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Bid thieves who could ruin NCAA Tournament bubble teams

Gonzaga holds strong as top team in Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll

As we inch closer to March Madness, Gonzaga keeps a stronghold as the top team in the weekly Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll.

SportsPulse, USA TODAY

Conference championship week has arrived and the clock is ticking for NCAA Tournament bubble teams that are sweating it out until Selection Sunday.

A bubble team’s worst enemy – other than itself – is a team whose résumé is unworthy of a spot in the field of 68 yet is surging and playing great basketball. A three- or four-day hot streak can lead to a conference tournament championship and an automatic bid that takes away open spots for borderline at-large teams.

For instance, last year, Georgetown surged through the Big East tournament to steal the league’s automatic bid. This year, Santa Clara was a potential thief that could’ve won the West Coast Conference but narrowly bowed out of the league tourney to Saint Mary’s in Monday’s semifinals. A godsend outcome for bubble teams. 

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With only so many remaining spots for the NCAA selection committee to fill, here’s a look at seven potential thieves this year: 

Syracuse, ACC

The Orange (15-16, 9-11 ACC) are trying to avoid the first losing season in coach Jim Boeheim’s 46 years as a head coach. Son Buddy Boeheim (19.3 ppg) led the ACC in scoring this season and is a three-point marksman who can get hot to spark a deep run. That’s not out of the cards considering how weak the ACC has been this season – ranking sixth in NET scores among power conferences. There are only three surefire ACC teams slated to go dancing and four bubble teams that will need to play their way in. This is definitely a possibility for ‘Cuse, a No. 9 seed in the ACC tourney.

Oregon, Pac-12

The Ducks (18-13, 11-9 Pac-12) were…


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