5 Borderline CBB Teams Who Will See Their Bubbles Burst
Ole Miss players Marshall Henderson (22) and Nick Williams (20). ROGELIO V. SOLIS / AP
The bubble is shrinking and will continue to get even smaller as championship week continues.
Teams that have been living on the bubble may suddenly see their dreams of making the NCAA tournament die.
The SEC seems to be occupying the bubble as we begin the final week before the NCAA tournament.
There are currently four SEC teams on the bubble hoping to make the dance. Along with the four SEC teams there are some notable major conference and mid-major teams still trying to get over the hump.
There will be teams that win and lose critical games this week and find themselves in the dance come Selection Sunday—or left wondering what could have been.
Here are five teams that will see their bubbles burst.
5. Akron Zips
Akron senior center Zeke Marshall. Matt Ryerson-USA TODAY Sports
Record: 24-6 (14-2)
Key Wins: Middle Tennessee State
The Akron Zips were one of the hottest teams in the nation by winning 19 games in a row.
Since the streak was snapped by Buffalo on March 2, though, everything has seemed to go down hill.
The Zips also fell to Kent State last Friday and were forced to share their MAC Conference regular-season title with Ohio.
Without Abreu, Akron still has their two leading scorers senior center Zeke Marshall and junior forward Demetrius Treadwell. Marshall is averaging 13.0 points per game, while Treadwell has averaged 11.2 points per game.
Both are also the team's leading rebounders. Marshall is averaging 6.9 rebounds per game and Treadwell is averaging 7.7 rebounds per game.
The Zips are going to be tested in the Mid-American Conference tournament. Akron may only have to win two games to make the dance, but they will have to play Kent State or Buffalo in the semifinals, as well as Ohio in the championship.
If the Zips manage to make the finals, expect them to play a close game with Ohio.
Akron won both meetings against Ohio this season, but things have changed since they played last. There will be a different result this time when these two get together.
The Ohio Bobcats have momentum heading into the conference tournament and will come away with the MAC tournament title and the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Akron will not be able to last on the bubble and have to settle for the NIT.
4. Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
Blue Raider senior guard Marcos Knight.
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
Record: 28-5 (19-1 Sun Belt)
Key Wins: Ole Miss
Middle Tennessee State was an impressive team this season losing just five games. It appeared the Blue Raiders were going to make the NCAA tournament with a Sun Belt tournament title last week.
Things didn't quite work out, though.
The Blue Raiders were cruising and on a 17-game winning streak, but a big setback occurred in the semifinals. They fell to Florida International 61-57 putting their chances of making the dance in jeopardy.
What hurts this team most is that they won't have a chance to impress voters anymore. For the Blue Raiders to make the NCAA tournament, it may take more than Kentucky or La Salle dropping their first game in their conference tournaments.
The Blue Raiders, led by senior guard Marcos Knight, had an impressive run this season, but they are going to come up just short in the end.
Expect to see Middle Tennessee State in the NIT.
3. Alabama Crimson Tide
Crimson Tide junior guard Trevor Releford.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Alabama Crimson Tide
Record: 20-11 (12-6 SEC)
Key Wins: Kentucky, South Dakota State, Villanova, Tennessee
ESPN's Joe Lunardi currently has the Crimson Tide in his "next four out."
This means Alabama needs to win at least two to three games in the SEC tournament. Of course, about eight other teams on the bubble would need to have bad outings in their conference tournaments as well.
Releford and Lacey will need to be key in the SEC tournament, if Alabama wants to have any chance of making the Big Dance.
Alabama will get the winner of Mississippi State vs. Tennessee on Friday.
A Tennessee loss, which is doubtful seeming Mississippi State has struggled all season long, would help Alabama's chances of moving up into the "last four in" grouping.
A Crimson Tide win over Tennessee, though, would also be beneficial in boosting their resume. Alabama could take down Tennessee in the quarterfinals, but the chances of them knocking off Tennessee and defeating Florida the next day are slim.
The SEC isn't as strong this season, but it would be an incredible run for the Crimson Tide if they somehow made the championship game.
Alabama lost three of their last five games of the regular season. That doesn't help their chances, nor will only winning one game in SEC tournament.
The Crimson Tide are going to be one of the teams left disappointed on Selection Sunday.
2. Ole Miss Rebels
Ole Miss Senior forward Murphy Holloway. (US Presswire)
Ole Miss Rebels
Record: 23-8 (12-6 SEC)
Key Wins: Missouri, Tennessee (Twice)
The Ole Miss Rebels were one of the most surprising teams in college basketball half way through the season.
The Rebels started the season off 17-2 and ended up making it up to the No. 16 spot in the AP Top 25 poll.
After a tough home loss to Kentucky on Jan 29, though, Ole Miss went on to finish the season 6-5 and are now one of the "first four out" of the NCAA tournament.
The Rebels are in dire need of wins in the SEC tournament.
Ole Miss has been led all season by their junior guard Marshall Henderson. He has averaged an astounding 19.7 points per game and has been the floor leader for this Rebel squad.
Senior forward Murphy Holloway has also been solid this season by averaging 14.6 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.
Chances are Ole Miss will get Missouri in the semifinals on Friday. If this happens, the Rebels are going to be in trouble. Missouri is a dark horse to win the SEC tournament and a loss at the hands of the Tigers would end their hopes of making the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002.
Even if Ole Miss were to defeat Missouri and take down either Kentucky or potentially Arkansas in the semifinals round, that may not be good enough to get them in the tournament.
The only way the Rebels are safe come Selection Sunday is if they win the SEC tournament and secure an automatic bid.
In the end, Ole Miss will see their bubble burst and find themselves back in the NIT.
1. Virginia Cavaliers
Junior guard Joe Harris. Courtesy of VirginiaSports.com
Record: 21-10 (11-7 ACC)
Key Wins: Wisconsin, North Carolina, NC State, Duke, Tennessee
The Virginia Cavaliers were looking like a lock for the NCAA Tournament after they defeated Duke on Feb. 28, but they ended up struggling down the stretch losing to both Boston College and Florida State.
An overtime win against Maryland this past Sunday helped salvage their season, but it didn't do much in boosting their resume.
Junior guard Joe Harris has been the heart and soul of this Virginia squad this season. He is the reason why the Cavaliers are even in a position to make the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year.
Harris has averaged 17.0 points per game this season and was the main reason why Virginia knocked off Duke at home. He dropped 36 points on the Blue Devils.
Junior forward Akil Mitchell has also played well for the Cavaliers. Mitchell has averaged 13.1 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game this season.
Virginia is sitting right on the boarder line of being in or out. The fact that they will most likely face NC State in the quarterfinals is not a good sign.
The Wolfpack may have underachieved this season and lost their first meeting to Virginia, but this is the time of year where this team becomes dangerous. Also, the fact that there will be a lot of red in the stands because of the tournament being held in Greensboro will give NC State more of a home court advantage.
One win is not going to be enough with teams like Tennessee and Baylor breathing down your neck.
Virginia is not going to hear their name called on Selection Sunday and it will be disappointing knowing what could have been.