Teams living week-to-week with tourney hopes
by Patrick Stevens, Special for USA TODAY Sports
Welcome to another week of USA TODAY Sports’ annual Bubble Tracker breakdown.
Two weeks remain before Selection Sunday, a scramble to determine the 68-team NCAA tournament field. For now, plenty remains murky and subject to some wild fluctuations.
A few things bear repeated mention: No team exists in a vacuum, and the tournament selection committee is going to take 37 at-large teams no matter what. There is value in knowing the strengths and weaknesses of borderline tournament teams, and that’s what the daily Bubble Tracker is for.
Team Resumes (W-L/RPI; Plus/Minus; AT-L Board; Next Two Games):
Plus: Beat Duke, won at Wisconsin; 7-2 vs. T100
Minus: Six 100+losses, No. 299 NC SOS
At-large ranking: 33
Next two games: at Boston College (March 3) | at Florida State (March 7)
Analysis: The Cavaliers’ complex profile received a boost Thursday after Joe Harris scored 36 points in victory over Duke in Charlottesville, but the job isn’t finished yet. Borderline teams with Virginia’s nonconference strength of schedule have not fared well with the selection committee in recent years, so there’s still an onus to create some separation. One game doesn’t fundamentally alter an unusual resume this late in the season, though Virginia undeniably helped itself with its latest triumph. (Feb. 28)
Plus: Beat Duke and N.C. State
Minus: No. 307 NC SOS, 4-7 on road/neutral
At-large ranking: 41
Next two games: North Carolina (March 6) | at Virginia (March 10)
Analysis: The pros (two top-25 wins) and cons (dreadful nonconference schedule mostly designed before coach Mark Turgeon added three pieces to his rotation) are obvious, and Saturday’s victory at Wake Forest does the Terrapins only so much good. Maryland’s at-large hopes aren’t completely gone, but there is still much to be done over the final two regular season games and in the ACC tournament. (March 2)
Team Resumes (W-L/RPI; Plus/Minus; AT-L Board; Next Game):
Plus: Beat … [For more on Bubble Tracker: Teams living week-to-week with Big Dance hopes, click here.]