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In/Out For The Top Bubble Teams

Selection Sunday is inching closer, the day that many college basketball fans will either rejoice that there team is in the Field of 68 or take an early look at next season. As usual, there are a number of bubble teams and many residing from both the SEC and the Atlantic 10. Which of these bubble teams is going dancing and which ones are spending time in the NIT or no postseason tournament?

Missouri: The Tigers were in good position before conference play began, they were sitting at 12-1 and had some quality wins over UCLA and NC State. They are 6-6 inside the weak SEC but got a huge win this weekend over another bubble team, Tennessee in Columbia. The good news for the Tigers is that there next couple games are against favorable opponents. Vanderbilt, Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M all are beatable teams and they could get a big win before the season ends in the rematch against the Vols.
RPI: 38
Record: 18-7
Key Game Remaining: @Tennessee on March 8th
Verdict: In

Tennessee: Cuonzo Martin has done a great job with Tennessee after taking over a program that
looked dead in the water after the Bruce Pearl scandal. Though, he has yet to get them to the Big Dance and it is going to be awfully tough to get them in this season. The Vols are 15-10 but have two good wins over Xavier and Virginia. Though, Tennessee has managed pretty well considering that they have the 10th hardest strength of schedule in the entire nation. Much like Missouri, Tennessee has a favorable stretch coming up with games against Georgia, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.
RPI: 54
Record: 15-10
Key Game Remaining: vs. Missouri on March 8th
Verdict: Out

Minnesota: The Gophers looked to be in good position after a stretch in which they beat Wisconsin and Ohio State but they responded with two bad losses to Nebraska and Northwestern and sit pretty much on the bubble. They have some good wins and outside of Northwestern they don't really have any bad losses. The good news for the Gophers is that they will have junior guard Andre Hollins healthy for a stretch that will include meetings with Iowa, Ohio State and at Michigan. Minnesota would love a win or two in those three games but more importantly, they need to beat Penn State and Illinois, two teams they should beat.
RPI: 33
Record: 16-9
Key Game Remaining: @Ohio State on February 22nd
Verdict: In

Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles are a very odd team. They have an okay RPI of 43 and a 21-5 overall record but their biggest wins are against North Dakota State and Louisiana Tech and they have a very bad loss to UAB (RPI of 166). It is extremely tough for the committee to put in multiple teams from the Conference USA and Louisiana Tech is my favorite to win the conference. Senior guard Neil Watson needs to lead the Eagles to victories in their next five games, four of these teams have a RPI of 200 or higher.
RPI: 43
Record: 21-5
Key Game Remaining: vs. UTEP on February 22nd
Verdict: Out

St. Joseph's: The Atlantic 10 is constantly overlooked but it could put five or more teams into the NCAA tournament even without Butler and Xavier who are fighting in the Big East now. The Hawks are one of a number of bubble teams who are praying for a strong finish to the year. They have two quality conference wins over VCU and UMass, two teams that look like locks into the tourney. Their next two meetings should really help the Hawks, they get two weak A-10 teams in Fordham and Rhode Island.
RPI: 41
Record: 17-7
Key Game Remaining: @George Washington on March 5th
Verdict: In

California: Much of Cal's tournament hopes rest on their victory over-then No. 1 Arizona which took a hit when the 'Cats lost to Arizona State. The schedule for Cal the rest of the way is both an issue and a good thing. They have three tough games remaining in Colorado, Arizona and Arizona State. Beating these teams would help a ton but both Arizona matchups are on the road and will really test the Bears.
RPI: 45
Record: 17-8
Key Game Remaining: @Arizona on February 26th
Verdict: Out

Oklahoma State: Just a couple weeks ago the Cowboys were in good position inside the Big 12 and looked nearly certain to sneak into the NCAA tournament. That was before Marcus Smart's suspension and before they lost seven of their past eight. The Cowboys have a big game tonight against fellow bubble team Baylor, the last game of Smart's suspension and have two good opportunities to snap their cold streak when they get TCU and Texas Tech.
RPI: 42
Record: 16-9
Key Game Remaining: vs. Kansas on March 1st
Verdict: Out

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