USA TODAY US Edition

Kansas is No. 1

Jayhawks return to top in coaches poll, NCAA bid outlook and more on college hoops,

- Scott Gleeson @ScottMGlee­son USA TODAY Sports

Teams that thrive in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament always catch fire at some point, and the bubble is the perfect place to heighten a team’s sense of urgency.

With the postseason on the horizon, here’s a look at three teams that have hit their stride and played their way off the bubble — essentiall­y securing their spot in the field of 68, regardless of a setback.

SETON HALL

Coach Kevin Willard can enter March feeling at ease about reaching his first NCAA tournament with Seton Hall.

If there was any doubt, the Pirates removed it by upsetting Xavier on Sunday. The signature victory was the latest of a fourgame streak that has establishe­d Seton Hall as the third-best team in the Big East.

The way this team is playing, there’s a good chance it bolsters its profile even more in the Big East tournament.

Isaiah Whitehead steers the ship offensivel­y, averaging 17.1 points and 5.0 assists. COLORADO

The Buffaloes’ Feb. 24 victory against Arizona showed what this team is capable of. And a victory against Arizona State on Sunday comfortabl­y moved them off the bubble.

Of the many bubble teams in the Pac-12 Conference, Colorado didn’t seem to have great potential in March.

But Tad Boyle’s team is starting to come together. Senior Josh Scott (16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds) is an elite big man with takeover abilities, and he helps the Buffaloes rank in the top 10 nationally in rebounding margin (8.9). TEXAS TECH

The Red Raiders’ five-game winning streak ended Saturday, as Kansas clinched its 12th consecutiv­e Big 12 regular-season title by beating Texas Tech.

Tech started Big 12 play 2-6 and likely will be the worst seed of league teams to reach the tournament.

But it also will be extremely battle-tested. The Red Raiders have great momentum and could cause major damage as a No. 6 or 7 seed.

Tubby Smith has a well-balanced roster with veteran leadership, starting with Toddrick Gotcher, whose late three-pointer beat Oklahoma on Feb. 17.

 ?? PERRY ELLIS, RIGHT, BY KEVIN JAIRAJ, USA TODAY SPORTS ??
PERRY ELLIS, RIGHT, BY KEVIN JAIRAJ, USA TODAY SPORTS
 ?? VINCENT CARCHIETTA, USA TODAY SPORTS ?? Derrick Gordon, left, and Isaiah Whitehead celebrate Seton Hall’s upset of Xavier on Sunday.
VINCENT CARCHIETTA, USA TODAY SPORTS Derrick Gordon, left, and Isaiah Whitehead celebrate Seton Hall’s upset of Xavier on Sunday.
 ?? MICHAEL C. JOHNSON, USA TODAY SPORTS ?? Coach Tubby Smith and Texas Tech got a big victory Feb. 17, when the Red Raiders upset then-No. 3 Oklahoma.
MICHAEL C. JOHNSON, USA TODAY SPORTS Coach Tubby Smith and Texas Tech got a big victory Feb. 17, when the Red Raiders upset then-No. 3 Oklahoma.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States