momentous Quadrant 1 win over Arkansas on Saturday to reach the finals of the SEC tournament. That result pushes Texas A&M into the “last four in” category, where they should get into the 68 field, even with a loss Sunday in the title game.
Texas A&M’s late rise, coupled with Virginia Tech’s unexpected ACC title race, has reduced the bubble for other teams that were seemingly more comfortable. SMU is one of those teams. The Mustangs avoided a résumé blemish by defeating Tulsa on Friday, but their AAC tournament semifinal loss to Memphis on Saturday will see this one go all the way.
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A look at the winners and losers of the bubble:
► saturday games
Texas A&M. The Aggies (22-11, 9-9 SEC) came out of nowhere to get into the bubble mix, first with a 67-62 win over Auburn in the SEC tournament quarterfinals on Friday and then again with an 82-64 win over Arkansas in the semifinals Coach Buzz Williams’ team is red hot, but even if he doesn’t secure the automatic SEC offer, A&M’s profile is there. A NET score in the 50s and four Quadrant 1 wins along with no bad losses make for a decent tournament portfolio overall. last four in
Virginia Tech. The Hokies (23-12, 11-9 ACC) won’t have to sweat anything on Pick Sunday now, as they claimed the automatic ACC bid by defeating Duke 82-67 in the final league tournament on Saturday. It would have been close if they had lost, with Virginia Tech potentially either the last team on the field or the first team off the field. Tech’s NET in the ’30s is impressive, but before Duke’s win, this group hadn’t beaten any good teams (with just two wins in Quadrant 1). Rather than rely on the committee, Virginia Tech caused headaches for other bubble teams still clamoring for a blanket offer. Automatic offer, seed No. 10.
Indiana. The Hoosiers (20-13, 9-11 Big Ten) fell on a last-second 3-pointer 80-77 to Iowa in the Big Ten semifinals on Saturday. But what Indiana did before is likely enough to make this team dance. The victory that solidified inclusion was Friday’s 65-63 upset over Illinois in the quarterfinals. That came after a first-round win against bubble team Michigan. Indiana has five wins in Quadrant 1, which helps offset a strong non-conference schedule in the 240s. In the field, seed No. 11.
► saturday games
EMU. The Mustangs (23-8, 13-4 American Athletic) needed to win their first game in the AAC tournament and they did, defeating Tulsa 83-58 on Friday. But losing to Memphis in the AAC semifinals on Saturday could be costly despite having previously beaten the Tigers twice in the regular season. SMU’s win count and NET in the 40s are helping to keep him safe for now, but coach Tim Jankovich’s team only has two Quadrant 1 wins on its resume, which the committee could use as a reason to omit the mustangs. First four out.
Dayton. The Flyers (23-10, 14-4 Atlantic 10) began Saturday as one of the “last four in,” but a 68-64 loss to Richmond in the Atlantic 10 semifinals pushed Dayton into the “top four.” to go out”. This is how close this group will be on Selection Sunday. While the Flyers avoided a blemish on their résumé by beating UMass in their first game of the A-10 tournament, there are still three Quadrant 4 losses to taint this team’s résumé. First four four out.
saint Louis. The Billikens (23-11, 12-6 Atlantic 10) were defeated by Davidson 84-69 in the tournament semifinals, a result that will likely send Saint Louis to the NIT. This group just edged out bubble team Saint Bonaventure 57-56 in the quarterfinals to keep their overall offer chances alive, but Saturday’s result means Saint Louis will be in the “next four out” category before Selection Sunday. . A NET score in the 60s and only one win in Quadrant 1 will stand out negatively. Others considered for a general offer.
► friday games
rutgers. The Scarlet Knights (18-13, 12-8 Big Ten) held their ground with a red-hot Iowa team, but couldn’t pull off the upset in an 84-74 loss in the Big Ten quarterfinals. That means there will be a lot of sweat for Rutgers heading into Selection Sunday. The team has a whopping six wins in Quadrant 1, which the selection committee will love. But there’s also a Quadrant 4 loss to the profile and a terrible non-conference programming force of 327, both of which the committee won’t love. last four in
Oklahoma. The Sooners (19-14, 7-11 Big 12) gave Texas Tech everything they had in a 56-55 loss in the Big 12 tournament semifinals. That came after a momentous upset by Baylor that helped resurrect coach Porter Moser’s team for hopes of a blanket offer. But this will be close for Oklahoma, currently a “first four out.” Four wins in Quadrant 1 help offset the strength of the non-conference schedule in the 200s. Next four out.
Colorado. Another team that resurrected its Big Dance hopes on Thursday, the Buffaloes (21-11, 12-8 Pac-12) were unable to defeat Arizona in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament, falling 82-72. Colorado got momentum after rebounding from former bubble team Oregon in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament. A NET score in the 70s and just one win in Quadrant 1 are hurting this team’s cause. Others considered for a general offer.
► thursday games
de San Juan. The Red Storm (17-15, 8-11 Big East) narrowly fell to Villanova 66-65 in the Big East tournament quarterfinals and now find themselves on the wrong side of the bubble with nothing to do about it but watch other fringe equipment. to see if they stumble. A NET score in the 60s and a loss in Quadrant 4 incorrectly stand out in this team’s tournament portfolio, so a win over Villanova would have done this team a lot of favors. If only. Others considered for a general offer.
Florida. With the postseason on the line, the Gators (19-13, 9-9 SEC) rallied to force overtime against Texas A&M, but ultimately fell 83-80 Thursday in the SEC tournament. That likely pushes Coach Mike White’s team out of NCAA Tournament contention and closer to the NIT. Florida’s NET in the 50s, a lack of non-conference schedule strength and a loss in Quadrant 4 will stand out too much for the selection committee. Others considered for a general offer.
► wednesday games
forest stele. The Demon Deacons (23-9, 13-7 ACC) got angry in overtime against Boston College 82-77 to be eliminated from the ACC tournament in the second round. It is the worst result for a team that started the day as one of the “bottom four”. Now Wake Forest has been pushed to the wrong side of the bubble. There is just one Quadrant 1 win in credentials and a non-conference schedule force that ranks 345th. Next four out.
Javier. The Musketeers (18-13, 8-11 Big East) lost to Butler 89-82 to exit the Big East tournament in the first round. The selection committee will draw on Xavier’s work from November through January to determine inclusion in the 68 field. Xavier has five Quadrant 1 wins and a NET in the 40. last four in
NCAA Tournament Language Explanation:
net means NCAA Assessment Tool, which is the barometer of the selection committee. It includes game results, schedule strength, game location, scoring margin (limited to 10 points per game), and net offensive and defensive efficiency.
win quadrant 1: Home games against teams 1-30 NET; Neutral site games vs. 1-50 NET; away games vs. 1-75 NET
Win Quadrant 2: home games vs. 31-75 NET; Neutral site games vs. 51-100 NET; away games vs. 76-135 NET
Quadrant 3 wins: home games vs. 76-160 NET; Games on neutral sites vs. 101-200 NET; away games vs. 136-240 NET
Quadrant 4 wins: Home games vs. 161 or more NET; Games on neutral sites against 201 and more NET; Away games vs. 241 or more NET
Note: Most statistical data comes from WarrenNolan.com. The NET (NCAA Assessment Tool) rankings are also a point of reference.
About our college basketball reporter: Scott Gleeson has covered men’s college basketball for USA TODAY since 2012, contributing to bracketology and running Bubble Tracker before tackling all of March Madness after Selection Sunday. He correctly predicted Virginia would win the national championship in 2019 before the season started and also cast Loyola-Chicago as a mid-race Cinderella in 2018. Follow him on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch: Indiana, Texas A&M Close General Deals