Bubble Watch: 3/5

Nothing happens in a vacuum at this time of year, and Xavier's standing in the tournament will change based on what happens in these games.

The 7pm games last night went about as poorly as they possibly could have for Xavier. Baylor picked up a a strong win against Iowa State. Georgetown made it worse by not only beating a ranked team but beating the same ranked team that Xavier beat over the weekend. Suddenly the bloom is off that particular rose just a bit. Bubble math is all about showing the committee what you have that the other guys don't; now both of those teams have picked up something that makes what Xavier has look just a hair more common.

In later tip times, Clemson eked out a victory over Miami (FL). Once the ball goes up, any win is better than any loss, but you're not going to be pulling weight with the committee by sneaking by mediocre basketball teams.

And speaking of sneaking wins, Providence blew an 11 point lead before eventually getting a win in double OT. Marquette led with 9.3 seconds left and the ball, but made the mistake of asking Jake Thomas to do anything other than look goofy and jack a three. The ball was inbounded to him and he instantly hunched over it like a child in a playground game. Bryce Cotton easily tied him up, Providence had the arrow, Derrick Wilson fouled Cotton on the inbound pass, and goodbye Marquette.

As I was watching that game, I didn't see the end of Florida St against Boston College. The Eagles could've done Xavier a favor by knocking off the Seminoles, but FSU hung on behind 26/6/2 from Aaron Thomas and took just as big of a step as Providence did. With Xavier undoubtedly needing a bit of help now, neither of these games did them any favors.

Finally, bubble hopeful Oregon won a barn burner against Arizona State. The Ducks led 33-25 at the half before holding on through a second half that featured 105 total points of scoring.

Today, as it seems every day in March so far, is not lacking for bubble matchups. You know the drill: pull against the teams in bold.

7:00 PM Nebraska at Indiana Big Ten Network
Indiana is suddenly collecting buzz after a good week, but Nebraska is closer to pilfering an at-large bid at this point. A win for them would put the Cornhuskers right back in the last four/first four discussions. On the other hand, a win for Indiana would give them three in a row heading to a potentially marquee matchup @Michigan. Pick your poison here, but Nebraska is in bold for now.

8:00 PM Ole Miss at Arkansas ESPN3
Ole Miss, whom I live fervently due to Marshall Henderson, is dead and buried. Arkansas, on the other hand, is still clinging to the bottom of the bracket like the dude Leo DiCaprio played in Titanic. I'll be honest in saying that I've never actually seen the film, but I think he ended up drowning. A loss to Ole Miss - who is wavering around the 100 mark in RPI - would be a big step towards the same fate for Arkansas.

9:00 PM Saint Joseph's at George Washington
Another thing I don't miss about the Atlantic Ten: pivotal matchups with no meaningful television coverage. These teams are both hanging around that 8/9 level right now, where the wrong combination of results can send you into a bad matchup or a home game in the NIT. Dropping to a fellow tournament team isn't too damaging, but there are no good losses at this point for either of these teams.

9:00 PM Dayton at (17) Saint Louis CBS Sports Network
Saint Lou has come crashing back to earth after briefly being a media darling. Such is the life of a mid-major. Dayton has a chance to compound their pain if they can get a win on the Billikens' home floor tonight. UD is clinging tenuously to a tournament berth; a win here would do wonders for their positioning. Obviously, cheer for them to lose.

9:00 PM West Virginia at (23) Oklahoma ESPNU
I refuse to believe my man Juwan Staten is out, even though he probably is. It seems a shame a guard that talented likely won't get a shot at the NCAA tournament, but I'm not accepting that until his team is dead and buried. A win at a ranked team would be a massive step in the right direction for the Mountaineers. Of course, if they start challenging for a bubble position and Xavier slides, my affinity for Staten will go right out the window. Sorry, Juwan.

9:00 PM Colorado at Stanford ESPN2
Colorado is eternally on the precipice of the last four in, and only losses around them have kept them from falling out (depending on who you ask). They have to keep accumulating wins at this point, though that is easier said than done on the road in the league. Stanford is a little higher up the s-curve, but not much. These two teams both have a chance to pad their respective resumes tonight. One of them will end up rueing the missed opportunity.

11:00 PM Utah at California ESPNU
Utah defends the home court well, and I kind of called their victory over the weekend. Astonishingly, they have only one road win all season, and they'll be playing a Cal team who is fighting for a tournament berth and more talented than their record would indicate. I kind of buried the lede there, but we want Cal to lose this one. All that jibber-jabber at the start was my explanation of how likely that is to happen.

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