02/26/10 — Some teams secure for postseason, others have work left to do to clinch bids

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Some teams secure for postseason, others have work left to do to clinch bids

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 26, 2010 1:47 PM

With selection Sunday less than a month away, college basketball's annual buzz word "bubble" is beginning to take center stage while teams squarely in the field of 65 continue to jockey for position.

Here are a few things to watch during the final 21/2 weeks before the NCAA tournament begins:

Front runners

Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse and Purdue all appear to be in line for No. 1 seeds in the tournament.

The No. 1-ranked Jayhawks (27-1 overall) are on pace to lock up the tournament's No. 1 overall seed and have won 13 games in a row since a loss at Tennessee in early January.

No. 2 Kentucky (27-1) has ridden the talent of freshman point guard John Wall all season. Despite lacking a signature win, the Wildcats are 12-1 in SEC play and look much wiser than a team with just three seniors on its roster.

No. 4 Syracuse (26-2) currently holds a one-game lead over Villanova in the Big East standings heading into Saturday night's showdown at the Carrier Dome. With five players currently scoring in double figures, the Orange possess the size on the interior and the talent in the backcourt to be a serious player in March.

No. 3 Purdue has perhaps the most question marks surrounding it of the four potential No. 1 seeds. The Boilermakers survived at Minnesota on Wednesday night, but lost second-leading scorer Robbie Hummel with a torn ACL. Without Hummel, Purdue's dreams of being the hometown favorite at the Final Four in Indianapolis could be derailed.

Work left to do

Duke, Wake Forest and Maryland have all assured themselves of places in the field of 65, while several other ACC teams have work to do if they hope to go dancing in March.

Losers of three of its last four games, Georgia Tech (18-9) could really use a win as it closes the regular season with contests against Boston College, Clemson and Virginia Tech.

Florida State (20-7) got its first victory in Chapel Hill since 2000 on Wednesday night and is assured of finishing no worse than 8-8 in ACC play. The Seminoles finish the regular season with games against Clemson, Wake Forest and Miami, and could use another resume win.

Virginia Tech (21-6) didn't even show up in an 80-60 loss at Boston College on Wednesday night. The Hokies have just two wins over RPI top-50 teams (Wake Forest and Clemson).

Clemson appears to have the least work left to do with three wins over RPI top-50 teams. The Tigers will have opportunities to bolster their resume as they finish the regular season against Florida State, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest.

Glass slipper?

Former Iowa head coach Steve Alford has quietly molded No. 10 New Mexico (26-3) into one of the best teams nobody east of the Mississippi is talking about. The Lobos have won 12 straight games, are 9-2 on the road and have wins over Cal, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.