Commentary

The bubble team checklist

The criteria bubble teams must meet to earn one of the last 13 NCAA bids

Updated: March 5, 2012, 2:25 PM ET
By Joe Lunardi | ESPN Insider
Lamb/BoatrightElsa/Getty ImagesIt's been a struggle for Ryan Boatright and the Huskies, but they should be in the dance.

With the heart of Championship Week upon us, it's time to dispense with the hypothetical and answer the most pressing question everyone is asking: "What does my team have to do to get in?"

We know from the latest Bracket Math that 33 teams have NCAA tournament at-large odds of 90 percent or better. Another 22 spots will go to teams qualifying automatically, including four -- Murray State, Creighton, Belmont and UNC Asheville -- that have already done so.

This leaves all of 13 spots to be determined during the next seven days. When you think about all the energy expended in pursuit of that baker's dozen, it's a miracle the entire sport doesn't implode upon itself.

This column is for everyone in contention for the precious 13. Your tasks range from the sublime to the ridiculous:

1. No bad losses

This is the easy group. Most, if not all, have done enough for an at-large bid and must merely avoid the dreaded "bad loss" in their respective conference tournaments.

These teams, with their next opponent in parenthesis, are Saint Louis (La Salle or Richmond), Southern Miss (Rice or East Carolina), Cal (if Arizona State), West Virginia (if DePaul), UConn (DePaul) and Mississippi State (Georgia).


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Joe Lunardi | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com