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Bubble Watching: Things are heating up

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Today, some genuine bubble contenders take the floor. Xavier has to handle business, but here’s who can help them.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Pittsburgh
It is literally impossible to look at this ever-whining face and not be filled with anger.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Now is the time where there’s a decent chance that any game you turn on is going to impact your favorite team. While that’s fun in a way, instant investment in every contest, it also highlights Xavier’s plight this year. That an ACC game being played at noon could strengthen X’s chances of making it to the tournament is a vast departure from last year’s early March debate over a two or three seed. The first thing that needs to happen is Xavier winning tonight, but here’s what else is going on today that can help tip the scales.

Syracuse v. Miami (ESPN @ 12)

Miami is a stone cold lock, and Syracuse has a good argument. There’s never a reason to cheer for the Orange and the most reprehensible coach east of Saint Mick, and now isn’t the day to find one. Hope for a Syracuse loss, which some experts think would knock them off the bubble.

Clemson v. Duke (ESPN @ 2)

Remember when Clemson was a good win for Xavier? It’s not as much anymore. Much like the Musketeers, the Tigers suffered a six game losing streak. They then backed that with two more three game losers later in the year. Clemson needs this one to even get into the conversation.

California v. Oregon State (PAC12 @ 5:30)

Cal was a tournament team, right until they weren’t. Losing five of their last six, including losses to Stanford and Colorado, plus not having a good win have dropped the Golden Bears onto the bottom of the bubble. They need to win this one, beat Utah, and then they’ll get a chance at the win they need.

Wake Forest v. Virginia Tech (ESPN2 @ 7)

Wake got the win they likely needed last night. A win here guarantees them a spot in the tournament as an at large. A loss could leave them with a bit of trepidation on Selection Sunday.

USC v. Washington (PAC12 @ 11:30)

USC is in unless they suffer a really bad loss. Washington is the very definition of a bad loss. If the Huskies can knock off the Trojans, the bubble opens up that little bit more. This one will end long after most of the eastern seaboard is in bed, so hope for the best from the boys in purple when you check in the morning.