Bracketology Bubble Watch: Florida, Ohio State in action on busy night for teams trying to make the field
The Buckeyes could play themselves out of the bubble conversation with a win while the Gators need to get rolling
It was a tough Tuesday for the teams on the bubble. Only one team won that was not facing another bubble team. There were a fair number of road games for bubble teams last night though. On Wednesday, it is more home games than roadies.
Here is a quick look at a couple of last night's winners and losers.
NC State won 79-74 at Syracuse: The Wolfpack picked up a big road win against a team they may compete with for a spot in the field. They could really use a signature win, but wins like this are good too.
Utah State won 75-72 at Colorado State: The Aggies have a small margin for error as they try to pursue an at-large bid. Colorado State is arguably the third best team in the Mountain West, so this was not an easy road task. That makes six wins out of seven for Utah State.
Mississippi State lost 83-58 at Mississippi: What's worse than getting your butt kicked by a team that is not a tournament contender? Getting your butt kicked by your rival. The Bulldogs already have a pair of Q3 losses. This one isn't technically that, but it is still pretty bad.
Arkansas lost 82-61 at Tennessee: Speaking of butt kickings, Tennessee laid one on Arkansas, which continues to slide down the bracket. This was the Hogs third game without second leading scorer Isaiah Joe and the first in which they were not competitive.
Wednesday's action features a couple of SEC teams going in different directions.
|Rutgers at Ohio State||7 p.m. (BTN)||The major hole in Rutgers resume is that it is only 1-7 away from home this season. That is not the kind of thing the committee likes to see. There are no easy road games left in the Big Ten for the Scarlet Knights, but Ohio State has shown some vulnerability on its home floor.|
|Ohio State vs. Rutgers||7 p.m. (BTN)||Ohio State is the least bubbly of the teams currently on the bubble and might have been off of it if not for the loss at Wisconsin on Sunday. The Buckeyes already have two home losses in the Big Ten and need to take care of business there.|
|South Carolina at Georgia||6:30 p.m. (SECN)||The Gamecocks have won four out of five to merit bubble consideration. The one loss was at Mississippi. I'm detecting a pattern here. There is still a ways to go before South Carolina can say it has erased the stain of two Q4 losses to Boston U and Stetson.|
|VCU vs. George Mason||7 p.m. (ESPNU)||VCU is in must-win situations almost every time out now. Its best and only win of note came against LSU at home. After Wednesday, the Rams start a very important four-game stretch that includes a home game against Dayton surrounded by road trips to Richmond and Saint Louis. They cannot get caught looking ahead.|
|Florida at Texas A&M||8:30 p.m. (SECN)||Florida looked like it had righted the ship a little bit after a three-game skid, but a loss to Mississippi has the Gators in trouble again. Wednesday's game is their third road game in the last four and would likely be their first Q3 loss if they falter again.|
|Northern Iowa vs. Illinois State||8 p.m.||The Panthers are the lone at-large candidate from any of the smaller conferences this season. They already have a loss to the Redbirds, which is one of two Q3 losses for UNI. They cannot afford a third.|
|Pittsburgh vs. Clemson||9 p.m.||Pitt is just about done as a bubble team, with only a win over Florida State keeping the Panthers afloat. They get another shot at the Seminoles next week, but if they haven't won out to that point, it probably won't matter.|
|Houston at South Florida||9 p.m. (ESPNU)||Houston is just about the last hope for the American Athletic Conference to put a team in the top half of the bracket. The Cougars have a sweep of Wichita State, but have a loss to Tulsa and have yet to play Memphis. This is the first of three road games out of Houston's next four.|
|Michigan at Northwestern||9 p.m (BTN)||Michigan finally got Isaiah Livers back and just in time to knock off Michigan State at home on Saturday. It would be a shame to give that away on Wednesday.|
|Oklahoma vs. Iowa State||9 p.m. (ESPN2)||Oklahoma picked up its best win of the season over West Virginia on Saturday and now hosts one of the Big 12's non-contenders. ISU just lost Tyrese Haliburton for the season, so they will be quite shorthanded.|
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