2013 March Madness Bubble Watch: Latest Odds on Fringe Teams for Week of Feb. 26
March Madness is getting closer, and there is still no clear answer for which bubble teams will and will not make it to the big dance. This year's pool of talented teams is so deep that a good squad seems almost destined to get screwed over in terms of a tournament berth, leaving the fans stunned and disappointed.
In Chapel Hill, the unranked North Carolina Tar Heels have been on the bubble all season long. The team's record is respectable, but just one signature win against a fairly low-ranked team leave their future uncertain despite a respectable RPI ranking.
Head west to California, and the Golden Bears are on a hot streak that could be enough to get them into the tournament. However, could it be too little too late?
A number of teams remain on the bubble this week, so let's have a look at their championship odds and see where they stand regarding a berth.
The Terps got off to a 13-1 start, but then stumbled once conference play in the ACC began. Despite a big win over the rival Duke Blue Devils on February 16, the team has not been able to get it together down the stretch.
Maryland's overall record of 19-8 is respectable, but their 7-7 conference mark really makes the coming battles uphill ones for them. Long story short, if the Terps want to make the national tournament, they'll basically have to win their four remaining games and then the ACC Tournament, and that's almost definitely not going to happen.
Odds: 37 percent (per playoffstatus.com)
The Atlantic 10 is starting to make a comeback, and Fran Dunphy-led Temple is near the front of the charge. The Owls have gone 19-8 this season and defeated highly-ranked Syracuse back on December 22.
Despite that, the team faces an uphill battle the rest of the way despite a three-game winning streak. Temple has gone just 8-5 in conference play and barring a strong performance in the A-10 Tournament, the odds of them making the national dance are slim.
Just the same, Dunphy's squad is a strong one that has won four of five, and not one to be counted out on Selection Sunday.
Odds: 83 percent
Signature wins are key for a bubble team struggling to make the tournament, but the Tigers have just one, against Florida on February 19. In their first SEC season, the team has gone 19-8 overall and just 8-6 in conference play.
In a deep pool of talent, Missouri's goal is simple: win the four remaining games and then make a statement with a strong performance in the SEC Tournament. Otherwise, the team that entered the tournament as a No. 2 seed and Final Four contender last season will be left on the outside looking in.
Odds: 74 percent
Speaking of the SEC, what about the defending champion Kentucky Wildcats? For a team that lost all of its starters and then some to last year's NBA draft, head coach John Calipari actually managed to put together a decent squad this season.
Unfortunately, this year's team has not lived up to the hype of 2012's. The 19-8 Wildcats have shown flashes of brilliance this season and are 10-4 in conference, but they have not exactly been dominant. It doesn't help that star big man Nerlens Noel was lost to a torn ACL on February 12 against Florida, so Kentucky has some work to do before a tournament berth can even be discussed.
This means closing out the regular season with a bang and fighting past not having Noel en route to a strong SEC Tournament performance. They rank second in the conference, so this shouldn't be a problem. Just the same, the odds of Kentucky making the big dance over other better teams is slim, barring a major turnaround.
Odds: 62 percent
The Tar Heels have struggled all season long, and sharing a conference with both Duke and Miami does not help their tournament hopes. With a 19-8 overall mark and 9-5 conference record, Roy Williams needs to rally his men to a strong regular season finish and strong ACC Tournament performance to make a strong case for a spot in the big dance.
However, even if that doesn't happen, UNC should still make the tournament. They are No. 20 in the latest RPI ranking, so the only way they don't make the big dance is by suffering a massive collapse.
Odds: 96 percent
The Pac-12 is not the deepest of conferences, but California is proving to be a team that is ready to make a statement down the stretch. The Golden Bears have won five in a row, including upsets over Arizona, UCLA and Oregon, and appear ready to finish the regular season with a bang.
This could easily be done, as the team's only remaining games are against Utah, Stanford and Colorado, but the Pac-12 Tournament is a different story. California needs to perform well there to ensure a spot in the big dance.
The odds may be stacked against the team, which has gone 18-9 overall and 10-5 in conference play, but they are definitely the hottest squad in the nation right now. The signature wins alone could be enough to get them a spot in the big dance.
Odds: 67 percent
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