One thing people tend to forget as conference tournaments progress and bubble teams get knocked out is that the NCAA Tournament selection committee still has to take 68 teams. After every bubble team loses its final game, people will say that team is out -- but they can't all be out.
Of course, some will be out. Here are a few that are probably not going to make it after losses on Thursday:
- Michigan, which is 17-15 after getting bounced by Rutgers in the Big Ten Tournament.
- North Carolina, which is 1-9 vs Quad 1 opposition with only two wins over teams likely to make the field, both at home.
- Oklahoma State, which is 18-15 overall and 13-15 vs. the top three quadrants (including a Quad 3 loss).
It was not all bad news for bubble teams. For example, Penn State beat Illinois for a third time this season, and now the Nittany Lions should hear their name called on selection Sunday.
Outside of the bubble, Kansas picked up its 16th Quad 1 win of the season over West Virginia and has moved up to the overall No. 1 seed in the projected bracket. That position is unassailable. Alabama, Houston and Purdue round out the top line of the bracket for now. The Cougars and Boilermakers take the court for the first time in their respective conference tournaments on Friday.
NCAA Tournament locks
Locks based on résumé: 28 | Automatic bids secured: 14 of 32 | At-large spots up-for-grabs: 8
Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, Iowa, Northwestern
Baylor, Kansas, Texas, Kansas State, Iowa State, TCU
On the cutline
|Last Four In||Record||NET|
|First Four Out||Record||NET|
|Next Four Out||Record||NET|
Check out all the teams on Palm's Bubble Watch, the field of the 68 and the entire bracket on the Bracketology hub
Friday's "Double Bubble" Game
Utah State vs. Boise State
12 a.m. | CBS Sports network (Channel finder | CBSSports.com | CBS Sports App)
|Our midnight special would have been a "Double Bubble" game yesterday, but I like Boise State's chances now that it advanced past host UNLV. The Broncos are 24-8 overall and No. 27 in the NET. If the Broncos beat Utah State, they may face San Diego State in the Mountain West championship game.|
|Utah State has a top 20 NET ranking but is just 1-4 vs. Quad 1 and 1-2 vs. Quad 4. In between, the Aggies are 22-1 and have a strength of schedule ranking in the 80s. They're currently one of the "Last Four In" but there's little room for error.|
Bubble teams in action Friday
|vs. Purdue, 12 p.m. | Big Ten Network, fuboTV (Try for free) -- Rutgers seems to have Purdue's number. It may need it one more time, although it is possible for the Scarlet Knights to stay in the field even with a loss. Rutgers' last two wins over the Boilermakers came while they were was No. 1 in the polls. This time, they are a potential No. 1 seed.|
|vs. Alabama, 1 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) -- Like Rutgers, it is possible for the Bulldogs to stay in the field even with a loss to the Crimson Tide, but it will depend on what other teams do. Also like Rutgers, a win today should erase all doubt. |
|vs. UCLA, 9 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) -- The Ducks are looking to make a run at the NCAA Tournament from deep out, but a win today would give them a win over each of the Pac-12's top teams and three Quad 1 wins overall. The committee would have to at least take a longer look at Oregon if it gets by the Bruins.|
|vs. Kentucky, 9:30 p.m. | SEC Network, fuboTV (Try for free) -- Vanderbilt is making a run from even farther out. Their record is not too bad, but three bad losses are dragging them down. The Commodores have not yet cracked the top 80 of the NET, although that is not necessarily a problem by itself. They are only five spots behind where Rutgers was when it crawled into the bracket last season. It is likely that by the time Vandy gets enough wins to get in as an at-large, it has already won the league.|
|vs. Virginia, 9:30 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) -- The Tigers moved up 10 spots in the NET this morning thanks to a 26-point win over NC State. They will be seeking their fifth Quad 1 win of the season, but it still may not be enough to overcome a 16-4 record in the bottom two quadrants.|
|vs. Arizona, 11:30 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) -- The Sun Devils got by USC last night in a "Double Bubble" game, and now they get another shot at in-state rival Arizona. The last time these two teams played, the Sun Devils heaved a buzzer-beater for the win. A second win over the Wildcats would be a strong statement to the committee.|
All references to NCAA Tournament selection records and trends refer only to tournaments going back to 1994 with the exception of 2021. Due to shortened schedules and a relatively small number of nonconference games in 2021, those rankings were not reliable enough to be considered.