Selection Sunday is here — finally — after a two-year wait.
That means teams on the NCAA Tournament bubble are sweating it out big time as they patiently wait to either jump up in jubilation — if announcer Greg Gumbel calls their name on the selection show (6 p.m. ET on CBS) — or fall into misery if they have to settle for the NIT.
Much of the borderline teams' postseason fate will be determined by the committee assessing their full body of work. Of course, conference championship week revved up the debating as bubble teams either bolstered (Syracuse) or stained (Wichita State) their respective résumés in the final week. None of the fringe teams will be thanking bid-thieves Georgetown or Oregon State for making two less spots available at the last minute.
Among the teams most likely to get in the field of 68 are VCU and Saint Bonaventure, playing each other in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament final Sunday. A win for VCU would make it a safer bet for both teams to go dancing.
Among the bubble teams that aren't likely to get in, Big East teams Seton Hall, St. John's and Xavier all have decent profiles but none present enough to entice the committee and keep them in. Some bubble teams were just one win away from vaulting into the field. Ole Miss was one possession away from an at-large bid before it bowed out to LSU in the SEC Tournament quarterfinal, while Memphis was also ready to crash into the field before falling to Houston in the American Athletic Tournament semifinal.
Under to COVID-19 protocols, the last four teams out will act as stand-by replacements for the tournament. There's a slight chance Duke — once considered to be done following its COVID-driven finish in the ACC tournament — sneaks into that equation.
Below is a look at the seven bubble teams that will be sweating it out the most.
Despite losing to top-seeded Virginia on a buzzer-beater on Thursday, the Orange (16-9, 9-7 ACC) figure to be among the last four to sneak into the projected field. They did enough in championship week by beating North Carolina State in the second round of the ACC tournament — their third consecutive victory. Still, it's gonna be close for coach Jim Boeheim's team. The committee will see just one Quadrant 1 win on the team's profile. ? Bracketology: Last four in, No. 12 seed.