Running down the NCAA tournament bubble teams - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Running down the NCAA tournament bubble teams

Posted: Updated:
The Missouri Tigers may need to finish the season strong after dropping two of their past three games and going 4-6 over their past 10.(AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) The Missouri Tigers may need to finish the season strong after dropping two of their past three games and going 4-6 over their past 10.(AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

(AP) -- Providence has put itself in position to make the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade with a strong late-season run.

The Friars know there's still some work to do if they're going to get it.

"We know anything we get, we have to work for," Providence senior guard Bryce Cotton said. "This is no different. We are right there, right at the cusp. We see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we have to keep climbing to get there."

Providence opened the season with 10 wins in its first 12 games, then started 5-2 in the Big East. Four losses in five games threatened to derail the Friars' NCAA chances, but they have bounced back with three wins in four games.

Providence has a so-so RPI of 56, but does have wins over Xavier, Creighton and St. John's in Big East play. The Friars also helped their cause with a must-win victory over Seton Hall on Friday to avenge an earlier loss.

Providence still has a tough road left, though; the Friars close out the regular season against Marquette and No. 13 Creighton before playing in the Big East tournament.

Providence isn't the only team hanging by the bubble this late in the season.

The 68-team bracket has 36 at-large bids, but there are likely only a dozen or so not all but spoken for at this point.

In other words, there's still quite a few teams sweating it out.

Here's some that have helped their cause recently and a few that stumbled:

___

MOVING UP

Arkansas. The Razorbacks have played their way back into the bubble over the past three weeks. Arkansas has won five straight and six of seven, including a will-look-good-to-the-committee overtime victory over then-No. 17 Kentucky in Lexington to complete a season sweep over the Wildcats. The Razorbacks (20-9, 9-7 SEC) have four victories over teams in the RPI's top 50, but could still use a strong finish against Ole Miss and Alabama to avoid a pressure-filled SEC tournament.

Florida State. The Seminoles' road win over Pittsburgh was huge for their NCAA hopes. Florida State was shaky before that, losing six of eight games after an 8-2 stretch. The Seminoles have an early season win over VCU on their resume, but nothing else that really pops out and an average RPI of 57, so they'll need to close strong. A loss to Boston College on Tuesday night could put a big dent in their chances. Missouri closes out the regular season against Texas A&M and Tennessee.

Oregon. The Ducks appeared to be doomed after a five-game losing streak in January spoiled a 13-0 start and a top-10 ranking. Oregon (20-8) has bounced back with five straight wins, including a double-overtime road victory over UCLA on Thursday that will look pretty good on the resume. The Ducks face a big week to close out the regular season, playing Arizona State on Tuesday night and No. 3 Arizona on Saturday, both at home.

Oklahoma State. The return of Marcus Smart has done the Cowboys a world of good. Oklahoma State (19-10, 7-9 Big 12) has won three straight since the star guard returned from his fan-shoving suspension, including a had-to-have-it victory over fifth-ranked Kansas on Saturday night. A loss to Kansas State on Monday night hurt a little, but the Cowboys could be in good shape with a win over Iowa State and a solid run in the Big 12 tournament.

___

FALLING BACK

Missouri. The Tigers may need to finish the season strong after dropping two of their past three games and going 4-6 over their past 10. Missouri is 20-9, but is so-so 8-8 in the SEC, which isn't exactly the strongest conference in the nation this season. The Tigers do have a win over UCLA, but there aren't really any other marquee wins on the resume.

Stanford. We know, the Cardinal were among the teams moving up last week and now they're here. That's how quickly things can change on the surface of this bubble. How did they get here? A sweep by the Arizona schools. Losing to No. 3 Arizona on the road isn't too bad, but the Stanford could have used a win over Arizona State, another team clawing for an at-large bid. The Cardinal have a tough finish, too: Against Colorado and Utah, two other teams fighting for bracket spots.

LSU. The Tigers' bubble may have popped. They had a big opportunity to get a statement win against top-ranked Florida on Saturday and were never really in the game to lose for the fifth time in eight games. LSU (17-11, 8-8) still has games left against Vanderbilt and Georgia, but even winning those isn't likely to turn selection committee heads. Winning those and a deep run in the SEC tournament could be the Tigers' only shot.

Richmond. The Spiders are losing sight of the bubble after three losses in four games, including a 23-point setback against Rhode Island on Saturday that's not going to look too good. Richmond (18-11, 8-6 Atlantic-10) is 4-3 since leading scorer Cedrick Lindsay injured both of his knees. The Spiders have tough games against VCU and Dayton left on the regular-season schedule and will need to make some noise in the A-10 tournament.

Follow John Marshall on Twitter @jmarshallap

 
  • Auburn University SportsMore>>

  • Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:33:03 GMT
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.More >>
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.
    More >>
  • CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    Thursday, July 24 2014 2:22 PM EDT2014-07-24 18:22:20 GMT
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
  • Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-23 22:37:43 GMT
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
  • All other Local CollegesMore>>

  • Samford picked to finish third in Southern Conference

    Samford picked to finish third in Southern Conference

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 8:38 PM EDT2014-07-24 00:38:39 GMT
    Coming off it's first trip to the FCS Playoffs, Samford was picked to finish third in the Southern Conference, the highest the program has even been picked in the preseason since it joined the league in 2008.More >>
    Coming off it's first trip to the FCS Playoffs, Samford was picked to finish third in the Southern Conference, the highest the program has even been picked in the preseason since it joined the league in 2008.More >>
  • Alabama State, Southern favorites in SWAC

    Alabama State, Southern favorites in SWAC

    Friday, July 18 2014 5:11 PM EDT2014-07-18 21:11:55 GMT
    Defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern and Alabama State are the favorites to win their divisions.More >>
    Defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern and Alabama State are the favorites to win their divisions.
    More >>
  • JSU football picked by media to win OVC championship

    JSU football picked by media to win OVC championship

    Friday, July 18 2014 4:08 PM EDT2014-07-18 20:08:13 GMT
    Jacksonville State is picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference championship by media covering the league.More >>
    Jacksonville State is picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference championship by media covering the league.
    More >>