SPORTS
03/16/2013 01:33 pm ET | Updated Mar 17, 2013

Bubble Watch: Maryland, Kentucky, Alabama Hoping For Spot In NCAA Tournament

For better or worse, there's still time for teams to secure a bid in the NCAA Tournament. Given the limitations of the field of 68, however, every spot earned by one squad is a spot lost to another.

Maryland, UMass and Mississippi bolstered their cases for an invitation to the Big Dance with wins in their respective conference tournaments on Friday while Virginia and Kentucky didn't do themselves any favors. Meanwhile, the Saturday schedule begins with a handful of teams, notably Southern Mississippi, in the mid-major tournaments hoping to steal a bid from one of the power conference hopefuls.

The Cavaliers arrived at the ACC Tournament likely needing at a least a win to break into the field of 68. But a loss to N.C. State in their first game left them watching scores roll in from around the country.

“What will be, will be,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett told ESPN after his team's loss. “We have some quality wins, we have some bad losses and who knows what will happen. I’m sure people won’t give us much of a chance. The committee will make their decision."

Maryland didn't provide Virginia with any help, inching a little closer to the Big Dance with wins over Wake Forest and No. 2 Duke in the ACC Tournament. It was Maryland's second win over Duke this season. Will it be enough?

"They were a hungry team. I didn't think we were hungry tonight," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters after Duke's early exit. "They're trying to survive, and they played like it. A lot of teams in that position sometimes get nervous, or they make a lot of mistakes and instead, Maryland rose to the occasion."

The defending champion Kentucky Wildcats didn't last long in the SEC Tournament, getting blown out by Vanderbilt in their first game. Kentucky's loss left the door open for Alabama, who beat Tennessee (another bubble team) in the quarterfinals.

With conference tournaments wrapping up on Saturday and Sunday, here are some of the teams on the bubble hoping to make the NCAA Tournament. Who deserves a spot?

(Update: Southern Miss. lost to Memphis in the Conference USA Finals on Saturday afternoon. Maryland lost to UNC in the ACC Tournament semifinals.)

Conference Tournament Bubble Watch

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