Poppin' Bubbles: Nebraska gets marquee win over Wisconsin
The final of the regular season is here, and there are a handful of bubble teams hoping to make statements.
One week from today, the field of 68 for the NCAA Tournament will be announced. That means most bubble teams only have a couple more games to prove they belong in the dance. Sunday features a few teams looking to stay in the at-large mix and another one looking to solidify its spot.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers might have helped their at-large case more than any other true bubble team this weekend. Beating Wisconsin was a potential season-changing -- and program-changing -- win for Tim Miles' team, as it boosts them to the precipice of the NCAA Tournament. It was their third top-30 of the season, joining Michigan State and Ohio State, and will also boost their RPI and SOS numbers. They are now 8-8 against the top 100. It's not a lock resume just yet, as there are three sub-100 losses, a 4-10 record away from home, and a 3-7 record against the top 50. The Cornhuskers got the fourth seed and a bye in the Big Ten tournament, which could mean a quarterfinal matchup with Ohio State. Win that, and Nebraska could feel decently comfortable on Selection Sunday.
Minnesota: Beating Penn State doesn't improve the Golden Gophers' resume all that much, but a loss would have likely put them too far on the back burner. They finish 19-12 in the regular season, 8-10 in the Big Ten, and still have work to do in the Big Ten tournament. It will likely take two wins to improve the resume, as the opening round game will be against Penn State again. The SOS is among the top five in the country, and they have wins over Wisconsin, Ohio State and Iowa. However, there are plenty of negatives: 3-9 away from home, 3-8 against the top 50, 6-10 agains the top 100, and two sub-100 losses. The resume needs more highlights.
Saint Joseph's: The Hawks were in the field heading into the week, sitting several spots ahead of the last four in/last four out cutline. At the time, they had won 17 of their last 20 games and were pushing for a share of the Atlantic 10 title. After losing at home to La Salle, though, things can get worrisome. They have lost two in a row, slipping to 11-5 in the league, and lacking momentum for the conference tournament. The RPI is in the 30s and they have wins over VCU and Massachusetts, but it's not a lock at-large resume. They are just 5-7 against the top 100, with a triple-digit non-conference SOS and a sub-100 loss. They need at least two wins in the Atlantic 10 tournament to feel confident heading into Selection Sunday.
Florida State: The Seminoles had a huge chance to move from the outside looking in to squarely in the mix, but came up short against Syracuse and now have a lot of work to do in the ACC tournament. Beating the Orange would have given Florida State another marquee win, which would have been their third top-15 win. Instead, they drop to 3-7 against the top 50 and 5-11 against the top 100 -- plus a sub-100 loss. The RPI and SOS numbers are fairly mediocre, too. Florida State might need to make a run to the ACC title game to have a good case for an at-large bid.
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