Selection Sunday 2013: Projecting Top Bubble Teams to Make NCAA Tournament Field

Alex KayCorrespondent IMarch 16, 2013

Mar 2, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers guard Andre Hollins (1) talks with guard Austin Hollins (20) during a free throw in the second half against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Williams Arena. The Gophers won 73-44. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The selection committee for the 2013 NCAA Tournament has its work cut out for it this coming Sunday.

These ten men are given the unenviable task of not only picking a 68-team field from a pool of worthy contenders much deeper than that, but having to seed those programs as well.

When it comes down to it, there’s going to be snubs and there’s going to be surprises on Selection Sunday. However, the committee should not ignore these next three teams, even if all lost during their respective conference tournaments.

Each one in this trio of rock solid contenders could make a serious run in 2013 and shouldn’t have the bubble burst on them this weekend.

Oklahoma Sooners

After crashing and burning against TCU in their finale, the Sooners had a chance at redemption against Iowa State in the Big 12 tournament. Unfortunately, the Sooners blew that too and wound up losing by seven points.

OU may have had a rough finish to the 2012-13 campaign, but its body of work during the entire season cannot not be overlooked.

Oklahoma wound up with a 20-11 record, RPI of 35 and played the 16th toughest strength of schedule in the nation. It has a signature win over then No. 5 Kansas and played most opponents tough, especially in the conference.

In a “what have you done for me lately?” world, the Sooners are on the bubble. But if the selection committee is rational and looks at the big picture, Oklahoma should be dancing in 2013.


Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

The Blue Raiders saw a 17-game win streak disappear this past Sunday night, faltering to the Florida international Golden Panthers in the Sun Belt tournament semifinals.

Instead of rolling through and earning the conference’s automatic bid, Middle Tennessee will now have to hold its collective breath and beg for justice from the committee in order to make the NCAA field.

On paper, MTSU looks like an absolute lock. The program finished with a 28-5 record (19-1 in Sun Belt play), had an RPI of 29 and a SOS of 135. Add in a Top-10 non-conference strength of schedule and you can see why this team deserves a chance to be a Cinderella.

It would be a shame if the Blue Raiders are left on the bubble because of one measly four-point loss in the conference tournament.


Minnesota Golden Gophers

Illinois’ Brandon Paul eliminated Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament’s opening round on a buzzer-beater.

As painful as that shot was to watch for Golden Gophers fans, it shouldn’t squash their team’s tournament hopes. Just look at some of the numbers to see why.

Minnesota had the No. 2 SOS and navigated the 12th most difficult non-conference schedule. Add in an RPI of 24 and there is no reason the committee should ignore what the Golden Gophers have accomplished during the 2012-13 season.

This squad was once ranked inside the Top-10 and has the personnel to beat anyone in the nation, but needs to be more consistent.

Don't be shocked if the Gophers find a way to pull it together and make a deep run--that is if it has its name called on Selection Sunday.