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NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch (5/24)

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 64 teams from 19 conferences are on the bubble watch. When automatic bids and tournament "locks" are accounted for, that means 26 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, while Duke, winners 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 at the same time, it knocked Tulane off the bubble. The American is looking like a one-bid league unless Tulane, Cincinnati, or some other team makes a run in the American Tournament.

ASUN (1)

Should be in (1): Liberty

With its RPI sneaking up to #28 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 their ASUN quarterfinal series against Bellarmine over the weekend and play Jacksonville on Thursday in the semifinal.

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. VCU plays Saint Joseph's in the A10 semifinal on Thursday.

Big 12 (6)

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

Work left to do (2): Baylor, Oklahoma

Oklahoma upset the Bears in Waco over the weekend to greatly boost its chances at an at-large bid. The Sooners (RPI #55) begin their Big 12 Tournament run against Oklahoma State on Tuesday, while Baylor (RPI #40) gets Texas Tech first. Both teams, with their 11-13 Big 12 records, need wins in the Big 12 Tournament to feel secure about an at-large bid.

Big East (1)

Locks (1): UConn

UConn has worked its RPI all the way up to #22. Even if they lose both games in the Big East Tournament, 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 at #38. South Carolina Upstate earned a sweep of its own (over UNC Asheville) and finished with an RPI at #43. Both of those look like good resumes, but history says it's tough to get an at-large bid from the Big South. Each team plays in the Big South semifinals on Thursday.

Big Ten (6)

Lock (1): Nebraska

Should be in (2): Michigan, Maryland

Work left to do (3): Indiana, Iowa, Ohio State

Who knows exactly what the NCAA Selection Committee will do with the Big Ten? One thing is for sure: Nebraska will be in. The Huskers locked up the regular season championship and the automatic bid over the weekend. Four bids seems like the floor for the conference, 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

Work left to do (1): UCSB

Need a miracle (1): LBSU

The magic number is down to one 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 69 in the RPI and has an outside shot at making a run in its last four games.

Colonial (1)

Work left to do (1): Northeastern

Northeastern at #39 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, 33 of its games have been against Q4 teams. Northeastern is 29-4 in those games, but still, its SOS is #212.

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 last week. The Owls, needing some more wins, open up the Conference USA Tournament against Old Dominion

Horizon League (1)

Should be in (1): Wright State

Wright State is 5-7 against Q1 + Q2 teams. The #30 RPI and #132 SOS feel like 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. They play Milwaukee on Thursday.

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, and plays Canisius on Wednesday in the semifinal.

MAC (1)

Work left to do (1): Ball State

Ball State split four games at Ohio and moved up to #49 in the RPI over the weekend. Central Michigan (RPI #64) likely do not have a path to an at-large bid. However, the Chippewas are two games up on Ball State with four games left to play. The regular season champion will earn the auto-bid in the MAC.

Missouri Valley (2)

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

Indiana State closed out its series with Evansville with a win and the Sycamores RPI is up to #37. Dallas Baptist checks in at #52 in the RPI and holds a four game lead over Indiana State in the Missouri Valley standings. Both of these teams will begin MVC Tournament play on Wednesday, knowing that a couple wins could lock in their bid.

Mountain West (3)

Should be in (1): Nevada

Work left to do: (2) Air Force, 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. San Diego State (RPI #76) is just one game back of Nevada (RPI #26) for first place in the Mountain West (Nevada holds the tiebreaker). The regular season champion earns the auto-bid in the conference, so San Diego State could turn into a bid stealer.

Pac-12 (7)

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

Should be in (1): UCLA

Need a miracle (1): California

Cal (RPI #81) has now won back-to-back series against Stanford and UCLA. If the Bears can knock off Oregon, they will have a shot at an at-large bid. UCLA would lock up a bid with a single win against Arizona State this weekend. Even if the Bruins get swept, they would be 15-15 in conference play and would likely earn 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 (2): Georgia, Alabama

Alabama was swept by Mississippi State, so the Tide finished at 12-17 in SEC play to end the year. That nearly knocked Alabama off the bubble, and the Tide will likely need a deep run in the SEC Tournament to earn an at-large bid. Georgia salvaged its series with Ole Miss to stay on the bubble. They'll also need some wins in Hoover to make it in the NCAA Tournament.

West Coast (1)

Locks (1): Gonzaga

Since Gonzaga was announced as one of the 20 potential host sites, the Bulldogs have won back-to-back series. Gonzaga's RPI is at 24, and with just one series to go, the Bulldogs hold a two-game lead over San Diego. Gonzaga hosts San Diego this weekend, and should San Diego win the series, the Toreros would win the conference and earn the automatic bid.

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


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