Intriguing Bubble Teams to Watch in the Men’s NCAA Tournament Selection

Get a closer look at five of the most intriguing bubble teams vying for a spot in the men’s NCAA tournament, including Gonzaga, South Florida, Villanova, Wake Forest, and Indiana State.

Gonzaga: Fighting for a Spot in the NCAA Tournament

Gonzaga, a perennial NCAA tournament team, is in danger of missing the Big Dance for the first time in 24 years. Despite early-season wins against Syracuse, UCLA, and USC, the Zags have struggled to secure victories against projected tournament teams. However, strong computer metrics and a significant road win against Kentucky have put them back in the conversation. With a challenging end to the regular season, including games against 22-win San Francisco and WCC first-place Saint Mary’s, Gonzaga’s fate is still uncertain.

Intriguing Bubble Teams to Watch in the Men's NCAA Tournament Selection - 1474789368

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South Florida: A Bubble Team with Recent Success

South Florida has been a fascinating case study this season. Despite early losses to lower-ranked teams, the Bulls have turned their season around and currently sit atop the American conference. However, their lack of Quadrant 1 wins and poor metrics from early in the season have kept them on the bubble. While AP voters have recognized their recent success by ranking them No. 25, bracketologists still view their resume as lacking for an at-large bid. South Florida will need to continue winning and hope the selection committee sees them for the team they are now, rather than the team they were at the start of the season.

Villanova’s Quest for Redemption

Villanova, a recent national champion, finds itself in danger of missing the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year. The Wildcats had some early setbacks, including losses to lower-ranked teams in the Big Five. However, they also have notable wins against Maryland, Texas Tech, North Carolina, and Memphis. Villanova’s remaining schedule includes crucial games against Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall, and Creighton. A strong finish and a few key victories might be necessary for the Wildcats to secure an at-large bid.

Wake Forest: A Team with Potential

Wake Forest recently grabbed headlines with a win against Duke, but their NCAA tournament hopes still hang in the balance. The Demon Deacons have a top-25 ranking in predictive metrics and minimal losses against lower-ranked teams. However, their record in Quadrant 1 and 2 games is not impressive. Wake Forest’s win against Duke was a significant boost, proving that they can compete against elite competition. They will need to continue their strong performance and hope the selection committee takes notice.

Indiana State: Mid-Major Hopeful

Among the mid-major teams, Indiana State stands out as a potential at-large candidate. With impressive rankings in the NET and Strength of Record, the Sycamores have proven themselves as a strong team within the Missouri Valley Conference. However, their lack of top-100 non-conference wins is a significant drawback. Indiana State’s fate will depend on how they finish the season and what the selection committee values.

Conclusion: The Bubble Picture Comes into Focus

As the regular season winds down, these bubble teams will be closely watched as they fight for their spot in the NCAA tournament. Each game will be crucial in determining their fate, and one slip-up could mean the end of their tournament dreams. It’s an exciting time for college basketball fans as the bubble picture becomes clearer with each passing game.

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