If you had told me a month ago that I would be sweating the bubble at all, I wouldn't have believed you. It would have seemed conceivable, but I would have been convinced you were just doing it to shake me. Here we are though.
Xavier is currently positioned fairly well despite having not played fairly well since the Earth's surface was still cooling. They're currently a 10 seed in the bracket matrix and hanging about half a dozen teams above the cut line. The Muskies are definitely in a position where a bid thief or two - or their own continued inability to play basketball - could have them playing in the NIT. For the fourth consecutive season, every bubble game matters for X. Here's today's action:
Bradley v. Loyola Chicago, MVC tournament quarterfinal, 3:30pm, ESPN+
The MVC is almost certainly a one bid conference if Loyola takes the auto bid. They're 5-6 in the top 2 quads and only have 1 Q3/4 loss. This game against Bradley - who have already beaten them once - is a Q2 matchup, so it's not resume poison, but the Ramblers are currently in the last four in on the Bracket Matrix. They need to establish some breathing room or they'll be sweating it out on Selection Sunday.
Richmond @ St. Bonaventure, 7pm, ESPN2
Remember back in November when the Bonnie's were scalding hot for a moment? Pepperidge Farm remembers, as does the Bonnies' resume. They're 3-3 in Q1 and 3-4 in Q2 with just a single loss below those quads. They're on the outside looking in right now, but a couple decent wins between now and Selection Sunday might have them building a case. A loss in this Q3 game would likely have them needing an auto bid to participate in the NCAA tournament.
BYU v. Loyola Marymount, WCC tournament 2nd round, 9pm, no TV
BYU has a Q4 loss against Pacific. Beyond that blemish, their resume is solid, with a 7-8 record in the top 2 quads and no other bad losses. They're in just under half the brackets in the Bracket Matrix and lingering just the wrong side of the bubble per that measure. This is a Q4 game that would torpedo their resume if they dropped it. They beat Loyola by 20 just over a week ago, but they needed a free throw with .7 seconds left in OT to win the road game against LMU.
Belmont v. Morehead State, OVC tournament semifinal, 10:30pm, ESPNU
Does Belmont have a realistic chance at an at-large bid? I don't think so, but three people on the Bracket Matrix do. They're 25-6, but they've accumulated 16 wins against Q4 competition. They'd probably need to win this one and one more to make a case, but that would also give them the auto bid. Stranger things have happened, but not many.