The bubble is starting to clarify. This is something that usually happens, although it tends to be a lot more complex than this. By and large, this year’s Champ Week has been pretty straightforward: most of the questionable teams, teams that needed a win or two in their conference tournaments to change their fates, have by now lost. Wisconsin, gone. North Carolina, gone. Oklahoma State, gone. North Texas, gone. Oregon, gone. Clemson — as of Friday night’s limp finish against Virginia — gone.
The bubble, however, remains as forgivingly welcome as ever. Are you halfway decent at basketball? Did you play a 20-game B1G schedule? Come on down! Bid thieves have thus far been nonexistent. Nevada lost its third straight game on Thursday, falling out of a spot in the bracket that was surefire for weeks, and meanwhile the teams finishing strong, winning games, or just holding on to their previous spots are all business as usual.
Again: This is how it always goes. It is a comfortable process, though more comfortable this year than most, and today’s morass has produced a bubble that feels fairly predictable. Penn State belongs; Carolina does not. Oklahoma State is not in our bracket; Florida Atlantic is. Like always, there is one unexpected push — this year, it’s coming from Vanderbilt, which was crowned by the SEC Network broadcasters Friday but who really needs another win Saturday to get in without the automatic bid. But the rhythms are as reliable as the first weekend of the tournament.
Automatic bids from non-Bubble Watch (i.e. one-bid) leagues: 23
Should be in: 3
Work to do: 5
Waiting game: 11
• Bubble Watch will now update live from here until Selection Sunday — as soon as games finish, we’ll have fresh Bubble Watch for you all week, until the field is revealed Sunday. Bookmark this page and check back often. (We’ll also be in the comments section back and forth where we can all week.)
• Locks are generally reserved for teams that have zero chance of missing out on the NCAA Tournament, even if they were to lose every game the rest of the way; a lock should mean what it says on the tin. “Should be in” means your team would be pretty safely in if the field was selected today; “work to do” means nothing is guaranteed.
• NET and schedule numbers are current as they update every morning. Records are up to the minute.
• As always, a million thanks to Warren Nolan for his amazing website. Use it to see the team sheets we work from and get a better visual sense of this information for yourself.
Ssshhh. Rest now, North Carolina. Your struggle is over. We’ll always remember these UNC players (plus Brady Manek) for their wild, big-hearted run last year, for the way they struck two of the greatest rivalry blows in college hoops history in the matter of a few weeks, for the way they ended up a few…
Read More: NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch: That’s Vanderbilt’s music 2023-03-11 08:53:03