AJ Mast
February 20, 2015

Big Ten teams have been beating up on each other all conference season, leaving more than half of them dancing on the NCAA tournament bubble.

No. 5 Wisconsin is a lock to get into the bracket. The Badgers reached the Final Four last season and look as if they're geared for another deep March run.

Up to eight other teams could join the Badgers.

Maryland (22-5) appears to be in good shape barring a late-season meltdown.

Purdue (18-9) filled a big hole in its resume by beating Indiana in Bloomington on Thursday night. The 67-63 victory not only gave the Boilermakers a season sweep over the Hoosiers, it was their first road win over an NCAA tournament-caliber team this season.

Purdue still has three games left against teams on the NCAA bubble: Ohio State, Michigan State and Illinois.

Michigan State (18-8) has some ugly losses on its resume, including Nebraska and Texas Southern, but has won five of its past six games to make a strong case to be included. The Spartans have Illinois, Wisconsin, Purdue and Indiana left, so they still have some work to do.

Ohio State (19-7) doesn't really have any glaring losses on its resume, though a strong final push would certainly make the Buckeyes feel safer.

Indiana (18-8) does have an ugly loss, to Eastern Washington, and has lost five of its past eight games. A loss to either Rutgers or Northwestern would hurt the Hoosiers, while beating Iowa and Michigan State would certainly be a boost.

Iowa (16-10) pushed itself toward the bubble with losses to Minnesota and Northwestern, but bounced back with a rout over Rutgers. The Hawkeyes beat North Carolina and Maryland and swept Ohio State, so there are some solid wins on their resume.

Minnesota (16-11) needs a strong final push to get in and Michigan (13-13) may need to win the conference tournament for its invite.

A few of the other teams rising and falling from the NCAA tournament bubble:

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ON THE RISE

SMU. The Mustangs (22-5) put themselves close to lock position with their 67-58 win over Temple on Thursday. Unless SMU loses out and drops the first game of the American Athletic Conference tournament, there should be no angst as there was last year, when the Mustangs came up just short of the 68-team field.

Dayton. The Flyers (20-5) are in good shape after a three-game winning streak moved them into a three-way tie for the Atlantic 10 lead. Dayton can't afford losing to Duquesne or George Mason and has an opportunity to gain momentum if it can knock off VCU and Rhode Island, the two other teams tied for the conference lead.

Mississippi: The Rebels (18-8) have played themselves to the inside of the bubble by winning seven of their last eight games, including a big one over rival Mississippi State on Thursday. Still some work to do, but Ole Miss certainly looks better than it did after opening SEC play 2-3.

North Carolina State. The Wolfpack have 11 losses and are just 6-7 in the ACC, which will be tough to overlook. But what N.C. State has going in its favor are the teams it has beaten, including Duke and Louisville, and one of the best strength of schedules anywhere.

FADING HOPES

Clemson. The Tigers (15-11) have some losses that will be tough to overlook, including Winthrop at home, Gardner-Webb and Rutgers. Losing to Georgia Tech on Monday won't help Clemson's cause, but the Tigers still have a shot at adding resume-building wins with Duke, N.C. State, Notre Dame and the ACC tournament still ahead.

Kansas State. The Wildcats have some impressive victories in hand, including Baylor, Oklahoma State and a sweep over Oklahoma. The problem is there are too many losses; Kansas State dropped to 13-13 after a resume-hurting loss to TCU on Wednesday, its sixth in seven games.

Seton Hall. A five-game losing streak will likely mean the Pirates (15-11) will need a strong run in the Big East tournament, and even that might not be enough unless they win it.

Stanford. A late-season slide is sliding the Cardinal off the bubble. Stanford has lost four of its past five, including a resume-hurting setback to Colorado last Sunday.

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