Bracketology Bubble Watch: LSU faces South Carolina with both needing a win highlights Saturday's bubble games
Time is running out on some of the 19 bubble teams in action on a busy Saturday
This one is all about the bubble, which is shrinking as we get closer to Selection Sunday. Saturday marks three weeks and one day until we find out who will be vying for the national championship. These teams hope to get that shot, but time is running out to impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee.
All times Eastern
|Team||Game||Time (TV)||Bubble breakdown|
|HOUSTON at Memphis||2 p.m. (ESPN2)||Houston is still on the bubble because of a relatively difficult finishing schedule, which includes a home-and-home with what has to be a desperate Memphis squad, as well as a game with Cincinnati. The Cougars are one win from being off the bubble.|
|MEMPHIS vs. Houston||2 p.m. (ESPN2)||Memphis ended a three game losing streak with a harder-than-it-should-have-been win over East Carolina on Wednesday. A home-and-home with the Cougars and a home game with Wichita State give the Tigers a chance to get back into contention.|
|LSU at South Carolina||6 p.m. (ESPN2)||LSU has played its way onto the bubble with four losses in its last five games, including one at Vanderbilt, which is the Commodores' only SEC win over the last two seasons. Three of the Tigers' next four are on the road against bubble teams.|
|SOUTH CAROLINA vs. LSU||6 p.m. (ESPN2)||South Carolina took a loss at Mississippi State on Wednesday, but still has a chance because of this game against the Tigers. The Gamecocks have already beaten Kentucky at home and won at Virginia, but bad home losses to Boston U and Stetson are holding them down.|
|VIRGINIA at Pittsburgh||12 p.m. (ESPN2)||Virginia has won six of its last seven, but because the ACC is down, only one of those wins was especially helpful. That was the victory over Florida State on Jan. 28. This game is another one that can only hurt the Cavs.|
|ARKANSAS vs. Missouri||1 p.m. (SECN)||Razorbacks guard Isaiah Joe has started practicing again, but was not ready to go against Florida, which ended up being the Hogs' fifth straight loss. They are out of the bracket for now, but it isn't too late - yet.|
|PURDUE vs. Michigan||2 p.m. (ESPN)||Last call for the Boilermakers, which would be off the bubble if not for a home-heavy schedule to finish the regular season. Winning those home games is the only realistic way they have a chance to play their way into the field.|
|XAVIER vs. Villanova||2:30 p.m. (Fox)||The Musketeers have played their way into and up the bracket with four wins in their last five games, beginning with a big one at Seton Hall. This is another chance at an eye-catching victory and another step closer to a not-so-nervous Selection Sunday.|
|ETSU at Samford||3 p.m.||ETSU is a marginal at-large candidate largely because of a win at LSU, which is looking worse as each week goes by. The Bucs already have a bad loss at home to Mercer and that is all they can take.|
|MISS. STATE at Texas A&M||3:30 p.m. (SECN)||The Bulldogs are playing out the string and hoping not to mess things up too badly before the SEC Tournament. This is one of those chances to mess things up.|
|OKLAHOMA at Oklahoma St.||4 p.m. (ESPN2)||The Sooners are only 1-9 against Quadrant 1 teams and that may not be good enough if it does not improve between now and March 15. Michigan State in 2004 is the only team to get an at-large bid with just one win in at least ten Q1 games since I started tracking data. This is not a Q1 game for OU, but because of that poor record at the top, it cannot afford losses to worse teams.|
|NC STATE vs. Florida St.||4 p.m. (ACCN)||The Wolfpack still have a ton of mediocre-to-bad losses on their resume, but the win they picked up over Duke has pushed them into the bracket for now. They can cap off the week on a very high note if they can knock off the Seminoles as well.|
|RHODE ISLAND at Davidson||5:30 p.m. (CBSSN)||The Rams do not have a win over a team likely to make the field. The best they have is a sweep of VCU. They still get a visit from Dayton later, but they need to win the games before then too.|
|FLORIDA at Kentucky||6 p.m. (ESPN)||The Gators have never played to the level of their expectations this season, but lately, they have been better than their schedule. They have won five of their last six heading into this game, although none of those games were against tournament contenders. They can make as big of a splash as you can in the SEC in this game.|
|TEXAS TECH at Iowa St.||6 p.m. (ESPNU)||The Red Raiders are just 2-8 vs Q1 and 9-9 vs Q1-3. They have a couple of nice wins, but the last thing they can afford is another road loss to a non-contender. Texas Tech finishes the regular season with Baylor and Kansas. The Red Raiders do not want to be in the position of having to win one of those games.|
|RICHMOND at St. Bona.||6:30 p.m. (NBCSN)||The Spiders travel to Olean to take on the fourth place Bonnies, who have wins over Rutgers and Colonial leader Hofstra this season. They have yet to beat one of the top teams in the A-10 though and Richmond would not want to be the first. They already have two bad losses and may not be able to take a third.|
|ARIZONA ST. vs. Oregon St.||8 p.m. (ESPNU)||ASU has been climbing the bracket during a hot streak that includes wins over Arizona and Oregon. The Sun Devils should be comfortably in the field if they win their home games, which are all against non-contenders.|
|SAINT MARY'S vs. San Diego||8 p.m.||The Gaels are biding their time as they wait for another shot at Gonzaga. San Diego is near the bottom of the league and SMC already has two bad home losses.|
|GEORGETOWN at DePaul||9 p.m. (FS1)||The Hoyas have a tough finishing schedule, but it is also one of opportunity. However, if they can't win this one, there is no reason to believe they can do well enough in the others to matter.|
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