You know it's late in the season when you get to the end of your ballot and have very few candidates to consider seriously. I was prepared to rank UCLA for the first time this season, but the Bruins spoiled their chances by losing at Stanford. Every time it seems UCLA is ready to get over the hump, it falls back. The other teams that finished in a tie for 26th include UMass, which clipped VCU at home to notch its fourth win its last five games; Oklahoma, which beat Oklahoma State and Kansas State last week and would surely get back in the rankings if it wins at Kansas tonight; and Nebraska, which is on a five-game winning streak that includes a victory at Michigan State. The Cornhuskers have a very favorable next three games before finishing at home against Wisconsin. If they end the regular season two games above .500 in the nation's toughest conference and then acquit themselves well in the Big Ten tournament, then they will probably get an at-large bid. Imagine that.
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