A lot happened for bubble teams yesterday, but the headline was that Xavier avoided a bad loss by running Georgetown out of the gym. Read more about that below.
In other action, Dayton picked up a win over Davidson to complete the most confounding resume in the nation, Miami (FL) took advantage of a Syracuse collapse, and Notre Dame took care of business against an abject Pitt team. On the losing side of the early games, Florida got clubbed by Kentucky, Va Tech couldn’t figure out Clemson, and Indiana and Creighton both had big resume wins elude them.
But wait, there’s more! North Texas confirmed that they’ll need the auto bid by losing to UTEP and Loyola beat the brakes off of UNI. Wyoming and VCU both had important chances; Wyoming won theirs by 4 in OT over Fresno State and VCU dropped theirs by four in regulation to Saint Lou. Finally, in a game that slipped under the radar for a lot of people, UNC knocked off Duke.
Today isn’t quite the bounty yesterday was, but there’s still some stuff to watch.
Houston at Memphis, noon, CBS
Memphis is right on the bubble, having dragged Penny Hardaway from the brink of unemployment to the brink of the tournament. They knocked off Houston on the road a month ago; they have the chance to complete the sweep today and get a step closer to safety. They’ve won 9 of 10 and needed all of them to even be in the conversation.
Penn State at Rutgers, noon, Big Ten Network
According to the Bracket Matrix, Rutgers is the last team in right now. They have 6 Q1 wins, but their computer numbers are mediocre and they have 3 Q3/4 losses. This is a Q3 game, and losing it would surely drop them out of the tournament and leave them a lot of work to do in their upcoming conference tourney.
Michigan at Ohio State, 12:30pm, FOX
Just above Rutgers and Memphis on the Bracket Matrix is Michigan. They only have one Q3 loss and none in Q4, but they’re 7-12 in the top 2 quads, including 4-9 in Q1. This one would be a huge step forward for them, maybe even enough to punch their ticket. At OSU is a big ask for the Wolverines, but they can set themselves up well if they get the job done.
Loyola Chicago v. Drake, 2pm, Missouri Valley final, CBS
Loyola might be in line for an at-large bid even if they drop this one. Drake will not be. This is a game with potential for bid piracy, as a Drake win shrinks the bubble by one. If your team is on the bubble, pull for chalk here.
Tulane at SMU, 3pm, ESPN+
Southern Methodist has put together a respectable season, but their resume has holes at both ends. They’re only 5-5 in the top 2 quads and just 2-2 in Q1, and they have losses in Q3 and Q4. Tulane is a Q3 game at home and not one they should lose; if they do lose it, they’re probably off the bubble in the wrong direction.