Falling to the NCAA bubble
Harvard and Mississippi St. had bids locked up, but now they must protect them
As recently as the week of Feb. 6, the Harvard Crimson were not only comfortably in the projected NCAA tournament field but ranked in both polls. The Harvard basketball brand, without an NCAA tournament appearance or a week as a ranked squad in more than 65 years, was rising as quickly as any school's this side of Butler. The Crimson had been ranked eight consecutive weeks in the coaches poll and were undefeated in the Ivy League, with two ACC and two A-10 wins under their belt.
At one point, Harvard's two losses against 20 wins were fewer than every other team in the country outside of the Syracuse Orange, Murray State Racers, Kentucky Wildcats, Saint Mary's Gaels and Missouri Tigers. And Tommy Amaker was recruiting with the big boys -- one-time top-100 forward Mike Hall committed in the fall, and one-time top-100 forward Zena Edosomwan may still.
While Harvard charged out of major athletics obscurity, the Mississippi State Bulldogs appeared to have solved some long-battled problems -- or, at least, figured enough out that their talent was able to carry them. During the same week of Feb. 6, the Bulldogs were celebrating their 11th consecutive week ranked in both polls (12th in the AP).
Transfer Arnett Moultrie was a serious All-America candidate. The enigmatic Renardo Sidney, once the No. 1 player in the 2009 high school class, had already played in more games during the 2011-12 season than he had in his tumultuous previous two seasons put together. Mississippi State was 18-5 and concerned about seeding, not selection.
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- No. 4 Duke dismisses junior guard Sulaimon
- UK surges by Mizzou, now 20-0 for third time
- UCLA topples No. 11 Utah behind Powell's 23
- Loving, Russell lead Ohio St. upset of Terps
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider College Basketball
New on Insider
Lunardi: Pac-12 locked into 2 bids?
Player Rankings: Davis over Robinson for POY
Lunardi: Where UW, Northwestern fall
Hume: Bid thieves are few
Bilas: Sizing up the Big East
Gasaway: Pac-12 stronger than it seems
Hume: Best bets among bubble teams
Lunardi: VCU may be first bid thief
Ford: Time running out for 5 NBA prospects
Lunardi: How UConn, Texas, others earn bids
Lunardi: Latest look at the bubble
Fraschilla: Previewing Big 12 tournament
Bilas Index: UNC remains at No. 3
Pomeroy: Trends predict UNC-Duke clash
Lunardi: No No. 1 seed for Big Ten?
Player Rankings: Purdue's pivotal players
Ford: Will MKG, Cody Zeller stay in school?
Gasaway: Rebounding won't crush Orange
Telep: UCLA's top recruits remain committed
Bilas: How Michigan State can still improve
Bilas: Keys to the Hoyas' continued success
Lunardi: Watch out for NCAA bid thieves
Lunardi Rundown: Kentucky is No. 1 overall
Bilas Index: Kansas returns to the top five
Make smart bracket picks by spotting Cinderella early.
And don't forget these Insider mainstays:
Doug Gottlieb, Fran Fraschilla, Joe Lunardi and Jay Williams offer their opinions.
Insights from the mind of the College Gameday analyst.
The national recruiting analyst weighs in on news and rumors surrounding the top high school prospects.
Stay on top of all the latest recruiting buzz.
Every D-1 player's efficiency rating.