Bubble Watch: Fringe teams using out of time

February 16, 2016 - running watch

With reduction than 4 weeks remaining until Selection Sunday, it’s time for burble teams to start creation a pierce if they wish to make a NCAA tournament. Alabama, Creighton, Texas Tech and Wisconsin did usually that final week, adding outrageous wins to their respective résumés. Who competence do a same this week? Here are a 5 biggest burble games over a subsequent 6 days.

Creighton (17–9) during Butler (17–8)
Tuesday, 7 p.m., FS1

There competence not be adequate room in a margin for both of these teams, definition this could be a form of rejecting diversion between associate burble squads that is customarily indifferent for contention tournaments. Creighton has been on a NCAA contest radar given violence Xavier final week. As for Butler, it’s substantially dual good wins divided from feeling plain about a tourney chances. This could validate as one of those wins, nonetheless a Bulldogs will have an even improved probability for a matter feat when it plays during No. 1 Villanova on Saturday.

Alabama (15–9) during LSU (16–9)
Wednesday, 9 p.m., SEC Network

The Tigers are in unequivocally good position after violence Texas AM final week. Of course, they weren’t a usually group to do that. The Crimson Tide did as well, afterwards followed it adult with a win over Florida in Gainesville. Alabama’s résumé includes an unsightly detriment to Ole Miss, nonetheless also a whole lot of good wins, including a neutral-court feat over Notre Dame. A win during LSU could propel Avery Johnson’s garland into a Big Dance.

No. 15 Dayton (21–3) during Saint Joseph’s (21–4)
Wednesday, 6 p.m., CBS Sports Network

At 11–1 in a Atlantic 10, with one outrageous win over Iowa, Dayton is all nonetheless sealed into a contest bid. Saint Joseph’s, meanwhile, is 10–2 in contention play, nonetheless it doesn’t have a loyal signature victory, with a best win entrance during Temple in overtime. The Hawks would go a prolonged approach toward stealing any doubt over their at-large worthiness by upending a Flyers on Wednesday.

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Pittsburgh (17–7) during Syracuse (18–8)
Saturday, 2 p.m., ESPN2

Pittsburgh once looked like a surest best to make a tournament, nonetheless a Panthers have mislaid 5 of a final 7 games and haven’t won a suggestive diversion given violence Notre Dame in South Bend behind on Jan. 9. Syracuse has finished a opposite, winning 5 true games and 8 of a final nine, with wins over Notre Dame and Duke enclosed in that stretch. Both teams could tarry a detriment here, nonetheless a win would positively help.

Connecticut (18–7) during Cincinnati (19–7)
Saturday, 4 p.m., ESPN2

The Huskies are usually hardly on a right side of a bubble, while a Bearcats are usually hardly outside. Cincinnati won a initial assembly between these teams in Storrs, nonetheless UConn has a higher résumé outward that game. The Bearcats could annul that advantage with a deteriorate sweep.

Photo: Joe Muphy/Getty


Locks: None

The American doesn’t have one group that can contend it unequivocally deserves an at-large bid, and that competence not change by Selection Sunday. At a same time, it’s tough to suppose a unfolding in that a joining fails to get churned bids.

At a tip of a store for a time being is Temple (16–8, 10–3), that is half a diversion in front of postseason-ineligible SMU in a league. The Owls have won 5 true games given pang a bad detriment to East Carolina, adding a delight over Connecticut to their résumé final week. It’s tough to make an at-large box for any other AAC group over a Owls, given they’ve swept Connecticut and Cincinnati, and won a usually unchanging deteriorate diversion with SMU on their schedule. In other words, they’re 5–0 conflicting their associate competitors for a unchanging deteriorate crown.

Connecticut (18–7, 8–4) is one of a final 4 teams in a margin in this week’s Bracket Watch. Nonconference wins over Michigan and Texas will boost a Huskies’ profile, nonetheless they’re going to have to do some-more work in a contention to feel assured streamer into Selection Sunday. This week is their biggest of a deteriorate to date. They horde SMU on Thursday and revisit Cincinnati (19–7, 9–4) on Saturday.

The Bearcats had a purify week conflicting Central Florida and East Carolina, dual games they couldn’t means to lose. Still, we have them usually hardly on a wrong side of a bubble, even nonetheless they were in a margin of 68 a week ago. Wisconsin and Texas Tech leapfrogged Cincinnati interjection to improved victories. Playing in a AAC doesn’t concede a Bearcats many opportunities for peculiarity wins. Cincinnati has a outrageous week on daub with a outing to Tulsa on Thursday and a home diversion with Connecticut Saturday.

Tulsa (16–5, 8–9) and Houston (18–7, 8–5) are on a fringes of a burble picture, nonetheless both will need to get a few some-more wins over tournament-caliber teams to have a shot during an at-large bid. The Golden Hurricane get Cincinnati on Thursday for their initial chance. The Cougars, meanwhile, have 3 such games remaining in a unchanging season, a initial of that is on Sunday conflicting Temple.

Atlantic 10

Locks: None

Like a AAC, a A-10 is going by a down year nonetheless one that should still net a contention a smallest of dual NCAA contest bids. Unlike a AAC, a A-10 has a group that can contend now it will roughly positively go dancing.

College Basketball

Virginia basketball

Dayton (21–3, 11–1) has won 9 true games given a bad detriment during La Salle. The Flyers are a week divided from being deliberate a tighten in this space. They revisit Saint Joseph’s and horde St. Bonaventure this week. One win would all nonetheless pledge them a mark in a Big Dance, if they don’t already have one sealed down.

Two some-more A-10 teams finished a margin of 68 in this week’s Bracket Watch, starting with Saint Joseph’s (21–4, 10–2). The Hawks kick George Washington and La Salle final week and are usually one diversion behind Dayton in a contention standings. That creates this Wednesday’s assembly between a dual in Philadelphia outrageous for both teams. A win for Saint Joe’s would leave it tied with a Flyers atop a contention standings and would make a Hawks a comparatively easy choice to be an at-large team.

VCU (18–7, 10–2) also finished this week’s margin of 68, nonetheless as one of a final 4 teams in a dance. After losing to George Washington 10 days ago, a Rams followed it adult by losing to squalid Massachusetts on a highway final Thursday. They bounced behind with an easy win over Saint Louis, nonetheless this group usually doesn’t have a résumé that can catch too many waste to teams like a sub-.500 Minutemen. VCU has one win over a group in a field—Saint Joseph’s—with a subsequent best win entrance conflicting St. Bonaventure. One some-more detriment to an apparent non-tournament group competence be too many for a Rams at-large hopes to handle.

St. Bonaventure (17–6, 9–3) and George Washington (18–7, 7–5) are both still in a at-large picture, nonetheless a Bonnies demeanour like a subsequent many expected A-10 group to get a bid. They’ve won 5 true games, a camber that includes victories over Saint Joseph’s and George Washington. The problem, however, is they didn’t kick anyone inestimable in a nonconference apportionment of a schedule. This Saturday’s diversion during Dayton is a must-win for St. Bonaventure. The Colonials, meanwhile, mislaid to a Hawks and Bonnies final week and are now usually 1–3 conflicting intensity tourney teams from a A-10. Their early deteriorate win conflicting Virginia will usually lift them so far. Realistically, they have to win out in a unchanging deteriorate to have a probability during an at-large invite.

With a latest installment of a Duke-North Carolina array entrance on Wednesday, relive a new story of a Tobacco Road rivalry.


Locks: Miami, North Carolina, Virginia

Notre Dame (18–7, 9–4) and Duke (19–6, 8–4) both took outrageous stairs toward a Big Dance this week, and it’s extremely tough during this theatre to suppose a margin of 68 that doesn’t embody them. We’ll expected pierce them into a “lock” difficulty in a subsequent integrate weeks. The Irish kick Clemson and Louisville and have a picturesque probability of winning out in a ACC. They’re dual games behind North Carolina in a detriment column, nonetheless they possess a tiebreaker over a Tar Heels by trait of their head-to-head win on Feb. 6, and they have a light report a rest of a way. Notre Dame faces Georgia Tech and Wake Forest this week and Florida State, Miami and NC State to tighten a contention season. The Blue Devils, meanwhile, notched outrageous home wins over then-No. 13 Louisville and then-No. 7 Virginia nonetheless now face a heartless week brazen with highway games conflicting a Tar Heels and Cardinals. A separate week would be a net certain for them.

Four some-more ACC burble teams finished a contest in this week’s Bracket Watch, with Syracuse (18–8, 8–5) in a best position. The Orange have won 5 true games, knocking off Florida State and Boston College final week. They could pierce significantly in possibly instruction this week with games conflicting Louisville and Pittsburgh (17–7, 6–6).

The Panthers have mislaid 3 true games, nonetheless let’s be honest about their foe in those contests. They fell to Virginia during home and to Miami and North Carolina on a road. That’s zero to be ashamed of, nonetheless nevertheless, we can’t remove your approach into a tournament, and Pitt’s best win was conflicting Syracuse in December. After hosting Wake Forest on Tuesday, a Panthers embark on a formidable three-game widen conflicting Syracuse, Louisville and Duke. They would be suggested to collect adult during slightest one win, and maybe two, conflicting that contingent in sequence to feel good on Selection Sunday.

Florida State (16–9, 6–7) mislaid both a games final week, descending during Syracuse and during home conflicting Miami. The Seminoles do have a win over Virginia, joined with plain victories over VCU, Florida and Clemson that will take them a prolonged way, nonetheless a résumé will substantially be lacking if they can’t get during slightest one some-more win conflicting tournament-quality competition. Neither of their opponents this week—Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech—qualify, so those games are must-wins.

Finally, we get to Clemson (15–10, 8–5), that has a unequivocally engaging case. The Tigers’ record isn’t exceptional, nonetheless they’ve beaten Syracuse, Louisville, Duke, Miami and Pittsburgh. That’s a good quintet of wins, and should simply blow waste to Massachusetts, Minnesota and Virginia Tech. We here in a Bracket and Bubble Watch seem to be some-more bullish on Clemson than many, nonetheless those wins are tough to ignore. We will admit, however, that they’re not going to have a ton of space on Selection Sunday. They’ll need to take caring of business conflicting Boston College and NC State this week.

Big 12

Locks: Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia

Texas Tech (15–9, 5–7) was one of a biggest winners in a nation over a final week, so we’ll start there. The Red Raiders kick Iowa State during home and Baylor on a road, removing behind into a margin of 68 in this week’s Bracket Watch. Now a doubt is: How do they stay there?? Their 6 remaining games are split, with 3 conflicting teams headed to a Dance (Oklahoma, Kansas, West Virginia) and 3 conflicting contention also-rans (Oklahoma State, TCU, Kansas State). They positively need to win all 3 of a latter contests, even with this Saturday’s diversion conflicting Oklahoma State entrance on a road. They competence also have to supplement one some-more peculiarity win to a résumé. Remember, a fact that we have them in now reflects where a margin stats in a center of February, not March. Texas Tech, while honourable of a bid, is usually 5–7 in contention and a best nonconference win was conflicting possibly Little Rock or Hawaii.

Baylor (18–7, 7–5) had a churned week, violence Kansas State on a highway nonetheless descending to Texas Tech during home. The Bears should be safe, nonetheless they have arguably a toughest remaining report in a country. They will play Iowa State, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia in 5 of a 6 games left on their schedule, with dual of those games entrance on a road. A 2–3 record in those 5 should be adequate to get them into a Dance, nonetheless it’s within a area of probability that they go 1–4 or 0–5.

• MORE: Isaiah Cousins helps to change Oklahoma’s backcourt

Texas (16–9, 7–5) also had a severe week, losing to Oklahoma and Iowa State. To be fair, both of those games were on a road, and a Longhorns scarcely took down a Sooners in Norman. They should be safe, nonetheless we can’t call them a tighten usually yet. That could change this week, with home games conflicting West Virginia and Baylor. If a Longhorns win both, they’ll be a tighten streamer into a final dual weeks of a unchanging season.

Big East

Locks: Villanova, Xavier

Without looking during a standings, theory that group is in third in a Big East. Now, be honest. Did we theory Creighton (17–9, 8–5)? The Bluejays are a half diversion in front of Seton Hall, and a full diversion transparent of Providence and Georgetown. They have finished adequate to put themselves in a at-large discussion, unequivocally resplendent a spotlight on themselves by violence Xavier final week. Still, it feels like a résumé is one some-more good win bashful of them removing into a tournament. They’ll get an event to get over a mound during Butler on Tuesday in a diversion that could finish adult being an rejecting game.

College Basketball


Butler (17–8, 6–7) beat Seton Hall and mislaid to Xavier final week. The problem for a Bears is that, among their 6 contention wins, usually one—at Seton Hall—is conflicting a group in a margin of 68. They did kick Purdue and Cincinnati in a nonconference apportionment of their schedule, nonetheless they will not get an at-large bid if they don’t get during slightest one some-more win conflicting a intensity contest group in a Big East. If they remove to Creighton and Villanova this week, they will not be in subsequent week’s Bracket Watch.

Providence (19–7, 7–6) lost 3 true games and scarcely gave divided a 20-point lead to Georgetown during home on Saturday. The Friars are still safely on a right side of a contest picture. Remember, this group kick Villanova in Philadelphia and Arizona, nonetheless they won’t wish to lure predestine with too many some-more bad losses. Those DePaul and Marquette reversals are going to force a cabinet to reason a common nose when seeding Providence. The Friars strike a highway for a showdown with Xavier in a usually diversion this week.

Seton Hall (17–7, 7–5) played usually once final week, losing to Butler during home. The Pirates are pity a vessel with Butler and Creighton, owning usually one win in contention conflicting a group in a margin of 68. It’s tough to suppose all 3 of them creation a dance, and a wholly probable that usually one of a 3 will hear a name called on Selection Sunday. Seton Hall visits Georgetown and St. John’s in games they have to have this week.

Georgetown (14–12, 7–6) is hardly display adult on a at-large radar during this point, nonetheless it has finished adequate to swell behind into a design in a suggestive approach if it shows adult over a subsequent 10 days. The Hoyas subsequent 3 games are conflicting Seton Hall, Xavier and Butler, all during home. If they win all three, we could be articulate about an at-large group streamer into a contention tournament.

Maryland dangling C Diamond Stone for Thursday’s diversion for shoving a conduct of Wisconsin’s Vitto Brown into a belligerent in a diversion on Saturday.

Big Ten

Locks: Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State, Purdue

Wisconsin (16–9, 8–4) has totally incited around a deteriorate underneath halt manager Greg Gard, punctuated by a 13-point win during Maryland on Saturday. The Badgers have now won 7 true games, including wins over Michigan State and Indiana. Bo Ryan’s midseason ploy to get his longtime partner an extended audition as conduct manager seems to be operative for a Badgers, as they’re in a margin for a initial time all season. They do have games left with Michigan State, Iowa and Purdue, all on a road, nonetheless so prolonged as they equivocate what would be a bad detriment conflicting possibly Illinois or Minnesota, we should see a Badgers in a dance for a 18th true year.

Indiana (20–6, 10–3) kick Iowa during home and mislaid to Michigan State in East Lansing final week. That’s a net certain week for a Hoosiers. Like Wisconsin, they have about as tough a remaining report as is probable in a Big Ten. The Hoosiers revisit Purdue this Saturday, transport to Iowa on Mar 1 and horde Maryland in their deteriorate culmination on Mar 6. Their subsequent game, however, is conflicting Nebraska in Bloomington on Wednesday.

Michigan (19–7, 9–4), meanwhile, had a best week of a season, following an easy highway win during Minnesota with a outrageous win over Purdue. The Wolverines simply aren’t removing adequate credit for what they did though Caris LeVert, and now possess victories conflicting Purdue, Maryland and Texas. The gamble here is that all 3 of these teams get in a margin of 68, giving a Big Ten 7 teams in a dance. Michigan spends this whole week on a road, visiting Ohio State on Tuesday and Maryland on Sunday.


Locks: Oregon

When reading any and all destiny burble breakdowns of a Pac-12, remember that this contention is going to get during slightest 6 invites to a dance. Oregon is in and, after wins over UCLA and USC final week, Arizona (21–5, 9–4) is as good as sealed into a margin of 68. They’ll strictly spin a “lock” if they kick Arizona State and Colorado this week.

USC (18–7, 7–5) had a bad week losing to Arizona State and Arizona. The good news for a Trojans is they have a probability to rebound right behind this week conflicting a integrate of tournament-quality teams in Colorado and Utah (19–7, 8–5).

The Utes had a good week, both directly and indirectly. With honour to a former, they kick Washington and Washington State during home; As for a latter, their wins over Texas Tech and Duke gained some value with those teams unequivocally rising in a eyes of a preference committee. They’ll take a pitch by Los Angeles this entrance week, personification UCLA on Thursday and USC on Sunday.

California (17–8, 7–5) has won 3 true games, all of that have been during home, and one of that was conflicting Oregon. The Golden Bears now possess victories over a Ducks, Arizona, Utah and Colorado, a tip 4 teams in a contention standings. They’ll take a pitch by a state of Washington this week.

• MORE: Hoop Thoughts: Seniors browbeat Wooden Award race

Colorado (19–7, 8–5) had a plain week with wins over those dual Washington schools. While a Buffaloes are safely on a right side of a bubble, they’ve finished all their repairs during home. Wins over Oregon, California, Washington and Oregon State were all in a accessible proportions of Boulder. They need to uncover something divided from home and get that probability this week with games during USC and UCLA.

Washington (15–10, 7–6) fell out of a margin of 68 after losing during Utah and Colorado. The Huskies have mislaid 3 true games, and while all of those were to teams now in a field, Washington’s altogether résumé usually doesn’t compare adult with a final 6 or 7 teams fighting for a final spots. They will get a probability to supplement to a résumé this week when California comes to city on Thursday.

Oregon State (15–9, 6–7) is also usually on a wrong side of a burble after a detriment during California final weekend. Unlike many teams in a Pac-12, however, they have copiousness of good opportunities remaining in a unchanging deteriorate to supplement to their résumé. The initial one comes on Saturday during in-state opposition Oregon.

UCLA (14–11, 5–7) hasn’t surfaced a group inside a margin of 68 given violence Arizona on Jan. 7. We competence be means to take them off a bubble, in a bad way, earlier rather than later. At a same time, they can spin their deteriorate around with Utah and Colorado visiting Los Angeles this week.

John Calipari perceived a double technical after usually 2:26 of play in Kentucky’s diversion during South Carolina on Saturday afternoon.


Locks: Kentucky, Texas AM

The SEC has 5 teams in this week’s Bracket Watch, a series it should be means to say or boost over a subsequent few weeks. The dual thatch seem to be streamer in conflicting directions, nonetheless both Texas AM and Kentucky will be in a Dance.

LSU (16–9, 9–3) is also trending ceiling after a good win over a Aggies during home on Saturday. The Tigers started a week with a detriment during South Carolina, nonetheless a week has to be deliberate a net certain after holding down a Aggies to enter a first-place tie with Kentucky in a contention standings. Those dual teams won’t have their second assembly until a final diversion of a unchanging season. This week, LSU gets a home diversion with Alabama, a group that has surged behind into a contest picture, and highway date with Tennessee.

South Carolina (21–4, 8–4) hold offer final week, violence LSU before removing trounced by Kentucky. The Gamecocks’ ostentatious record obscures a tangible ability of this team, but, to be fair, it’s extremely tough to omit that record, and they do have wins over Clemson, LSU, Vanderbilt and Texas AM. They have a vast diversion this weekend with Florida, nonetheless initial revisit contention doormat Missouri.

The final group from a SEC inside a margin of 68 is Florida (16–9, 7–5), that separate home games with Mississippi (win) and Alabama (loss) final week. The Gators competence not be a tighten until they get by a contention contest though pang a bad loss, nonetheless they’re still sitting in a unequivocally clever position interjection to wins over West Virginia, LSU and Saint Joseph’s. Having pronounced that, they do have a sensitively tough week brazen with highway games conflicting Georgia and South Carolina. Even if they remove both of those, they’d expected sojourn in a field, nonetheless they’d be unequivocally tighten to dropping out. The 3 games that follow are conflicting Vanderbilt, LSU and Kentucky, so no matter what, Florida’s résumé will demeanour a whole lot opposite during a initial week of March.

Vanderbilt (15–10, 7–5) and Alabama (15–9, 6–6) were both among a First Four Out of this week’s margin in a Bracket Watch. The Commodores took caring of business conflicting a dual misfortune teams in a conference, Missouri and Auburn. They contingency do a same this week conflicting Mississippi State and Georgia in allege of games with Florida and Kentucky. By time Mar 1 gets here, we’ll have a many improved thought of where this group stands.

Alabama, meanwhile, had a unusual week, notching victories over Texas AM and Florida. The Crimson Tide competence be .500 in an normal conference, nonetheless 3 of those wins have come conflicting teams in a margin of 68 (the other over South Carolina). Add to that calculus nonconference wins over Wichita State, Notre Dame and Clemson, and Alabama’s résumé is attractive. The Crimson Tide has a genuine probability to get over a mound when it visits LSU on Wednesday.

Georgia (14–9. 7–5) is usually hardly holding onto a at-large candidacy, nonetheless we competence be means to write it off after this week. The Bulldogs horde Florida Tuesday and take a outing to Nashville for a showdown with Vanderbilt Saturday. If they remove both games, their at-large hopes will expected be dashed.

Mid-major contenders to watch

Wichita State (18–7, 12–2 Missouri Valley) competence have waved goodbye to a at-large hopes by losing to Northern Iowa during home final weekend. The Shockers will get some credit for personification a vast apportionment of a deteriorate though Fred VanVleet, nonetheless a fact stays that they now have some-more waste in a bad Missouri Valley Conference—and it is bad this season, ranking behind a Colonial, Mountain West, and West Coast on kenpom.com—than they do wins over teams with picturesque at-large hopes (one). Put a name code aside, and try to spin that as a estimable at-large résumé. It’s scarcely impossible. One some-more regular-season detriment would sign Wichita State’s at-large fate. The Shockers are, however, strenuous favorites to win a MVC tournament.

College Basketball

Justin Sears

Saint Mary’s (20–4, 11–3 West Coast) competence find itself in a same vessel after pang a second detriment of a deteriorate to Pepperdine final week. In box we aren’t gripping lane during home, a Gaels now have some-more waste to Pepperdine, that ranks 114th on kenpom.com, than they do wins conflicting teams that could get an at-large bid (one, conflicting Gonzaga). In a determination of a Bubble Watch, Saint Mary’s has one some-more probability to build a résumé to a indicate of it being estimable of an at-large bid, and that comes on Saturday in Spokane. If a Gaels can secure a regular-season brush of Gonzaga, they could potentially tarry a detriment in a West Coast Conference tournament, so prolonged as that detriment was to a Bulldogs. If they remove that game, however, they’ll roughly positively have to win a contention contest to get in.

Where, exactly, does that leave Gonzaga (20–6, 12–2 West Coast)? The Bulldogs’ résumé unequivocally isn’t that many improved than Saint Mary’s, and right now we have a Bulldogs in a margin as a involuntary qualifier from a WCC. While a good-win difficulty is fundamentally a rinse between a two—Gonzaga’s best wins came conflicting Connecticut and Washington—Gonzaga doesn’t have a cut utterly like a Gaels’ twin waste to Pepperdine. By comparison, Gonzaga’s misfortune waste this deteriorate were to BYU and UCLA, dual teams outward a margin of 68, nonetheless absolutely inside a NIT field. That can't be pronounced for Pepperdine. Still, personification by a above scenario, would Gonzaga be estimable of an at-large bid if it loses to Saint Mary’s this Saturday? What if it wins that game, nonetheless loses to a Gaels in a contention championship? Or what if a Bulldogs separate that difference, violence Saint Mary’s this weekend, nonetheless losing to some WCC also-ran in a contention tournament? The gamble here is that usually a second outcome would net a Bulldogs an at-large bid. It stays expected that a WCC is a one-bid conference.

Monmouth (21–5, 13–2 MAAC) kept a building on a joining with wins over Marist and Rider final week. There is unequivocally a trail to an at-large bid for Monmouth, even with waste to Canisius, Army and Manhattan on a résumé. Wins over Notre Dame, USC, UCLA and Georgetown could equivalent those losses. That probability evaporates, however, if a Hawks remove during any indicate before a contention championship. From this indicate forward, they’ll have to settle for apportion over quality. If they win out in a unchanging season, and afterwards remove in a contention championship, they’ll be 27–7. That could be enough, depending on a outcomes of a vast contention tournaments.

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