Life on the bubble always seems to be highly dramatic. Win and maybe we're in this week, lose and maybe we're done. There are still more than five weeks to go, so the drama is not quite that intense yet.
Wednesday was a busy day though, and some teams definitely helped their causes and others, well, not so much.
Here's who helped their case Wednesday:
Purdue defeated Iowa 104-68: It has been a bad year to be a ranked team coming into Mackey Arena. Only Illinois has been able to leave Purdue with a win and its ranking intact. The Boilermakers now have wins over then No. 5 Virginia and then No. 8 Michigan State by 29 points each to go along with this 36 point destruction of Iowa. Road Purdue is a different story and the reason the Boilers may still miss the NCAA tournament. Still, better to be a home court hero than a no court hero.
Providence defeated Creighton 73-56: Nobody has a stranger resume than the Friars. They are still trying to make up for a disastrous November that saw losses to Charleston, Long Beach, Northwestern and Penn. Providence can add this win to road victories over Butler and Marquette, but at 13-10, there is still work to be done.
And here's who hurt their case:
Saint Louis lost to Duquesne 82-68: The Billikens have a sketchy profile to begin with. Their best win came at fellow bubbler Richmond. Road wins are nice, but that is a pretty lonely win. Losing at home to Duquesne is a game that could come back to bite them.
TCU lost to Oklahoma State 72-57: I know life on the road is tough, but this loss drops the Horned Frogs to just 3-9 vs. Quadrants 1 and 2. A home win over Texas Tech is not enough to keep this time around. TCU is off the bubble for now.
We have half a dozen bubble games tonight, led by a double-bubble game in the American Athletic Conference.
Bubble teams in action Thursday
|at Wichita State | 7 p.m. | ESPN: The Bearcats are on the fringe of the bubble right now. They have home wins over Q2 opponents Houston, Tulsa and Tennessee, but noting of note away from home. Cincinnati is also dealing with bad losses to Colgate, Bowling Green and Tulane. A win at Wichita would be its best of the year.|
|vs. Cincinnati | 7 p.m. | ESPN: Wichita State is also lacking quality wins away from home, but does have home wins over fellow bubble teams VCU, Memphis and Oklahoma. The Shockers cannot help fill the hole in their resume against Cincinnati, but they can avoid adding to their troubles.|
|vs. UConn | 7 p.m. | ESPN2: "First place Tulsa" is something pretty much nobody expected to say at any point this season, but that is exactly where the Golden Hurricane are. They are not at at-large quality team yet despite home wins over Houston, Memphis and Wichita State. Tulsa still has a couple of bad losses holding them back, including a Q4 loss at home to Arkansas State.|
|vs. Tulane | 9 p.m. | ESPNU: Houston has the best win of any of the AAC teams with its victory at Wichita State. If not for a home loss to Oklahoma State, we might not be referring to the Cougars as a bubble team. A loss to last place Tulane would make getting off the bubble difficult for some time.|
|at Portland | 10 p.m.: BYU has an interesting resume. It is one that is lacking an eye catching win and seven losses, which is a lot for a WCC team to be an at-large candidate. However, three of those losses are to teams that are currently No. 1 seeds in my bracket. They also have three OT losses, so they could already be comfortably in the field. They are not though, and they can't afford to lose to anyone not named Gonzaga at this point.|
|at Utah | 10 p.m. | Pac-12 Network: The Cardinal was in the midst of a run of poor play that could have torpedoed them right out of the tournament before picking up a huge win over Oregon. Now, they hit the road for two important games with Utah and Colorado. The Utes are not bad – ask Kentucky – but not tournament quality either. Stanford cannot get caught looking ahead to the Buffaloes.|
|vs. UCLA | 11 p.m. | ESPN 2: Arizona State is new to the bubble after sandwiching wins over Arizona and at Washington around a loss at Washington State. Those two wins are the Sun Devils' best of the season so far. To this point, ASU has been able to avoid a loss outside of Q1-2. Losing Thursday would ruin that.|
|at San Diego | 11 p.m.| ESPNU: The Gaels have home wins over BYU and Utah State, along with neutral site wins over Wisconsin and Arizona State. They also have home losses to Winthrop and Santa Clara. Losing to San Diego would be a disaster. The opportunity to get that marquee win they are missing happens Saturday when Gonzaga comes calling.|