Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport
Last Team In: Florida State (16-11, RPI: 54, KP: 31)
The Seminoles have three RPI Top 50 wins, and they have all come away from home—including the still-shocking 18-point win over VCU in Puerto Rico. They also have just one loss against a team outside the RPI Top 75—a home loss to Miami a few weeks ago.
Yet, people casually looking at Florida State probably see 11 total losses and a sub-.500 conference record and just assume it doesn't belong in the field.
If you squint just a little bit, though, the Seminoles pass both the eye and computer tests. They have a respectable RPI and rank in the top 40 according to both KenPom and Sagarin. They are just outside the top 40 in BPI. Those kind of numbers have "right side of the bubble" written all over them.
In addition to the RPI Top 50 wins, Florida State pushed Michigan to overtime and came within one point of winning a road game against Florida. If it wasn't for a couple of close losses to middling ACC teams, there'd be no question that Florida State belongs in the field.
The Seminoles close out the regular season with games against Georgia Tech, Boston College and Syracuse. Provided they win those first two, I'm not sure how the committee could keep them out of the tournament.
Second-to-Last: Arkansas (19-9, RPI: 65, KP: 51)
At this point, we might as well just put the names of six SEC teams on a dartboard and see what happens.
Though Georgia is several games clear of the pack in the conference standings, Arkansas is getting projected for the SEC's third bid at the moment because of its season sweep of Kentucky. In addition to those wins over the Wildcats, the Razorbacks had earlier wins over Southern Methodist and Minnesota.
Third-to-Last: California (18-10, RPI: 49, KP: 55)
California is much closer to the cut line than most people care to admit.
Yes, the Golden Bears ended Arizona's perfect season, but that's hardly a free pass to the tournament.
The Golden Bears are 4-6 in their last 10 games, and were absolutely destroyed by both UCLA and Arizona in the past 10 days. If Arizona hadn't lost Brandon Ashley in the opening minutes at California, does anyone really believe that Cal would have won that game?
California still plays Arizona State, Utah and Colorado before the conference tournament. Those are three potential losses, but are also three potential (and crucial) RPI Top 100 wins.
Fourth-to-Last: Oklahoma State (18-10, RPI: 47, KP: 27)
For now, Oklahoma State is OK. The Cowboys are hardly in the clear, though. Remaining games against Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State could either propel them further into the field or send them to the curb.
The most likely outcome is a win over Kansas State and a loss in the other two games, which would leave them extremely bubbly heading into the Big 12 tournament.
Fifth-to-Last: Minnesota (17-11, RPI: 44, KP: 48)
The win over Iowa on Monday was nothing short of massive, but there's still work to be done here.
Aside from the inertia of having been in the projected field for months, what is separating Minnesota from Florida State right now? Both teams are 3-7 vs. RPI Top 50 and each has a total of six RPI Top 100 wins—though, five of Minnesota's have come at home while five of Florida State's have come away from home.
They each have a disappointing home loss to a team just outside the RPI Top 100, but Minnesota also has a second loss against that collection of sub-par teams—the triple-overtime loss at Purdue on Feb. 5.
Minnesota won the head-to-head game in the ACC/B1G challenge back in December, but that single game doesn't mean nearly as much as the entire body of work.
To be clear, I'm not (yet) campaigning for Minnesota to drop out of the field. If I really felt that way, the Golden Gophers would be on the next slide. But if they pick up their 10th B1G loss of the season this weekend at Michigan, it's high time for people to start really questioning whether or not they deserve to make the field.