February 24, 2024

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Bubble Watch 2024: Get ready for NCAA Tournament drama

Bubble Watch 2024: Get ready for NCAA Tournament drama

Welcome to Bubble Watch 2024! This bubble season promises to be another wild ride all the way to Selection Sunday. The only safe expectation is that there will be surprises.

After all, Wisconsin started the season unranked (barely) and opted to finish fifth in the Big Ten. Now, the Badgers are already a lock with Purdue on Day 1 in Bubble Watch.

On the flip side, Gonzaga, Miami and Arkansas are all ranked in the top 15 in the AP preseason poll. Fast forward to February and the Bulldogs are listed as “work to do.” Meanwhile, the Hurricanes and Razorbacks are nowhere to be seen.

The bubble is likely to be hit by more surprises like this. Through it all, we'll help you draw the most informed line between “in” and “out” for the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

Then, as always, the committee will do what it wants. March ritual, right? We say embrace the suspense.

Once again, the clock will be updated continuously between now and Sunday, March 17. Any time a team's bubble status changes, their entry will be updated with updated analysis.

Teams considered “locked out” could theoretically forfeit every remaining match and still participate in the tournament. No team has ever tried this experiment, and it is not recommended by the Bubble Watch team.

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It will be good for the “should be in” teams if they continue to take care of business and win games they are supposed to win.

This leaves the “work to be done” where the real drama happens. Some teams will rise dramatically from “work to do” to become “locks.” Others will drop from monitoring altogether.

When selection day arrives, about a dozen teams will still be stuck with “work to do.” By then, time has run out and there is no more work to be done. All these teams can do is hope for a miracle. Like we said, drama!

To estimate the actual size of the 2024 bubble, we expect there to be 22 single-bid conferences. If the field changes and the number changes, we will adjust accordingly.

Here are our current bubble predictions: