I'll have a full field of 64 projection later, but here are a few quick thoughts about the bubble.
At least two teams (and perhaps four by the end of the day) that were listed as BUBBLE (IN) in this week's Stock Report must be replaced for sure, because Southern Mississippi won the Conference USA tournament, and a team other than Florida Atlantic or Louisiana-Lafayette is going to win the Sun Belt. So CUSA becomes a two-bid league instead of a one-bid league, and the SBC becomes a three-bid league instead of a two-bid league, because Rice, FAU and ULL are all likely at-large teams. The Ragin' Cajuns are on the bubble, but the Sun Belt regular-season co-champs finished the season strong, winning their last seven weekend series, so they should be in.
It's easy to knock two teams out of our field of 64. Arizona has lost six consecutive weekend series, including brutal losses to Southern California and Cal State Bakersfield. That ice-cold finish cancels out Arizona's strong RPI and quality series wins against Cal State Fullerton, Oregon and Washington State earlier in the season.
Liberty also gets removed from our field. Forty-two wins and an RPI of 49th (according to Boyd's World, which factors in RPI bonuses) at least put the Flames in the discussion, but an 0-7 record against the top 50 will prove to be Liberty's undoing.
Two more bubble teams will be squeezed out if St. John's holds onto its 3-0 lead and beats Connecticut in the Big East Finals, and if Western Carolina can upset The Citadel in the SoCon finals later. St. John's would almost certainly replace Pittsburgh (which is a now a long shot anyway because of a poor finishing stretch that dropped the Panthers to 57th in the RPI). If WCU wins, it might replace Elon, though the Phoenix have a stronger resume than many other bubble teams (good RPI of 41st, and 10 wins against the top 50) and could get in as a fourth team out of the SoCon. If the committee goes that route, New Mexico (No. 48 in the RPI) could get squeezed out.
We also have three new bubble teams that we listed in our field of 64 as likely automatic qualifiers in Tuesday's Stock Report. But Wichita State, Florida Gulf Coast and Texas State failed to win their conference tournaments, so they get tossed into the at-large bubble pool, joining New Mexico, Elon, Kentucky, North Carolina, California, Oregon State and Pittsburgh, as well as the afore-mentioned Arizona and Liberty. Of the "new" bubble teams, Florida Gulf Coast probably has the best shot at a bid because of its RPI (42nd), but Wichita actually has a stronger case despite a 14-spot gap in the RPI—a difference that can be attributed to FGCU's geographic advantages. The Shockers (3-5 vs. the top 50) actually have more quality wins than the Eagles (2-7), and they won the head-to-head series at FGCU early in the season.
But neither of those teams (nor Texas State, which is 2-10 vs. the top 50) has near as many good wins as power-conference bubble dwellers UNC, UK, Cal and Oregon State. Out of that quartet, Cal is the most vulnerable because it still has yet to reach 30 wins, and it was in a major slump before winning the first two games of its series at Oregon this weekend. But FGCU, Wichita and Texas State probably don't have the resumes to knock out the Bears, whose 12 wins against the top 50 are considerably more than those other three teams have combined.
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