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NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch (5/10)

Updated: May 13, 2021

The NCAA Tournament selection is later this month (5/31), and College Baseball Nation's bubble watch is in full force. The bubble watch started with 79 teams and is down to 70 teams in just one week.

With the Ivy League not playing an official season this year, there are 34 at-large bids to go around. As of now 70 teams from 19 conferences are on the bubble watch. When automatic bids and tournament "locks" are accounted for, that means 39 teams are vying for 22 spots; 11 of those teams are in the "need a miracle" category, so only 28 teams are in serious contention and on the bubble. Conference tournaments always bring a few bid stealers, so somewhere between 6-15 deserving teams will be left out.

ACC (12)

Locks: Notre Dame

Should be in: Pitt, Miami, Louisville, Florida State, Georgia Tech

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

Need a miracle: Duke

In reality, more of the ACC's teams feel like locks, but the RPI is holding them back. The selection committee's release of possible host sites this week will reveal how they are thinking about the conference.

American (3)

Locks: ECU

Work left to do: Tulane, Wichita State

ECU took three out of four games off of Tulane over the weekend. Tulane's RPI (57) is likely not good enough to make it in as of now, but the Green Wave still have a chance to get into the top 50.

ASUN (1)

Work left to do: Liberty

With its RPI holding pat at 35 and a 17-1 ASUN record, Liberty should start to feel pretty good about its at-large potential, should it need it.

Atlantic 10 (2)

Work left to do: VCU

Need a miracle: Rhode Island

VCU, winners of 16 straight games, needs to keep winning to feel secure about an at-large bid. Perfection might not be enough for Rhode Island, but it still has an outside shot for an at-large bid. Rhode Island's bubble might burst should it fail to sweep St. Joseph's this weekend.

Big 12 (6)

Locks: TCU, Texas, Texas Tech

Work left to do: Baylor, Oklahoma State

Need a miracle: Oklahoma

The winner of next weekend's series between Baylor and Oklahoma State in Stillwater should lock up its at-large bid. Oklahoma may need to win out to earn an at-large bid.

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 perfect to earn an at-large bid.

Big South (1)

Work left to do: South Carolina Upstate

Sweeping High Point on the road this past weekend was a nice boost to USC Upstate's at-large hopes. Winning this weekend's series against Campbell would go a long way in locking up an at-large bid.

Big Ten (8)

Should be in: Michigan, Indiana, Nebraska

Work left to do: 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 this week.

Big West (2)

Should be in: UC Irvine

Need a miracle: UCSB

UC Irvine won three out of four games at Santa Barbara this past weekend, nearly locking up an at-large bid. 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)

Should be in: Northeastern

Northeastern has one game against UConn and eight road games at Delaware left on its schedule. 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, Louisiana Tech

Need a miracle: Florida Atlantic

What a year for Conference USA. Barring a catastrophic collapse, the league should get at least four teams into the postseason. Florida Atlantic still has an outside chance of making it in with a four-game sweep of Southern Miss and a win at Miami.

Horizon League (1)

Should be in: Wright State

Wright State went 3-1 over the weekend and dropped 11 spots in the RPI to #28. With just four games left, if Wright State wins three of them, even the RPI can't bring them down.

MAAC (1)

Work left to do: Fairfield

With no non-conference play in the MAAC, RPI is meaningless. However, Fairfield's 32-1 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 (2)

Should be in: Indiana State

Work left to do: Dallas Baptist

Indiana State (RPI #19) is nearly a lock. Dallas Baptist's #54 RPI is getting them within shouting distance of an at-large bid.

Pac-12 (8)

Locks: Arizona, Oregon, Stanford

Should be in: UCLA, Oregon State

Work left to do: Arizona State

Need a miracle: Washington State, California

Stanford moves into lock position after winning a series against Arizona. UCLA and Oregon State are likely just one series win away from earning locks themselves.

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 6-0 to finish at .500 in SEC play, the Tigers' remaining conference schedule (vs Alabama, at Texas A&M) sets up favorably for a hot streak to end the season. LSU could possibly make it in the NCAA Tournament at 13-17 in conference.

Sun Belt (1)

Work left to do: South Alabama

The Sun Belt is looking more and more like a one-bid league this season. South Alabama could possibly make it in with an at-large bid.

West Coast (1)

Should be in: Gonzaga

San Diego losing a series to BYU likely ended its shot at earning an at-large bid. Gonzaga's #23 RPI has the Bulldogs in good shape to make the NCAA Tournament should the fail to earn the auto-bid.

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


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