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Bubble Watching: All Quiet

There aren’t many bubbles bursting tonight, but Ga. Tech could extend Xavier a little help.

NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech
If we’re lucky, the bubble waves goodbye to Josh Pastner tonight.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

There’s not a great deal to be gained or lost on the bubble for Xavier today. Depending on whether you side with Coach Mack or cold, hard numbers, Xavier missing the tournament would be either unprecedented or just the continuation of a current trend. According to Michael Beller of Sports Illustrated “The only way they’ll [Xavier] be comfortable on Selection Sunday is by burnishing their résumé in the conference tournament.”

To that end, there were really only two chances for Xavie’s chances to get better today. Both Wake Forest and Georgia Tech were/are playing in the ACC tournament first round. While neither is a lock right now, Wake is almost a mirror of Xavier, only with a late rally rather than a late collapse. The Demon Deacons are 30th in the KenPom, 19th in the RPI, and 19th in SOS. Should they fall off the bubble, they open a spot for a team with a resume like Xavier’s to have a bit more space.

Of course, the Deacs handled business today against Boston College, winning by 14. They, like the Musketeers, now face a game that essentially guarantees their participation if they win it. Wake will play Virginia Tech tomorrow. Win and they should be in, lose and they are getting nervous on Sunday. Get ready to be a Hokies fan, because just maybe Xavier’s head to head win lodges somewhere in a committee member’s mind.

Georgia Tech has a slightly different case. Josh Pastner (yes, this is where he landed) and the Yellow Jackets have some great wins, but they also have losses to Ohio and NC State. Those are the only really glaring losses on the resume, but they come alongside 12 others. Unless Tech can beat Pitt and Virginia, they are going home. Win those two and things get interesting, but they’d likely still need one more win to really have a solid shot. A loss in either of the next two days for these guys will do them in.

Other than that, just enjoy a night of college ball. The NEC, Horizon, Summit, and WCC all hand out automatic bids today, and there is no bid thieving looming at any of those venues. At the Horizon history will be made one way or the other. NKU is looking for a bid in their first year eligible to earn one, and Milwaukee is trying to set the somewhat more dubious mark for most losses ever (23) by a tournament team.