Which bubble teams need to win their conference tournament to make March Madness?

Champ week means automatic bids are up for grabs to the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Which bubble teams need to win their league's auto bid to go dancing?

Creighton v Villanova
Creighton v Villanova / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The wait is almost over as we are less than a week away from Selection Sunday and learning who the field of 68 is for the NCAA Tournament. Conference tournaments are underway as bubble teams have one last opportunity to make an impression on the committee before the final brackets are chosen.

While some bubble teams need just a win or two to feel good about their chances of getting selected, others on the fringe are much better off just grabbing the auto bid for themselves instead of letting the committee decide for them. Let's go down the list of power conference bubble teams to see who needs to win their way to March Madness.

ACC Tournament: Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, Syracuse

The ACC has three locks to dance in North Carolina, Duke and Clemson. Virginia is hovering around the cut line and may be able to secure their spot with a win over Clemson in the quarterfinals, so they don't really qualify as a team needing the auto-bid in the league.

Wake Forest's stumbles down the stretch with three straight losses to Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech did serious damage to the Demon Deacons to the point they need the auto bid. Pittsburgh has a decent NET rating but didn't do enough damage against the league's top dogs to be safe in the bubble hunt while Syracuse's late surge hasn't done enough to get their NET out of the high 70s, which is a nearly prohibitive figure from an at-large squad.

Big 12 Tournament: Kansas State, Cincinnati

Most of the Big 12 is secure one way or another but Kansas State and Cincinnati fit the bill. The Wildcats have some top-tier wins, including Quad 1A wins over Kansas, BYU and Baylor, but their only road win in Big 12 play came against bottom-feeder West Virginia and their NET rating is a bit high at 70.

Cincinnati has a bubble-worthy NET rating of 41 but a 3-10 mark against Quad 1 opponents isn't good enough because you need to show you can beat tournament teams, not just play a bunch of them to boost your strength of schedule. The Big 12 Tournament offers opportunities to add more Quad 1 wins but with 10 losses against the best teams, the safest play is to win the league's auto bid.

Big East Tournament: Villanova, Providence

The Wildcats have some of the best wins in the country but their biggest problem is the fact that their next loss would be their 15th, a mark that only one at-large team has ever exceeded in the past. Three Quad 3 losses in Big 5 play have come back to haunt Villanova, which would be safely in the field if they had won two of them.

Providence's dip after Bryce Hopkins was lost to a season-ending injury put a dent into their NET rating, which sits at 64 despite a 5-8 record in Quad 1 games. Beating Georgetown to get to 20 wins and losing to Creighton won't do anything for the Friars, who need to win their way into the dance.

Big Ten Tournament: Iowa

The only team in the Big Ten worth discussing in this regard is Iowa, which was playing its way back onto the bubble before blowing a golden opportunity to earn a signature win against Illinois on Sunday. The Hawkeyes' top victories this season have come against sinking Wisconsin, Northwestern, and along with fellow bubblers Michigan State and Seton Hall. That isn't enough ballast to get the job done, especially since Iowa doesn't get a potential shot at Purdue again until the final.

Pac-12 Tournament: Utah

The Utes were sitting around the cutline for most of the year but a mediocre 9-11 mark in Pac-12 play has left Utah with a NET of 52, a 4-8 record in Quad 1 games and two Quad 3 losses. Wins over Saint Mary's and BYU in non-conference play have been sunk by the litany of bad Pac-12 performances, leaving the auto bid as the only way forward for Utah.

SEC Tournament: Texas A&M, Ole Miss

The Aggies have a profile very similar to Villanova in that they have a strong 5-6 performance in Quad 1 games but 13 losses overall, including 4 of the Quad 3 variety. A 14th loss won't help this resume one bit so getting the auto bid is the only way forward for Texas A&M.

Chris Beard's team stacked a bunch of empty wins, racking up 15 of their 20 victories against the bottom two quadrants, and went just 2-7 in their Quad 1 games. That formula, combined with a very poor strength of schedule, leaves Ole Miss in need of an automatic bid to dance.

Next. Predicting the top college basketball conference tournament champions. Predicting the top college basketball conference tournament champions. dark