Commentary

Penn State and the last-chance group

The Nittany Lions and other bubble dwellers have big opportunities left to earn bids

Originally Published: February 8, 2011
By Ian Gordon | ESPN Insider
Talor BattleMatthew O'Haren/Icon SMIA rigorous closing schedule for Talor Battle and PSU gives them a chance to earn an at-large bid.

Now that we're 33 days from Selection Sunday, the opportunities for teams to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament are growing scarce. For many squads, that means there are just one or two more chances to make a positive impression on the selection committee.

As we pointed out here last year, signature wins -- those over opponents in the RPI top 25 -- are a common factor among bubble teams that make the tournament. Last season, three of the committee's last four tourney selections nabbed at least one top-25 victory. (Of that quartet, only the UTEP Miners sneaked in without one.) In the past five years, just three of 20 "last four ins" didn't have a signature W.

The bubble is littered with teams that have wilted against marquee competition this season. But the teams listed below still have a chance -- and in some cases, several -- to turn heads as the regular season enters its final month.