In Thursday's action, the biggest winners were Colorado State, Boise State, UCLA, and Indiana, who all lived to fight on another day (Friday, to be specific), while almost everyone else on the bubble bowed out, including Texas, Miami, and Ole Miss who will all wonder what could have been if they had been able to hold their late leads. With the proliferation of losses, the door is open for teams on the outside looking in to play themselves into the conversation, showing there is no replacement for winning in March.
Davidson vs. LaSalle- 12 PM
Davidson is currently in the field due to the fact they won on their first try in A-10, racking up 8 top 100 wins along the way. A couple of ugly losses mar the overall picture for the Wildcats, but avoiding adding another one to LaSalle, and running their winning streak to 10 straight, should put them in a good position to hear their name called on Selection Sunday.
Temple vs. Memphis- 2 PM
The Owls haven't lost to a foe outside the top 50 this calendar year, which is why they are in on most brackets right now. That being said, they are only 8-9 against the top 200 on the whole, which is something less than staggering, if we are being honest. They squeaked by Memphis on the road by 1 earlier in the year, and probably need to beat them again to keep their current upward trend on brackets.
Purdue vs. Penn State- 2 PM
Penn State took down Iowa to get here, probably doing no more than hurting the Hawkeyes' seeding, but can play spoiler to Purdue's chances here. Purdue is another team that is in on most brackets, but who has their fans trying to find good places to stay in Dayton, should that be their fate (there aren't any). Despite Thursday's events, Penn State would still be a sub 100 loss, so Purdue would not so much be helping their resume as giving themselves another chance to do so.
Auburn vs. LSU- 3:25 PM
LSU might have already locked it up with their win over Arkansas last weekend, but avoiding losing to Auburn, which bubble hopeful Texas A&M couldn't, would put it beyond doubt. Were I to pick the field, LSU would have nothing to worry about, but you never really quite know what the committee will look at.
Indiana vs. Maryland- 6:30 PM
Indiana managed not to shoot themselves in the foot as so many of their bubble rivals did Thursday, and now have a chance to finish off their resume with a big win. These two split the regular season series, with the Hoosiers running out 19 point winners at home and dropping the road game by only 2, so the matchup is clearly there. The natives have become a bit restless in Bloomington, and winning this one will surely put smiles back on faces there.
Tulsa vs. Houston- 7 PM
To Tulsa's credit, they scheduled themselves some good out of conference opposition this year in Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Wichita State, but to their discredit they lost to all of them. This leaves them with a pretty shaky resume, but some of the other mid-majors dropping early in their conference tournaments has opened the door for others, and the Golden Hurricane (singular) will have their crack at making the committee sit up and take notice. Houston has a mind-blowing 238 RPI, so there would be no recovering from this loss.
South Carolina vs. Georgia- 9 PM
Most everyone has Georgia in, but being 20-11 without a top 50 win would be a precarious spot for them. South Carolina is not a loss that will kill their resume, but just adding another one to the W column would be good to ease nerves for Bulldog fans come Sunday. As Ole Miss found out, the Gamecocks are out to play spoiler this tournament, and if bid thieves come in from elsewhere, this will be a game Georgia will want to have.
UCLA vs. Arizona- 9 PM
The Bruins pounded on a hapless USC squad on Thursday, which will do little to impress the committee. Beating the class of the Pac-12 and hopeful 1 seed Arizona certainly would, though. With all the shifting in the bubble, some people had moved UCLA in the last group of teams in, but this win would certainly vault them out of that group and into the pool of virtual locks.
Boise State vs. Wyoming- 9 PM
The Broncos got it done against Air Force, and can now focus on taking advantage of some of the losses by teams around them. Wyoming was one of the Mountain West teams to solve Boise during the regular season, so there will be the chance of revenge and continuing to build their at-large case at stake for Boise in this one. If they win this one, they will have avoided a bad loss in the MWC tournament and have a crack at the auto-bid as well.
Colorado State vs. San Diego State- 11:30 PM
Not that I am assuming Xavier fans will care that much, but the Mountain West will be serving up two solid semi finals tonight, with Colorado State needing to win this to all but seal their bid up. SDSU is already in, but the Rams still have a little work to do to make sure they make it. From my perspective, this would about do it, getting them to 28 wins with 3 in the top 50. Losing here might not be a disaster, but with so many things still unknown between now and Sunday, they are best off treating this as a must win.