This is the smallest bubble for this point in the season that I think I've ever seen. There's not a lot of drama left.
The true bubble in my mind? It's 11 teams playing 7 spots. I think everyone from Texas Tech on up is good to go (we could debate USC or Texas Tech not being on the bubble, but I don't think I can make the case).
The bubble teams, in no particular order:
Butler, Vanderbilt, Florida, Oregon St, Michigan, St Bonaventure, George Washington, Cincinnati, UConn, Tulsa, Gonzaga
11 playing 7. Both are small numbers, smaller than what most people are used to. But wait! It's an illusion. How?
- VCU is the current projected A-10 champ. If they lose in that tournament, someone else gets the AQ and the bubble becomes 12 teams playing 8 spots.
- Same thing with Temple and the American.
- In theory, same thing with the Mountain West (SDSU) and Sun Belt (UALR).
- St Mary's comes into play with a loss, although that might be a 1-for-1 swap on the bubble if they lose to Gonzaga
- What if Monmouth loses? It becomes 12 teams playing 7 spots, although I think Monmouth is home free anyways
- What if Valpo loses? It again, becomes 12 teams playing 7 bubble spots.
So the bubble is actually quite volatile. This might be a record year for current projected AQ teams being on the bubble. This makes sense, because right now the only projected AQs that are actually safe are the Big 6 and the MVC (Wichita St). Every other current conference leader is basically on the bubble or worse. Usually this number is around 10 or 11. This is throwing off the bubble math more than we've seen in the past, and bid poaching is going to be at an all-time high as a result. You're going to see massive bubble swings based on what Monmouth and Valpo and St Mary's do, so just be prepared when you see it. The 11 playing 7 spots can quickly turn into 11 playing 4 spots, or 15 playing 7 spots, or any variation in between. Throw in an AAC that has everyone on the bubble, and this is going to get insane.