fogn.png
Sunday December 5th, 2021 12:52AM

Elite programs stuck on the NCAA Tournament bubble

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

The NCAA Tournament bubble is typically populated with teams from small conferences and middle-of-the-pack big conference schools.

A pandemic that has wreaked havoc on the college basketball season is also reshaping the curve.

Perennial power Duke is currently bubbling. So is North Carolina. Kentucky is so far down it can't even see the bubble.

“The season hasn’t gone how we wanted it, but we just try to keep our head down and keep working,” Duke sophomore forward Matthew Hurt said. “Every day, don’t take a day off, not try to listen to the outside, the social media, what everyone else says but us.”

Duke entered the season with loaded expectations, as it always does. The Blue Devils had key holdovers from last year's team and coach Mike Krzyzewski brought in another stellar recruiting class.

Duke's season has mostly been a dud so far.

The Blue Devils are 8-8 and 6-6 in the ACC after beating North Carolina State on Saturday, a win that ended a three-game losing streak. Duke is No. 66 in the latest NET rankings — up 11 from the previous rankings — and needs a strong finish to the season to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1995.

“You’ve just got to stay with it,” Krzyzewski said. “That’s what our program's done and see what happens. Just see what happens if you do that.”

North Carolina fell flat with a chance at a resume-building win on Saturday, scoring 48 points in a loss to No. 9 Virginia. The Tar Heels failed to have a double-figure scorer for the first time since 1966, are 12-7 overall and No. 56 in the NET after going 1-6 in Quadrant 1 games.

Kentucky, at 6-13 and No. 76 in the NET, will likely need to win the SEC Tournament to join the field of 68.

ON THE RISE

Kansas (15-7, 9-5 Big 12). Once a blueblood appearing to be in trouble, the Jayhawks have reeled off three straight wins. Kansas has some big potential resume builders after facing rival Kansas State, with games against No. 7 Texas Tech, No. 13 Texas and No. 2 Baylor to close out the regular season.

UConn (9-5, 6-5 Big East). The Huskies picked up a critical win by beating Xavier 80-72 on Saturday without James Bouknight. UConn is a superb defensive team and if Bouknight is fully healthy, the Huskies could make a run to the field of 68.

Rutgers (12-7, 8-7 Big Ten). The Scarlet Knights were poised to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1991 before the tourney was canceled last season. Rutgers may still have work to do to end the streak this season, but it has won five of six after beating Northwestern on Saturday.

Oregon (12-4, 7-3 Pac-12). The Ducks were among the favorites to win the Pac-12, but they labored through injuries and two COVID-19 pauses. Oregon finally had its top five scorers on the floor together in a victory over Arizona State last week and has won three straight after beating Arizona in Tucson.

FADING HOPES

Maryland (10-10, 4-9 Big Ten). The Terps have wins over Illinois and Wisconsin but have been inconsistent most of the season. Maryland has lost three of four and could use a strong finish to get off the bubble.

Drake (19-2, 10-2, Missouri Valley). Less than two weeks ago, the Bulldogs joined No. 1 Gonzaga and Baylor as Division I's only undefeated teams. Drake then lost at Valparaiso and was blown out by No. 22 Loyola Chicago. A win over the Ramblers in the rematch on Sunday was huge.

Toledo (16-6, 11-3 MAC). A team on the NCAA Tournament bubble can't really afford consecutive losses late in the season. The Rockets did just that against Ball State and Bowling Green in their last two games.

Stanford (13-8, 9-6). The Cardinal have wins over Alabama and UCLA on their resume, but also have losses to Arizona State and Utah. They still have chances to pick up marquee wins with No. 20 Southern California and Oregon remaining.

___

This story has been corrected to show that Maryland had a victory over Illinois, not Rutgers.

___

AP Basketball Writer Aaron Beard in Raleigh, North Carolina, contributed to this report.

___

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/College-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Elite programs stuck on the NCAA Tournament bubble
The NCAA Tournament bubble is typically populated with teams from small conferences and middle-of-the-pack big conference schools
5:34PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Back from layoff, No. 3 Michigan tops No. 21 Wisconsin 67-59
Isaiah Livers scored 20 points as No. 3 Michigan returned from a three-week layoff and rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat No. 21 Wisconsin 67-59
4:54PM ( 47 minutes ago )
Separatists grow majority in Catalonia despite Socialist win
The pro-union Socialist Party appears set to claim a narrow win in regional elections in Catalonia, but the bloc of parties supporting secession by Spain’s northeastern corner are widening their control of the regional parliament
4:49PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Like a legend: Kriechmayr wins 2 speed golds at ski worlds
A feat previously achieved only by two legends of men’s Alpine skiing has been matched by Austrian skier Vincent Kriechmayr at the world championships
3:52PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Big One, lightning strike come early at Daytona
The big one hit only 14 laps into the Daytona 500
3:46PM ( 1 hour ago )
Italy won't open its ski slopes due to virus fears
 The Italian government has abruptly delayed opening Italy’s beloved ski season because a coronavirus variant was detected in a good portion of recently infected persons in the country
3:45PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Durant leads Brooklyn past Warriors in Golden State reunion
Kevin Durant won the reunion with his former Warriors team he helped capture two titles, scoring 20 points to go with six assists and five rebounds in the Nets’ 134-117 victory
11:49PM ( 17 hours ago )
McDermott, Turner spark Pacers past struggling Hawks
Doug McDermott scored 26 points, Myles Turner had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and the Indiana Pacers won their second straight game with a 125-113 victory over the Atlanta Hawks
11:13PM ( 18 hours ago )
No. 19 Creighton rolls past No. 5 'Nova behind Zegarowski
Marcus Zegarowski scored a season-high 25 points, Mitch Ballock had 17 of his 20 points in the second half and 19th-ranked Creighton’s offense was at its high-tempo best in a 86-70 rout of No. 5 Villanova
7:29PM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Gonzaga, Baylor top NCAA committee's initial rankings
Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan and Ohio State are the top seeds in the initial rankings for the committee that will ultimately select the field of 68 for the NCAA Tournament
3:44PM ( 1 day ago )
Dosunmu gets hot late, No. 6 Illinois tops Nebraska in OT
Ayo Dosunmu scored the last 10 points in regulation for Illinois and the first five in overtime, allowing the sixth-ranked Fighting Illini to turn back Nebraska’s upset bid 77-72
12:48AM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Tuberville stands by account of Trump phone call
Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama is standing by his account that he told then-President Donald Trump that Vice President Mike Pence was being evacuated from the Senate during the Capitol riot
8:04PM ( 1 day ago )
College Sports
The Latest: Memphis-Houston men's basketball game postponed
The Memphis Tigers have their second men’s basketball postponement due to positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing
5:52PM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: Minnesota Wild returning after 10-day pause
The Minnesota Wild have been cleared by the NHL to resume team activities
5:38PM ( 3 days ago )
The Latest: Big 12 reschedules 9 women's basketball games
The Big 12 has announced the reschedule dates for nine women’s basketball games postponed this season because of COVID-19 protocols
4:16PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
Back from layoff, No. 3 Michigan tops No. 21 Wisconsin 67-59
Isaiah Livers scored 20 points as No. 3 Michigan returned from a three-week layoff and rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat No. 21 Wisconsin 67-59
4:54PM ( 47 minutes ago )
Separatists grow majority in Catalonia despite Socialist win
The pro-union Socialist Party appears set to claim a narrow win in regional elections in Catalonia, but the bloc of parties supporting secession by Spain’s northeastern corner are widening their control of the regional parliament
4:49PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Wintry weather blanketing US to make rare dip to Gulf Coast
Wintry weather is forecast for much of the U.S., with freezing temperatures expected to dip as snow falls as far south as Texas’ Gulf Coast
4:28PM ( 1 hour ago )
Support grows for riot inquiry after 'heartbreaking' verdict
House prosecutors are calling the verdict in Donald Trump's impeachment trial “heartbreaking” and say they proved their case that Trump incited the U.S. Capitol riot
4:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Pitbull's Daytona 500 party ends early in crash
Pitbull’s Daytona 500 party ended well before last call
4:20PM ( 1 hour ago )