Selection Sunday marks the beginning of the NCAA tournament. It's a joyous occasion for fans and teams alike. For those on the outside looking in, though, this Sunday will only bring disappointment.
Throughout the year, some teams have been sitting on the proverbial bubble. Inevitably, that bubble bursts, and the National Invitation Tournament or College Basketball Invitational are the only alternatives.
The select few will be dancing in the NCAA tournament.
The fate of these four teams will likely go right down to the wire.
When: Sunday, March 16, at 6 p.m. ET
Brigham Young Cougars
Brigham Young suffered a double whammy in the final of the West Coast Conference tournament. Not only did the Cougars lost to Gonzaga, thus missing out on the automatic tourney bid, but they also lost Kyle Collinsworth for the rest of the season.
ESPN's Andy Katz is one of many experts who wonders if the selection committee will take that into account when judging BYU's credentials:
It certainly does present an interesting dilemma. Do you take a team based solely on its results thus far, or do you take into account its chances in the NCAA tournament as well?
Even with a healthy Collinsworth, BYU isn't exactly a lock. Although the Cougars have wins over Stanford and Texas, they lost to Portland, Pacific, Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine. Losing one of their best players may be the final nail in the coffin.
By now the Tennessee Volunteers should've done enough to get into the NCAA tournament. The Vols could've locked up an automatic bid if they would've beaten the Florida Gators on Saturday, but there's no shame in losing to the No. 1 team in the country, even if the loss came following a second-half collapse.
Head coach Cuonzo Martin said after the game that he thinks his team is headed to the Big Dance, per Nick Carboni of WBIR in Knoxville, Tenn.:
If Tennessee doesn't make the NCAA tournament, it will be a major shock.
Xavier is another team that should earn an at-large bid despite a premature exit in its conference tournament. The Musketeers have wins against Cincinnati, Tennessee, Providence and Creighton on their resume.
The fact that Providence won the Big East might end up putting a dent in Xavier's tournament hopes. Before their win over Creighton, the Friars were in the category of bubble teams that would likely get in. Now that they've won the conference, it gives an at-large bid to the Bluejays, possibly at the Musketeers' expense.
Xavier will be watching the selection show with bated breath, as its outcome could easily go either way on Sunday.
If you look at record and signature wins alone, Iowa should be in. The Hawkeyes finished the regular season with a 20-12 overall record and 9-9 conference record. Both are good enough for the NCAA tournament, considering the overall strength of the Big Ten. Iowa also beat Ohio State on the road, Michigan at home and Xavier at a neutral location.
That's the good.
The bad is that the Hawkeyes have lost six of their last seven games, including a loss to lowly Northwestern in their first game of the Big Ten tournament.
The selection committee may take that poor run into account when considering Iowa's tournament credentials.
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