Updated: March 16, 2013, 10:57 am ET
Bubble Watch: A look at bid thieves
by Patrick Stevens, Special for USA TODAY Sports
Days until Selection Sunday: 1
The big picture:
With Friday done and many borderline NCAA tournament teams done, the once cloudy picture surrounding the final few at-large slots is down to monitoring the handful of possible bid thieves remaining in conference tournaments.
This is the group of teams the Boise States, La Salles, Middle Tennessees, Virginias and others will be keeping an eye on Saturday and potentially even Sunday as well. If any of this group plays its way into the field, either by improving its at-large status or snatching an automatic bid with a conference tournament crown, it means one less slot for current teams on the edge of the field:
Alabama: The Crimson Tide doesn’t own a top-50 victory after Kentucky’s flameout in the SEC tournament. Alabama might just have to win the league, but a victory over Florida in Saturday’s semifinals would give it easily its best result of the season.
Maryland: The Terrapins snagged a second victory over Duke in a four-week span in the ACC quarterfinals, and faces North Carolina in the semifinals. Even one more victory might not be enough for a team whose poor non-conference schedule will act as an anchor.
Massachusetts: The Minutemen secured a fabulous result Friday against Temple, but probably need one more victory to have a realistic shot. That opportunity comes in Brooklyn against Virginia Commonwealth.
Mississippi/Vanderbilt winner: There will be a possible bid snatcher in the SEC championship game. Mississippi’s profile improved with a defeat of Missouri, but a triumph over Vanderbilt isn’t going to help the Rebels much. Vanderbilt is halfway to an improbable SEC title, which is the only way the Commodores are reaching the field of 68.
Southern Mississippi: The Golden Eagles don’t have a top-50 victory and a limited resume, but they do get a third shot at Memphis. Conference USA is one-bid territory if Memphis wins, but Southern Miss could bump the Tigers into the at-large pool.
On the hot seat: Duke
On Friday, one of the main topics of this daily rundown was Minnesota’s NCAA hopes in relation to the recency effect.
The basic premise: Just because the Golden Gophers were subpar in … [For more on Bubble Watch: A look at bid thieves who could rob Boise St., La Salle, Mid-Tenn., click here.]
Your comments are important to us, so please share your thoughts. We will be rolling out prizes and giveaways for our active Commenters. Please keep the comments above board and respectful to everyone and you could win some great stuff from us at HOOPSWORLD.