These five college basketball teams on the projected NCAA Tournament bubble will look for a strong showing in week six.
Week five of the 2017-18 college basketball regular season was filled with upsets that could have a major impact on the NCAA Tournament picture down the line.
Arizona State, which was projected to be well out of Pac-12 contention entering the season, was the week’s big winner with victories over St. John’s and Kansas to vault all the way to No. 5 in the AP Poll. Washington also topped the struggling Jayhawks to at least enter the NCAA Tournament picture, while Jim Christian’s excellent rebuilding job at Boston College continued with an upset of top-ranked Duke.
Five top teams ranked in the top 10 lost at least once, making for a crowded bubble at the moment. The cut line will become a little clearer once league play gets fully underway, but a few teams could use more on their nonconference resumes to get some separation from the rest of the field in the early going.
Here are five projected bubble teams to keep an eye on in the upcoming week.
5. Clemson Tigers
Brad Brownell likely needs an NCAA Tournament appearance to save his job at Clemson, and the Tigers once again appear right on the cut line with nonconference play running down.
The Tigers started at 11-2 last season and looked headed to the Big Dance for the first time since 2011, only to fade in ACC play and finish just one game above .500 overall. Clemson is again enjoying a strong run through nonconference play with an 8-1 record, only losing narrowly to a good Temple team back on Nov. 19.
That resume has largely been built on a week schedule, as the Tigers have not beaten a team better than Ohio State so far. Clemson faces a crucial week ahead with a trip to Florida on Saturday followed by a home contest against rival South Carolina next Tuesday.
The Tigers have been stout on the defensive end to fuel the strong start, allowing just 63.9 points per game on 0.892 points per trip. Five Tigers are averaging in double figures scoring, with senior Done Grantham piling up 16.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per contest to lead the way.
Even after the Gators tumbled to No. 22 in the AP Poll, a win in Gainesville is going to look good by the end of the year, and beating fellow bubble team South Carolina certainly wouldn’t hurt the Tigers’ chances of being on the right side of the bubble entering ACC play.