NCAA March Madness Tournament Watch: Predicting Which Notable Bubble Teams are In… or Out

March Madness

March Madness is right around the corner, and a number of notable teams are still battling for a spot in the tournament. Read this article to find out which teams are most likely in, and which teams will be sent packing.

With the College Basketball regular season coming to a close, we’ve seen action-packed contests on a nightly basis, as every team has fought hard to earn a spot in the 2023 NCAA March Madness tournament. Selection Sunday is less than two weeks away, and teams are down to their final few chances to prove to the tournament committee that their squad deserves a spot in the competition. However, with only 68 spots available to the 351 eligible NCAA division 1 basketball programs, a number of solid teams will be left out of the action.

A week away from the Conference Championship tournaments, I’ve decided that I want a better picture of the current bubble battle going on between the number of notable college basketball programs. Below, I have listed the notable Power 5 teams currently in the bubble, as well as their remaining season schedule and my predictions of where they’ll end up, come Selection Sunday.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Coming off a disappointing Overtime-loss against Big Ten rivals, Michigan Wolverines, the Badgers have stumbled at the end of the season and are quickly watching their March Madness tournament chances disappear. Wisconsin has two more regular season matchups on both sides of the Big Ten standings, as they have remaining matchups against Purdue and Minnesota.

A team that was projected to be in the last four to make it a week ago, the Badgers disappointing loss has put them on an uphill battle for the rest of the season. Wisconsin still has a chance to make the tournament, but would need to win their two remaining games and make an impressive Big Ten tournament run in order to do so. Unfortunately, I don’t see the Badgers making it to the March Madness tournament this year.

Arizona State University

Coming off of an impressive victory over powerhouse rivals the Arizona Wildcats, the Sun Devils have caught fire at the right time, and are slowly solidifying themselves as a tournament fixture. With a 20-9 record, Arizona State has had a solid season all-around and, in my eyes, has done enough to be selected to the March Madness tournament.

The Sun Devils have two tough matches remaining against #4 ranked UCLA and USC, before they enter the Pac-12 tournament. Despite a decent showing this year, the Sun Devils will need to continue fighting for the remainder of the season if they want to make the tournament.

ASU are on the outside looking in at the moment, but if they were able to get 3-4 wins in their remaining contests, I could definitely see them claiming a tournament spot. My prediction is that the Sun Devils will be one of the last four in as a member of the First Four for March Madness.

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

A team known for its prowess and dominance, the Tar Heels have not enjoyed their best season this year. However, after back-to-back wins against solid oppopents UNC find themselves back in a tournament spot.

The Tar Heels have gone 18-11, with their most recent win coming against #6 ranked Virginia. Prior to the ACC championship tournament, UNC have two regular season games against Duke and Florida State left.

Despite not playing their best basketball, the Tar Heels strong conference wins may already be enough for them to make the March Madness tournament. Unless they completely unravel across their remaining games, I see North Carolina making the tournament as a 10, 11, or 12 seed.

University of Oregon

Despite enjoying a decent season, the Oregon Ducks have dug themselves into quite the hole, as they’ve lost three of their last four contests. The Ducks have compiled a 16-13 record this season and find themselves outside looking in with two regular season contests against California and Stanford remaining.

Prior to their losing streak, the Ducks were in an advantageous spot to make the March Madness tournament. Now, their odds are much slimmer and they have their work cut out for them. Although they still have a chance to make the tournament, my guess is that they’d need to win out and make a run to at least the final of the Pac-12 championship tournament. Sadly, I don’t think the Ducks will make an appearance this March.

University of West Virginia

Despite a 5-game losing streak to open 2023 and a 1-4 record in their last five contests, the West Virginia Mountaineers have refused to give up on their season. Although they have an average 16-13 record, they have achieved a decent season in a very strong Big 12 conference.

With two remaining regular season games against #23 ranked Iowa State and #14 ranked Kansas State, the Mountaineers certainly control their tournament destiny. West Virginia currently holds one of the last four positions, but if they’re able to achieve 1-2 wins in their remaining games, I see them moving up to a 10 or 11-seed.

Clemson University

Despite an admirable 21-8 record, the Clemson Tigers still have some work to do if they want to make March Madness. Clemson finds themselves in this tough position because of their lack of wins against strong opponents, as the Tigers have two remaining games against #6 ranked Virginia and Notre Dame.

Although they certainly have a chance to make the tournament, they would need to either win both of their remaining regular season games or make a run to the finals in the ACC championship tournament. Either way, I don’t think we’ll see the Tigers in March, as I think they’ll just miss out on a spot.

University of Michigan

A team that wasn’t expected to enter the tournament conversation, the Michigan Wolverines have preserved their tournament hopes with a comeback-overtime win over the University of Wisconsin. The Wolverines have compiled a 17-12 record, but have been impressive in conference play with an 11-7 record.

Now, with their hopes still alive, the Wolverines have two remaining regular season games against tough opponents Illinois and Indiana. These games, in addition to the Big Ten championship tournament, will determine where the Wolverines end up come Selection Sunday.

Michigan holds their future in their hands, as I believe two victories across the regular season and Big Ten tournament would be enough to earn the Wolverines a spot. Barring a complete unraveling, I think the Michigan Wolverines will be one of the last four in and will compete in the first four for an 11-seed.

Penn State University

As the Michigan Wolverine’s stock has improved, the Nittany Lions stock has plummeted. Penn State have compiled a 17-12 record, with a less-than impressive 8-10 Big Ten record. Although they share the same record as the Wolverines, their Big Ten record is what puts them behind their rivals from Ann Arbor.

Penn State suffered a disappointing loss against Rutgers in their last game, as their two remaining contests consists of #21 ranked Northwestern and Maryland. In my eyes, Penn State is all but eliminated from securing a spot in March Madness, however, if they are able to win their remaining regular season games and make a run to the semi-finals or finals of the Big Ten tournament, they could squeak in as one of the first four teams. Although, I’m not counting on this and expect Penn State to be competing in the NIT tournament instead.

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