North Carolina State likely ended fellow bubble team Clemson's at-large hopes on Wednesday.
And after the Wolfpack's one-point win in the ACC tournament's second round, N.C. State faces the NCAA tournament's likely top overall seed in Virginia in Thursday's quarterfinals. .
Does N.C. State need to beat UVA to punch its ticket?
Not exactly, but it would end the misery that accompanies bubble teams sweating it out until Selection Sunday.
The Wolfpack are one of the "first four teams out" in the latest bracket projection.
Here's a look at what each bubble team currently hanging on the "last four out" needs in their respective conference tournaments to leapfrog their counterparts and hear their school's name called on Selection Sunday:
North Carolina State Wolfpack guard Torin Dorn (2) and guard Markell Johnson (11) celebrate after a basket in the second half against the Clemson Tigers in the ACC conference tournament at Spectrum Center. (Photo: Jeremy Brevard, USA TODAY Sports)
Florida (first team out): The Gators (17-14, 9-9 SEC) need to beat Arkansas in the second round of the SEC tournament on Thursday and then it will be close. A quarterfinal win over top-seeded LSU would secure an at-large bid. UF could also get in if Creighton (plays Xavier) or Georgetown (plays Seton Hall) lose their Big East tournament quarterfinal matchups on Thursday.
Alabama (second team out): The Crimson Tide (17-14, 8-10 SEC) need to beat Ole Miss in the second round of the SEC tournament but don't necessarily need to beat Kentucky in the quarters depending on how other fringe teams fare. 'Bama could also get in if Creighton or Georgetown lose on Thursday.
Indiana (third team out): The Hoosiers (17-14, 8-12 Big Ten) need to take down Ohio State in the second round of the Big Ten tournament and might need another win over Michigan State. Their six Quadrant 1 (top-30 home, top-75 road) victories are impressive, but the only reason they're in the discussion right now is because of a NET score of 51. If RPI was being used, their score of 83 would remove them from consideration.
N.C. State (fourth team out): The Wolfpack (22-10, 9-9 ACC) still have one of the most glaring résumé weaknesses of all bubble teams with the second worst non-conference strength of schedules in the country. But much like the Hoosiers, N.C. State is aided by the NCAA's new NET metric, which gives them a 32 compared to a 98 RPI.
Breakdown data, compiled by bracketologist Shelby Mast, is updated through games played on March 13.
Temple (In for now, No. 11 seed)
► Profile: 23-8 (13-5) 50 NET, 78 SoS, 217 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. Houston, Davidson, South Florida (twice), Memphis, Missouri, UCF
- The Bad: Loss to Penn
North Carolina State (Out for now)
► Profile: 22-10 (9-9) 32 NET, 204 SoS, 353 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. Auburn, Clemson (twice), Penn State, Syracuse
- The Bad: Loss to Wake Forest, Georgia Tech
Clemson (Out for now)
► Profile: 19-13 (9-9) 36 NET, 29 SoS, 117 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. Virginia Tech, Lipscomb, Syracuse
- The Bad: No bad losses
Creighton (In for now, No. 12 seed — play-in)
► Profile: 17-13 (9-9) 54 NET, 15 SoS, 38 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. Marquette, Clemson, Georgetown (twice), Butler, Xavier
- The Bad: no bad losses
Georgetown (In for now, No. 12 seed — play-in)
► Profile: 19-12 (9-9) 77 NET, 79 SoS, 251 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. Saint John’s, Butler, Liberty, South Florida, Providence, Villanova, Seton Hall, Marquette
- The Bad: Losses to SMU, Loyola Marymount
Xavier (Out for now)
► Profile: 17-14 (9-9) 70 NET, 54 SoS, 176 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. Villanova, Saint John’s, Seton Hall, Creighton, Butler, Georgetown
- The Bad: Losses to Providence, DePaul, San Diego State
Providence (Out for now)
► Profile: 18-14 (7-11) 75 NET, 56 SoS, 150 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. Texas, Butler (twice), St. Johns (twice), Xavier, Seton Hall
- The Bad: Losses to UMass, DePaul
Minnesota (In for now, No. 11 seed)
► Profile: 19-12 (9-11) 56 NET, 43 SoS, 170 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. Purdue, Wisconsin, Washington, Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana
- The Bad: Losses to Rutgers, Illinois, Boston College
Ohio State (In for now, No. 12 seed — play-in)
► Profile: 18-13 (8-12) 55 NET, 57 SoS, 157 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. Cincinnati, Nebraska, Creighton, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota
- The Bad: Loss to Rutgers
Indiana (Out for now)
► Profile: 17-14 (8-12) 51 NET, 56 SoS, 208 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. Michigan State (twice), Louisville, Marquette, Penn State, Butler, Wisconsin
- The Bad: Loss to Rutgers
TCU (In for now, No. 11 seed)
► Profile: 19-12 (7-11) 48 NET, 32 SoS, 109 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. Iowa State (twice), Baylor, Texas (twice), Florida
- The Bad: Loss to West Virginia
Texas (Out for now)
► Profile: 16-15 (8-10) 38 NET, 6 SoS, 15 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. North Carolina, Purdue, Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa State
- The Bad: Losses to Providence, Radford, Georgia
Arizona State (In for now, No. 10 seed)
► Profile: 21-9 (12-6) 67 NET, 70 SoS, 52 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. Kansas, Washington, Mississippi State, Utah State, Arizona (twice), Oregon, Oregon State (twice)
- The Bad: Losses to USC, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Utah, Princeton, Washington State
Florida (Out for now)
► Profile: 17-14 (9-9) 33 NET, 39 SoS, 132 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. Arkansas, Ole Miss, Butler, Alabama, LSU
- The Bad: Loss to South Carolina, Georgia
Alabama (Out for now)
► Profile: 17-14 (8-10) 58 NET, 24 SoS, 37 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. Kentucky, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Liberty, Murray State, Arizona
- The Bad: Losses to Northeastern, Texas A&M (twice), Georgia State
Belmont (In for now, No. 12 seed play-in)
► Profile: 26-5 (16-2) 45 NET, 191 SoS, 76 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. Lipscomb (twice), UCLA, Murray State
- The Bad: Jacksonville State (twice), Green Bay
Utah State (In for now, No. 10 seed)
► Profile: 25-6 (15-3) 30 NET, 103 SoS, 21 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. Saint Mary’s, Fresno State, Nevada
- The Bad: Loss to San Diego State
UNC-Greensboro (Out for now)
► Profile: 28-6 (15-3) 57 NET, 101 SoS, 126 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. East Tennessee State (twice), Furman (twice)
- The Bad: No bad losses
Lipscomb(Out for now)
► Profile: 25-7 (14-2) 48 NET, 213 SoS, 63 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins vs. TCU, Liberty, Vermont
- The Bad: Loss to FGCU
Furman (Out for now)
► Profile: 25-7 (13-5) 41 NET, 186 SoS 273 NonCon SoS
- The Good: Wins over Villanova, UNCG, East Tennessee State
- The Bad: Loss to Samford
Note: Mostly all statistical data is used from WarrenNolan.com. The NCAA's new NET rankings are also considered; that was rolled out at the beginning of 2018-19.
About our bracketologist: Shelby Mast has been projecting the field since 2005 on his website, Bracket W.A.G. He joined USA TODAY in 2014. In his sixth season as our national bracketologist, Mast has finished as one of the top three bracketologists in the past five March Madnesses. He’s also predicted for The Indianapolis Star, collegeinsider.com and is an inaugural member of the Super 10 Selection Committee. Follow him on Twitter @BracketWag.
Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.
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