NCAA Tournament 2013: The Top 10 Bubble Watch Games of Week 17

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NCAA Tournament 2013: The Top 10 Bubble Watch Games of Week 17
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

As we get ready to flip the calendar to March, the bubble is finally starting to take a more stable form. With less than two weeks left until the end of everyone's regular season, there simply aren't enough games left for many teams to play their way into or out of the tournament field.

That isn't to say the tournament field has been set. Far from it. But the bubble is shrinking on a daily basis as some teams are locking up their bid, while others are playing their way further out of the picture.

There are conservatively 36 teams left fighting for the final 18 spots in the field—conservative means San Diego State isn't yet a lock, and Texas A&M isn't quite dead—and these are the 10 games in the next seven days that will most impact those teams.

As a refresher, in order to qualify as a Bubble Watch Game, at least one of the teams involved must be in a position to play its way into or out of the latest projected field as a result of the game. If both teams are in such a position, even better.

The games are ranked by considering how drastically that individual outcome affects the stock of the team(s) involved. If the game has a potential ripple effect on other teams not on the court, it gets bonus attention.

We'll first take a look at five games of mild intrigue that missed the cut as we build up to the games with a guaranteed impact on the tournament field.

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