Bracketology Bubble Watch: Indiana, Memphis and Arizona State try to boost their NCAA Tournament profiles
Eight teams on the bubble to make the NCAA Tournament field are in action Thursday
There were more winners among bubble teams on Wednesday than we saw on Tuesday, but none of those teams helped themselves as much as avoided hurting themselves. Ohio State is the one exception in that its win over Rutgers put the Buckeyes off the bubble in a good way for now.
Here are the teams that hurt themselves the most on Wednesday.
Pitt lost to Clemson 72-52: The Panthers' hopes were slim anyway. A third bad loss at home has done them in.
VCU lost to George Mason 72-67: When the best thing that can be said about a team is that they have no bad losses, getting stuck with a bad loss hurts more than it might for someone else. VCU has a win over LSU at home and that's it. Wednesday was nothing short of a disaster for the Rams. The next three games -- at Richmond, home Dayton, at Saint Louis – should be thought of as must-wins.
Rutgers lost at Ohio State 72-66: Rutgers is still looking for that second win away from home this season and there are no gimmes left. The Scarlet Knights have a couple of home games, which are must-wins, before traveling to Wisconsin, Penn State and Purdue in their final four regular season games.
There are not as many bubble games Thursday, but most of them are vital to the teams involved.
Bubble teams in action Thursday
"Double-bubble" games listed first. All times ET
|Memphis at Cincinnati||7 p.m. (ESPN)||Memphis is in deep trouble after picking up its second bad loss of the season to USF at home Saturday. Despite a decent record against Quadrants 1-2, the Tigers do not have a single win over a team that is likely to make the field. Memphis won the home matchup with the Bearcats and is looking for the sweep.|
|Cincinnati at Memphis||7 p.m. (ESPN)||Cincinnati might have found itself in the bracket if it had won at UConn on Saturday, but the Bearcats fell short of both the win and the bracket. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for Cincinnati that included wins over Houston and at Wichita State. Three bad losses are holding the Bearcats back for now.|
|Arizona State at Stanford||11 p.m. (ESPN2)||The Sun Devils have won five of six to play themselves into contention. Unfortunately, that one loss was at Washington State and is their worst of the season. This is a chance to pick up a road win against a team they could be competing with for a spot in the field.|
|Stanford at Arizona State||11 p.m. (ESPN2)||It remains to be seen if the Cardinal will have leading scorer Oscar da Silva against Arizona State after he suffered a head injury in a nasty collision at Colorado on Saturday. They have already been without starter Bryce Wills and his status for this game is also unknown. Stanford has lost five of six after a strong start in conference play. Regardless of who is on the court, the Cardinal need to get things turned around quickly.|
|Wichita State at UCF||7 p.m. (ESPN2)||The Shockers' season has taken a turn for the worse since their last meeting with UCF. That was on Jan. 25 and Wichita State hasn't won since. It is tough to stop the bleeding on the road but that is what the Shockers need to do now.|
|Indiana vs. Iowa||8 p.m. (BTN)||Indiana is a home court hero that has lost its last two home games and four in a row overall. The Hoosiers could find themselves sliding off the bracket quickly if they cannot beat the Hawkeyes. Four of their next five games are on the road, where they are just 1-5 this season.|
|USC vs. Washington||9 p.m. (ESPN2)||USC has lost three in a row after getting swept on the Arizona road trip last week. The Trojans get a chance to get healthy at home against the Washington schools, beginning with the Huskies. Washington has really struggled since the loss of Quade Green.|
|BYU at Loyola Marymount||11 p.m. (ESPNU)||The Cougars have a road trip to SoCal this weekend against two teams near the bottom of the WCC. A loss in either of those games would be devastating to their tournament hopes.|
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