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5/14 Bubble Watch
A weekend more of games are done, and here is our May 14th update of the postseason outlook!
Locks: Louisville, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Miami, NC State
Work left to do: Clemson, Florida State, Duke, Wake Forest
Bubble about to burst: Virginia
Florida State earned the sweep over Richmond, keeping the Seminoles in good position for the tournament. Wake Forest strengthened their case by winning a series against Miami. They will need to win the series at Clemson to feel confident about their postseason position. Similarly, this series is likely a must-win for Clemson. Duke is tested on the road at Miami to finish the season and will need to win at leas one game to maintain a .500 conference record. At 12-15 in conference, Virginia will likely need to sweep Virginia Tech to earn an at-large bid.
Locks: East Carolina
Work left to do: Connecticut, Houston
Bubble about to burst: UCF
Connecticut is sitting at 10-11 in American play and will need to win their last series at Tulane to move above .500. Houston is in slightly better position at 11-10 but will face a desperate UCF team that stands at 9-12 in conference. A sweep by UCF might swap UCF and Houston on the bubble.
Work left to do: Creighton
Creighton is the only Big East team with a shot at an at-large right now. Should they fail to win the Big East tournament, there are good odds they still make a Regional.
Locks: Illinois, Indiana
Should be in: Michigan, Nebraska
Bubble about to burst: Iowa
Michigan and Nebraska finish the year with a series in Lincoln, and the winner of this series will lock up their Regional spot. The loser should still be in a good position barring a sweep and an early exit in the Big Ten Tournament. Iowa, with their RPI of 79, may have to sweep Maryland and win a few games in the Big Ten Tournament to make a Regional.
Work left to do: UC Irvine
Cal Poly saw their bubble burst with a series loss at UC Irvine. The Anteaters are not in the best position themselves and cannot afford to lose a series as both of their last two series opponents are outside the top 200 in the RPI. Midweek games against #1 UCLA and USC could prove to be crucial RPI boosters for UC Irvine.
Locks: Texas Tech, Baylor, Oklahoma State, West Virginia
Bubble about to burst: Oklahoma, TCU
Barring late-season meltdowns, Oklahoma State and West Virginia should feel confident about their Regional prospects. Oklahoma, at 9-12 in Big XII play, may need to sweep Texas to secure an at-large bid. With an RPI of 70, TCU may be on the outside looking in, but a sweep at Texas Tech would at least keep them in the conversation. The second best conference in the RPI is looking like it may be a four-bid league.
Should be in: Florida Atlantic
Work left to do: Southern Miss
Bubble about to burst: Louisiana Tech
With a 19-8 conference record and a top 35 RPI, Florida Atlantic should be in a Regional so long as they keep up their winning ways. A road series loss at Rice has Southern Miss slipping down the bubble. They will need to win all of their remaining four games to stay in the top 45 of the RPI. A road sweep at Florida International would keep Louisiana Tech's hopes alive, but they will likely still need to win a few games in their conference tournament to earn an at-large bid.
Should be in: Dallas Baptist, Indiana State, Illinois State
All three of these teams have the resumés of a Regional team. Dallas Baptist should be in after series wins against both Indiana State and Illinois State. Both Indiana State and Illinois State finish the year facing off against RPI top 100 teams (Bradley and Evansville), so as long as both teams take care of business, they should end up with top 40 RPIs. This would likely be enough to earn them at-large bids.
Work left to do: Fresno State, San Diego State
It is unlikely that the Mountain West will be a multi-bid league, but it is still possible for Fresno State and San Diego State to earn at-large bids. After winning the series against San Diego State, Fresno State has established themselves as the Mountain West frontrunner. Fresno State's RPI of 47, and San Diego State's RPI of 56 would put them in the at-large discussion, especially if either team made a deep run in the conference tournament.
Locks: UCLA, Oregon State, Stanford
Should be in: Cal
Work left to do: Arizona State
Bubble about to burst: Washington
Cal has built an impressive postseason resumé and can lock up their at-large bid with a series win against Arizona State. The Sun Devils continue to slip down the rankings as they have lost three straight series. They will likely have to win one of their last two series against Cal and Stanford to earn an at-large bid. A series win at UCLA may be enough for Washington keep their at-large hopes alive, but the Huskies' chances are slim.
Locks: Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Georgia, Ole Miss, LSU
Should be in: Texas A&M
Work left to do: Missouri, Auburn, Tennessee
Florida's bubble burst after losing their series against Tennessee. The Gators will have to win the SEC Tournament to make it to a Regional. Tennessee benefited from the road series win, but at only 12-15 in SEC play, they will have to win their series with Ole Miss to be in a comfortable position to make a Regional. LSU moved to 15-12 in conference play, guaranteeing that they finish the regular season with a .500 conference mark and locking up their at-large bid. At 14-12-1 in the SEC, Texas A&M has nearly locked up their bid but would be more secure if they take at least one game off of Arkansas this weekend. Missouri and Auburn would lock up their bids with series wins over Florida and LSU, respectively.
Work left to do: Texas State
The Sun Belt is likely a one-bid league, but Texas State could still earn an at-large spot with their top 45 RPI. A series in on the road against UT Arlington may be enough to secure a Regional berth. Coastal Carolina has seen their RPI fall out of the top 60 and will likely have to win the Sun Belt Tournament to make it to a Regional.
Should be in: BYU
With their top 35 RPI, BYU should be in no matter the result of the West Coast Conference Tournament. With four teams in the 70-110 range in the RPI, the conference tournament will likely be a bloodbath, and the West Coast Confernce could come out of it with two bids.
Some of these leagues have an outside shot of sending two teams to a Regional, but for the most part, the winner of the conference tournament will be the league's representative. Here are the likely tournament winners:
American East: Stony Brook
Atlantic 10: VCU
Atlantic Sun: Liberty
Big South: Campbell
Horizon: Wright State
MAC: Central Michigan
MEAC: Norfolk State
Ohio Valley: Austin Peay
Southland: Sam Houston State
SWAC: Alabama State
WAC: New Mexico State
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