NCAA Bracket 2019: Predicting Top Bubble Teams on Selection Sunday

Jake RillCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2019

Arizona State's Taeshon Cherry (35) celebrates after a play against Oregon during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the Pac-12 men's tournament Friday, March 15, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

There will be some college basketball teams unsure of their NCAA tournament fates until Sunday evening.

Every year, there are bubble teams that could either be selected for at-large bids by the NCAA tournament selection committee or be left out of the tournament and instead go on to play in the National Invitation Tournament.

There are several teams in that situation this year, and on Selection Sunday, each will learn where its season is heading.

Here are four bubble teams that should be the last four teams in the NCAA men's tournament.


Arizona State

Arizona State seemed to be in a good spot to make the NCAA men's tournament, until it was upset by Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals on Friday night. That made the Sun Devils more of a bubble team that could end up either in or out.

However, Arizona State's regular-season performance should be enough to get it into March Madness.

The Sun Devils went 12-6 during Pac-12 play in the regular season while also notching quality non-conference wins over Kansas and Mississippi State. Their win over Kansas came on Dec. 22, when the Jayhawks were the No. 1 team in the country.

"When you put that whole package together, when the committee looks at our season, our entire season, I think we'll be rewarded for being great in the non-conference," Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said, according to James Crepea of The Oregonian.



PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 24: Nate Pierre-Louis #15 of the Temple Owls high fives Alani Moore II #0 against the Memphis Tigers at the Liacouras Center on January 24, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Much like Arizona State, Temple firmly became a bubble team when it lost to Wichita State in the AAC tournament quarterfinals on Friday. But the Owls, too, have a strong resume that will be evaluated by the NCAA tourney selection committee.

Temple owns quality wins over UCF and Houston, and it also played close games against Villanova and in its second matchup with Houston. The Owls were playing well heading into the AAC tournament, winning six of their last seven games of the regular season.

That should be enough to get Temple into the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2016.

"We're just hoping for the best," Owls guard Shizz Alston Jr. said, according to Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I mean, like Coach [Fran Dunphy] said, I felt like we did enough to get in, but you never know in these situations, so we're just sitting and watching and hoping."



KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 14:  Jericho Sims #20 of the Texas Longhorns dunks as K.J. Lawson #13 of the Kansas Jayhawks defends during the quarterfinal game of the Big 12 Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 14, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Texas is 16-16 and looking to become the first team with a .500 record to earn an at-large bid in the NCAA men's tournament. And that should happen for the Longhorns.

Although it lost to Kansas in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals, Texas played a challenging schedule during the regular season. The Longhorns notched quality wins over North Carolina, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Texas has lost five of its last six games, but it played well enough earlier in the season to warrant an at-large bid. And to one Longhorns player, it should be a certainty.

"Absolutely, no question about it," Texas forward Dylan Osetkowski said, according to Nick Moyle of the Houston Chronicle. "Regardless of our record, every game that we've played, it was there for us to win, and we've been in every game."



WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - DECEMBER 29: Grayson Murphy #2 of the Belmont Bruins drives to the baske during the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena on December 29, 2018 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Belmont hasn't played in more than a week, since losing to Murray State in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament championship game on March 9. But enough other bubble teams have lost early in its conference tournaments to help the Bruins.

Although Belmont went 26-5, it never played a ranked team this season. And typically, the OVC only has one team—its conference tournament champion—make it into March Madness.

But the Bruins were a strong outfit that was only one win away from an automatic bid. With not many convincing arguments among the rest of the bubble teams, Belmont will be the last team in.

"The committee will do the best job they can do to pick the teams, and if we're one of those, we'll be on the plane to wherever we go," Belmont coach Rick Byrd said, according to Steven Boero of Belmont Vision. "I think we have to trust the committee to make the right decisions."


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