Teams in all caps have auto bids into the tournament. Lower cased teams have earned at large bids.
Last Four In Byes
Southern Methodist (23-9, RPI: 53, SOS: 113) – The Mustangs are going to be in the field of 68, but the loss to Houston in the AAC Tournament will hurt their seeding. SMU has played very well at home this year, but away from home, there best win came at Connecticut. Their next best away win: at RPI 138 Wyoming.
Nebraska (19-11, RPI: 41, SOS: 26) – Since Ohio State was able to hold off Purdue, the Cornhuskers won’t have to fear adding a bad loss to their resume in the Big Ten Tournament. Therefore, Husker fans should feel pretty good about their chances to go dancing, win or lose against the Buckeyes.
St. Joseph’s (21-9, RPI: 43, SOS: 71) – The Owls limped their way into the postseason and would be wise to find their form when they face Dayton in the quarterfinals of the A-10 Tournament. A win against the Flyers might lock them up. A loss would put them in bubble purgatory.
Dayton (23-9, RPI: 39, SOS: 65) – Dayton is in a similar situation as St. Joe’s. The game between the two might as well be a play-in game for the NCAA Tournament. Dayton has been rolling lately, enough so to overcome three ugly losses on their resume, including a home loss to Pac-12 doormat USC. Beating the Owls and adding another top 50 win might be enough to make Dayton feel safe on Sunday.
Last Four In
BYU (23-11, RPI: 34, SOS: 24) – The numbers look great for the Cougars. The real problem is the four losses to teams outside of the top 100, which is more than most teams on the bubble. BYU could have made it easy for the committee and won the WCC Tournament, but the loss to Gonzaga has put them in a position in which they can do nothing to better their resume. At this point, they just need to root for Texas and Stanford to keep winning in their tournaments to make their wins against them look better.
Pittsburgh (24-8, RPI: 40, SOS: 73) – Pittsburgh did a good thing yesterday; they avoided a bad loss to Wake Forest and moved onto the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament. Today they could do something even better for themselves; add a quality win to their resume. The Panthers have drawn North Carolina, and a win against the Tar Heels would be the best so far this season for Pitt. The SOS is a bit weak, but the biggest knock against Pittsburgh is their lack of quality wins (1-6 against the top 50, with that one win coming against Stanford in November). This game needs to be seen as a must win by the Panthers.
Minnesota (20-12, RPI: 47, SOS: 9) – The Gophers put away a resilient Penn State team and avoided a loss which would have surely secured a bid to the NIT. Next up, Minnesota has rival Wisconsin, and a win against the Badgers would help their resume immensely.That would give them three wins against RPI top 25 teams on the year, and coupling that with their top ten SOS, the Gophers could get a bit comfortable.
Tennessee (20-11, RPI: 44, SOS: 22) – The Vols haven’t played a game in their conference tournament yet and will make their debut today against surprising South Carolina. A loss to the Gamecocks would be Tennessee’s fifth bad loss of the year and really have them sweating on Sunday. A win wouldn’t do much to add to their resume but would set up a matchup with the winner of Florida-Missouri. Winning two games and reaching the SEC Finals, regardless of who they beat, would do wonders for Tennessee.
First Four Out
California (19-13, RPI: 58, SOS: 26) – Cal’s loss to Colorado yesterday in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament might have done in their tournament hopes. They’re still right on the cut line, and could get in, but since they no longer control their own destiny they’re going to need some help in the way of other bubble teams losing and no bid stealers.
Florida State (19-12, RPI: 52, SOS: 36) – Bojanovsky’s game-winning dunk kept Florida State’s tournament hopes alive. Had the Seminoles fallen to Maryland they would have been NIT bound. Instead, they now have a date with the one seed Virginia, which is another must win. Winning the game wouldn’t lock FSU up, but losing would probably end their hopes to go dancing.
Providence (21-11, RPI: 51, SOS: 62) – The good news: the Friars won their de facto elimination game with St. John’s and have lived another day. The bad news: since Villanova was upset by Seton Hall, they’ll have to win the Big East Tournament to secure their spot in the field of 68. A loss to Seton Hall would likely kill Providence’s resume while a win wouldn’t add much. If Providence were to beat Seton Hall, they would be in the Big East finals. They would likely face Creighton, and if they lost, the only notable win they would have picked up in the tournament would have been against St. John’s. Looks like the Friars just have to make the best of a bad situation.
Missouri (22-10, RPI: 49, SOS: 75) – Missouri nearly sealed their NIT fate yesterday by narrowly escaping upset-minded Texas A&M in double overtime. What the Tigers’ resume has been lacking is marquee wins and they’ll have a chance to change that today. Missouri will play Florida in a potential must win game for the Tigers. If they lose, they’ll have to hope the committee overlooks their lack of quality wins and poor SOS and lets them into the tournament anyway.
Next Four Out
Arkansas (21-11, RPI: 73, SOS: 87) – Arkansas is almost definitely done at this point. Their loss to South Carolina yesterday all but did them in. Three bad losses, an ugly RPI and an even uglier SOS aren’t going to be enough to for the Razorbacks.
Illinois (19-13, RPI: 64, SOS: 36) – Illinois beat Indiana yesterday to still make it possible for them to leap onto the bubble and earn a tournament bid. They will next face Big Ten champ Michigan which is a game the Illini cannot afford to lose. Even a win against the Wolverines wouldn’t be enough to get them in, but at the very least it would give them another chance to get a second win to grab an at large spot. It isn’t likely Illinois gets in, but if other bubble teams keep losing like they have been and Illinois keeps winning, it’s possible.
St. John’s (20-12, RPI: 63, SOS: 48) – The Johnnies might as well prepare for the NIT because that’s where they’ll be headed. After losing the Providence, the Red Storm have exactly one win against the RPI top 50. That is not even close to enough to earn a bid. Unless they’re resurrected and allowed to reenter the Big East Tournament, St. John’s is done.
Green Bay (24-6, RPI: 57, SOS: 143) – There is not much hope here, but there is a tiny bit. There is the win against Virginia, but that was months ago and is the Phoenix’s only real claim here. Green Bay is a quality basketball team and I would love to see them in the tournament, but after losing in the Horizon semifinals to Milwaukee, the Phoenix are almost assuredly NIT bound.
Big 12 – 7 (Kansas, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma State)
Big Ten – 7 (Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota)
A-10 – 6 (Saint Louis, Massachusetts, VCU, George Washington, St. Joesph’s, Dayton)
Pac-12 – 6 (Arizona, UCLA, Colorado, Oregon, Stanford, Arizona State)
AAC – 5 (Cincinnati, Louisville, Connecticut, Memphis, Southern Methodist)
ACC – 5 (Duke, Virginia, Syracuse, North Carolina, Pittsburgh)
Big East – 3 (Villanova, Creighton, Xavier)
SEC – 3 (Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee)
Mountain West – 2 (San Diego State, New Mexico)
WCC – 2 (Gonzaga, BYU)
3. Wichita State
10. Iowa State
13. San Diego State
16. Michigan State
18. North Carolina
19. Saint Louis
21. Ohio State
27. New Mexico
33. Kansas State
35. Oklahoma State
36. George Washington
37. Arizona State
40. Southern Methodist
42. St. Joseph’s
48. Southern Miss
50. North Dakota State
51. Stephen F. Austin
56. Georgia State
57. UC Irvine
58. North Carolina Central
59. Eastern Kentucky
61. Stony Brook
62. Utah Valley
64. Weber State
66. Coastal Carolina
67. Alabama State
68. Mount St. Mary’s