Bubble Tracker: What struggling Duke must do to make the NCAA Tournament

The last time Duke was shut out of the NCAA Tournament was 1996 — when coach Mike Krzyzewski missed the final two months of the season with health issues. 

The way the Blue Devils (8-8, 6-6 ACC) are looking with just a little over three weeks remaining before Selection Sunday, they might be watching all of March Madness from home. The signature blue-blood program is one of seven on the borderline in a lackluster ACC and will be one of the most watched bubble teams the next few weeks. 

The unexpected departure of freshman Jalen Johnson, who opted to sit out to prep for the NBA, further complicates Duke's pathway to the Big Dance. 

Mike Krzyzewski talks to the Blue Devils during a timeout against the Pittsburgh Panthers in the second half at the Petersen Events Center. (Photo: Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports)

Right now the Blue Devils just need wins — namely quality wins. They have just one Quadrant 1 (top-25 home, top-75 away) victory despite playing a top-80 strength of schedule. Duke will have ample Quad 1 opportunities against Virginia on Feb. 20, Louisville on Feb. 27, at Georgia Tech on March 2 and at North Carolina on March 6. If they can split those games and also pick up Quad 2 wins over Wake Forest (Wednesday) and Syracuse (Feb. 22), then we'll see them move into safer territory. 

Bubble teams still sweating it out until Selection Sunday on March 14: 

CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN

Breakdown data, compiled by bracketologist Shelby Mast, is updated through games as of Feb.14. Seeds are from USA TODAY Sports' latest bracketology. 

Atlantic 10

Locks: N/A | Probable: N/A

► VCU (In – No. 9 seed): 15-4 (8-2) 32 NET 66 SoS 65 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over St. Bonaventure, Utah State, Memphis
  • The Bad: Loss to Rhode Island

► Saint Louis (In – No. 12 seed): 11-3 (4-2) 33 NET 268 SoS 255 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over St. Bonaventure, LSU
  • The Bad: Losses to Dayton, LaSalle

► St. Bonaventure(In – No. 11 seed): 10-3 (8-3) 41 NET 47 SoS 12 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Richmond, VCU
  • The Bad: Loss to Rhode Island

► Richmond(Out for now): 10-4 (4-2) 54 NET 140 SoS 116 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Loyola-Chicago, St. Bonaventure, Kentucky
  • The Bad: Losses to LaSalle, Hofstra

American Athletic

Locks: Houston | Probable: N/A

► Memphis (out for now): 12-6 (8-3) 62 NET 125 SoS 163 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over SMU, St. Mary’s
  • The Bad: Loss to Tulsa

► SMU (out for now): 11-4 (7-4) 56 NET 114 Sos 278 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Dayton, Memphis
  • The Bad: Loss to Cincinnati

► Wichita State (out for now): 10-4 (8-2) 78 NET 57 SoS 32 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Win over Ole Miss
  • The Bad: No bad losses

TOP 25:  Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll

'FEELS BLESSED':  Florida player talks for first time since collapse

MARCH MADNESS:  Ten schools sweating Selection Sunday

Atlantic Coast

Locks: Virginia, Florida State, Virginia Tech | Probable: N/A

► Clemson (In – No. 8 seed): 13-5 (7-5) 45 NET 15 SoS 133 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Alabama, Florida State, Purdue, Louisville, Maryland, Syracuse, North Carolina, Georgia Tech
  • The Bad: No bad losses

► Louisville (In – No. 9 seed): 11-4 (6-3) 33 NET 42 SoS 51 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, Georgia Tech, Duke, Western Kentucky, Pittsburgh
  • The Bad: Loss to Miami (Florida)

► North Carolina (In – No. 10 seed): 12-7 (7-5) 57 NET, 67 SoS 147 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Duke, Syracuse, Stanford, Notre Dame, Kentucky, Pittsburgh
  • The Bad: Loss to North Carolina State

► Pittsburgh (Out for now): 9-7 (5-6) 80 NET, 122 SoS, 301 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Syracuse (2), Virginia Tech, Duke
  • The Bad: Losses to Wake Forest, Saint Francis (Pennsylvania)

► Georgia Tech (Out for now): 10-8 (6-6) 61 NET 52 SoS 303 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Florida State, Clemson, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Kentucky
  • The Bad: Losses to Georgia State, Mercer

► Syracuse (Out for now): 12-6 (6-5) 52 NET 119 SoS 151 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Win over Virginia Tech
  • The Bad: Losses to Pittsburgh (2)

► Duke (Out for now, on life support): 8-8 (6-6) 66 NET 84 SoS 61 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Notre Dame, Clemson, Georgia Tech
  • The Bad: Losses to Miami, Pittsburgh, Michigan State

Big East

Locks: Villanova | Probable: Creighton

► Xavier (In for now – No. 10 seed): 11-3 (4-3) 40 NET 60 SoS 125 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Oklahoma, Toledo, St. John’s
  • The Bad: No bad losses

► Seton Hall (In for now – No. 12 seed): 12-8 (9-5) 44 NET 27 SoS 63 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Penn State, Xavier, Connecticut, St. John’s
  • The Bad: Losses to Providence, Rhode Island

► Connecticut (Out for now): 9-5 (6-5) 58 NET 75 SoS 65 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Southern Cal, Xavier
  • The Bad: Loss to Providence

► St. Johns (Out for now): 13-8 (7-7) 73 NET 167 SoS 255 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Villanova, Connecticut, Xavier
  • The Bad: Losses to Marquette, Butler, Georgetown

Big Ten

Locks: Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Purdue | Probable: Rutgers

► Minnesota (In – No. 11 seed): 13-8 (6-8) 53 NET 18 SoS 175 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Purdue, St. ateouis
  • The Bad: No bad losses

► Indiana (In – No. 12 seed): 11-9 (6-7) 50 NET, 62 SoS, 138 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Iowa (2), Maryland, Penn State, Stanford
  • The Bad: Loss to Northwestern

► Maryland (Out for now): 11-10 (6-9) 36 NET 1 SoS 20 NonCon SoS

  • The Good:  Wins over Illinois, Wisconsin, Purdue, Minnesota (2)
  • The Bad: No bad losses

Big 12

Locks: Baylor, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, West Virginia | Probable: Kansas, Oklahoma State

Bubble: N/A

Mountain West

Locks: N/A | Probable: N/A

► Boise State (In – No. 9 seed): 15-4 (12-3) 38 NET 144 SoS 2 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over BYU, Colorado State
  • The Bad: Losses to Nevada (2)

► San Diego State (In – No. 10 seed): 14-4 (9-3) 24 NET 44 SoS 29 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Colorado State, UCLA, St. Mary’s
  • The Bad: No bad losses

► Colorado State (In – No. 11 seed): 13-4 (11-3) 44 NET 28 SoS 97 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over San Diego State, Utah State, Boise State
  • The Bad: No bad losses

► Utah State (In – No. 12 seed): 13-5 (11-2) 51 NET 190 SoS 77 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins Over San Diego State (2), Colorado State
  • The Bad: Losses to UNLV, South Dakota State

Pac-12

Locks: USC, UCLA | Probable: Colorado

► Oregon (In – No. 11 seed): 12-4 (7-3) 46 NET 184 SoS 161 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Seton Hall, Arizona, Stanford
  • The Bad: Losses to Washington State, Oregon State

► Stanford (Out for now): 13-8 (9-6) 56 NET 35 SoS 74 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Alabama, Arizona (2), UCLA
  • The Bad: Losses to Utah, Arizona State

SEC

Locks: Tennessee, Alabama, Missouri | Probable: Arkansas, Florida, LSU

► Ole Miss (Out for now): 12-8 (7-6) 55 NET 63 SoS 243 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Tennessee, Auburn (2), Missouri
  • The Bad: Losses to Georgia (2)

Mid-majors

Assume these teams do not win their conference tournament to secure the automatic bid.

Locks: Gonzaga | Probable:  BYU

► Loyola-Chicago (In – No. 8 seed): 16-4 (13-2) 10 NET, 128 SoS 172 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Win over Drake
  • The Bad: Loss to Indiana State

 Drake (In – No. 10 seed): 18-2 (11-2) 35 NET 249 SoS 315 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Win over Loyola-Chicago
  • The Bad: Loss to Valparaiso

► Western Kentucky (In – No. 12 seed): 15-4 (8-2) 75 NET 130 SoS 209 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: Wins over Alabama, Marshall (2), Memphis
  • The Bad: Losses to Louisiana Tech, Charlotte

► UAB (Out for now): 15-4 (9-3) 79 NET 285 SoS 273 NonCon SoS

  • The Good: No significant wins
  • The Bad: Losses to Louisiana Tech (2), Chattanooga, Charlotte

***

***

NCAA Tournament language explainer:

  • Quadrant 1 wins: Home games vs. 1-30 NET teams; Neutral-site games vs. 1-50 NET; Away games vs. 1-75 NET
  • Quadrant 2 wins: Home games vs. 31-75 NET; Neutral-site games vs. 51-100 NET; Away games vs. 76-135 NET
  • Quadrant 3 wins, losses: Home games vs. 76-160 NET; Neutral-site games vs. 101-200 NET; Away games vs. 136-240 NET
  • Quadrant 4 wins, losses: Home games vs. 161-plus NET; Neutral-site games vs. 201-plus NET; Away games vs. 241-plus NET

***

Note: Most statistical data is used from WarrenNolan.com. The NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool) rankings also are a reference point. 

About our bracketologist: Shelby Mast has been projecting the field since 2005 on his website, Bracket W.A.G. He joined USA TODAY in 2014. In his eighth season as our national bracketologist, Mast has finished as one of the top three bracketologists in the past seven March Madnesses. He’s also predicted for The Indianapolis Star, collegeinsider.com and is an inaugural member of the Super 10 Selection Committee. Follow him on Twitter @BracketWag.

Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson. 

Source: Read Full Article