NCAA Tournament 2014: Teams That Had Bubble Burst in Conference Championships

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2014

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 14:  Ian Miller #30 of the Florida State Seminoles reacts against the Virginia Cavaliers during the quarterfinals of the 2014 Men's ACC Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 14, 2014 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Madness is in full swing, especially for those bubble teams that needed a strong performance in the conference championships to stand a good shot at celebrating on Selection Sunday.

Unfortunately for the wealth of teams on the bubble, not all were able to upend the competition and will instead have to refrain from pulling their hair out as the NCAA tournament bracket is filled in on Sunday.

For some, a simple win in the opening rounds would have sufficed. For others, a run to their conference title game was necessary in order to be in consideration.

Regardless, the following teams are now on the outside looking in when it comes to the Big Dance.


Minnesota Golden Gophers (20-13)

Kiichiro Sato/Associated Press

The recipe was pretty simple for Richard Pitino and Minnesota—take down No. 12 Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals, or at least keep it close, and have a legit shot on Sunday of seeing the team's name etched into the bracket.

So much for that.

The game was never close en route to Minnesota's 83-57 final tally in favor of the Badgers. It shot an embarrassing 19-of-58 from the field and was bullied on the boards 40-34.

All things considered, junior guard DeAndre Mathieu hopes the selection committee looks at more than one game, as captured by Marcus R. Fuller of the Pioneer Press:

"I hope they just don't look at this one game. We have some bad losses, but we beat some really good teams."

Fair enough. The Golden Gophers do have two wins over Penn State and top-25 victories over Wisconsin and Ohio State, but the good ends there. A 2-8 record against the top 50 and only four wins away from home mean Minnesota will remain on the outside looking in on Sunday.


Florida State Seminoles (19-13)

Mar 14, 2014; Greensboro, NC, USA; Florida State Seminoles guard Aaron Thomas (25) fights for the ball with  Virginia Cavaliers guard Malcolm Brogdon (15) in the first half in the quarterfinals of the ACC college basketball tournament at Greensboro Colise
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Of the teams listed, Florida State has the strongest chance to still make the NCAA tournament.

But that's not saying much.

The Seminoles gave themselves an amazing opportunity to make some noise and get a massive win by advancing to the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament. There, against No. 1 seed Virginia, Florida State laid an egg in a 64-51 defeat—its third loss to the Cavaliers this season.

That trend meshes well with the Seminoles' entire season. They are 3-9 against the top 50 and 6-12 against the top 100.

As a result, ESPN's Joe Lunardi is one expert who thinks the Seminoles will end up being one of the last teams to miss the cut:

The NIT is not a horrible consolation prize for the Seminoles, but the 2013-14 season will be looked back upon by many with plenty of "What if?" questions.


Illinois Fighting Illini (19-14)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 13:  Tracy Abrams #13 of the Illinois Fighting Illini dribbles the ball in the game against the Indiana Hoosiers during the first round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 13, 2014 in Indianapo
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

What a heartbreaker for Illinois.

The Fighting Illini were arguably outside of a bid at the dawn of the Big Ten tournament but had a serious shot to get in contention on Selection Sunday if they made a run.

At first glance, things looked good. A win over Indiana to open the tournament was a good sign, but the team clearly had an uphill battle against Michigan in the quarterfinals.

There, Illinois suffered a last-second defeat, 64-63, effectively dashing the NCAA tournament hopes the team had. The team now has four top-50 wins but also touts three sub-100 losses to help define inconsistency at the collegiate level.

Had the Fighting Illini shown up strong in a few more games, bracketology would be singing a different tune right now. Unfortunately, John Groce's team has to learn from the experience and sit out the NCAA tournament.


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