The bubble teams keep winning. It’s getting harder and hard to figure out where teams are going as a bunch of squads are fighting hard to stay in the overall conversation. I’ll have a new NIT bracket tomorrow (Friday), but let’s look at what a busy Wednesday brought.
About Last Night:
- Mount St Mary’s 72, St. Francis Brooklyn 71 and Saint Francis U. 55, Bryant 54 – Two of the better teams in the NEC were eliminated on last-second shots on Wednesday night in their tournament’s quarterfinals. Both are 18-14 and it’ll be interesting to see if either are considered for the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. SFC seems like a particularly good fit if they’re willing pay.
- Wake Forest 82, Duke 72: This was a stunning win. The Deamon Deacons have some excellent wins this season, but also some awful losses and not a great overall resume. They’re hanging around the periphery of the NIT, but it’s doubtful they’ll get in. This probably kills the Blue Devils’ chances of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
- Georgia 66, Mississippi St. 45: This blowout victory keeps the Bulldogs on track for an NIT berth. UGA finishes the regular season at LSU, which is certainly not an easy game. A win there though would lock up an NIT bid.
- Nebraska 70, Indiana 60: The Cornhuskers are sitting right on the bubble for the NCAA tournament and while this certainly helped, there’s still work to do. At 18-11 and 10-7 in the Big Ten their overall body of work looks nice, but the resume still has some holes. Even before this loss the Hoosiers looked destined for the NIT. This certainly doesn’t change that scenario.
- Tennessee 82, Auburn 54 and Missouri 57, Texas A&M 56: The Volunteers have won three straight and are sitting right smack dab on the edge of the bubble right now. Computers like them, but the resume could use a little bit of work still. UT hosts a bubble battle against Missouri on Saturday. The Aggies are sitting on the edge of the NIT conversation, but I just haven’t seen enough from them to find a way to sneak them into the bracket.
- Arkansas 110, Ole Miss 80: What a run the Razorbacks are on. Arkansas obliterated the Runnin’ Rebels and had 100 points with more than eight minutes to go in the game. With a win at Alabama on Saturday it appears that Arkansas will be safely into the NCAA tournament field, at least for now. Their overall profile is quite bubbly, so losing that game certainly isn’t recommended.
- Dayton 72, Saint Louis 67: What’s better than winning a bubble game at home? Getting a huge victory over a Top 25 team on the road. The Flyers are starting to look destined to play on their home court during the NCAA tournament play-in games. It would be a really cool story.
- Oklahoma 72, West Virginia 62: The Sooners were safely into the NCAA tournament coming into this game, but WVU still had hopes of making a late run. Now the Mountaineers though need to avoid collapsing and falling out of the postseason picture entirely. Bob Huggins’ team faces a tough game against Kansas to wrap up the season. Lose that and their first Big 12 tournament game becomes a must win to stay above .500 and a reasonable consideration for the NIT.
- Nevada 83, Boise State 81: This double-overtime loss isn’t going to do the Broncos any favors. They’re probably an NIT team, but a loss at Air Force on Saturday would raise some serious questions about BSU’s overall profile and whether the Broncos are merely a team that can only beat mediocre teams.
- Colorado 59, Stanford 56: A great road win for the Buffaloes. They needed someone like this to make sure the committee is convinced they can beat NCAA quality teams without Spencer Dinwiddie. This victory keeps Colorado in the field and raises even more questions about Stanford’s overall credentials. The Cardinal are another team computers like without a resume to really match it. They might be a top seed in the NIT come tomorrow’s bracket considering all the impressive work done lately by bubble teams.
- Arizona 74, Oregon State 69 and San Diego State 73, UNLV 64: Two NIT bubble teams from the West Coast failed to earn important home victories against top teams late Wednesday night. The Beavers are in a super tenuous position at this point at 15-14 overall and 7-10 in the Pac-12. OSU hosts Arizona State in their regular season finale and that could definitely be a loss. Would be tough to justify putting a .500 overall OSU team (assuming one win and one loss in Pac-12 tourney) into the NIT field.
- Utah 63, California 59: Another true bubble battle that the Utes won. Utah is hanging right around the NCAA bubble and just needs to keep winning. California is also right on the bubble and could end up being the odd Pac-12 team left out of the NCAA tournament. Cal closes by hosting Colorado in another huge bubble game.
What To Watch For:
There are 61 games tonight as conference tournaments kick into high gear and a bunch of conferences work through the final pieces of league play.
- Villanova at Xavier: A chance for Musketeers to get a marquee victory.
- East Tennessee State vs. Florida Gulf Coast: The Atlantic Sun semifinals off the top seeded Eagles a tough test.
- USC Upstate vs. Mercer: The other Atlantic Sun semifinal pits two teams that are definitely going to be playing postseason basketball somewhere if they way, but both need to win the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by winning this one and the finals to avoid slipping down to a CIT or CBI bid.
- LSU at Vanderbilt: Two teams battle it out for a potential NIT berth.
- Conference USA games involving Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee and Southern Miss: Three teams looking at the postseason jockey for position, but none of the games are against each other.
- North Carolina Central at Norfolk State: A doozy of a finish for NCC, but they’re guaranteed to be the No. 1 seed in the MEAC tournament regardless.
- VCU at Richmond: A huge rivalry game in Virginia will also be a chance for the Spiders to try and get back into the bubble conversation.
- UCLA at Washington: Huskies try to secure their spot in the NIT by beating the Bruins at home.
The No. 1 seed in the Big West and Big Sky could also be decided tonight.