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NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch (5/3)

The NCAA Tournament selection is later this month (5/31), so it's time to start College Baseball Nation's bubble watch.

With the Ivy League not playing an official season this year, there are 34 at-large bids to go around. As of now 79 teams from 20 conferences are on the bubble watch. When automatic bids are accounted for, that means 59 teams are vying for 34 spots; 14 of those teams are in the "need a miracle" category, so only 45 teams are in serious contention. Conference tournaments always bring a few bid stealers, so somewhere between 11-20 deserving teams will be left out.

ACC (12)

Locks: Notre Dame

Should be in: Pitt, Miami, Louisville

Work left to do: Georgia Tech, Clemson, Florida State, NC State, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Virginia

Need a miracle: Duke

A good weekend for Virginia keeps the postseason in sight. Louisville should be in, even after a sweep at the hands of Clemson, but the Cardinals can't afford to lose too many more games as the RPI has not been kind to them. It's time to pack it up for Boston College and Wake Forest.

American (4)

Locks: ECU

Work left to do: Tulane

Need a miracle: Wichita State, Cincinnati

Tulane and ECU face off this weekend. Should the Green Wave win that series, they would have to feel pretty good about their postseason chances.

ASUN (2)

Work left to do: Liberty, FGCU

With top 70 RPIs, both Liberty and FGCU have a path forward with an at-large bid. Liberty's 35 RPI and 30-11 record would likely be enough to get the Flames in if the season were to end today.

Atlantic 10 (2)

Work left to do: VCU, Rhode Island

Same story as the ASUN. Rhode Island and VCU both have top 55 RPIs and a path forward should they fail to earn the Atlantic 10's automatic bid. Both of these teams have a lot of work to do, though, and especially Rhode Island, whose 17-19-1 record would not cut it.

Big 12 (7)

Locks: TCU, Texas, Texas Tech

Work left to do: Baylor, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma

Need a miracle: West Virginia

West Virginia could maybe afford to lose one more game the rest of the year, and with a series at Texas looming the last week of the season, prospects are glum for the Mountaineers. The Big 12 will almost certainly get at least four teams into the NCAA Tournament, with Baylor the most likely to earn the fourth spot currently.

Big East (2)

Work left to do: UConn

Need a miracle: Creighton

UConn scheduled tough with series at Texas Tech, Southern Miss, and Virginia. That has paid off for the Huskies, as they have a clear path to a top 50 RPI. Creighton will need to be nearly perfect to earn an at-large bid.

Big South (1)

Work left to do: South Carolina Upstate

South Carolina Upstate has seven games left on the schedule that they should be the heavy favorite in. Win them all, and an at-large bid is within sight.

Big Ten (8)

Should be in: Michigan, Indiana

Work left to do: Nebraska, Iowa, Maryland, Rutgers, Ohio State

Need a miracle: Illinois

Who knows exactly what the NCAA Selection Committee will do with the Big Ten? Four bids seems like the floor, and there is a large pack of teams in the middle of the conference competing for those bids. Keep an eye on whether or not any Big Ten teams get selected as potential host sites next week.

Big West (2)

Work left to do: UC Irvine, UCSB

Both UCI and UCSB have top 70 RPIs and could end up in shouting distance of an at-large bid, especially UC Irvine. The Big West has turned into a one-bid league in recent years, so winning the regular season crown (and automatic bid in the Big West) is the only sure way in the tournament.

Colonial (1)

Work left to do: Northeastern

If Northeastern won out, it would likely have a top 30 RPI. Even if the Huskies drop a few games, they should have a top 50 RPI and a legitimate claim to an at-large bid should they not earn the automatic bid.

Conference USA (5)

Locks: Charlotte, Old Dominion, Southern Miss

Should be in: Louisiana Tech

Need a miracle: Florida Atlantic

What a year for Conference USA. Barring a catastrophic collapse, the league should get four teams into the postseason Louisiana Tech is nearly a lock, but their RPI projection is slightly less forgiving. All four of the top CUSA teams should be in as long as they finish their remaining schedule around .500.

Horizon League (1)

Should be in: Wright State

Wright State's #17 RPI is making the Raiders a near lock. They'll need to do a little better than .500 the rest of the way out to feel safe.

MAAC (1)

Work left to do: Fairfield

With no non-conference play in the MAAC, RPI is meaningless. However, Fairfield's 28-1 record is tough to ignore. The Stags may earn an at-large bid if they fail to get the auto bid.

MAC (2)

Work left to do: Ball State

Need a miracle: Central Michigan

Central Michigan would have to be nearly perfect to earn an at-large bid. Ball State, on the other hand could make it in as an at-large team should they finish ~ .750 the rest of the way out.

Missouri Valley (3)

Should be in: Indiana State

Work left to do: Dallas Baptist

Need a miracle: Bradley

Indiana State (RPI 20) is nearly a lock. Dallas Baptist and Bradley both have a lot of work left to do to beef up their at-large resume.

Pac-12 (8)

Locks: Arizona, Oregon

Should be in: Stanford, UCLA, Oregon State,

Work left to do: Arizona State

Need a miracle: Washington State, California

There is a cluster of top Pac-12 teams in the 20-30 range in the RPI. Many of these teams could lock in their bid this weekend.

SEC (11)

Locks: Arkansas, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Florida

Should be in: South Carolina

Work left to do: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU

Though LSU needs to go 8-1 to finish at .500 in SEC play, the Tigers' remaining conference schedule (at Auburn, Alabama, at Texas A&M) sets up favorably for a hot streak to end the season. LSU could make it in the NCAA Tournament at 13-17 in conference.

Southern (3)

Need a miracle: Western Carolina, Mercer, Samford

Western Carolina still has Mercer and Wofford on the schedule. If the Catamounts can win these series and sweep The Citadel on the road, maybe they could earn an at-large bid.

Sun Belt (2)

Work left to do: South Alabama

Need a miracle: Georgia Southern

Both South Alabama and Georgia Southern would need to be nearly perfect to keep a top 50 RPI. South Alabama has a little more wiggle room and could lose up to two games.

West Coast (2)

Should be in: Gonzaga

Work left to do: San Diego

Gonzaga's series win at TCU is looking better and better. The Bulldogs are nearly a lock in the NCAA Tournament.

Likely one-bid leagues: America East, MEAC, Mountain West, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot League, Southland, SWAC, Summit League, WAC


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