Mar 15, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Mississippi Rebels players celebrate after defeating the Missouri Tigers during the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Mississippi won 62-64. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

March Madness 2013: Bubble Watch Tracker

The NCAA basketball regular season is about to end, which means we are about to be blessed with one of the most exciting few weeks on the sports calendar: March Madness. One of the most exciting parts of March Madness is the rapid pace in which dreams are created and crushed, and that starts well before the brackets are set. There are teams that have already punched their ticket to the madness but for every team that’s in, there are three or four teetering on the brink.

While the bubble teams are always fun to watch out for, trying to see who the No. 1 seeds will be is also something to keep an eye on, as conference tournaments have a funny way of shifting powers that may be at the last moment. As it stands now, here’s a look at who the No. 1 seeds will be come Selection Sunday when the madness is officially announced:

No. 1 Seeds (Projection): 

 

So as we enter the final weekend of the college basketball regular season, let’s take a look at who needs some serious help if they want their dreams of madness realized.

Bubble Watch 2013

Big East

Locks:        

It’s easiest to start with the Big East because everything is essentially locked up here. Either teams have pretty much punched their ticket, or it’s abundantly clear that it’s impossible for them to do so at this point. As far as who’s in from the Big East, Georgetown, Louisville, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Marquette and Cincinnati are all locks to land in the tournament next week. Really the only mystery involves where the teams will be seeded but even that at this point isn’t really a major mystery. What will be interesting to watch is what regions the teams are placed in and where in the tournament we may be able to see a Big East rivalry game — specifically looking at Georgetown and Syracuse on this one.

 

PAC-12

Locks:     

On the Bubble: 

Here’s another conference that’s just about all sewed up. Like the Big East, the teams that have a chance of getting in are in and those who need to do work are properly on the outside looking in. The sole anomaly in the Pac-12 remains the Arizona State Sun Devils, who may be able to ride thrilling win over Oregon into the tournament, but that’s looking more and more like a major stretch. The Sun Devils had a chance to solidify their madness status with a win over UCLA, but they fizzled late and gave away a sting beginning to the game and ultimately lost. The question is, did they lose more than just the game when UCLA toppled them, or was their entire season at stake?

 

ACC

Locks:     

On the Bubble:  

Had it not been for Duke or Dez Wells, the Maryland Terripans may not even be close to being a bubble team, but the fact of the matter remains Wells dropped 30 points on 13 shots against the Duke Blue Devils and Maryland pulled off a massive upset in the ACC Tournament. The loss doesn’t affect Duke’s standing in the Big Dance, as they’re all but certain to lock up one of the four No. 1 seeds. But the mystery surrounds Maryland and whether or not they have the street cred to convince the right people they deserve a ticket to the Madness. Two of Maryland’s RPI wins against top-5 teams came against Duke, so the Terrapins might just like beating Duke which is hardly enough to warrant a trip to the Dance. As for the Virginia Cavaliers, they too owe a ton of credit to a mako win over Duke to end the month of February, but losses to Boston College and Florida State severely hurt their chances of making the tournament. Everything about Virginia’s season screams NIT, and when it comes down to it, Maryland is a far better choice for a bubble bid than Virginia.

 

Big Ten

Locks:       

On The Bubble:   

Indiana is virtually a lock for the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament next week and they’ll be joined by the usual suspects of Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Illinois as well as MichiganBut the question mark starts after that as we could realistically get at least one more team out of the Big Ten into March Madness, but who? The most likely candidate remains the Minnesota Golden Gophers who despite some brutal losses including a heartbreaker to Illinois in the Big Ten tournament, boast a pretty impressive RPI and stand out from the other bubble teams being mentioned with them. The Gophers aren’t going to be favorites in the tournament and they’re far from a lock, but their resume isn’t a ghastly as others and they stand a better chance with voters than the Iowa Hawkeyes do. After a devastating and brutal loss in the Big Ten tournament, the Hawkeyes need a lot of help to weasel their way into the madness next week and if Minnesota is viewed in a positive enough light, the Hawkeyes will be watching this year from the outside.

 

Big 12

Locks:    

On the Bubble:   

Next to the SEC and Atlantic-10, the Big 12 is the only conference with more than two major schools on the bubble. There are locks in the Big 12, as nothing can stop Oklahoma StateKansas or Kansas State from reaching the tournament with Kansas currently being a favorite to get the No. 2 seed in one of the four regions. But there are three teams on the bubble in the Big 12, with two of them likely to get in when the dust settles. Iowa State boasts an RPI of 45 and would have been a lock had they beaten Kansas on Friday, but even with the loss the Cyclones are likely “98 percent” sure to make the tournament. The same goes for the Oklahoma Sooners who are hoping some impressive computer data can offset some devastating losses on their resume. Both the Cyclones and Sooners are likely to get in, but the same can’t be said for the Baylor Bears, who need significant help if they want to dance again in 2013. Even a giant win over Kansas this year probably won’t be enough to secure a place in the big dance for the Bears, but stranger things have happened leading up to the madness.

 

SEC

Locks:   

On the Bubble:     

The SEC is perhaps the most up-in-the-air conference heading into Selection Sunday as four teams remain on the bubble when it comes to who is in and who will be on the outside looking in. What we do know for certain is this: the Florida Gators and Missouri Tigers are bonafide locks to make the tournament, but beyond that things get hazy. The Kentucky Wildcats were supposed to be one of the best teams in college basketball this year, but after an awful season, they could end up missing the big dance altogether if they don’t get some serious help this weekend. The Alabama Crimson Tide may have the best football team in the country, but their basketball team is probably missing the tournament this year despite some late season heroics. Slide the Tennessee Volunteers into the category of teams that likely don’t have enough quality wins to get in and you’re left with the Ole Miss Rebels as the favorites. Ole Miss has had a flair for the dramatics late in the season, but despite some amazing finishes late in the season, Ole Miss might have waited a little too long to look like a good team this year. Someone might get in, but don’t be surprised if only one or even none of the teams on the bubble in the SEC make the tournament this year.

 

Mountain West Conference

Locks:     

On the Bubble:  

Other than the four teams that are absolute locks out of the MAC, Boise State is the only team from the conference currently sitting on the bubble and they have no one to blame but themselves for that. The Broncos loss to San Diego State means they’re 4-7 against teams in the top-50 and that’s going to impress no one when it comes to allowing them into the tournament. But a big win over Creighton and conference wins over UNLV, Colorado State and SDSU are all things that could end up being of major help to Boise State’s chances of dancing next week. But the best the Broncos can hope for is a No. 11 seed at best, and they’ll need some things to go their way well before they get to that stage on Selection Sunday.

 

Atlantic 10

Locks:    

On the Bubble:    

Butler used to be a bubble team, and after missing the tournament completely last season it looks like they’re going to be back once again as they’re a lock for the big dance in 2013. As for their other comrades in the Atlantic 10, St. Louis and VCU appear to be locks for the tournament but the likes of TempleLaSalle, and UMass will need some help if they want to end up on the right side of the bubble they’re currently sitting on. Of the three bubble teams, Temple is the team most likely to earn a bid to the tournament while UMass will be trying to ride two top-50 wins into the big dance. As for LaSalle, the Explorers are in an odd position where they don’t have any major wins but they also don’t have any notable losses. They beat who they were supposed to beat and lost to who they were supposed to lose to and as a result they’re kind of floating in the middle of the bubble universe, with their fate being as bizarre and average as the season they’ve had thus far.

 

Other At-Large Bids

Locks:    

On the Bubble:    

Three teams have some work to do if they want to secure automatic at-large bids to the big dance. We already know that Gonzaga has locked up not only an automatic bid, but also a No. 1 seed in one of the four regions. Creighton and Belmont have also locked up automatic bids and are already in the tournament for sure while the Memphis Tigers and Wichita State Shockers remain locks to have their tickets punched. The same can’t be said for Middle Tennessee, who are reeling from a bad loss in the Sun Belt tournament and their biggest win seems to have been a three-point victory over fellow bubble team Ole Miss earlier this year. As for St. Mary’s, they’re praying that the other bubble teams close to them don’t do well this weekend, as their lone top-50 win over Creighton may not be enough to convince voters to get them into the tournament. But in the case of Southern Miss the Golden Eagles keep doing the one thing they need to do to keep their bubble from popping: winning. If they roll all the way to a Conference USA title, they are sitting pretty but all it takes is one loss to wave goodbye to any hopes of making it to the big dance next week.

 

Be sure to stay tuned to Fansided.com all weekend long to make sure you get the most updated March Madness information available to you. Check in on Sunday evening when we find out which bubble teams made the cut when we announce the March Madness brackets live. 

Tags: Bubble Watch March Madness March Madness 2013 NCAA Basketball NCAA Tournament 2013 Popular