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Bubble Talk

I absolutely love this time of year. Major League Baseball is around the corner and while my Royals have NEVER been competitive during my lifetime, it is always exciting.

But the real reason for the excitement though is the NCAA Tournament and the best month and 3 days of sports a year. From the day conference championship tournaments start going all the way to the National Championship game I am in Heaven. There are at least 5 great games on per day and I am a basketball fan first and Kansas fan second so I love every bit of this.

So, every once and awhile I am going to take a look at one of the things that makes this time of year so exciting, the bubble. As Jayhawks fans we haven't had to deal with the anticpation of being a "Bubble Team" come Selection Sunday and are only ever worried about seeding, but for many of the teams out there it is an annual meeting with the bubble.

First off, let's take a look at the NCAA Tournament breakdown:

31 Conference Champions (30 of the conferences use the conference tournament champion for the automatic bid with the Ivy League being the lone exception)
34 At-Large Teams (chosen by the Selection Committee, wehere "Bubble Teams" come into play)

According to these standings, let's take a look at who would be each conference's automatic bid.

America East: Vermont (11-1)
Atlantic Ten: Xavier (8-3)
ACC: Boston College (9-2)
Atlantic Sun: East Tennessee State (13-2)
Big 12: Texas A&M (9-1)
Big East: Pittsburgh (10-1)
Big Sky: Weber State (8-4)
Big South: Winthrop (11-0)
Big Ten: Wisconsin (10-1)
Big West: Long Beach State (8-2)
CAA: Virginia Commonwealth (13-2)
Conference USA: Memphis (11-0)
Horizon League: Wright State (11-2)
Ivy League: Pennsylvania (5-1)
MAAC: Marist (11-4)
Mid-Continent Conference: Oral Roberts (11-1)
MAC: Toledo/Akron (9-2)
MEAC: Delaware State (10-2)
Missouri Valley: Southern Illinois (12-3)
Mountain West: BYU (9-2)
NEAC: Central Connecticut State (12-1)
Ohio Valley: Austin Peay (14-2)
Pac 10: UCLA (10-2)
Patriot League: Holy Cross/Bucknell (10-1)
SEC: Florida (10-0)
Southern Conference: Davidson (12-1)
Southland Conference: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (9-1)
SWAC: Mississippi Valley State (9-3)
Sun Belt: South Alabama (13-2)
WCC: Gonzaga (8-2)
WAC: Nevada (10-1)

(Note: Numbers to the left of the teams is a tally of the 34 schools we can let in so we can keep track of them easily...Also, the numbers are in no particular order)

That leaves 34 spots in the Tournament open.

Here are the obvious choices:

  1. Ohio State
  2. Kansas
  3. North Carolina
  4. Marquette
  5. Butler
  6. Washington State
  7. Kentucky
Here are other "locks", but could play there way out of the Tournament:
  1. USC
  2. Oregon
  3. Arizona
  4. Air Force
  5. Indiana
  6. Georgetown
  7. Oklahoma State
  8. Duke
  9. Virginia Tech
Next up, teams that with their remaining schedules should be in but have to do something more to make it in:
  1. Virginia
  2. Clemson
  3. Kansas State
  4. Texas
  5. Creighton
  6. Villanova
  7. Florida State
  8. Notre Dame
Here are teams that are still on the bubble but have the highest profiles (in my opinion) of the "Bubble Teams":
  1. West Virginia
  2. Missouri State
  3. UNLV
  4. Tennessee
  5. Louisville
Finally we get to the fun part, 5 spots left. Here are all of the teams who could find themselves in one of those 5 spots:

Maryland
Texas Tech
Syracuse
Providence
Iowa
Illinois
Michigan
Michigan State
Purdue
Wichita State
Bradley
Northern Iowa
Stanford
Vanderbilt
Georgia
Alabama
LSU
Ole Miss
Arkansas
New Mexico State

If you are counting at home, that is 20 teams fighting for what is basically 5 spots. I say basically because it is only February 12th and there is an entire month for a team between #8-#29 (especially #17-#29) to drop out of the tournament. Here are the 5 that if Selection Sunday was today would be invited to the Tournament in my opinion.

  1. Vanderbilt
  2. Stanford
  3. Michigan State
  4. Illinois
  5. Wichita State
The best of the rest:
  1. Alabama
  2. Georgia
  3. Texas Tech
  4. Syracuse
  5. Maryland
  6. New Mexico State
  7. Bradley
  8. Providence
  9. Ole Miss
  10. Iowa
  11. LSU
  12. Purdue
  13. Arkansas
  14. Michigan
  15. Northern Iowa
Oh, and by the way our Jayhawks play on Love Day in Boulder, Colorado for those of you who did not know. I think it is a touching day to play the last game we will EVER play against one of our favorite enemy coaches, Ricardo Patton.

I can't wait!!!!

Rock Chalk!