A look at the contenders for the NCAA tournament's final at-large spots

A look at the contenders for the NCAA tournament's final at-large spots
A look at the contenders for the NCAA tournament's final at-large spots

Bubble teams will find out their fate at 6 p.m. ET Sunday when CBS unveils the NCAA tournament bracket. Here's a look at how the contenders for the final at-large spots in the field compare against one another and my assessment of which teams will sneak in and which ones will have their bubble burst: 

63. SMU (23-9, 12-6): All SMU had to do to sleep easy Saturday night was not lose to Houston in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament. Alas, the Mustangs fell by four and now find themselves closer to the bubble than they anticipated a few weeks ago. SMU has four great wins -- two over UConn and another two at home against Cincinnati and Memphis. The problem is those are the only four top 100 wins the Mustangs have, plus their profile is weighed down by a trio of losses to teams 140 and worse in the RPI. That explains why SMU's own RPI has slipped to 55. There's a good chance SMU makes the field and even avoids the First Four, but it's closer than many would have thought as recently as last week.

64. Dayton (23-10, 10-6): The possibility of Dayton hosting a First Four game on its home floor remains after the Flyers failed to get the win that probably would have guaranteed their spot in the field. They lost to St. Joseph's in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals and now must wait to find out their fate. Thanks to victories over Saint Louis, Gonzaga, UMass and George Washington, the Flyers have four top-30 wins and a 9-7 record against the RPI top 100. The only anchor weighing down Dayton's resume is three sub-100 losses against Rhode Island, Illinois State and USC. Dayton has probably done enough to make the field despite its loss on Friday, but it's not so safe that Sunday won't be nerve-wracking.

65. Nebraska (19-12, 11-7): Had Nebraska managed to hold onto an 18-point second-half lead against Ohio State in the Big Ten quarterfinals, the Huskers would have erased any remaining doubt regarding whether they belong in the NCAA tournament. Instead they allowed the Buckeyes to rally for a 71-67 victory that ensured an anxiety-ridden Selection Sunday in Lincoln. Nebraska made a strong case by finishing fourth in the Big Ten and winning 11 of its final 15 games, including marquee victories against Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Minnesota. That boosted the Huskers' RPI to No. 45, but will it outweigh a 4-11 record away from home and bad losses to UAB, Purdue and Penn State? It will be close, but the guess here is Nebraska sneaks in.

66. Xavier (21-12, 10-8): Xavier appeared to be a likely NCAA tournament team until dropping three of four down the stretch, including a bad loss to Seton Hall. That didn't kill the Musketeers' chances by any means, but it at least leaves them more nervous than they might otherwise have been. Xavier boasts four RPI top 50 wins against Tennessee, Cincinnati, Providence and Creighton and also has victories over one-time bubble teams St. John's and Georgetown. Is that enough to offset a sweep at the hands of Seton Hall and another horrible loss to USC? Given the resumes of some of their bubble peers, the answer is likely yes. 

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67. Tennessee (21-12, 11-7): Tennessee's SEC semifinal loss to Florida left it in a familiar position entering Selection Sunday. In each of the previous two seasons, the Vols have been in contention for one of the final at-large bids only to fall short. Tennessee has a solid No. 40 RPI and a No. 25 strength of schedule, but the Vols' profile is short on quality wins and long on bad losses. Aside from a non-league rout of Virginia, the best teams Tennessee has beaten are bubble-bound Xavier and Missouri. There are also losses to UTEP, Vanderbilt and twice to Texas A&M. Tennessee looks like an NCAA tournament team when you watch them play more often than not, but a middling resume makes the Vols no surefire lock.

68. BYU (23-11, 13-5): Already squarely on the bubble after its WCC title game loss Tuesday night, BYU received some brutal injury news the following day that made its NCAA tournament hopes all the more tenuous. All-conference guard Kyle Collinsworth tore an ACL and will not be available in the postseason. What the committee now must decide is first if BYU's resume is worthy of NCAA tournament inclusion and second whether the Cougars should be assessed differently without Collinsworth. Most mock brackets had BYU as one of the final at-large teams before the WCC title game, but the Cougars certainly weren't a lock. They have beaten Texas on a neutral floor, won at Stanford and played one of the nation's toughest non-league schedules, but they've also suffered bad league losses against Pacific, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine and Portland.

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69. Cal (19-13, 10-8): It would have been hard to imagine Cal facing the grim reality of the NIT when the Bears started 5-0 in Pac-12 play or when they upset Arizona on Feb. 1. Cal failed to maintain that momentum, however, dropping nine of its final 14 games because of lapses in defensive intensity and insufficient wing scoring to make up for it. The result is a resume uninspiring besides the Arizona win. Solid victories over Oregon, Stanford and Colorado also help, but the Bears have a mediocre No. 59 RPI, bad losses to UC Santa Barbara and USC and a 4-10 record against the RPI top 50. That's a resume that doesn't stack up particularly well against bubble teams from around the nation.

70. Green Bay (24-6, 14-2): The downside of conference tournaments for mid-major league champs is that an entire season's worth of good work can unravel in one night. Such is the case for Green Bay, which fell behind by 13 points in the first half against Milwaukee in the Horizon League semis, rallied to force overtime and then ran out of steam. The chances of Green Bay surviving that loss and earning an at-large bid are slim even though the Phoenix's two best players, Alec Brown and Keifer Sykes, both were far from 100 percent healthy that night. What gives the Phoenix hope is they do have a similar profile to the Middle Tennessee team that received a spot in the First Four last March. Green Bay has a great win over Virginia and a respectable No. 57 RPI, but the Phoenix's next best win came against Tulsa, and it has a few bad losses in league play too.

71. Minnesota (20-13, 8-10): Before Louisville's conference tournament game against Houston on Friday night, Rick Pitino was asked on ESPN about his son Richard's team. Minnesota had already fallen behind Wisconsin by eight points, and the elder Pitino admitted he was "sick" about it. Rick has reason to be worried because Minnesota may not have been able to afford that loss. With a sub-.500 league record and a 2-8 mark against the RPI top 50, the Gophers needed to do something in the Big Ten tournament to sway the committee. Victories over Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa and Florida State certainly help, but the Gophers also have a pair of ugly losses to Northwestern and Purdue.

72. Southern Miss (27-6, 13-3): The Conference USA co-champs are going to be difficult for the committee to evaluate because they haven't played hardly any NCAA tournament caliber teams. One of their RPI top 50 games was a victory over North Dakota State. The other was a 31-point loss to Louisville. Why is Southern Miss in the conversation? Well, its No. 31 RPI is impressive, as is a 5-4 record against the RPI top 100. Still, this is a resume built mostly against bad teams. The Golden Eagles probably had to win the Conference USA tournament, and instead they got blown out in the semifinals against a Louisiana Tech team that went on to lose to Tulsa in the title game.

73. Missouri (22-11, 9-9): For a bubble team from a power conference, Missouri has a bland profile. It boasts a whopping two RPI top 50 wins against UCLA and Tennessee, both at home. Victories over NC State and Arkansas help a bit, as does a solid No. 47 RPI, but the Tigers also managed to mix in bad losses to Vanderbilt and Alabama, which explains how they went 9-9 in a very mediocre SEC. With a profile like this, Missouri needed to leave a good impression on the selection committee -- give members some reason, any reason to take a closer look. Needless to say, losing its regular season finale 72-45 at Tennessee and its SEC quarterfinal to Florida 72-49 didn't qualify. That probably spells NIT for the Tigers. 

74. Arkansas (21-11, 10-8): No bubble team left a worse final impression on the committee than the Razorbacks, who fell at woeful Alabama by 25 in their regular season finale and then somehow managed to follow that by losing to South Carolina in the first round of the SEC tournament. That cost Arkansas a crack at Tennessee in the quarterfinals and gave back much of the good the Razorbacks did in winning six straight prior to that to reenter the bubble conversation. Is there hope for the Hogs? Perhaps, but it doesn't look great. A pair of victories over Kentucky and two others over SMU and Minnesota boost Arkansas' chances, but that may not outweigh a bloated No. 68 RPI, a poor strength of schedule and three league losses to teams outside the top 100.

75. Florida State (19-13, 9-9): We won't know for sure until 6 p.m., but Friday's 64-51 loss to Virginia in the ACC quarterfinals certainly felt fatal for Florida State. At the very least it was a squandered chance to secure a marquee victory that would have boosted the Seminoles' hopes of an NCAA bid. Nothing about Florida State's resume suggests that it should compare well to other bubble teams. It has only three wins against RPI top 50 teams -- VCU, Pittsburgh and UMass. It's 6-12 against the RPI top 100. Its RPI is in the mid-50s. No bad losses aside from a stumble against Miami helps a bit, but Florida State will probably regret failing to finish off upset bids against Michigan and Florida during non-league play.

76. NC State (21-13, 9-9): Even though both Mike Krzyzewski and Dick Vitale stumped for the Wolfpack after Saturday's ACC semifinal loss to Duke, it doesn't look good. The four best wins NC State notched came against a fading Syracuse team, Pitt, Tennessee and Florida State, but the Wolfpack went just 3-8 against the RPI top 50. They also have three losses to teams outside the RPI top 100, one to NC Central, one to Wake Forest and one to Miami. Perhaps defeating Duke and adding another high-quality win to the resume might have boosted NC State into the field, but without that win, it doesn't appear as though the Wolfpack have done enough.

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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