Few chances remain for bubble teams

May, 18, 2009
It's conference tournament time, when bubbles are burst and the field is whittled to 64. Three teams wrapped up bids in the past week, as UC Irvine clinched the regular-season title in the Big West while Army and Bethune-Cookman took home conference tournament titles. Most of the field is set, but what's in store for the bubble teams and the long shots as Selection Monday approaches?

National Seeds

This seemed a lot clearer last week, before Rice and Georgia Tech struggled over the weekend. The top six are still solid, and the last two spots boil down to two separate debates.

First, who gets the second spot in the ACC. Georgia Tech has a gaudy RPI but finished fourth in the conference, while Florida State took the regular-season title with a less impressive RPI. The Seminoles can make this a moot point if they win the ACC tournament, as that should wrap up a national seed.

This will sound like a broken record, but the other debate is in the SEC. LSU has most likely already wrapped up one of the spots, so it comes down to Ole Miss and Florida. This one could be settled in Hoover, as the Rebels and Gators are on the same side of the bracket. For now, the Ole Miss series win at Florida is enough to pick up the last national seed.

Lurking in the shadows is Rice -- the Owls need a lot of help (both Florida and Ole Miss losing early in the SEC tournament), but a deep run in the Conference USA tournament puts them back in the discussion.

National seeds: No. 1 Texas, No. 2 UC Irvine, No. 3 Arizona State, No. 4 LSU, No. 5 North Carolina, No. 6 Cal State Fullerton, No. 7 Georgia Tech and No. 8 Ole Miss.

The Rest of the Top 16

For the past several weeks, TCU has been a traveling No. 1 seed -- at this point, the Horned Frogs' success (as well as the late-season slump by Texas A&M) is enough to land Fort Worth the third hosting spot in Texas.

That doesn't mean the committee won't still be on the lookout for a "northern" host. Louisville has a better résumé than Ohio State, including a midweek sweep of the Buckeyes, and could merit a No. 1 seed if it sweeps through the Big East tournament.

East Carolina moves into a hosting role with a strong finish and the regular-season Conference USA crown. On the heels of sweeping Texas A&M, Oklahoma garners the second home regional from the Big 12.

The other eight hosts (in alphabetical order): Clemson, East Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Louisville, Oklahoma, Rice and TCU.

And Everyone Else

It really seems as if the bubble is a lot smaller than normal this season. College of Charleston looks to be set up for disappointment again, as it slumped to finish fifth in the Southern Conference. None of the other "bubble out" teams has much to complain about if it doesn't make the field. There are usually three or four upsets in conference tournaments that shake things up, so of the last five in, Western Carolina and Baylor have the least to worry about.

Last five in (least secure first): BYU, Troy, Southeastern Louisiana, Baylor and Western Carolina.

First nine out (best chance first): College of Charleston, Duke, Stanford, New Mexico, UC Riverside, Hawaii, Tulane, Oklahoma State and Auburn.

The Field of 64

National seed regionals are shown next to the regional that they match up with for super regionals:

Austin Regional
No. 1 Texas
Texas State
Oregon State
Forth Worth Regional
Kansas State
Dallas Baptist
Missouri State
Oxford Regional
No. 8 Ole Miss
Middle Tennessee
Eastern Illinois
Tallahassee Regional
Florida State
Georgia Southern
Baton Rouge Regional
No. 4 LSU
Ohio State
Southeastern Louisiana
Houston Regional
Texas A&M
Chapel Hill Regional
No. 5 North Carolina
George Mason
Greenville Regional
East Carolina
Tempe Regional
No. 3 Arizona State
Cal Poly
Norman Regional
Washington State
Oral Roberts
Fullerton Regional
No. 6 Cal State Fullerton
Coastal Carolina
San Diego State
San Jose State
Gainesville Regional
Irvine Regional
No. 2 UC Irvine
Boston College
Clemson Regional
South Carolina
Western Carolina
Kent State
Atlanta Regional
No. 7 Georgia Tech
Louisville Regional
Western Kentucky



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