Current KenPom Rank: 22 (-)
Strength of Schedule: 21 (↑8)
Current RPI Rank: 20 (↓2)
Current ESPN BPI Rank: 20 (↑1)
As we head into the final stages of Conference Championship Week, the overall bracket picture is starting to round into its final shape. Many of the fringe Bubble teams have dropped out of their conference tourneys early and will be anxiously watching the Selection Sunday show for some good news. While our Frogs also had an earlier-than-ideal departure from Kansas City, the biggest question will be what seed line the Committee grants to TCU.
TCU Seed Watch
The Horned Frogs were a consensus 6-seed headed into Championship Week and needed a strong showing to move up from there. With the loss, TCU will need some help to hold a spot on the 6-line and avoid falling into the upset-ripe 7-seed or the dreaded 8/9 matchup. These teams were projected near the Frogs and their conference tournament results will directly impact TCU’s seeding:
· #37 Miami FL (6/7 seed) – The Hurricanes had a rough draw in the ACC Tournament, but losing to #7 UNC in their first game should keep the U at or below the Frogs
· #21 Houston (6/7 seed) – Cruising into the AAC semis, if the Cougs were to defeat #17 Wichita en route to the AAC finals, they would climb ahead of TCU.
· #35 Arkansas (6/7 seed) – The Hogs survived against #80 South Carolina to advance to a critical seeding match-up against #19 Florida. The winner of that game will jump TCU, but the loser may earn enough love to stay ahead as well. The Frogs likely want a Gators win here. (editor’s note: Arkansas defeated Florida Friday evening)
· #20 Nevada (6/7 seed) – Anything short of a conference championship for the top seed in the Mountain West would keep the Wolf Pack behind TCU, because I’m sure the Committee will remember a neutral site head-to-head match-up from December, right? (editor’s note: well... that didn’t go well)
· #26 Seton Hall (7 seed) – The Pirates will not be plundering our seed, having lost to #24 Butler in the Big East Quarterfinals. Beware the Bulldogs though, as a win over Villanova Friday night could have Butler climbing into this spot.
· #47 Rhode Island (7/8 seed) – The Rams would likely leap the Frogs with an A10 Tourney championship, otherwise TCU has the stronger résumé.
· OTHERS – There were several other contenders to potentially blow up TCU’s spot, but these already lost in their tournaments and should remain behind the Frogs: #39 Mizzou, #36 Florida State, #30 Texas A&M, #32 Virginia Tech, #27 Creighton, #43 NC State
The teams that needed to make some noise in their conference tournaments to secure a March Madness spot, but have already been eliminated. These teams can only wait and hope the Committee will have mercy on their unimpressive résumés
· Big Ten – #29 Penn State, #55 Nebraska. Now over a week since either of these teams won a game and they both seem to be falling fast from the Bubble. PSU has a shot to sneak in if there is a strong advocate on the Committee, but it appears the Cornhuskers have no chance.
· West Coast – #28 Saint Mary’s, #72 BYU. The Gaels have the #172 strength of schedule and were ousted prior to the WCC Championship by these Cougars. My opinion is that St. Mary’s will sneak in and BYU has no shot.
· ACC –#31 Notre Dame, #33 Louisville, #53 Syracuse. The Cardinals likely have the best case of these 3, even as the Irish and Orange picked up some wins in Brooklyn. Each had an opportunity to lock-in with games against top teams Duke, UVA and UNC, but losses put them at risk on Selection Sunday.
· Big 12 - #34 Baylor, #38 Texas, #40 Kansas State, #48 Oklahoma, # 54 Oklahoma St.- Wildcats, Longhorns, and Bears may have played themselves into the Tournament, while OU has perhaps played itself out with a horrid February and March. OK State will be an interesting case with some strong wins, but the #308 non-conference strength. At least one of these teams will be headed to Dayton for the First Four.
· Big East - #26 Seton Hall, #27 Creighton, #50 Marquette. Pirates and Blue Jays likely not at risk, but Marquette is likely on the wrong side the Bubble.
· Pac 12 – #45 Arizona State, #44 UCLA, #65 Utah, #69 Oregon, #97 Washington. ASU has put itself in a very tough spot, having climbed towards the top of the AP Poll with an early undefeated run, but the Sun Devils have struggled to close the season and will be one of the most nervous squads on Sunday. Utah is squarely on the Bubble and Washington is likely eliminated.
· SEC – #63 Mississippi State. The Bulldogs were a Bubble team needing a run through the SEC Tournament to earn a bid; losing in the Quarterfinals is likely not enough.
These are teams still alive in league tournaments, but are currently fringe-Bubble teams or would likely not be granted entry into the Big Dance without a conference championship win. No Bid Thieves were produced from the conference tournaments that have completed to date. If you are a fan of a Bubble team, you want the below to get knocked out so the maximum available Bubble slots are open
· A10 - #52 Davidson, #64 St. Bonaventure, #123 St. Joseph’s. With Rhode Island being the only lock for the A10, any other team winning this league would stealing a bid. The Bonnies are considered a strong at-large candidate, but a loss before the championship game would put them on the edge.
· American - #165 Memphis – Cinci, Wichita, and Houston are locks; any other team winning out in Orlando would be a major upset and would certainly remove a bid opportunity from the Bubble.
· Big East - #70 Providence. The Friars are now in fringe-Bubble territory with a win over #10 Xavier Friday, but likely will need to take the trophy in MSG to reach the Big Dance
· C-USA - #59 Western Kentucky, .#116 Marshall. MTSU’s shocking early loss was conflicting for Bubble teams - it could be a positive in that it makes it possible that the Blue Raiders are diverted to the NIT, but it could be a stolen bid opportunity as MTSU has a strong at-large case and has gifted the auto-bid to a Bid Thief.
· Mountain West - #58 SDSU, #107 New Mexico. Nevada was the only lock to go dancing from the MWC. With Boise’s early exit from the conference tourney, all other remaining teams would be guaranteed Bid Thieves.
· Pac 12 – #42 USC. Arizona might be the only Pac12 team locked into the tournament, as the rest of the conference has been largely disappointing. If anyone other than the Wildcats win the conference tournament, it would be bursting someone’s Bubble
What to (Bubble) Watch
· This is March. Watch everything.
· Selection Sunday Bracket Reveal. 5:00 PM CT. TBS or Streaming Online