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Michigan, Creighton, USC amongst groups on NCAA Match bubble

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My very own rule is to strive to not use the bubble phrase earlier than Feb. 1.

Effectively, we’re lower than 10 days away and there are many groups trending towards that lower line for the NCAA Match.

The blue bloods as soon as considered heading within the incorrect path have righted themselves. So do not fret, there is no motive to imagine North Carolina, Duke and Kentucky will not be within the area. The seeds could take a rollercoaster journey, and it isn’t out of the query that we may find yourself with an historic matchup between a Kentucky and a Duke at the same time as early as the primary or second spherical in the event that they ended up in a 7-10 or 8 -9 recreation.

The record of groups that will likely be on the seed strains from 11 to 12, both within the area with out having to go to Dayton for the First 4, or heading to the primary nights of the event, is lengthy. And that record goes to vary weekly over the following 40-plus days.

Right here is my present record, via Sunday’s video games, of 20 groups which have some work to do to get into the Large Dance.

one. Boise State (15-5): The Broncos gained 5 of their first seven video games within the Mountain West and have been inside one possession of beating New Mexico in time beyond regulation on the Pit. Their finest wins got here towards Texas A&M, at Saint Louis, and over Pac-12 groups Washington State and Colorado on impartial courts. The Broncos nonetheless need to play at San Diego State (Feb. 3), and New Mexico (Feb. 22) and the Aztecs (Feb. 28) at house. And so they finish the season at Utah State (March 4). If Boise State needs to be within the area, then going 2-2 in these 4 video games looks like a should. In fact, the Broncos cannot lose video games towards the underside of the league.

2. Creighton (11-8): The Bluejays should not be on this place, however accidents and a six-game dropping skid put them in a tricky spot. Creighton is wholesome and must be ready to be securely within the area. However it will assist to not lose video games to the underside of the Large East. In fact, the wins over Texas Tech and Arkansas in Maui have a shelf life. The Bluejays have a five-game stretch from Feb. 11-25 that ought to decide their destiny: UConn, at Windfall, at St. John’s, Marquette and at Villanova.

3. arizona state (15-5): The Solar Devils went from doubtlessly being in first place within the Pac-12 to now needing to do some extra work. ASU received swept at house by UCLA and USC. ASU has already misplaced at house to Arizona and has a loss at Texas Southern and 37-point loss at San Francisco. The Solar Devils must be high-quality, however the closing 4 video games of the season are going to check them. They host Utah after which go to Arizona, UCLA and USC.

4. Maryland (12-7): The Terps raced out to an 8-0 begin however then misplaced at Wisconsin, to Tennessee in Brooklyn, and received blasted at house by UCLA. The Terps have misplaced 4 straight Large Ten street video games. The excellent news is Maryland is house for the following three. The Terps must be in place to get a bid, however ending the season at Ohio State and Penn State may presumably put them ready to wish a win on the Large Ten Match.

5. Pitt (13-7): The Panthers have been a first-place ACC group a number of weeks in the past after beating North Carolina and Virginia at house. These two wins, in addition to profitable at NC State, ought to quell any fears. However the Panthers would do nicely to not utterly fall flat. Pitt nonetheless has to play Miami twice, go to North Carolina, and play a tough opponent in Florida State, which is beginning to play significantly better and simply beat the Panthers final weekend.

ACC amongst best convention races

ACC among most competitive conference races

Andy Katz talks about one of the best school basketball convention races left this season, breaking them down into tiers.

6. Memphis (15-5): The Tigers should keep within the prime two within the American. Temple’s win over Houston is of concern for separation, however Memphis did already beat Temple in Philadelphia. The Tigers even have a win over Auburn on a impartial court docket. The résumé favors Memphis as the highest group out of the American not named Houston. The Tigers can quell any fears by beating Houston in certainly one of their two matchups — Feb. 19 on the street or at house to finish the season on March 5. Enjoying host to Temple on Feb. 12 is sweet, too, for a attainable sweep .

7. ohio state (11-8): The Buckeyes are solely on this record as a result of they misplaced 5 in a row, together with at Nebraska and at house to Minnesota. In addition they missed out on some potential high-profile wins, dropping to San Diego State in Maui, at Duke and vs. North Carolina in New York. The priority for Ohio State is the remaining schedule. Certain, it will likely be an enormous assist if the Buckeyes win a number of, however having to go to Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Purdue and Michigan State does not give them a number of room for error.

8. Penn State (13-6): The Nittany Lions missed out on a number of possibilities, together with vs. Virginia Tech on a impartial court docket, at Clemson (double-OT loss) and at Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions have a street win at Illinois and residential wins over Indiana and Iowa which have them within the dialog for a bid. However Penn State may simply nonetheless play its means out, with street video games at Rutgers, Purdue, Ohio State and Maryland nonetheless on the schedule. And nothing is assured at Nebraska, Minnesota and Northwestern. Sure, that is seven extra street video games on the slate.

9. USC (14-6): The Trojans must be high-quality, because the win over Auburn is a separator for them, and beating ASU in Tempe was additionally enormous for the résumé. They almost received UCLA at Pauley, dropping by one possession. The Trojans host UCLA this week and finish the season with a rugged slate of going to Colorado, Utah and internet hosting Arizona and Arizona State.

10. West Virginia (11-8): The Mountaineers received off to a 10-2 begin, however have misplaced six of their final seven. The one win was large by taking out TCU, however the Mountaineers have loads of work to do. It helps that they play host to Auburn within the SEC/Large 12 Problem, a possibility they cannot let slip. The final three video games will likely be a serious check, with street video games at Kansas and Iowa State, and a season-ending house recreation towards Kansas State.

eleven. Snowfall (15-5): The Wolf Pack had a golden likelihood to choose up a résumé-builder on Nov. 22, however misplaced to Kansas State by one in time beyond regulation. The 2-point win over Boise State helps within the Mountain West. However then getting blown out by 15 at Boise did not advance the trigger. There are three video games to circle—home-and-home towards New Mexico and a house recreation towards San Diego State.

12. Utah State (16-4): The Aggies have loads of high quality wins, however haven’t got one win but towards a group that may be assured will likely be within the area. That places large stress on the Aggies to choose up a win towards San Diego State—house or street—towards New Mexico at house and/or Boise State.

13. Northwestern (12-5): The Wildcats have the wins at Michigan State, at Indiana and over Illinois at house. If the season ended in the present day the Wildcats could be on the cusp of stepping into the sector. However they’ve misplaced two in a row, and a week-long COVID pause means they have a jam-packed schedule over the following two weeks. They have to discover a strategy to come out of the following six video games with three wins to really feel like they’re nonetheless heading in the right direction. Ending the season with three of 4 on the street—at Illinois, at Maryland and at Rutgers—will check this squad.

14. oklahoma state (11-8): The Cowboys received on the radar after Saturday’s win over Iowa State. OSU is 3-4 within the Large 12. The Large 12 presents up so many possibilities to be an NCAA Match group, so, it is means too early to rule OSU out of competition. Getting TCU, Kansas, Kansas State and Baylor in Stillwater may very well be a game-changer.

fifteen. Oklahoma (11-8): I am much less daring on the Sooners after they misplaced to Oklahoma State. However OU has an enormous alternative to show the narrative in its favor if the Sooners can beat Alabama within the Large 12/SEC Problem. Getting Kansas, Kansas State and TCU at house may additionally alter their postseason plans.

16. wake forest (14-6): The Demon Deacons have the products to get into the sector, with wins over Wisconsin, Duke and Clemson. Wake simply has to remain the course and do not begin dropping to groups on the backside of the ACC. Wake nonetheless will get NC State and North Carolina at house, however street video games at Pitt, NC State and Miami may alter its destiny.

17. Texas A&M (13-6): The Aggies whiffed on non-conference possibilities, so the work must be achieved within the SEC. Dropping at Kentucky is not detrimental so long as Texas A&M can pluck off a number of key wins. The Aggies nonetheless play Auburn, Alabama and Arkansas twice, and get Tennessee at house.

18. Utah (14-7): The Utes have been on the NCAA map with the win over Arizona on Dec. 1, however Utah continues to be trying to find a second vital win. Lacking out on beating TCU at house did not assist the trigger. The Utes get UCLA and USC at house and nonetheless need to go to the Arizona faculties. Successful two of these would go a good distance towards incomes a bid.

19. Michigan (11-8): The Wolverines missed out on all their résumé video games within the non-conference, dropping to Arizona State in Brooklyn, Kentucky in London, North Carolina in Charlotte and Virginia at house. The Pitt win in Brooklyn appears to be like higher now, however the loss at house to Central Michigan stings. Michigan should begin beating the groups competing for the highest of the Large Ten, like Purdue (house), Michigan State (house), Rutgers (street), Indiana (house and residential) and Illinois (street).

Hunter Dickinson guidelines over Minnesota

Hunter Dickinson rules over Minnesota

Michigan star had 23 factors and 9 rebounds in a 60-56 win over the Golden Gophers.

20. Mood (12-9): The Owls are within the image now after profitable at Houston on Sunday. Temple had already overwhelmed Rutgers and VCU. The Owls have gained six of eight within the American. Temple nonetheless will get Houston at house and has an opportunity to even the Memphis sequence after dropping the primary one. Ending the season at Tulane may very well be a dicey scenario if Temple wants that one.

Andy Katz is a longtime school basketball author, analyst and host. He could be seen on the Large Ten Community, in addition to March Insanity and NCAA.com, and he hosts the podcast “March Insanity 365.” Katz labored at ESPN for almost twenty years and, previous to that, in newspapers for 9 years.

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