The bubble is always a favorite topic this time of year but with some dominant mid-major teams in respective conferences, fans around the nation should be worried about bid thieves the first two weeks of March.
Valpo is 22-5 and could have a case for an at-large bid which means Oakland could get the Horizon League up to two bids this year. Greg Kampe's squad is 19-9 and has plenty of firepower with Kay Felder, Jalen Hayes, Max Hooper, and Percy Gibson.
Valpo worked the Grizz in their first game of the year but the two play again on Friday in Indiana. Oakland will also have a little bit of an advantage in the Horizon League Tournament playing close to home. If your team is on the bubble, then you better be rooting for Valpo.
Saint Mary's Gaels
As my colleague Will Maupin pointed out this week, St. Mary likely doesn't have an at-large resume despite their 20-4 record. That doesn't mean the Gaels aren't dangerous though in the WCC tournament. St. Mary's has already knocked off Gonzaga once this season and can likely to it again. That win will just have to come in Las Vegas and not in Spokane for it to be the most meaningful for Randy Bennett and his team.
Marty Simmons' weak non-conference slate has kept the Purple Aces outside of the at-large discussion despite a 21-7 mark. Meanwhile, Wichita State has likely put together a solid case since they've regained their health but they can't feel easy heading into the Valley Tournament.
Northern Iowa and Illinois State can both have a say in St. Louis, but Evansville has one of the nation's best inside-outside 1-2 punches in D.J. Balentine, and Egidijus Mockevicius and the Purple Aces have challenged the Shockers this season. A two bid Missouri Valley is a strong possibility this season.
It's been a disappointing season for Tim Cluess with his Gaels at 15-10 on the season but Iona still certainly has enough to steal the MAAC Tournament from at-large candidate Monmouth. The two have a rematch this Friday after the last game ended in a nasty exchange of fists.
The brewing rivalry, Cluess' hatred for the bench mob, and a talented player like A.J. English are all the ingredients for what could be one of the best conference finals in the country.
We've outlined before that Arkansas-Little Rock may not have the most solid case for an at-large bid, but if they win out and go to the Sun Belt finals, it may be hard for the committee to ignore a 30 win team.
Louisiana and UT Arlington are both dangerous in the Sun Belt Tournament, but it's Keith Richards' Warhawks who are peaking at the right time. Monroe has already beaten UALR once this season and lost their other matchup by 1 point. A guard like Nick Coppola keeps you steady in March and a scorer like Majok Deng makes you dangerous.
Furman Purple Paladins
Chattanooga isn't being discussed as an at-large candidate because it's assumed that they'll win the Southern Conference title. The Mocs actually would have a compelling resume if they tripped up in the SoCon finals and Furman may just be the team to trip them up.
Neko Medved has snuck into the title game before nearly knocking off prohibitive favorite Wofford last year despite an eight-win regular season. There is no doubt that Stephen Croone is the conference's most dangerous player come March as well.