Time for a last-pitch effort

Bubble teams can sway committee in final games

March 01, 2011|By Shannon Ryan, Tribune reporter

Just when it looks like a team is falling apart, it finds Super Glue. Just when a team appears to have fallen into quicksand, it finds a lifeline.

While the NCAA tournament selection committee will render judgment on Selection Sunday based on an entire season of games, some teams can save themselves — or bury themselves — in their final two regular-season games.

Here are some bubble teams that could fall either way by March 13:



(18-10, 7-7 Big 12, RPI 72, strength of schedule 48)

The Bears would like to circle and highlight their sweep of Texas A&M on the resume the selection committee reviews. It's their best argument for getting in, but they otherwise lack head-turning victories. With losses at Iowa State, at Oklahoma and against Texas Tech — all out of the top 100 in RPI — the Bears need some resume-building.

Games remaining: Tuesday at Oklahoma State, Saturday vs. Texas.


(18-11, 7-7 Big 12, RPI 77, SOS 73)

The Buffaloes did themselves an enormous favor by upsetting Texas on Saturday. Added to its sweep of Kansas State and victories against Missouri and Colorado State, Colorado can outshine other bubble contenders. Losses at San Francisco and Oklahoma will hurt, as will a weak nonconference schedule.

Games remaining: Wednesday at Iowa State, Saturday vs. Nebraska.


(22-7, 11-3 Atlantic 10, 62 RPI, 138 SOS)

The Spiders' best win is a victory against Purdue on Nov. 27. If the Atlantic 10 gets a third team in — along with Temple and Xavier — it's going to be Richmond. The Spiders' dreadful strength of schedule is a black eye, so they can't afford to lose again.

Games remaining: Wednesday at St. Joseph's, Saturday vs. Duquesne.


(21-8, 12-4 Pac-10, 35 RPI, 46 SOS)

Victories against BYU and St. John's were good. A victory against the Pac-10's only "lock" in Arizona makes the Bruins look tournament-worthy. Their only cringe-worthy loss was to Montana.

Games remaining: Thursday at Washington, Saturday at Washington State.



(19-9, 11-3 SEC, RPI 89, SOS 139)

A recent stumble against Ole Miss coupled with bad losses to St. Peter's, Providence, Arkansas and Iowa might have deflated all of the Tide's hope. They can brag about wins against Kentucky and Tennessee, but the committee probably will find the losses more disturbing. Victories in their final two games could change that story.

Games remaining: Tuesday at Florida, Saturday vs. Georgia.

Boston College

(17-11, 7-7 ACC, RPI 46, 18 SOS)

Their only top-50 RPI victory came against Texas A&M, but the Eagles have played seven teams in that category. Beating Virginia on Saturday helped them avoid a three-game losing streak, but they can't even brag about a good road record (3-6).

Games remaining: Tuesday at Virginia Tech, Saturday vs. Wake Forest.

Colorado State

(18-10, 8-6 Mountain West, RPI 47, SOS 38)

The Rams are free-falling after a nice start to the season. The only thing that will negate their loss over the weekend to Air Force is a season-ending upset against San Diego State. They've missed opportunities against UNLV and BYU.

Games remaining: Wednesday vs. Utah, Saturday at San Diego State.


(21-8, 9-5 C-USA, RPI 33, SOS 40)

Expectations dropped off with all of the obstacles the Tigers encountered this season, but they're not doing much to jump over the low bar. Losing to Rice and UTEP probably will be too damaging to their resume even with sweeps against top-50 RPI teams UAB and Southern Mississippi.

Games remaining: Wednesday at East Carolina, Saturday vs. Tulane.


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