Bubble Banter will officially launch on Tuesday, February 1. In preparation and ahead of our newest bracket projection on Monday (Jan. 24), here is an overview of how Bubble Banter is shaping up.
ATLANTIC 10 – With Temple falling behind the pace of early leaders Duquesne and Xavier, there are no secure spots in the A-10. Xavier has a history of winning the regular-season title, with the Owls grabbing the tourney title and automatic bid. It might be the only way the A-10 earns multiple bids.
- Locks: None
- Should Be In: Temple
- Bubble: Xavier, Richmond, Dayton, Duquesne
ACC – It’s pretty much Duke and everyone else. Now, the ACC will earn more than two bids, but exactly who fills those spots is a long way from being determined.
- Locks: Duke
- Should Be In: North Carolina
- Bubble: Florida State, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Maryland
BIG EAST – Deepest conference in the nation. It’s looking more and more likely the Big East will break its own record of sending 8 teams to the NCAA Tournament. Whether that number is 9, 10, or 11 is still questionnable. Several middle-of-the-pack teams have work remaining, and the schedule could yet prove too much for everyone to survive.
- Locks: Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Syracuse, Villanova
- Should Be In: Notre Dame, West Virginia, Louisville, Georgetown
- Bubble: Cincinnati, St. John’s, Marquette
BIG 10 – Back in November, we suggested that Ohio State might prove to be the Big Ten’s best. So far, it’s shaping up that way. Purdue seems like the best challenger, with several others now a couple of games off the pace.
- Locks: Ohio State, Purdue
- Should Be In: Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota
- Bubble: Penn State, Northwestern
BIG 12 – With Texas winning at Kansas on Saturday, the Big 12 race is an open battle. The Jayhawks and Longhorns are the most certain frontrunners, with Texas AM on the edge. Missouri is always a challenge to play. The league has also seen two of its preseason favorites (Baylor, Kansas State) struggle for most of the season.
- Locks: Kansas, Texas
- Should Be In: Missouri, Texas AM
- Bubble: Baylor, Colorado, Kansas State, Oklahoma State
MOUNTAIN WEST – San Diego State and BYU meet for the first time this week in what has become a two-team race. UNLV has fallen off the pace, and New Mexico has all but disappeared. Surprise Colorado State has been added to the bubble.
- Locks: San Diego State, BYU
- Should Be In: UNLV
- Bubble: Colorado State, New Mexico
PAC 10 – Once again it appears to be Washington and everyone else. Arizona is talented, but has a resume light on quality wins. USC has some good wins, but way too many losses. That leaves UCLA and Washington State as the other realistic hopefuls.
- Locks: Washington
- Should Be In: None
- Bubble: Arizona, UCLA, Washington State
SEC – For a while it looked like Kentucky would cruise through the league again. But some early road struggles suggest otherwise. The East Division is strong and will garner all the at-large bids. Hard to see anyone from the SEC West making the NCAA’s without winning the conference tournament.
- Locks: Kentucky
- Should Be In: Florida, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Georgia
- Bubble: South Carolina
BEST of the REST – With three additional bids available this year, one would hope more spots would be open for non-BCS teams. Thus far, however, many of these teams have squandered chances or struggled to a point where at-large hopes have faded. Below is an overview of how the other non-BCS profiles are shaping up:
- Locks: None
- Should Be In: None
- Bubble: Memphis, UAB, Central Florida, Missouri State, Wichita State, Butler, Cleveland State, VCU, Old Dominion, Drexel, Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, Utah State