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NCAA tournament bubble can burst for some teams in November

Dana Ford and Missouri State are already in a position where they'll need to win the Missouri Valley tournament to go dancing. AP Photo/Gary Landers

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Heat of the moment, closing seconds of a tie game, is no time to think about your tournament résumé. Unless you're the coach of a possible bubble team from a mid-major conference.

"Coming out of the handshake line," Missouri State's Dana Ford said, "and I'm thinking, 'That's a quad one opportunity we just lost. I don't know if we can make that up.'"

The Bears had just dropped a heartbreaker at Xavier on Nov. 15, the game turning on the controversial application of the new anti-flopping rule. Instead of shooting free throws in a one-possession game, the Bears could only watch as the Musketeers walked the floor for a technical foul and went on to win by three.

More than likely, the Bears also watched their already slim NCAA at-large chances disappear.

"That's our reality," said Ford, who in only his second year at Missouri State has been picked to win the MVC. "The big boys don't have to be good all year long. We have to be tournament-good every night."