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Bubble Watch: 2/26

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There was plenty of movement on the bubble last night, and there are some interesting games coming up again this evening.

Don't let all this bubble talk get to your head. #pun
Don't let all this bubble talk get to your head. #pun
Abelimages

First, let's get caught up on what happened last night. I'm sure you noticed, but I'll just reiterate that Xavier knocked off St. John's in MSG for the Muskies' biggest road win of the year. That catapults them into a better position and puts St. John's in serious doubt. What a result that was for Xavier in terms of both resume and adding confidence in performance away from home. If you need more information, our coverage is linked at the bottom of the page.

The bubble is still something to monitor for X fans, so here's what else happened. Dayton, one of the first four out, traveled to Saint Joseph's and got destroyed. That win will help the Hawks, who were probably a play-in game team before beating UD. Clemson had some work to do yet, but their loss to Wake Forest likely ended their chances at an at-large bid.

Minnesota was also in that first four out range, but they got a big win against Iowa at home. That's going to look good on the resume in a couple of weeks. Finally, Missouri's loss to Georgia puts a big dent in their tournament hopes. It's not a killer, but it certainly didn't help. Here's what's on the docket for tonight:

7:00 PM Richmond at George Mason
Aren't you glad we don't have to pretend to care about games like this much anymore? Richmond is on the road in the A-10 against a team with an RPI below 150. Just playing this game isn't going to help them, and losing it would be devastating. The Spiders need to take care of business here and then move on to more valuable games.

8:00 PM Tennessee at Mississippi State
Tennessee is either barely out or barely in, depending on who you ask. Mississippi is totally dreadful, no matter who you're talking to. Just like Richmond, Tennessee can't afford to lose this one and probably can't help themselves even with a win.

8:00 PM West Virginia at (15) Iowa State
West Virginia is lingering just off the bottom of the bubble, but they have a chance to do some serious damage if they can pick up this road win against Iowa State. Juwan Staten is one of the most talented guards in the nation, and he can certainly hang with just about anyone on his day. This is the kind of game that the committee loves to see in the W column for a tournament hopeful.

9:00 PM Nebraska at Illinois
Nebraska is a "next four out" team according to Lunardi. Illinois is a top-100 opponent against whom a road win would look very good indeed. I'll be honest in saying I don't know a lot about Nebraska, but that RPI of 46 is better than their BPI or KenPom rating. The wrong loss sends these guys spiraling towards the NIT.

That is the pertinent slate of games for today. Cheer for the teams in bold to lose, as their failure will make Xavier's successes look all the more impressive.