User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools
 
Joe Nelson - Blogs

Bio Page
NCAA TOURNAMENT BID THIEVES - FEB. 23

By Joe Nelson
Posted 02/28/2012 at 06:05 PM

This is the time of year when everyone starts making bracket predictions and starts making assumptions about who is and who is out. There are still many games to be played and several teams that are not on anyoneís bracket list could still play their way into the NCAA tournament. Here are the best candidates that could emerge out of mediocrity to play into at-large consideration to steal a bid from a team that most assume is comfortably in the field at this point. These four teams are all long shots and need to play very well down the stretch to make it happen but a closer look reveals that the opportunity is there.  

 

Big Ten - Iowa Hawkeyes: A few weeks ago the Big Ten looked virtually assured of being nine-bid conference. It has been rated as the strongest conference all season long and things looked promising for the teams on the edge, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, and Minnesota. A lot has changed in a short time and Minnesota and Illinois are certainly on the outside looking in and Northwestern appears headed that direction as well. Purdue is the team that may benefit but upon further review there simply are not any quality wins on the resume and road games at Michigan and at Indiana leave the Boilermakers most likely sitting at 9-9 and a questionable fringe bubble case.

 

The Boilermakers did beat Iowa twice which could be the Achilles heel for the Hawkeyes in what otherwise could turn into an interesting case. Iowa is just 6-8 in Big Ten play but they certainly could win out. The big game is Thursday at home against Wisconsin, a team they have already beaten this season. They then have winnable road games at Illinois and at Nebraska before hosting Northwestern in the final. There are no sure-wins for this squad that has been inconsistent but getting to 10-8 is not out of the realm of possibility. A November loss to Campbell could also haunt the Hawkeyes but there are not any other bad losses and good wins over Wisconsin and Michigan could carry some significant weight, especially if Michigan wins the Big Ten. In any scenario Iowa will need to win a game and probably two games in the Big Ten tournament to get serious consideration but when it is all said and done, Iowaís profile could rise up into the mix.

 

ACC - Maryland Terrapins: The Terrapins really havenít been in the NCAA tournament conversation at all this season and at 16-11 and 6-7 in the ACC there is no real reason to include them. The top four teams in the ACC figure to be tournament locks at this point with Miami and NC State likely right on the bubble depending on how things play out in the next two weeks. Both of those teams figure to be ahead of Maryland in the pecking order but Maryland has an opportunity to move ahead of them in the standings and in the eyes of the tournament committee. Maryland does not have a bad loss all season as non-conference misses to Alabama, Iona, Temple, and Illinois are all forgivable. They also have a big win over Notre Dame at a neutral site that will continue to pay dividends.

 

Maryland beat Miami earlier this week to even that series and while they wonít get that chance with NC State they have an opportunity for a signature win next week at North Carolina. The Terrapins will be steep underdogs in that game but Maryland played the Tar Heels close the first time around and it could be a flat spot for North Carolina, sandwiched in between big road games at Virginia and at Duke. Maryland obviously needs to take care of business at Georgia Tech this weekend and will need to beat Virginia at home to close the season next Sunday. Getting to 8-8 in league play would at least give Maryland a chance still likely needing at least two wins in the ACC tournament. If Maryland can get at least one big win (at UNC or over a top three team in the tournament) this will be a profile that warrants further examination. The ACC is still a respected league and should warrant at least five bids, Marylandís case could also be helped if Miami and NC State crumble down the stretch.

 

Pac-12 - Colorado Buffaloes: The Pac-12 is a mess with five teams at 10-5 or better but mediocrity reigning overall. California, Washington, and Arizona are penciled in as the top three teams and teams that would likely make the NCAA tournament but donít rule Colorado being the team to rise up to take a spot. Oregon has gained some traction in recent weeks in that regard but Colorado beat the Ducks earlier this season and should the Buffaloes complete the sweep they will warrant a further look. Colorado lost four non-conference games but none of them are particularly damaging, losing to Wyoming, Colorado State, Maryland, and Wichita State. They donít have any high quality non-conference wins so they may need to win out and reach 14-4 in conference play but that may be possible.

 

Colorado hosts Stanford Thursday, a game they have to have after losing badly at Stanford in January. They then get an opportunity at home against California which will be a critical game. They then finish up in Oregon playing at Oregon and at Oregon State. Going 4-0 down the stretch would make the Buffaloes a serious tournament candidate but even going 3-1 would get some notice and they could be viable with a decent showing in the conference tournament. Even with very poor ratings for the Pac-12, three teams will probably get into the Big Dance. Colorado has a great chance to sweep Oregon and with both California and Washington finishing up with strictly road games it is possible that they could fall back to the pack and open the door for another team.

 

SEC Ė LSU Tigers: While Mississippi State and Alabama are considered the SEC bubble teams with both squads moving in the wrong direction LSU may be the team that sneaks into the picture. The Tigers have a lot to overcome, they have bad losses to Coastal Carolina and South Alabama but they also have a big win over Marquette that keeps on giving. LSU started 3-7 in conference play but the Tigers have gone on to win four in a row, including wins over both Alabama and Mississippi State. The only SEC home loss came against #1 Kentucky and LSU will benefit from only playing the top three SEC teams once each, catching one of the easier slates in the league.

 

LSU will have a great chance to finish up the regular season on a 7-0 run and while there are not any overly impressive wins that would leave them at 10-6 in SEC play and hard to ignore as at least the fourth best team in the conference. Donít rule out Vanderbilt sliding with three very tough games left on the schedule so LSU could even move into third place in the standings. LSU will have some serious blemishes on its resume but they should at least surpass Alabama and Mississippi State in that scenario and if they can put together two wins in the SEC tournament, particularly if they win a Ďplay-iní game with the Tide or Bulldogs it will be hard to leave the Tigers out. 

BLOG ARCHIVES
04/13/2014 at 12:18 PM
Early Look at the B1G in 2014-15

04/07/2014 at 12:21 PM
NCAA Championship Keys

04/04/2014 at 04:49 PM
NIT Provides Springboard to NCAA Success

03/24/2014 at 05:18 PM
MLB 2014 Win Totals Bets

01/13/2014 at 05:35 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 13

01/06/2014 at 03:16 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 6

12/30/2013 at 05:48 PM
Between the Lines - Dec. 30

12/23/2013 at 06:33 PM
Between the Lines - Dec. 23

12/09/2013 at 05:33 PM
Between the Lines - Dec. 9

12/02/2013 at 06:26 PM
Between the Lines - Dec. 2

11/25/2013 at 05:49 PM
Between the Lines - Nov. 25

11/20/2013 at 10:21 AM
Between the Lines - Nov. 18

11/11/2013 at 06:08 PM
Between the Lines - Nov. 11

11/04/2013 at 06:33 PM
Between the Lines - Nov. 4

10/28/2013 at 06:28 PM
Between the Lines - Oct. 28

10/21/2013 at 05:16 PM
Between the Lines - Oct. 21

10/15/2013 at 05:00 PM
Between the Lines: Oct. 14

10/10/2013 at 03:54 PM
Between the Lines - Oct. 7

10/01/2013 at 06:26 PM
Between the Lines - Sep. 30

09/23/2013 at 04:10 PM
Between the Lines - Sep. 23

09/10/2013 at 02:33 PM
Between the Lines - Sep. 9

09/03/2013 at 11:24 AM
Between the Lines - Sep. 2

08/30/2013 at 04:44 PM
Between the Lines - Aug. 26

08/15/2013 at 01:52 PM
Pretender or Contender: Arizona Diamondbacks

08/06/2013 at 05:46 PM
Pretender or Contender: Kansas City Royals

07/26/2013 at 09:29 AM
Pretender of Contender: Baltimore Orioles

07/23/2013 at 03:30 PM
Pretender or Contender: Philadelphia Phillies

07/19/2013 at 11:38 PM
Pretender or Contender: Cleveland Indians

04/12/2013 at 05:18 PM
Hot MLB Starts: AL Pretender or Contender?

03/27/2013 at 01:28 PM
2013 MLB Season Win Total Best Bets

03/14/2013 at 12:11 PM
Big Ten Tournament Snapshot

03/07/2013 at 02:02 PM
NCAA Tournament Long Shots

01/21/2013 at 06:35 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 21

01/17/2013 at 12:24 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 14

01/07/2013 at 06:31 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 7

12/18/2012 at 02:16 PM
Between the Lines - Dec. 17

12/10/2012 at 06:08 PM
Between the Lines - Dec. 10

12/03/2012 at 06:41 PM
Between the Lines - Dec. 3

11/26/2012 at 06:11 PM
Between the Lines - Nov. 26

11/20/2012 at 01:06 PM
Between the Lines - Nov. 19

11/12/2012 at 06:32 PM
Between the Lines - Nov. 12

11/06/2012 at 12:17 PM
Between the Lines - Nov. 5

10/30/2012 at 04:31 PM
Between the Lines - Oct. 29

10/23/2012 at 12:41 PM
Between the Lines - Oct. 22

10/17/2012 at 04:45 PM
Between the Lines - Oct. 15

10/09/2012 at 01:51 PM
Between the Lines - Oct. 8

10/01/2012 at 05:15 PM
Between the Lines - Oct. 1

09/25/2012 at 03:28 PM
Packers/Seahawks

09/24/2012 at 05:42 PM
Between the Lines - Sep. 24

09/19/2012 at 05:52 PM
Between the Lins - Sep. 17

09/10/2012 at 07:10 PM
Between the Lines - Sep. 10

09/03/2012 at 04:12 PM
Between the Lines - Sep. 3

08/28/2012 at 02:28 PM
Between the Lines Aug. 27

08/21/2012 at 04:10 PM
Between the Lines - Aug. 20

08/16/2012 at 04:58 PM
Late Season MLB Sleepers

07/17/2012 at 04:46 PM
Four to Fade: American League

07/15/2012 at 09:04 PM
Four to Fade: National League

07/09/2012 at 05:08 PM
First Half MLB Awards

06/26/2012 at 01:09 PM
Hidden MLB Contenders

06/12/2012 at 04:44 PM
Big XII Football Early Look

05/26/2012 at 12:34 PM
Lucroy All Star Hurdles

05/24/2012 at 10:56 AM
Early Reaction on NFL Win Totals: 'UNDERS'

05/23/2012 at 03:03 PM
Early Reaction on NFL Win Totals: 'OVERS'

05/22/2012 at 03:14 PM
SEC West Football Early Look

05/17/2012 at 04:48 PM
SEC East Football: Early Look

02/28/2012 at 06:05 PM
NCAA Tournament Bid Thieves - Feb. 23

01/28/2012 at 12:56 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 30

01/16/2012 at 04:19 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 16

01/10/2012 at 04:42 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 10

01/03/2012 at 05:28 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 3

12/27/2011 at 04:13 PM
Between the Lines - Dec. 26

12/14/2011 at 02:42 PM
Between the Lines - Dec. 12

12/06/2011 at 04:55 PM
Between the Lines - Dec. 5

11/14/2011 at 06:14 PM
Between the Lines - Nov. 14

11/10/2011 at 11:11 AM
Between the Lines - Nov. 7

11/02/2011 at 02:38 PM
Between the Lines - Oct. 31

10/10/2011 at 06:58 PM
Between the Lines - Oct. 10

10/04/2011 at 06:17 PM
Between the Lines - Oct. 3

09/27/2011 at 11:21 AM
Between the Lines - Sep. 26

09/19/2011 at 07:11 PM
Between the Lines - Sep. 19

09/12/2011 at 06:31 PM
Between the Lines - Sep. 12

09/05/2011 at 03:29 PM
Cincinnati Bengals Over 5.5

09/05/2011 at 03:29 PM
Cleveland Browns Over 6.5

09/04/2011 at 12:02 PM
Kansas City Chiefs Under 7.5

09/04/2011 at 11:57 AM
Washington Redskins Over 6.5

09/01/2011 at 05:13 PM
Thursday NCAA Trends

09/01/2011 at 01:05 PM
St. Louis Rames Under 7.5

09/01/2011 at 12:59 PM
New York Giants Under 9.5

08/23/2011 at 04:24 PM
Thome's Final Destination?

08/18/2011 at 11:40 AM
Thursday Preseason QB Rotations

08/09/2011 at 02:21 PM
Yankees/Red Sox Race

08/08/2011 at 06:13 PM
White Sox Opportunity

08/04/2011 at 01:14 PM
TIgers Pull Away in AL Central

08/03/2011 at 03:03 PM
Raising Arizona: D-Backs into 1st place

07/29/2011 at 09:28 AM
NFL Free Agent WR Options

07/25/2011 at 04:18 PM
NFC West Schedule Outlook

07/18/2011 at 05:09 PM
NFC East Schedule Outlook

07/13/2011 at 03:37 PM
2011 MLB Free Agent Steals

07/08/2011 at 03:17 PM
Conference USA West Schedule Outlook

07/05/2011 at 04:27 PM
2011 NL All Star Snubs

07/03/2011 at 02:00 PM
2011 AL All Star Snubs

07/01/2011 at 02:30 PM
Early NL MVP Candidates

06/29/2011 at 03:52 PM
Conference USA East Schedule Outlook

06/28/2011 at 05:15 PM
Mountain West Schedule Outlook

06/22/2011 at 03:53 PM
Big East Schedule Outlook

06/21/2011 at 02:55 PM
NL Cy Young Favorites

03/20/2011 at 08:49 PM
Charmed Life for Arizona

03/11/2011 at 02:03 PM
Conference Tournament Reaction

01/17/2011 at 05:33 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 17

01/13/2011 at 03:46 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 10

01/06/2011 at 01:29 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 3

12/27/2010 at 05:04 PM
Between the Lines - Dec. 27

12/21/2010 at 03:26 PM
Between the Lines - Dec. 20

12/14/2010 at 01:07 PM
Between the Lines - Dec. 13

12/06/2010 at 11:03 PM
Between the Lines - Dec. 6

11/30/2010 at 12:52 PM
Between the Lines - Nov. 29

11/23/2010 at 02:47 PM
Between the Lines - Nov. 22

11/16/2010 at 02:23 PM
Between the Lines - Nov. 15

11/08/2010 at 10:47 PM
Between the Lines - Nov. 8

11/02/2010 at 03:13 PM
Between the Lines - Nov. 1

10/26/2010 at 01:24 PM
Between the Lines - Oct. 25

10/19/2010 at 06:40 PM
Between the Lines - Oct. 18

10/12/2010 at 11:04 AM
Between the Lines - Oct. 11

10/05/2010 at 12:42 PM
Between the Lines - Oct. 4

09/28/2010 at 11:57 AM
Between the Lines - Sep. 27

09/20/2010 at 07:15 PM
Between the Lines - Sep. 20

09/14/2010 at 11:43 PM
Between the Lines - Sep. 12

09/07/2010 at 06:29 PM
Between the Lines - Sep. 6

06/10/2010 at 01:17 PM
Upon Further Review...

06/03/2010 at 12:08 PM
Replay Time

04/15/2010 at 03:38 PM
NBA Series Wagers Round 1

03/20/2010 at 11:14 AM
Conference Strength Questions

03/18/2010 at 05:32 PM
Great Start to the NCAA Tournament

01/20/2010 at 03:44 PM
Football Final Four

01/11/2010 at 04:35 PM
Kicking Woes

12/08/2009 at 01:46 PM
BCS Match-Ups

12/02/2009 at 04:20 PM
AFC Playoff Chase

11/27/2009 at 12:20 PM
Between the Lines

11/20/2009 at 05:11 PM
4th and 2, up 6

11/11/2009 at 04:13 PM
Time to Score

10/21/2009 at 05:41 PM
BCS Reaction

10/15/2009 at 01:02 PM
Bronco Boom

09/25/2009 at 01:16 PM
Between the Lines

09/14/2009 at 05:50 PM
Big XII Bust

09/14/2009 at 05:49 PM
Big Ten Disaster?

08/19/2009 at 06:12 PM
Favre Scores for Minnesota

07/30/2009 at 03:28 PM
Time for Replay in Baseball

06/16/2009 at 03:20 PM
Championship Losers

06/10/2009 at 03:33 PM
Home Teams Shine

05/27/2009 at 03:01 PM
All-Star Manny

05/21/2009 at 03:52 PM
NBA Lotto

05/12/2009 at 04:22 PM
Early Big Ten Thoughts

05/07/2009 at 03:54 PM
Another Legend Falls

04/28/2009 at 02:58 PM
18-game NFL Schedule?

04/23/2009 at 02:54 PM
Early Season MLB Surprises

04/14/2009 at 01:44 PM
Early Season AL Thoughts

04/07/2009 at 12:55 PM
What was Izzo thinking?

04/01/2009 at 04:15 PM
West vs. East in the NBA

03/31/2009 at 04:48 PM
End of Madness

03/21/2009 at 11:58 AM
Familiar Upsets

03/12/2009 at 05:10 PM
Early Postseason Surprises

03/11/2009 at 05:31 PM
Impact of Conference Tourney Upsets

03/03/2009 at 12:21 PM
Celebrate Hockey

02/27/2009 at 04:41 PM
Spring Training

02/16/2009 at 03:06 PM
ACC Letdown in March

02/06/2009 at 02:09 PM
Dream Week at the Garden

02/02/2009 at 11:23 AM
Super Joke?

01/27/2009 at 03:43 PM
Best NBA team in '09?

01/23/2009 at 04:50 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 23

01/19/2009 at 03:36 PM
Super Bowl Long Shot?

01/12/2009 at 05:10 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 12

01/09/2009 at 06:24 PM
BCS Championship Thoughts

01/07/2009 at 12:35 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 5

12/30/2008 at 06:51 PM
Between the Lines - Dec. 30

12/21/2008 at 04:11 PM
Between the Lines 12/19

12/15/2008 at 04:07 PM
Between the Lines 12/15

12/08/2008 at 06:06 PM
Between the Lines 12/8

12/03/2008 at 05:14 PM
Feeling Minnesota

12/01/2008 at 06:13 PM
Between the Lines 12/1

11/25/2008 at 01:23 PM
Between the Lines 11/24

11/19/2008 at 12:39 PM
Between the Lines 11/17

11/12/2008 at 03:22 PM
Between the Lines 11/10

11/03/2008 at 06:28 PM
Between the Lines 11/3

10/27/2008 at 06:52 PM
Between the Lines 10/27

10/20/2008 at 06:09 PM
Between the Lines 10/20

10/15/2008 at 01:09 PM
Between the Lines 10/13

10/09/2008 at 04:13 PM
Errors Dominate Dvision Series Games

10/06/2008 at 05:30 PM
Between the Lines 10/6

09/29/2008 at 05:06 PM
Between the Lines 9/29

09/24/2008 at 05:31 PM
Between the Lines 9/22

09/18/2008 at 11:27 PM
Huge Win for the Twins

09/17/2008 at 12:14 PM
Between the Lines

09/13/2008 at 09:57 AM
Big East Victory?

09/07/2008 at 01:04 PM
Puzzling Box Scores

09/02/2008 at 04:56 PM
Redemption for UCLA

08/25/2008 at 06:25 PM
K-Rod to 50

08/19/2008 at 03:23 PM
Opportunity in the AFC?

08/13/2008 at 01:38 PM
Great Playoff Chase Ahead

08/10/2008 at 09:23 PM
No Woods, No Problem

08/04/2008 at 02:51 PM
Manny Mania in LA

07/30/2008 at 03:21 PM
Twins & Cards Keep Fighting

07/18/2008 at 12:02 PM
Royal Birkdale Miracle

07/12/2008 at 11:44 AM
Trouble in Titletown

07/10/2008 at 12:15 PM
NL Central Arms Race

06/25/2008 at 02:09 PM
AL Continues to Shine

06/20/2008 at 05:01 PM
American League Wins Again...

06/10/2008 at 12:26 PM
Huge NBA Finals Spread

06/03/2008 at 01:34 PM
Joba to the Rescue?

05/23/2008 at 02:07 PM
Draft Lottery or League Mockery?

05/15/2008 at 02:36 PM
1st Quarter MLB Outlook

05/12/2008 at 01:17 PM
Pass the Mayo

04/30/2008 at 12:57 PM
NBA Playoff Surprises

04/24/2008 at 01:46 PM
Cheer for the D-League

04/15/2008 at 02:24 PM
4-Way tie in the West?

04/09/2008 at 12:31 PM
Fantastic NCAA Final, MLB Surprises

03/31/2008 at 11:31 AM
Whirlwind Weekend

03/28/2008 at 02:27 PM
Sweet 16

03/24/2008 at 06:29 PM
Weekend Recap

03/20/2008 at 07:18 PM
Thursday Day Games

03/17/2008 at 03:32 PM
Concerns About UCLA

03/12/2008 at 03:21 PM
Bubble Picture

03/10/2008 at 07:18 PM
The Legend Finally Ends

03/03/2008 at 04:39 PM
Early Conference Tournament Edge

02/27/2008 at 02:50 PM
State of Basketball

02/25/2008 at 05:03 PM
#1 Upset Coming, Again?

02/18/2008 at 12:18 PM
Kidd Deal Finally Done?

02/13/2008 at 06:45 PM
Overtime Nightmare

02/07/2008 at 04:30 PM
Devils and Badgers Earn Big Road Wins

02/04/2008 at 01:25 PM
Super Bowl for the Ages

01/31/2008 at 02:28 PM
#2 Falls + NBA Trade Rumors

01/30/2008 at 12:46 PM
Stealing an Ace

01/29/2008 at 02:25 PM
UConn on a Roll, Hornets Keep Winning

01/28/2008 at 01:43 PM
Big East Displays Dominance

01/24/2008 at 02:13 PM
The Diminishing Weight of Retiring Numbers

01/21/2008 at 12:00 PM
Championship Recap

01/16/2008 at 02:41 PM
The Beginning of the End for Dallas?

01/14/2008 at 05:09 PM
Peyton Back to Normal?

01/04/2008 at 02:23 PM
Big Ten vs. the SEC

01/03/2008 at 10:28 AM
The Decline of the Sooners

01/02/2008 at 10:41 AM
New Year's Day - just not what it used to be.

12/21/2007 at 08:00 PM
Between the Lines 12/21...

12/17/2007 at 03:40 PM
Between the Lines 12/17

12/03/2007 at 05:37 PM
Between the Lines 12/3

11/29/2007 at 06:56 PM
Between the Lines...11/26

11/12/2007 at 06:12 PM
Between the Lines... 11/12

11/03/2007 at 11:30 AM
Between the Lines 10/29

10/26/2007 at 01:30 PM
Between the Lines 10/22

10/19/2007 at 12:07 PM
Between the Lines 10/15...

10/12/2007 at 01:38 PM
Between the Lines 10/8...

10/05/2007 at 06:49 PM
Between the Lines 10/1

09/26/2007 at 02:28 PM
Between the Lines 9/24

09/21/2007 at 01:15 PM
Between the Lines 9/17

09/13/2007 at 11:50 AM
Between the Lines 9/10

09/05/2007 at 03:13 PM
9/3 Between the Lines...

08/23/2007 at 05:05 PM
Draft Day for the rest of us.

08/15/2007 at 04:24 PM
NL Central Heats Up?

08/08/2007 at 06:00 PM
756, finally.