March Madness 2019: Bubble Teams That Will Be Left on the Outside Looking In

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 17, 2019

North Carolina State's DJ Funderburk (0) shoots against Virginia's Jay Huff (30) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, March 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Nell Redmond/Associated Press

Selection Sunday is one of the most anxious days of the college basketball season for a handful of programs.

Throughout the day, bubble teams will wonder whether they did enough in the eyes of the selection committee to qualify for the field of 68.

The good news for the teams on the bubble is only Oregon in the Pac-12 stole a bid during Saturday's conference tournament finals.

With no surprises expected Sunday, we are left to evaluate the resumes of the bubble teams at length, and unfortunately for a few squads, they will be left on the outside looking in.


Bubble Teams That Will Be Left Out Of NCAA Tournament


Every year we lament the selection committee for leaving out one of the best mid-major teams.

Belmont will be that program in 2019, as the Bruins won't be in the field of 68 following their loss in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament final to Murray State.

Daniel R. Patmore/Associated Press

Bracket analysts are mixed on Belmont's status, as Bleacher Report's Kerry Miller has the Bruins as his last team in, while Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com has them as his first team out.

The Bruins are further down the list of first four out teams in Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com's projection.

It would be great to see the Dylan Windler-led Bruins receive a shot at becoming the breakout mid-major star of the tournament, but Saturday's developments in the Pac-12 hurt their chances.

Since the Bruins are far from a lock to make the field of 68, they could be the team that ends up losing out on a spot because of Oregon's unexpected run to the Pac-12 tournament title.

With the Pac-12 expected to be at least a two-team league with Oregon and Washington—and possibly a three-bid conference with Arizona State—Belmont will be forced to the side.


NC State

NC State feels like its in a perpetual state of anxiety on Selection Sunday.

The Wolfpack are no stranger to the bubble conversation, and they are hovering around the cut line for the 68th team depending on which analyst you talk to.

But Kevin Keatts' team could be on the outside looking in for one of the same reasons as Belmont: Oregon took the bid it was hoping to receive.

DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 16: Head coach Kevin Keatts of the North Carolina State Wolfpack looks on against the Duke Blue Devils in the first half at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 16, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

Miller has the Wolfpack as his first team out, as he noted how bad their nonconference schedule was.

Even before Saturday's games, Palm had NC State deep on the first four out chart, and that isn't expected to change going into Sunday.

Lunardi had the Wolfpack as his last team in before Oregon shook up the bracket predictions, and that isn't a good sign for the ACC side.

The selection committee could always view NC State in a different light, but given how poor its nonconference schedule was, it's hard to see any members of the committee making a serious case for the Wolfpack over other bubble teams.


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