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 66 teams in two weeks.
With the Ivy League not playing an official season this year, there are 34 at-large bids to go around. As of now 66 teams from 18 conferences are on the bubble watch. When automatic bids and tournament "locks" are accounted for, that means 31 teams are vying for 17 spots; five of those teams are in the "need a miracle" category, so only 26 teams are in serious contention and on the bubble. Conference tournaments always bring a few bid stealers, so somewhere between 9-15 deserving teams will be left out.
Locks: Notre Dame, Florida State, NC State, Georgia Tech
Should be in: Pitt, Miami, Louisville
Work left to do: Clemson, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Virginia
Need a miracle: Duke
After the ACC received only two potential host bids (Notre Dame and Pitt), the bubble teams in the conference have to be feeling worried. The last week of ACC play will decide the fate of several teams.
Work left to do: Tulane, Wichita State
ECU finishes the season at USF, and Tulane will travel to Cincinnati with the Green Wave just 1/2 game back of the Pirates. Wichita State needs to sweep Memphis at home to stay in the at-large conversation.
Should be in: Liberty
With its RPI holding pat at 32 and a 19-2 ASUN record, Liberty should start to feel pretty good about its at-large potential, should it need it.
Atlantic 10 (1)
Work left to do: VCU
VCU, winners of 16 straight games, needs to keep winning to feel secure about an at-large bid. Rhode Island's bubble popped with a 2-2 series split against Saint Joseph's over the weekend.
Big 12 (6)
Locks: TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State
Work left to do: Baylor
Need a miracle: Oklahoma
Oklahoma State won a key series against Baylor to wrap up its Big 12 schedule. Baylor will host Oklahoma with the Sooners needing a sweep to stay in the at-large conversation.
Big East (1)
Work left to do: UConn
UConn scheduled tough with series at Texas Tech, Southern Miss, and Virginia which has contributed to the Huskies' #40 RPI. Creighton saw its bubble burst over the weekend with a 2-2 split at Seton Hall.
Big South (2)
Work left to do: Campbell, South Carolina Upstate
Campbell swept South Carolina Upstate over the weekend to push its season record against the Spartans to 5-1. However, USC Upstate remains in the top 50 of the RPI and will have a chance at an at-large bid.
Big Ten (6)
Should be in: Michigan, Indiana, Nebraska
Work left to do: Iowa, Maryland, Ohio State
Who knows exactly what the NCAA Selection Committee will do with the Big Ten? Four bids seems like the floor, and there is a pack of teams in the middle of the conference competing for those bids. No Big Ten teams were selected among the 20 potential hosts, which is not good news if you're the fifth or sixth place team in the conference in search of an at-large bid.
Big West (2)
Should be in: UC Irvine
Need a miracle: UCSB
The magic number is down to four in order for UC Irvine to lock up the Big West. 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.
Work left to do: Northeastern
Northeastern at #37 in the RPI and 12-6 in non-conference play feels like a team that should be in the NCAA Tournament no matter what. However, 30 of its games have been against Q4 teams. Northeastern is 27-3 in those games, but still, its SOS is #196.
Conference USA (5)
Locks: Charlotte, Old Dominion, Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech
Need a miracle: Florida Atlantic
What a year for Conference USA. The league will almost certainly get at least four teams into the postseason. Florida Atlantic (RPI #65) has a midweek at Miami and the CUSA Tournament to prove it belongs in the field of 64.
Horizon League (1)
Should be in: Wright State
Wright State is 1-7 against Q1 + Q2 teams. The #29 RPI and #124 SOS feel like just enough to get Wright State an at-large bid should it need it.
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.
Work left to do: Ball State
Ball State slipped to #54 in the RPI after splitting four games against Kent State over the weekend. The Cardinals have little room for error down the stretch.<