NCAA Bubble Watch: These 10 teams could sneak into March Madness bracket

NCAA Bubble Watch: These 10 teams could sneak into March Madness bracket

Ten days from now, there will be an NCAA Tournament bracket. It’s the most exciting time of the college basketball season. Unless you’re a fan of one of the many teams on the bubble. In that case, it’s nerve-wracking.

We analyze 10 March Madness 2020 bubble teams below:

Important to note, the NET rating is the new tool the selection committee uses, valuing game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin, offensive and defensive efficiency and quality of wins and losses. Quad 1 wins are against opponents ranked 1-30 at home, 1-50 at neutral sites and 1-75 on the road and Quad 2 wins come against opponents ranked 31-75 at home, 51-100 at a neutral site, 76-135 on the road.


The Scarlet Knights have one strange resume. They are 17-1 at home (only Division I victories count), 1-10 away from the RAC and own a NET rating of 31. They have defeated five likely NCAA Tournament teams — Seton Hall, Illinois, Maryland, Wisconsin and Penn State — but no team has gone dancing with fewer than three wins away from its building since 1994. Winning at Purdue on Saturday, or advancing in at least one round of the Big Ten Tournament, should seal Rutgers’ first trip to the tournament since 1991.


Like Rutgers, the Musketeers are in a good spot with the NET with a ranking of 41, but a 3-10 record against Quad 1 teams is a blight on the resume. The road victory against Seton Hall could save Xavier, though it can’t afford a bad loss in the opening round of the Big East Tournament. A win at home over Butler on Saturday would likely lock up an at-large spot.


The NET rating (54) is worrisome. Nine combined Quad 1 and 2 wins, highlighted by a home victory over Florida State, helps. Knocking off red-hot Wisconsin to close the regular season could ease concern in Bloomington.

N.C. State

The Wolfpack are as hard to predict as the weather. They crush Duke and play Florida State tough, only to get swept by under-.500 North Carolina and dreadful Boston College. Two Quad 3 losses, compared to only four Quad 1 wins, could be hard to overcome barring a big run in the ACC Tournament.


If how you finish was weighted as more important like it used to be, the Longhorns might be a lock. They have won five straight games, registering key wins at Texas Tech, West Virginia and Oklahoma. But the entire body of work is assessed, and that includes four Quad 2 losses and a NET of 55.


NCAA Bubble Watch 2020 March Madness Purdue Trevion Williams
Purdue’s Trevion WilliamsGetty Images

The Boilermakers have 14 losses, a high number for a tournament team. But they have a NET of 32 and nine Quad 1 and 2 wins, including an impressive road victory at Purdue and home wins over Michigan State, Virginia and Wisconsin. Purdue probably has to get to 18 wins, which means beating Rutgers on Saturday and winning one game in the Big Ten Tournament. No team has ever gone dancing with fewer than 16 wins, the number Purdue sits at right now.


The Cardinal has gotten hot just in time, winning four straight games. The last victory came over Colorado, Stanford’s third victory over a projected tournament team. Six wins away from home has boosted the NET to 25, though a non-conference strength of schedule of 207 could bite the Pac-12 school.

Wichita State

One of those teams that could easily be in or out on Selection Sunday. The Shockers don’t have a sub-Quad 2 loss, but they are just 2-5 in Quad 1 games. The NET rating of 44 is pedestrian, as is their 114th-ranked non-conference strength of schedule. Wichita State fans will be crossing their fingers in 10 days barring a run to the AAC Tournament title.


The selection committee takes injuries into account, and when star guard Isaiah Joe plays, Arkansas is 18-6, with wins over LSU, Indiana and Tulsa. That could help the Razorbacks’ pedestrian resume, which includes a 7-11 record in Quad 1 and 2 games and just four wins away from home.


Similar to Texas, the Bruins are closing with a flourish, winners of seven straight games to go from a .500 also-ran to a possible tournament team. It has improved them to 6-6 in Quad 1 games. But it doesn’t eliminate five sub-Quad 1 losses such as setbacks to Hofstra and Cal-State Fullerton or erase a poor non-conference strength of schedule of 205, contributing to a poor NET of 76.

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