NCAA Bracket 2022: Predicting Top Bubble Teams on Selection Sunday

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 13, 2022

NCAA Bracket 2022: Predicting Top Bubble Teams on Selection Sunday

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    The NCAA men's basketball tournament bubble shrunk on Saturday night. 

    The Virginia Tech Hokies went from fringe Big Dance team to ACC tournament champion in the span of a few days. 

    Virginia Tech's bid theft in Brooklyn leaves one fewer spot for the teams in question on the bubble. 

    Another spot could be taken away if the Texas A&M Aggies beat the Tennessee Volunteers in the SEC tournament final. 

    Texas A&M likely played its way into the field of 68 with its Saturday win over the Arkansas Razorbacks, but it can seal the deal with a win on Sunday afternoon. 

    The Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Xavier Musketeers and other programs have an anxious Sunday ahead since there is the potential for a bid thief to emerge out of the Atlantic 10 in the form of the Richmond Spiders.

    All of the bubble teams should be huge fans of the Davidson Wildcats—that way the bubble is not condensed even more before the selection committee makes its final decision. 

Texas A&M

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    Texas A&M made the most of its opportunity at the SEC tournament. 

    Buzz Williams' team beat the Auburn Tigers in the quarterfinal and then downed the Arkansas Razorbacks in the semifinal. 

    The Aggies likely did enough to secure a spot in the field of 68. Their stock can't drop with a loss to Tennessee, and they would be in great shape if Davidson beat Richmond in the A-10 tournament final. 

    Bleacher Report's Kerry Miller put Texas A&M as the "Fourth-to-Last Team In" in the latest bracket projection on Sunday morning. 

    ESPN's Joe Lunardi has the Aggies on the right side of the bubble as well, but they are his "Last Team In."

    Texas A&M's two victories in Tampa should be enough to persuade the committee that it is a team that belongs in the field of 68. 

    Its primary competition for one of the last at-large spots is not great when you consider Wake Forest played in a weak ACC and Xavier did everything it could to play itself out of a tournament berth in February and March. 

    Texas A&M should be in—win or lose—on Sunday, but it would be in without any worries with a third win over a top-four seed in three days. 

Xavier

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    Xavier produced the exact opposite set of results down the stretch than Texas A&M.

    The Musketeers lost seven of their last nine Big East regular-season games and fell to the Butler Bulldogs in the first round of the Big East tournament. 

    Xavier's nonconference win over Virginia Tech looks better after the Hokies won the ACC tournament, but that might not be enough to prop up the program's resume. 

    Lunardi listed Xavier on the "First Four Out" line, and Miller called the Musketeers the "Third Team Out" in his bracket update. 

    Xavier had a chance to erase its bad form inside Madison Square Garden, but instead, it lost and watched a few other bubble teams surge ahead of it. 

    The Indiana Hoosiers, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech all leaped over Xavier in the bubble conversation in recent days. 

    Nothing about Xavier's play over the last month suggests it is an NCAA tournament team, and it will likely be headed for the NIT. 

Notre Dame

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    Virginia Tech's ACC tournament triumph confirmed one bubble team from the conference would get into the field of 68, but it also might have knocked out another. 

    Notre Dame has been teetering on the bubble since its quarterfinal loss to Virginia Tech on Thursday night. 

    The Fighting Irish's resume is not helped by a weak ACC that may only produce four NCAA tournament teams. 

    Notre Dame is the "First Team Out" in Miller's latest projection, while Lunardi has it on the "Last Four In" column.

    Mike Brey's team has head-to-head losses to Indiana and Texas A&M, but it does have a four-point win over Kentucky.

    Notre Dame did not suffer many bad losses in ACC play. Two of the defeats came against Virginia Tech, and there were also losses to the Duke Blue Devils, Florida State Seminoles and Wake Forest Demon Deacons. 

    Notre Dame's early ACC loss to the Boston College Eagles could be factored in as one of the difference-making data points, especially if the margins are so thin when comparing resumes. 

    The win over Kentucky can only take Notre Dame's resume so far. The Irish need Davidson to take care of business in the A-10 to avoid losing a bid to Richmond. 

    It may help the Irish if Texas A&M wins the SEC tournament because then it would make the loss to the Aggies look a bit better. 

    The Irish are in bubble trouble no matter which way you put it, but there might be enough on their resume to barely get them in. 

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