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NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch (5/22)

Updated: May 24, 2021

The NCAA Tournament selection is later this month (5/31), and College Baseball Nation's bubble watch is in full force.

With the Ivy League not playing an official season this year, there are 34 at-large bids to go around. As of now 63 teams from 19 conferences are on the bubble watch. When automatic bids and tournament "locks" are accounted for, that means 25 teams are vying for 14 spots. Conference tournaments always bring a few bid stealers, so somewhere between 10-15 deserving teams will be left out.

Editor's note: This will be updated regularly throughout Saturday.

ACC (10)

Locks (5): Notre Dame, Florida State, NC State, Georgia Tech, Miami

Should be in (2): Virginia, North Carolina

Work left to do (3): Louisville, Pitt, Duke

Miami swept Louisville on Saturday, and Louisville is dropping down the bubble in a hurry. Pitt, losers of six straight has also seen a serious hit to its postseason chances. Duke, winner of eight straight, is starting to look like a tournament team. Virginia Tech and Clemson drop off the bubble after getting swept.

American (2)

Locks (1): ECU

Need a miracle (1): Cincinnati

Cincinnati swept Tulane over the weekend. It probably won't be enough for the Bearcats whose RPI is at 67, and it knocked Tulane off the bubble. The American is looking like a one-bid league.

ASUN (1)

Should be in (1): Liberty

With its RPI holding pat at 30 and a 19-2 ASUN record, Liberty should start to feel pretty good about its at-large potential, should it need it. The Flames won game one of its ASUN quarterfinal series.

Atlantic 10 (1)

Should be in (1): VCU

VCU, winners of 18 straight games, finished its regular season at 34-14. The Rams are nearly a lock at this point.

Big 12 (6)

Locks (4): TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State

Work left to do (1): Baylor

Need a miracle (1): Oklahoma

Baylor and Oklahoma have now split the first two games of their series. Should Oklahoma win, the Sooner and Bears would each need wins in the Big 12 Tournament to earn an at-large bid. If Baylor clinches the series, they should be in regardless of what happens in the Big 12 Tournament.

Big East (1)

Should be in (1): UConn

With just one game left in its regular season, UConn has its RPI up to 25. That should be enough to get the Huskies an at-large bid.

Big South (2)

Work left to do (2): Campbell, South Carolina Upstate

Campbell has won ten straight games and finished its regular season with a sweep of High Point and an RPI of 38. South Carolina Upstate earned a sweep of its own (over UNC Asheville) and finished with an RPI of 43. Both of those look like good resumes, but history says it's tough to get an at-large bid from the Big South.

Big Ten (6)

Lock (1): Nebraska

Should be in (3): Michigan, Indiana, Maryland

Work left to do (2): Iowa, 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 some separation between fourth place Indiana and fifth place Iowa. 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 (3)

Should be in (1): UC Irvine

Need a miracle (2): UCSB, LBSU

The magic number is down to three 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. Don't look now, but after being the last team in the country to head back on the field, Long Beach State, is at 71 in the RPI and has an outside shot at making a run in its last eight games.

Colonial (1)

Work left to do (1): Northeastern

Northeastern at #41 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, 31 of its games have been against Q4 teams. Northeastern is 27-4 in those games, but still, its SOS is #207.

Conference USA (5)

Locks (4): Charlotte, Old Dominion, Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech

Need a miracle (1): Florida Atlantic

What a year for Conference USA. The league will almost certainly get at least four teams into the postseason. Florida Atlantic (RPI #60) moved up five spots with a midweek win over Miami. The Owls will need some wins in the CUSA Tournament.

Horizon League (1)

Should be in (1): Wright State

Wright State is 1-7 against Q1 + Q2 teams. The #28 RPI and #129 SOS feel like just enough to get Wright State an at-large bid should it need it. All that's left on the Raiders' schedule is the Horizon League Tournament.

MAAC (1)

Work left to do (1): Fairfield

With no non-conference play in the MAAC, RPI is meaningless. However, Fairfield's 35-1 record is tough to ignore. The Stags may earn an at-large bid if they fail to get the auto bid. Fairfield won its quarterfinal series in the MAAC Tournament.

MAC (1)

Work left to do (1): Ball State

Ball State won its opener at Ohio and moved up to #49 in the RPI. The Cardinals have little room for error down the stretch.

Missouri Valley (2)

Work left to do (2): Dallas Baptist, Indiana State

Losers of five of their last six games, Indiana State has gone from a sure thing, to a bubble team in a hurry. They have one game left at Evansville to try to salvage the series.

Mountain West (3)

Work left to do: (3) Air Force, Nevada, UNLV

With a series win at Dallas Baptist and wins at LSU and Arizona, Air Force's 8-6 non-conference record is fairly impressive.

Pac-12 (7)

Locks (5): Arizona, Oregon, Stanford, Arizona State, Oregon State

Should be in (1): UCLA

Need a miracle (1): California

Cal holds on for one more week after taking a series against Stanford and started the series at UCLA with a win. The Bears will need to beat UCLA and Oregon to have a shot at an at-large bid. UCLA and Oregon State are all just a win or two away from locking up an at-large bid.

SEC (9)

Locks (7): Arkansas, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Florida, South Carolina

Work left to do (1): LSU

Need a miracle (1): Georgia

Alabama was swept by Mississippi State, so the Tide finished at 12-17 in SEC play to end the year. That knocked Alabama off the bubble. Georgia salvaged its series with Ole Miss to stay on the bubble. They'll need some wins in Hoover to make it in the NCAA Tournament.

West Coast (1)

Locks (1): Gonzaga

Gonzaga was announced as one of the 20 potential host sites. The Bulldogs are now a lock for the NCAA Tournament.

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


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