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Desperately Searching for 65 NCAA Teams

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Can we start the NCAA tournament with less than 65 teams? How about 48 or maybe even 32? There simply are not 65 teams worthy of a berth in the NCAA tournament this season. After what we've seen yesterday and today from Bubble teams, committee members must be scratching their heads and flipping channels to identify legitimately solid basketball teams.

After the first day and a half of major conference tournament results, it seems like no one really wants to play themselves in. Let's take a quick look around.

The Big East should easily get eight teams in with Notre Dame quickly becoming the last berth. But the talk of 9 or 10 and including South Florida or Seton Hall needs to stop, and don't even get me started on UConn. The Longhorn's loss to the Huskies is almost as bad as the loss in Norman. I guess Cincinnati still has a shot but not because they are legitimate, more because the rest of the teams on the Bubble stink. The Bearcats must beat West Virginia tonight, though, to realistically have a chance.

The ACC is a mess of mediocrity. Duke and Maryland are in for sure, but even the Terps haven't proven much this season. Virginia Tech and Florida State are safely in too and are nothing special. Clemson is likely in also and probably could even lose to NC State tonight and still easily grab a bid. As I type this, Georgia Tech is down by ten to North Carolina. At this point, the Wreck is begging to be left out of the field. Is Wake in at 19-10 and 9-8 in league play? They just lost by 21 points! To Miami! The Demon Deacons are now losers in five of their last six. They are shouting even louder than is Tech for an NIT bid. Sadly, we still need 65 teams and both Georgia Tech and Wake could be among them.

Conference USA was hoping for two bids and dreaming of three. After losses by both UAB and Memphis in the quarterfinals, C-USA may only land UTEP in the Dance. However, either No. 6 seed Southern Miss or No. 7 seed Houston (Tom Penders club, wow!) will play on Saturday for the an automatic berth. Gross.

The SEC is just getting started. I guess Mississippi and Mississippi State could still both play their way in with the way other bubble teams are faltering. Raise your hand if you think either of these teams are NCAA caliber. Yeah, me neither.

The Pac 10 is just getting started too and could be the real winners as Bubble's pop across the rest of the country. If either Arizona State or Washington makes a run to the finals, you would have to think either would sneak back into the committee's eyes as a legitimate at-large selection. As others fall, the Pac 10 is now likely to be at least a two bid league.

Last, the Atlantic 10 in its bizarre one game, then two days of rest format gets started again tomorrow. Xavier, Richmond, and Temple are all in but the rest of the league is filled with bubble teams. Rhode Island, Charlotte, Dayton, and St. Louis should all be smiling at the early results. Any of those four, heck maybe even two of those four could earn berths with a win or two in Atlantic City.