Poppin' Bubbles: Which teams are suddenly in trouble?
Sunday brought about a bit more uncertainty along the seed lines and the final few spots.
As we head into the final two weeks of the regular season, there are still numerous at-large spots up for grabs. Saturday’s action helped separate a few teams from the pack, but Sunday brought about a bit more uncertainty along the seed lines and the final few spots. Let’s take a look at the winners and losers of Sunday.
Also, if you ever want to make your own comparisons between teams on the bubble -- or any team at all in the country -- check out our team comparison tool, where you can break down two teams by top-50 wins, bad losses, road record, etc. It will come in handy down the stretch.
Ahead of the bubble, but keep an eye out
Cincinnati: The Bearcats are reeling, now having lost five of their last six after falling at Notre Dame on Sunday. They are still ahead of the bubble, but it's not a 100 percent lock anymore. Moreover, they still have games against Connecticut and at Louisville among the final three games. The impressive road/neutral record will help, and they do have four top-50 wins.
Illinois: The Fighting Illini have more quality wins than nearly every bubble team, which will obviously help come Selection Sunday. Moreoever, given their quality computer numbers, it's unlikely they will be in perilous position in two weeks. However, they are now 7-8 in the Big Ten with road games at Iowa and Ohio State still to play.
UCLA: Heading into the weekend, the Bruins were a No. 8 seed in Jerry Palm's bracket, but they were also not a lock. Moreover, a potentially dangerous game at USC loomed on Sunday. Well, it turned out to be not so dangerous, as UCLA cruised by 16 points. The Bruins are in relatively good shape, with an 8-5 record against the top 100. There are home games against the Arizona schools, and road games against the Washington schools, still remaining.
La Salle: The Explorers responded nicely after their mid-week loss to Temple, bouncing back and knocking off Rhode Island on the road. It’s not a win that boosts the resume much, but it was important to avoid a bad loss. That will also be the case in the next two home games, against Duquesne and George Washington. The season finale at Saint Louis gives them a chance at another key win.
Temple: It’s been a great week for the Owls. First, they knocked off fellow bubbler La Salle on Thursday, which could impact the Atlantic 10 pecking order on Selection Sunday. On Sunday, they went into Charlotte –- another team looking to boost its resume -– and defeated the 49ers in convincing fashion. That’s three wins in a row, which has also improved the computer numbers. Three of the final four are at home, including a season finale against VCU.
Virginia: The Cavaliers are going to have a weird resume on Selection Sunday no matter what, but they needed to get back on the winning track. On Sunday, they obliged, knocking off Georgia Tech in Charlottesville. Two consecutive road losses put them out of most projected brackets, but they will get a chance to redeem themselves with a home showdown against Duke on Thursday. Win that, and we can reassess.
St. John’s: The Red Storm had a major chance to boost their at-large status on Sunday, hosting Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden. However, they fell apart late in the game, losing by 16 to the Panthers. They were among the first four out in Palm’s bracket heading into the weekend, but the loss won’t help. St. John’s now has 11 losses and is ninth in the Big East. The RPI has improved, and wins over Connecticut, Notre Dame and Cincinnati are nice –- but road trips to Providence and Notre Dame, and a home matchup with Marquette, won’t make things easy.
Charlotte: When I was at the mock selection exercise last week in Indianapolis, Charlotte was one of the major surprises for the group. Since then, however, the 49ers have now lost two in a row –- a blowout loss at Saint Louis last weekend, and a blowout home defeat to fellow bubble team Temple on Sunday. Dropping to 6-6 in the Atlantic 10 could make things hairy, especially with two other Atlantic 10 bubble teams getting victories on Sunday. The final stretch is important –- and all four games are winnable.
For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our College Basketball Newsletter. You can follow Jeff Borzello on Twitter here: @jeffborzello
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