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NCAA tournament bracket bubble watch 3/8

It’s on and/or popping today, as major conference tournaments hit their and teams try to cement a place in the tournament.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Toronto Blue Jays
This will be some team’s reality today.
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

No intro today, as I’m just throwing this together before X plays. You know the drill.

Louisville v. Virginia, noon, ESPN

National Coach of the Year frontrunner David Padgett makes his case for a long-term contract tournament bid against Virginia. If games were 39 minutes, 59.1 seconds long, Louisville would have already beaten UVa once and sealed their bid. A win here would remedy that wrong. A loss would leave at 5-13 in the top 2 quadrants and in Dayton at best.

TCU v. Kansas State, 12:30pm, ESPN2

Kansas State would need a lot of bad luck to fall out even with a loss, but a win here more or less seals their participation. The Big 12 is a festival of potential good wins, and KSU has capitalized by going 8-10 in quadrants 1-2 with no losses outside of them.

Alabama v. Texas A&M, 1pm, SEC Network

Is this a really weak bubble? Am I missing some appeal in Alabama that everyone else sees? They’re somehow on a lot of brackets despite being 17-14 with 2 losses in quadrant 3. They’re 10-12 in the top 2 quadrants but just 2-8 on the road. A win against A&M would help; you’d hope a loss would doom them.

Oklahoma State v. Kansas, 2:30pm, ESPN2

The Cowboys grabbed a huge win last night against Oklahoma and have already beaten Kansas twice; making that three should be enough to punch their ticket. My wife was born in Kansas though, so I’m sacrificing OK State on the altar of domestic peace.

Providence v. Creighton, 2:30pm, FS1

Hey, it’s the Big East! The Friars have two wins in the RPI top 3, which is a mark I’m confident no other bubble team can challenge. Unfortunately, they’ve done all their best work at home - they’re just 1-7 away from the Dunk in quadrant 1 games. A win here against Creighton would get them to 20 on the year and punch their ticket.

Stanford v. UCLA, 5:30pm, Pac-12 Network

UCLA has a 7-9 record against the top 2 quadrants, but they’ve got some butter soft wins on their resume and their only really good win is at Arizona. Most importantly, they’re currently 49th in the KenPom. If they lose this one, I can go back to saying that UC has played 5 teams in the KenPom top 50 and has lost to all 5 of them. That leaves out the fact that UC has also won two games against those teams, but it’s technically correct, which we all know is the best kind of correct. Come on, Stanford! Also, if UCLA loses this one, they’ll need help to make it in.

Marquette v. Villanova, 7pm, FS1

Just beat the best team in the nation for much of the year and you’re in, Golden Eagles.

Texas v. Texas Tech, 7pm, ESPN/2

Basically everything I said about K-State is true about Texas, except the Longhorns are 7-13 in quadrants 1-2. They’re not going to be sweating out Selection Sunday either way, but they’d feel a lot more secure if they could grab this win. There’s always someone who gets snubbed, and beating TTU would be snub insurance for Shaka Smart and his fellas.

Oregon State v. USC, 9pm, Pac-12 Network

USC’s 9-9 in the top 2 quadrants is tarnished by the fact that they somehow contrived to lose to Princeton on a neutral site. Their resume has them with a tenuous hold on avoiding Dayton right now, and losing to Oregon State would leave them in real trouble depending on how the rest of the week breaks. If USC and UCLA both lose, there’s a small but non-zero chance the Pac-12 is a one-bid league.

Baylor v. West Virginia, 9pm, ESPN/2

If you like Baylor, you point to their 16 SOS and their ranking of 32 in a composite of the KenPom, Sagarin, and BPI rankings. If you don’t, you point to their 17-13 record and 7-12 mark in the top 2 quadrants. Tonight is an absolute must-win for Baylor.