March Madness 2018: Bubble Teams That Will be Left on the Outside Looking in

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 11, 2018

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 07: Matt Farrell #5 and Bonzie Colson #35 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish share a moment in the second half against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the second round of the ACC Men's Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 7, 2018 in New York City.  (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Not every program in men's basketball experiences the joy of making the field of 68 for the NCAA men's basketball tournament on Selection Sunday.

Entering Championship Week, a few teams appeared to have solid chances of making the Big Dance, but those dwindled due to results in their own conference tournaments

The other factor hurting bubble teams this season was the losses of mid-major conference champions, who were locks to make the tournament as automatic bids.

Now that the bid thieves forced the likes of Nevada and Middle Tennessee into the at-large pool, a few power-conference teams might be out of luck Sunday.

Here's a look at a few bubble teams that will be on the outside looking in after the selection committee reveals its decision.

      

Notre Dame

Notre Dame earned a glimmer of hope at the start of Championship Week, as it knocked off Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech with a healthy Bonzie Colson in the lineup.

However, the ACC tournament quarterfinal loss to Duke and losses by better teams elsewhere closed the door on the Fighting Irish's NCAA tournament hopes.

The case for the Fighting Irish getting into the Big Dance is its record with Colson in the lineup combined with quality wins over Wichita State, Florida State, NC State and Syracuse.

SOUTH BEND, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Matt Farrell #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish brings the ball up court during the game against Khameron Davis #13 of the Pittsburgh Panthers at Purcell Pavilion on February 28, 2018 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michae
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

But the brutal defeats suffered with Colson on the sideline may be too much to overcome, as losses to Indiana, Ball State and Georgia Tech stand out.

It also didn't help the Irish that they beat Pittsburgh, who went winless in ACC play, by three points in the first round of the ACC tournament.

As much as it would be great to see Colson finish off his collegiate career in the Big Dance, it's more likely he's given a chance to go on a run to the NIT Final Four with his teammates.

        

Louisville

Louisville made a better case for itself than Notre Dame in ACC play, but not even the strength of the conference will help the Cardinals in their quest for a spot in the field of 68.

The Cardinals appeared to be in the NCAA tournament with a second-round win over Florida State in the ACC tournament, but losses by Rhode Island and Nevada in their respective conference tournaments took away at-large bids from bubble teams.

Louisville struggled against the ACC elite, as it lost to Virginia twice as well as North Carolina, Duke and Clemson.

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

The argument in favor of the Cardinals features a difficult nonconference schedule that included clashes with Seton Hall, Purdue, Memphis and Kentucky, but they couldn't get enough quality victories out of it.

If David Padgett's team knocked off one of their ranked nonconference foes and earned one or two more key wins in ACC play, it might have been in a more comfortable situation coming into Selection Sunday.

       

Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State vaulted into the bubble conversation in the last week, as it earned its second win over Kansas in its regular-season finale and knocked off Oklahoma in the first round of the Big 12 tournament.

However, the Cowboys will end up in the same boat as Louisville and Notre Dame due to the bid thieves from the mid-major conference tournaments.

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 07:  Cameron McGriff #12 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys controls the ball as Brady Manek #35 of the Oklahoma Sooners defends during the first round of the Big 12 Basketball Tournament at the Sprint Center on March 7, 2018 in Kansas
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

If you compared Oklahoma State's resume to the pair of ACC teams mentioned above, you'd think the Cowboys would be in better shape, as they have victories over West Virginia, Texas Tech and Florida State to go along with the pair of wins over Kansas.

Despite the collection of triumphs over ranked opposition, the Cowboys sputtered in February with four losses in a six-game stretch that featured defeats at the hands of Kansas State, TCU and Texas.

By falling victim to the attrition of the Big 12, the Cowboys aren't the most attractive bubble team, but if you counter that argument with the overall strength of the conference, you could build a last-ditch case for the Cowboys.

       

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.

Related

    Memphis' Karim Sameh Azab Has Leukemia

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    Memphis' Karim Sameh Azab Has Leukemia

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report

    Cal Met with NBPA to Discuss 1-and-Done, HS Combine

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    Cal Met with NBPA to Discuss 1-and-Done, HS Combine

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report

    Athletes Smoke Weed. These Are Their Stories.

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    Athletes Smoke Weed. These Are Their Stories.

    Bleacherreport
    via Bleacherreport

    Report: Braxton Key Transferring from Alabama

    College Basketball logo
    College Basketball

    Report: Braxton Key Transferring from Alabama

    247sports
    via 247sports