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Article:NCAA Tournament Bid Projections

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From: The Sports Point To follow up yesterdays breakdown of the Top 25 we have zeroed in and decided to play NCAA Committee. This is a breakdown of the major conferences and where we see the at-large bids being allocated between the leagues.

ACC Locks: North Carolina, Duke, Clemson Bubble Out: Va Tech, Maryland, Miami (FL)

Bubble Analysis: This will be the story of selection Sunday, the ACC will only get three teams in. The lack of quality non-conference wins among the bubble teams is the glaring weakness of this group. Maryland played the best schedule, but their best win is VCU, which is not enough to get them in. We do not even feel the need to acknowledge Virginia Tech until they actually do something in the non-conference, they have 8 wins in the ACC and still have a mid 50's RPI, thats a joke. The team with the best shot of this bubble group is Miami who has a strong RPI and a quality win over Mississippi St. In what could be somewhat of a surprise we see the Canes faltering down the stretch of the regular season and in the ACC tourney as well. Mid-majors rejoice!

Big East Locks: UCONN, Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame, Marquette Bubble In: West Virginia, Pittsburgh Bubble Out: Syracuse, Villanova, Seton Hall

Bubble Analysis: We do not think Pittsburgh was knocked off the bubble like many think after their loss to West Virginia last night. We do think that the WVU win puts them on the good side of the bubble and as close to a lock as you can get after the win. The Panthers will get in via a win in the season finale over DePaul which will put them at 10 conference wins and that win over Duke in December will loom large with the committee. The 'Cuse, 'Nova, Hall trio are on the outside looking in and will need runs deep into the Big East tourney to get in.

Big Ten Locks: Indiana, Michigan St., Wisconsin, Purdue Bubble Out: Ohio St.

Bubble Analysis: Although only a 4 bid league the Big Ten will send four solid teams to the tourney all of which can make deep runs. As for the Buckeyes although they are on the outside right now, wins to end the regular season over Purdue and Michigan St. however would assure them a bid. We do not see that happening, the Buckeyes have no wins of that stature as their non-conference wins vs Florida and Syracuse do not look as impressive as they did earlier in the season.

Big 12 Locks: Texas, Kansas Bubble In: Baylor, Kansas St., Oklahoma Bubble Out: Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma St.

Bubble Analysis: Texas and Kansas are clearly the class of the conference and a look down the standings from these two reveals a complete bubble nightmare. Baylor looks to be in right now based on their 8-6 conference record which puts them ahead of the curve and a quality non-conference slate that included a win vs Notre Dame on a neutral court. Kansas St. has been faltering lately but have two cupcakes to end the season in Colorado and Iowa St. which will be enough to get them in. Oklahoma is an interesting case and their record seems to put them squarely on the bubble. However a closer look at the Sooners' resume reveals a strong RPI (27) and strength of schedule couple that with a sweep over Baylor and how could you put Baylor in and not the Sooners?

Pac 10 Locks: Stanford, Washington St., UCLA Bubble In: USC Bubble Out: Arizona, Arizona St., Oregon

Bubble Analysis: Many prognosticators have Arizona on the better side of the bubble. Granted they have a mid 20's RPI and the number 1 S.O.S., but we can not in good conscience put a team in that is 7-9 in conference play and could very well end up with double digit conference losses. The tournament committee would certainly be setting a bad precedent if they let in a team with those credentials. USC blew a chance to lock up a bid with a win on Saturday vs Arizona St, instead they continued to take their fans on the roller coaster ride they have been on all season. In the end, non-conference wins over Oklahoma, Miami (OH), and Southern Illinois we feel will be enough to get them in.

SEC Locks: Vandy, Mississippi St., Tennessee Bubble In: Arkansas, Kentucky Bubble Out: Florida, Mississippi

Bubble Analysis: Kentucky will at least get a split of their final two league games and we find it hard to believe the powers that be would not put in an 11 win SEC team with the tradition of a Kentucky. Not to mention the Wildcats played a killer out of conference schedule. Arkansas will get in over Florida and Mississippi due to them having a much better RPI then Florida and the fact that Mississippi is 4 games below .500 in conference play while the Razorbacks are two games over at 8-6. Based on our analysis 22 of the 34 at-large bids will go to the major conferences. This is of course assuming that either a "lock" or "bubble in" wins each of these conference tournament titles. With that said, where will the other 12 at-large invitations come from? Later this week we will analyze the mid-major conferences and pinpoint where the last dozen bids will be awarded.

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