How is your team fairing compared to others? Are there any locks that come out surprising to you? How far will Tom O'Connor and his band of bracketeers go to find an at-large? Who knows any of this? Well let me help out with a 6-part series about teams in the field, near the field, and teams losing contact with it. This is the State of the Bubble! Part Five!
Bid Range: 5-7
Locked Up: UCLA, Stanford, Washington State
Almost There: Arizona, Southern California
Bubble Riders: Arizona State, California, Oregon
Quick, name the last 9-9 team from the Pac-10 to get an NCAA invite.........I'm not surprised you didn't come up with someone as the fact is NO Pac-10 team with a 9-9 mark has ever made the field. Arizona(without Lute Olson) may make case for doing so if it splits the last four games. O.J. Mayo and his Trojans could face a similar predicament. The other 3 need help, but expect one of them to be chosen.
Likely Bids: 1
Likely Winner: American
The Eagles have never been in the big dance(the closest they came was 1981), but they stand a good chance to do so this year. The biggest obstacle however is Navy, who already owns a win over the Eagles on American's home court.
Bid Range: 4-5
Locked Up: Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Almost There: Mississippi State
Bubble Riders: Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi
No conference better reflects the State of the bubble better than this one. Kentucky, left for dead as little a month ago and with home losses to such famed squads as Gardner-Webb and San Diego, is in good position to not only get in the field, but to also win the SEC outright. (Yep, you're not hearing things, they do control their own destiny.) Defending champion Florida has no non-conference heft, but are hanging around for the sole reason of hanging around. Mississippi is this year's Clemson(great in non-conference, poor in conference.)
Bubble Rider: Davidson
The Wildcats are this year's litmus test, as in the test of "Who did you play, who did you beat and where did you play". Davidson did play Duke, North Carolina and UCLA but lost those games, also a blot is a loss to Western Michigan. Should the Wildcats go 20-0 in SoCon play and were to lose the final, the likelyhood of an at-large bid is 30% at worst, 75% at best.
Bid Range: 1-2
Bubble Rider: Stephen F. Austin
If I has said that the Lumberjacks had a chance at an at-large berth at the start of the season, you probably commit me to a mental hospital. But here we are and things are so screwy that the Lumberjacks, despite being in second in the Southland(overall of course) are not only on the bubble, they have a decent chance of making it. Doing it the easy way of course(winning the conference tourney) will take out any doubt.
Last up: Southwestern to Western Athletic