The 2019 NCAA men’s basketball tournament bubble is filled with major conference teams with 13 losses or more heading into conference tournament weekend.
These are the big schools with the questionable resumes that will be debated most in the next week to see if they can squeeze into the Big Dance — even if it means a spot in the First Four.
Here are nine teams who had 13 or more losses in the regular season with work to do. Teams are ranked in order of their KenPom rankings heading into conference championship week.
MORE: Everything you need to know about Selection Sunday
Lowdown: The Longhorns had an 8-10 record in conference, which was better than 12-loss teams Oklahoma and TCU, who have a more-favorable tournament projection at this point. Texas does have wins against North Carolina and Kansas, and they open the conference tournament with the Jayhawks. That would help their cause, but they need to get to the conference championship game.
Lowdown: Florida finished eighth in the SEC in the regular season, and the Gators have been on the right side of the bubble throughout most of the season. Florida finished 9-9 in SEC play, and that .500 record matters in a strong conference. They open the tournament against Arkansas.
Lowdown: The Hoosiers could start some interesting conversations this week. Indiana lost 12 of 13 games through the meat of the season, but they closed with four straight wins and have two head-to-head victories against Big Ten champion Michigan State. The Hoosiers cannot go one-and-done in the Big Ten tournament, especially with a head-to-head loss to Ohio State in the regular season. Thursday’s game against the Buckeyes is huge.
Ohio State (18-13)
Lowdown: Despite a 23-point comeback against Wisconsin on Sunday, the Buckeyes lost in overtime and flopped down the stretch without suspended forward Kaleb Wesson. Ohio State is just 2-6 since Valentine’s Day and lost its last three in Big Ten play. This team opened the year with a victory at Cincinnati. How much longer can they use that to cash in without winning? The Buckeyes also have the same 8-12 record in Big Ten play as the Hoosiers heading into Thursday’s Big Ten tournament matchup.
MORE: Big Ten was always Michigan State’s to lose
Lowdown: The Bluejays are one of the few teams on this list trending in the right direction. Creighton won its last five regular-season games, which included victories against Georgetown and Marquette. Creighton had two separate four-game losing streaks during the season, but a 9-9 conference record and head-to-head win against ACC bubble team Clemson could come in handy this week.
Lowdown: The Razorbacks and Gators will play an elimination game at that point, and Arkansas needs a little more given an 8-10 record in SEC play. The Razorbacks clawed back to the bubble with three straight wins after a six-game losing streak. Arkansas played Kentucky tough in a 70-66 loss on Feb. 26.
Lowdown: Bama is the No. 10 seed in the SEC tournament and ended the season on a three-game losing streak. They are going to start the week on the outside looking in, but they can still point back to January victories against Kentucky, Ole Miss and Mississippi State if they win a game or two in the conference tournament.
Lowdown: The Musketeers had a six-game losing streak before closing with victories in six of their last seven games. Xavier is a tournament regular playing good ball and they did have a .500 record in conference play in the Big East. Like the final team on this list, the Musketeers are trending in the right direction.
MORE: Full list of automatic tourny bids
South Carolina (16-15)
Lowdown: The Gamecocks had a 11-7 record in SEC play and has a double-bye in the conference tournament. South Carolina was just 5-8 out of conference, however, and that could cost them. Frank Martin has the team playing better, but that includes just a 2-5 record against ranked teams. South Carolina likely needs to make the SEC championship game to get in.
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