Tuesday was mostly a negative day for teams on the bubble. A few teams did manage to avoid damaging losses, but a few did not. Oklahoma was the only team which did something positive.
Wednesday will be busy, as usual. Rutgers will be looking to fill the massive hole in its tournament resume, and we have a double bubble game in the SEC that I would not have expected to be as such a few weeks ago.
Here is the latest on bubble teams who were in action on Tuesday:
Texas Tech lost at Oklahoma 65-51 in a double-bubble game: The Red Raiders fell on the road to Oklahoma in a battle of peers in the bracket. They fell to 3-9 vs Q1 opposition and 10-10 vs Q1-3 with games remaining at Baylor and at home to Kansas. Their high NET ranking is deceiving. Texas Tech has lost a lot of games by close margins. This is their largest margin of defeat this season. Margin of victory, or defeat, has a big impact in the NET.
Oklahoma ended a three game skid, although two of those losses were to Baylor and Kansas. They still have to play two of their final three on the road, including one at West Virginia, which has been struggling of late.
NC State lost at North Carolina 85-79: NC State is the only team in the ACC that can't beat Carolina this season in two tries. The Tar Heels completed the regular season sweep of the Wolfpack, dealing yet another damaging blow to NC State's NCAA Tournament hopes. That win over Duke will only erase so much.
Memphis lost at SMU 58-53: The Tigers have now been swept by SMU and are looking less and less like a team capable of doing what it takes to play itself into the NCAA Tournament. They are off the bubble for now.
All times Eastern
|Team||Game||Time (TV)||Bubble breakdown|
|LSU||9 p.m. ESPN2||LSU has played its way onto the bubble in part because it still does not have a win over a sure NCAA Tournament team. It lost its two most recent opportunities, and also lost to Vanderbilt and Alabama during a streak of four losses in five games. They did win last time out at South Carolina. However, that is the Tigers' second best win of the season.|
|at FLORIDA|| ||Florida had won five out of six before a six point loss at Kentucky on Saturday. While it would be too much to say that the Gators are finally playing up to their preseason expectation, they have been moving up the bracket and are probably a couple of wins from coming off the bubble.|
|SOUTH CAROLINA vs. Georgia||6:30 p.m. SECN||South Carolina is on its last legs. The Gamecocks have a win over Kentucky and road wins over Arkansas and Virginia, which keeps hope alive, but they too have no games left on their regular season schedule that they can afford to lose.|
|VIRGINIA at Virginia Tech||7 p.m. ESPN2||The Cavaliers are in fourth place in the ACC, for what that's worth. All it really means is that they have separated themselves from the pile of mostly non-tournament teams below them. Virginia has won seven of eight, but only the win over Florida State at home is was helpful. A loss to the Hokies would not be.|
|RUTGERS at Penn State||7 p.m. BTN||Can Rutgers win away from home? That is the question to which the Scarlet Knights are still trying to provide a positive answer. You have heard this before. The last time a team got an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament with fewer than three wins away from home was in 1994. Rutgers has one, with this game and a road trip to Purdue before the conference tournament. I do not believe that the Scarlet Knights will break that precedent.|
|RHODE ISLAND at Fordham||7 p.m.||URI has been hurt by the poor play of the teams that are the best teams they have beaten, VCU and Alabama. Each of them have spent some time either on the bracket or bubble – more VCU than Bama – but neither are contenders any more. On the other hand, the Rams also beat Providence and they are making a late surge. Obviously, the game with Fordham is must-not-lose|
|ETSU at Wofford||7 p.m.||ETSU is rooting hard for LSU because the Bucs win at the Tigers is what they are hanging their at-large candidacy hat on. Winning at Wofford won't be easy, but all of ETSU's games are must-win for now.|
|RICHMOND at George Washington||7 p.m.||Richmond is barely in the bracket and has benefitted from a late season surge by Wisconsin, which is the Spiders' best win. They are coming off a loss to Saint Bonaventure, which has done well in Atlantic 10 play, but is still not considered a very good loss. Richmond has no good losses left on their schedule.|
|NORTHERN IOWA vs. Evansville||8 p.m.||UNI takes on the last-place Aces, which have fallen on hard times since their win over Kentucky back in November. They have yet to win a MVC game and beating the Panthers for their first one will kill any chance UNI has as an at-large team.|
|ARKANSAS vs. Tennessee||8:30 p.m. SECN||Arkansas got Isaiah Joe back and got a win over Missouri last time out to stop a five-game skid, all of which Joe missed. The Razorbacks need that win over the Tigers to be the start of a five-game winning streak. Only the home game with LSU can help them at all.|
|STANFORD vs. Utah||10 p.m. P12N||The Cardinal had a good weekend, sweeping Washington and Washington State to get off the schneid. Now they have a home game against a team they need to beat. Their margin for error is still pretty small, but games that can actually help are still to come.|