Last night was a big one for bubble games, so let's get right to it. Richmond somehow contrived to lose against George Mason, which is going to put a huge dent in the Spiders' tournament hopes. At this stage in the season, it's hard to absorb a loss against a bottom-feeding A-10 team and still rally to get people to take you seriously. Tennessee managed to avoid that same fate by pulling away from Mississippi State late. That win keeps them squarely on the bubble where a loss to a team that poor would have been a serious black mark on their record.
It was always going to be a big ask for West Virginia to knock off Iowa State, but getting baked by 17 definitely didn't impress anyone on the committee. The Mountaineers were within 4 with 13 minutes to go, but then Iowa State got up through the gears and closed on a 30-17 run. Finally, Nebraska was still in progress when I went to bed, so I'm trusting Brad to edit this with the result. Let's see if he comes through for me. [I did, but the Cornhuskers didn't, falling to Illinois].
Here are the games that matter on the bubble tonight. As always, pull for the teams in bold to lose, even if that means cheering for Kentucky.
7:00 PM Arkansas at (17) Kentucky
Arkansas doesn't show up on Joe Lunardi's bubble, but Jerry Palm has them as one of the last four in. Whoever you prefer, it's not difficult to see that their grip on a tournament bid is tenuous. Kentucky has a good club this year, and losing on the road to them is nothing to be ashamed of. Arkansas has more to gain than lose here, but this is also their last chance to pick up a good win before the end of the regular season. If the Hogs drop this one, they need to be perfect the rest of the way.
9:00 PM Georgetown at Marquette
In Jerry Palm's first four out and Joe Lunardi's next four out, Georgetown somehow still has a pulse in terms of at-large contention. Marquette's resume has too many bruises for the Golden Eagles to be on the bubble right now, but they are good enough to show up as a good win and certainly need to be regarded by opponents. Georgetown is on thin ice; even a road loss to a good team could be enough to sink the Hoyas. G'town must find a way to get it done here or they're going to be in need of some help from other bubble teams.
11:00 PM Oregon at UCLA
How late are you planning on staying up? If the answer is "really late," consider tuning in to this one. Oregon has put together good computer numbers, but their best win is probably @Utah on the second day of the year. A 6-8 mark in conference has them on the bubble, but they have three chances for big wins in their last four games, starting with this one. If they can pull off one or two of those and avoid losing to USC (which could happen to anyone), they'll find themselves sitting pretty come Selection Sunday.