Bubble Teams: Who should A&M be pulling for?

With March Madness in full swing and several Big 12 teams hoping for an invitation to dance later this month, who are the teams from around the country who A&M fans (and Big 12 fans for that matter) should be pulling for and against? Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp takes a look at teams around the nation.

Below are the teams from the BCS conferences and in parenthesis are the number of teams projected to receive invitations to the Big Dance by Joe Lunardi on ESPN's Bracketology.

Big 12 (6 teams )
Texas (5)
* THEY ARE IN

Kansas (10)
* THEY ARE IN

Oklahoma (27)
* SHOULD BE SAFE

Baylor (39)
* With a win against Texas Tech this weekend, Baylor is probably in. However, Texas Tech is 13-1 at home this year, with the only loss coming on a buzzer beater by Oklahoma. Texas Tech also has a slim shot at making the tournament themselves. If Baylor falls again to finish at 8-8, they will need to win a game or two in the Big 12 tournament to feel comfortable on Selection Sunday.

Texas A&M (42)
* A win on Saturday against Kansas and the up-and-down Aggies will punch their ticket for the NCAA Tournament. Even with a loss on Saturday, with a win in the Big 12 Tournament, they'll probably get in.

Kansas State (46)
* Could it happen again? Kansas State finished last season with 23 wins and were 10-6 in Big 12 play, yet they were not selected to the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats' RPI has already dropped to 46 and a game against Iowa State this weekend will not help. Texas A&M should move up just by playing Kansas, and Texas Tech vs. Baylor will help both of those teams' RPI as well. I think Kansas State is in, but they may get a lower seed than Big 12 South teams that finish below the Wildcats in the final standings.

Texas Tech (48)
* Texas Tech has lots of bad losses this year (including Sam Houston State and Centenary), which is why I think it will be tough for them to make it to the NCAA Tournament, but a win against Baylor on Saturday could keep those hopes alive. But will two 44-plus point losses in the last two weeks of the year be the nail in their coffin? There's no Bobby Knight on the bench to help with TV ratings and ticket sales this year, so the Red Raiders may have already sealed their fate.

Big East (7 teams)
Georgetown (9)
* THEY ARE IN

Louisville (11)
* THEY ARE IN

Connecticut (13)
* THEY ARE IN

Notre Dame (19)
* THEY ARE IN

Marquette (21)
* SHOULD BE SAFE

Pittsburgh (25)
* SHOULD BE SAFE

West Virginia (34)
* The Mountaineers are 10-7 in Big East play, but they're 2-6 against top-50 RPI teams. They play a weak St. Johns team to finish the season on Saturday, which doesn't bode well for Big 12 teams on the bubble. St. Johns is No. 146 but it is at St. Johns, so it could happen. Although, with an RPI of 34, it would be tough to bounce WVU.
* Big 12 fans pull for:St. Johns

Syracuse (52)
* Syracuse is one team that Big 12 fans should be pulling against. They host No. 20 Marquette in the season finale. A win would drastically improve the Orange's RPI and puts them firmly in the bubble talk.
* Big 12 fans pull for: Marquette

Villanova (59)
* Villanova plays at Providence (89) which won't help them much either. Add Providence to the list of teams to pull for, which would eliminate Villanova from NCAA Tournament talk.
* Big 12 fans pull for: Providence

ACC (6 teams)
North Carolina (2)
* THEY ARE IN

Duke (4)
* THEY ARE IN

Clemson (20)
* SHOULD BE SAFE

Miami (26)
* SHOULD BE SAFE

Virginia Tech (56)
* The Hokies play at Clemson on Saturday, which will be a tough place for them to win on the road. This may be a must-win game for the Hokies, although you've got to think the ACC will get at least five teams in. At 9-6 in conference play, VT looks good, but an RPI of 56 isn't exactly a safe place to be.
* Big 12 fans pull for: Clemson.

Maryland (64)
* The Terps are staring at the NIT in the eyes. They've got a 8-7 conference record and an RPI of 64 heading into the season finale at Virginia (113). A loss to the Cavaliers may derail any hope Maryland has of receiving an invite to the Big Dance.
* Big 12 fans pull for:Virginia

Florida State (67)
* The Seminoles already beat Miami (24) on the road this season and will host them in the season finale on Saturday. A win over a top-25 RPI team will definitely help the Noles' resume, but a 6-9 conference may have already knocked them out. They need a win against the Hurricanes and a good showing in the conference tournament to have a shot whatsoever.
* Big 12 fans pull for:Miami

Pac-10 (6 teams)
UCLA (7)
* THEY ARE IN

Stanford (16)
* THEY ARE IN

Washington State (22)
* THEY ARE IN

Arizona (26)
* Like the Big 12, there are three teams that are really duking it out in the Pac 10 for the final spot in the Big Dance—Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon. The Sun Devils swept the Wildcats this year, and Arizona will hope to finish with a split series with Oregon on Saturday. If they are swept by the two other teams vying for the last spot(s) in the Big Dance, it won't look good for the Wildcats. If the Aggies are going to pull for any team in this race, it's Arizona to help pad their strength of schedule.
* Big 12 fans pull for:Arizona

USC (39)
* The Trojans are in fourth place in the Pac 10 but their RPI doesn't reflect it. They've got 10 conference wins and should be pretty safe heading into Selection Sunday next weekend. If they can find a way to beat Stanford at home on Saturday, they're in. But if they lose and Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon have good Pac 10 tournament performances, USC could get bumped, but I think they're still safe.
* Big 12 fans pull for:Stanford

Oregon (58)
* The Beavers picked up a huge win over Arizona State on Thursday that may have ended the Sun Devils' chances of making the Big Dance. They now host Arizona and a win on Saturday could help them leap the Wildcats and earn the final spot in the Big Dance out of the Pac 10. But Aggie fans need Arizona to continue to look solid.
* Big 12 fans pull for:Arizona

Arizona State (72)
* Losing to Oregon may have been the nail in the Sun Devils' coffin. A loss to Oregon State (260) this weekend would make that pretty certain.
* Big 12 fans pull for:Oregon State

SEC (5 teams)
Tennessee (1)
* THEY ARE IN

Vanderbilt (8)
* THEY ARE IN

Mississippi State (36)
* THEY SHOULD BE SAFE

Arkansas (41)
* The Razorbacks should be okay as long as they take care of business on Saturday against Auburn at home, however, the loss to Mississippi on Tuesday night could hurt if the SEC only gets four teams in. The Conference is down this year and in my opinion should only get four teams in, but if five make it, Arkansas should be safe.
* Big 12 fans pull for:Auburn

Mississippi (42)
* Mississippi picked up a big win against Arkansas on Tuesday night, giving them a season split with the Razorbacks, who are battling it out with the Rebels for a shot at the NCAA Tournament. The game against Georgia won't do much to help their resume, which includes a 4-5 record against top-50 RPI teams. But it also includes a 6-9 conference record. They can't afford a loss to Georgia (144).
* Big 12 fans pull for:Georgia

Kentucky (47)
* Billy Gillispie's wildcats are 11-4 in SEC play, but suffered several terrible losses early in the season. However, they've won five of their last seven games and host Florida in a possible showdown for the last SEC spot in the NCAA Tournament. They're in better position than Florida, so we'll go with the Gators in this one, which shouldn't be too tough for most A&M fans.
* Big 12 fans pull for:Florida

Florida (61)
* A loss to Kentucky and the Gators are out. Even with a win though, they'll need to play well in the SEC Tournament. They may get a little benefit as the defending champs, but not if they lose to Kentucky, which will be tough at Rupp Arena.
* Big 12 fans pull for:Florida

Big Ten (4 teams)
Wisconsin (12)
* THEY ARE IN

Michigan State (14)
* THEY ARE IN

Indiana (16)
* SHOULD BE SAFE

Purdue (33)
* The Boilermakers will wrap up the season at Michigan (180) on Sunday and will probably get the fourth spot out of the Big Ten. However, Ohio State could make a case for dancing as well. Purdue has a solid resume and can't afford a slip on the road against Michigan.
* Big 12 fans pull for:Michigan

Ohio State (54)
* The Buckeyes picked up a big win against Purdue on Tuesday, which also helped the Aggies' strength of schedule. They've got a big game at home against Michigan State (13) on Sunday with big-time ramifications. It might keep the Big 12 from getting another team in, but the Aggies need the Buckeyes to win and make the tournament to help pad their resume.
* Big 12 fans pull for:Ohio State

Mountain West (3 teams)
BYU (23)
* SHOULD BE SAFE

UNLV (29)
* SHOULD BE SAFE

New Mexico (49)
* I'm not sure if I agree that the Mountain West should get three teams in. New Mexico is sitting at 10-5 in conference play, but their non-conference schedule was weak. I think this is another conference that could end up with less spots and allow a team from the Big 12 to slip in. The game against Colorado State (273) is big for Big 12 teams.
* Big 12 fans pull for:Colorado State

Conference USA (2 teams)
Memphis (3)
* THEY ARE IN

UAB (53)
* UAB has to travel to Memphis to finish the season, which doesn't bode well for them. Their RPI is already at 53 and strength of schedule is 113. They need a big win against the Tigers, but I wouldn't put money on them. If they can't come up with a way to beat Memphis and UH struggles on the road, Conference USA may have just one team in the NCAA Tournament once again in 2008.
* Big 12 fans pull for:Memphis

Houston (66)
* UH will finish the regular season on the road against UTEP. A&M fans should be pulling for the Miners for two reasons. First, another loss will probably mean that Houston is bounced from the NCAA Tournament, but it also helps the Aggies' RPI since A&M beat UTEP in the NIT Season Tipoff in November.
* Big 12 fans pull for:UTEP




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