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Men's hoops: NCAA bubble teams

Bubble teams

Selection Sunday has arrived and not a moment too soon for a group of teams poised on the "bubble." Each has its beauty marks. Each has its warts. Each has had to sit back and listen to the pundits say why it did or didn't deserve one of the 34 at-large spots. Each did little in its conference tournament to pad the resume. A closer look at five of those teams:

Ohio State (19-13)

Key wins: Purdue, Michigan State

Key losses: Iowa, Michigan

Last 12 games: 5-7

The skinny: The Buckeyes, who reached the title game last year, might have needed a second straight win against Michigan State in the Big Ten tournament to offset an uneven stretch run.

Arizona State (19-12)

Key wins: Xavier, Stanford

Key losses: Illinois, Nebraska

Last 12 games: 5-7

The skinny: Looked like a lock in mid January and then struggled but still has the quality wins of a tournament team. Will the selection committee factor in a disputed call in the Pac-10 tournament loss to USC?

Illinois State (24-9)

Key wins: Cincinnati, Southern Illinois (2)

Key losses: Drake (3), Indiana, Kent State

Last 12 games: 9-3

The skinny: Finished second to Drake in the Missouri Valley, losing two close games but was then blown out by Drake in the finale, and that might have left a poor impression.

South Alabama (26-6)

Key wins: San Diego, Mississippi State, Western Kentucky (2)

Key losses: Mississippi, Vanderbilt (2OT), North Texas

Last 12 games: 9-3

The skinny: A win against Middle Tennessee State in the Sun Belt tournament semifinals might have been enough to seal the deal. As it is, the Jaguars lost to a middling rival for the second time in a month.

Villanova (20-12)

Key wins: Connecticut, West Virginia, Pittsburgh

Key losses: Rutgers, DePaul

Last 12 games: 7-5

The skinny: A controversial foul call with 0.1 seconds left in a 55-53 loss to Georgetown on Feb. 11 might loom as a huge "what if." Had that game ended differently, the Wildcats undoubtedly would be a lock.

Brian Landman, Times staff writer



>>Fast facts

Women's Final Four

When: April 6 and 8

Where: St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa

Tickets: Sold out

On the Web: For on­going coverage of women's basketball leading up to the Final Four, go to sports.tampabay.com and click on the link to our special index page.

Men's NCAA Tournament

What: First- and second-round games

When: Friday and March 23

Where: St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa

Tickets: Tickets still available at $208, including a service charge, for the six games. For information, call (813) 301-6600 or go to sptimesforum.com/ncaa2008.

Men's hoops: NCAA bubble teams 03/15/08 [Last modified: Saturday, March 15, 2008 11:12pm]
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