Bracketology Bubble Watch: Big Ten teams Ohio State, Indiana can make their cases on Sunday
Opportunities are dwindling for teams to play their way off the bubble and into the field of 68
As the number of games left to play dwindles, the list of bubble teams continues to compress. Texas has been dropped from consideration after a home loss to TCU on Saturday. Sunday's action centers on the Big Ten, where Indiana and Ohio State are in action to open the day on CBS.
With only a couple conference tournament brackets not yet official and Selection Sunday just one week away, teams are still trying to play themselves into the field of 68. Let's see who is on deck Sunday and how Saturday's bubble teams fared while in action across the country.
Check out Jerry Palm's Bracketology and see his complete projected field of 68 teams.
The Buckeyes have been roadkill since the suspension of star Kaleb Wesson took effect before the Purdue game last Saturday. Suspension or no suspension, the Buckeyes still have to earn selection to the field. A win over the Badgers would do it.
Indiana had lost 12 out of 13 and was left for dead in terms of the postseason. Three straight wins though has the Hoosiers back in play as a potential tournament team. This is must-win. Indiana is already 16-14, and the Hoosiers will not be the first 16-loss at-large team in the NCAA Tournament.
at UNC-Greensboro, 6:30 p.m. ET -- ESPN+
A double bubble game in a smaller conference semifinal is a rarity, but here you go. Furman has the edge as an at-large candidate because of a win at Villanova. The Spartans have no bad losses but are lacking in quality wins.
at Liberty, 4 p.m. ET -- ESPN
The Atlantic Sun title will be decided in this one and Lipscomb is hoping to erase all doubt. These two teams traded road blowout wins, so Liberty will feel plenty confident going into this.
Here's how teams on the bubble fared Saturday:
- TCU -- defeated Texas 69-56: TCU is safer now that it completed the season sweep of the Longhorns. The only reason I hesitate to take them off the bubble entirely is because the Horned Frogs start the Big 12 tournament with Oklahoma State. Texas is done though. At 16-15, by the time the Longhorns get enough wins to be considered for an at-large spot, they will be conference champions.
- Florida -- lost at No. 6 Kentucky 57-66: The Gators made a game of it for a while but ultimately came up short. It speaks to the poor state of the bubble that, even at 17-14, Florida is my last team in. The Gators are the eight seed in the SEC Tournament and have a must win their first game with Arkansas.
- Seton Hall -- defeated No. 23 Villanova 79-75: The Pirates finished the season strong with wins over Marquette and Villanova. They are the 3-seed in the Big East Tournament and open play against Georgetown.
- Temple -- defeated No. 25 UCF 67-62: It wasn't just senior night at Temple, it was also the home finale for coach Fran Dunphy, who is retiring at the end of the season. He is a step closer to having that end come in the NCAA Tournament after the Owls picked up a big win over UCF.
- Georgetown -- defeated No. 16 Marquette 86-84: The Hoyas showed a lot more desperation and desire than they did at DePaul and came away with a much needed quality road win to keep their slim tournament hopes alive.
- NC State -- defeated Boston College 73-47: The Wolfpack took care of business at BC and then some, rolling up a 26-point win that will likely help protect that relatively gaudy NET ranking.
- Clemson -- defeated Syracuse 67-55: A dominant second half gave the Tigers a much needed win over the Orange. It is just the second win over a sure tournament team for Clemson, which also has a victory over Virginia Tech, also at home. The Tigers will face NC State in what is likely an elimination game in their first game of the ACC Tournament.
- Creighton -- defeated DePaul 91-78: Creighton has come on strong at the end and has played itself into a spot in the projected bracket, albeit in the First Four. The Bluejays have won five straight, but they need to keep going. They will start Big East Tournament play against Xavier.
- Alabama -- lost to Arkansas 70-82: The Crimson Tide limped home at the end of the season and now find themselves on the outside looking in. Alabama is just 17-14 overall and needs to do some serious damage in the SEC Tournament to have any shot at an at-large bid.
- Washington -- lost to Oregon 47-55: Washington is lucky the bubble is so bad, because this does not look like the resume of a tournament team. The Huskies stumbled home at the end of the season and look ripe for the picking in the Pac-12 Tournament. Maybe they just lost interest after clinching the conference title a couple of weeks ago. They need to pick things up.
- Arizona State – defeated Arizona 72-64: Arizona State took down its in-state rival in what sounded like Arizona coach Sean Miller's home finale. The Sun Devils are out of the first four for the first time in quite a while, but they could still end up back there, or even out.
- Furman -- defeated Mercer 85-74: It took a while, but the Paladins finally put Mercer away late in the second half. Furman will now face No. 2 tournament seed UNC Greensboro in the SoCon semis. Furman may have to do more to overcome a soft strength of schedule.
- Belmont -- lost to Murray State 65-77: Belmont will now have a nervous selection Sunday after losing in the Ohio Valley final to the Racers. I am not optimistic for the Bruins because of relatively poor strength of schedule.
- UNC-Greensboro -- beat Samford 77-70: The Spartans had a late night, but came away with the win it needed to stay alive in the Southern conference tournament. They face fellow bubbler Furman on Sunday
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