With Selection Sunday drawing near, it’s time to take a look at who’s in and who’s on the bubble as the countdown to the NCAA Tournament continues:
No. 1 seeds
Midwest: Indiana; East: Miami; Midwest: Duke; West: Gonzaga
In: Stony Brook. Bubble: None. Comment: The Seahawks have a 10-man rotation and the whole bunch can score.
In: Saint Louis, Butler, VCU, La Salle, Temple. Bubble: Charlotte. Outlook: Now that Khalif Wyatt has caught fire, Temple looks dangerous. Charlotte’s record is solid, but the Niners lack quality non-conference wins. Looks like St. Bonaventure has played its way into the conference tournament.
In: Miami, Duke, North Carolina State, Virginia, North Carolina. Bubble: Maryland. Comment: It stands to reason that if the ’Canes run the table and win the ACC Tournament, they should be in line for the top seed overall. An athletic frontcourt will give the Dukies problems. The Tar Heels will be done by the first weekend.
In: Florida Gulf Coast. Bubble: None. Comment: That early season win over Miami looks more impressive now.
In: Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Baylor. Bubble: None. Comment: If Kansas had a serviceable point guard the Jayhawks could win it all, but Bill Self is sticking with struggling Elijah Johnson because he’s the best option. No one has ever questioned Bruce Weber’s coaching ability and he’s doing a marvelous job at Kansas State. You can never count out Baylor.
In: Syracuse, Georgetown, Marquette, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Cincinnati. Bubble: St. John’s. Comment: Syracuse and Louisville have the goods to win the national championship. Some will moan about Villanova’s inclusion, but the ’Cats have wins over Louisville and Syracuse, who are in the top 10 of the RPI. Cincinnati is reeling but only two of its losses came against teams outside the RPI’s Top 50.
In: Montana. Bubble: None. Comment: It only seems fitting that a team from Big Sky Country wins this league.
In: High Point. Bubble: None. Comment: Haven’t lost since Jan. 26.
In: Indiana, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois. Bubble: Iowa. Comment: Indiana, Michigan State and Michigan are all Final Four contenders. Hard to pick against the Spartans in March. Minnesota is trying hard to play its way out of the field. It didn’t take long for former Siena coach Fran McCaffery to return Iowa to respectability.
In: Long Beach State. Bubble: None. Comment: Since starting 5-8, the Niners are 12-1 since Jan. 5, a credit to Dan Monson’s coaching ability.
In: Northeastern. Bubble: None. Comment: Northeastern sits in first place but Towson has won five of six.
In: Memphis. Bubble: Southern Miss. Comment: The Tigers have won 17 straight and are a Final Four sleeper pick.
In: Detroit. Bubble: None. Comment: Valpo is in first place but Detroit point guard Ray McCallum has been taking over games as of late.
In: Harvard. Bubble: None. Comment: The Crimson’s Kenyatta Smith has 16 blocks over the last two games.
In: Niagara. Bubble: None. Comment: The Purple Eagles are 12-4 in the league, but eight of the wins have been by four points or less. So with Antoine Mason questionable with an ankle injury, the tournament is up for grabs. Could Billy Baron catch fire for three days and win it for Canisius? Sure, but Robert Olson can do the same for Loyola (Md.) and Lamont Jones can pour in the points for Iona.
In: Akron. Bubble: None. Comment: The Zips could enjoy a run similar to the one Ohio relished last year. UB is currently the No. 4 seed for the conference tournament but the Bulls still have to play Kent State, Akron and Ohio.
In: Norfolk State. Bubble: None. Comment: Wide open race between Norfolk, North Carolina Central and Savannah State. Combined conference record is 33-2.
In: Wichita State, Creighton. Bubble: Indiana State. Comment: The Sycamores beat Miami in overtime back on Dec. 25 but have dropped three straight.
In: New Mexico, Colorado State, UNLV, San Diego State. Bubble: None. Comment: All are solid teams but none will get past the first weekend of the tournament.
In: Robert Morris. Bubble: None. Comment: Andrew Toole will land a high-major coaching job soon.
In: Belmont. Bubble: None. Comment: With Murray State and Eastern Kentucky both playing well, a Belmont championship isn’t a given.
In: Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, Cal, Colorado. Bubble: None. Comment: Arizona’s Mark Lyons is inventive with the ball and can get to the rim and those kinds of guards tend to win tournament games. The Sun Devils’ fate changes from in to bubble almost daily. Colorado plays a lot better in the Pac-12 than it ever did in the Big 12.
In: Bucknell. Bubble: None. Comment: The landscape changes if C.J. McCollum returns to the Lehigh lineup.
In: Florida, Missouri, Ole Miss. Bubble: Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas. Comment: Florida is Final Four worthy and Missouri would be too if all of its games were at home. The Rebels and Wildcats are fading while the Hogs and Tide are rising.
In: Davidson. Bubble: None. Comment: Winners of 11 straight.
In: Northwestern State. Bubble: None. Comment: The Demons have four players averaging double figures. Not an easy game today for Niagara.
In: Southern. Bubble: None. Comment: Jags have a nice win over Texas A&M back in December.
In: South Dakota State. Bubble: None. Comment: 32, 28, 18, 36, 53. No, they aren’t lottery numbers, just Nate Wolters’ scoring output the last five games.
In: Middle Tennessee. Bubble: None. Comment: Blue Raiders are talented enough to knock off a higher seed. Or two.
In: Louisiana Tech. Bubble: None. Comment: Sixteen in a row is quite a run.
In: Gonzaga, St. Mary’s. Bubble: BYU. Comment: Zags won’t get shafted with seeding this time around.