Bracketology Bubble Watch: Michigan, Florida hoping to solidify NCAA resumes
Several bubble teams are in action tonight, including two of Jerry Palm's last four in
Here is a piece of selection trivia to start things off. There has not been a double-digit seeded at-large team with a non-conference strength of schedule ranking below 240 since 2006. The at-large teams seeded 10 and below typically represent the last 8-10 teams selected.
Current bubble teams with a NC SOS ranked below that are: Penn State (254), Michigan (255), Nebraska (261), Houston (262), NC State (271), Florida State (287), Mississippi State (303), Virginia Tech (325), Kansas State (329) -- several of whom are in action Wednesday. It is a busy night throughout the bubble as teams like Michigan and Florida hope to play themselves to safety, while others like Kansas State and NC State hope to stay in the bracket for another day.
CBS Sports' Bracketology page breaks down all the numbers and key factors of the bubble, but there are still many games to be played. Here's a look at the teams with the most on the line Wednesday night as we enter the home stretch leading to Selection Sunday (all times Eastern):
|vs. Iowa, 6:30 p.m., Big Ten Network: Michigan's stay on the bubble could be short lived, but it would be extended for sure with a loss to the struggling Hawkeyes at home. The Wolverines have a poor non-conference schedule and only two quadrant 1 wins, but neither of those things can be addressed tonight.|
|vs. No. 11 Clemson, 7 p.m., ACC Network: The Seminoles have been playing their way down the bracket recently, having lost three of their last four. This is the first of two games left with Clemson, a No. 3 seed in the selection committee's bracket. They still have to go to fellow bubbler NC State as well before the ACC tournament begins.|
|vs. No. 3 Villanova, 7 p.m., FS1: Providence has some nice wins, including Xavier at home, but a few losses are hurting them. The Friars have lost at home to Marquette, Minnesota and most recently DePaul, which falls in Q4. With the schedule Providence has left, losing at home to the Blue Demons was a luxury the Friars didn't have. They may only be a favorite in two of their final six games. Tonight is not one of those occasions.|
|at Duke, 7 p.m., ESPN2: The Hokies picked up a huge win on the road at Virginia on Saturday, which was the start of a brutal finishing schedule. Tonight is the beginning of a home and home with Duke, and they still have games with Clemson, Louisville and at Miami. That's key because Virginia Tech has one of the worst non-conference schedules the committee will see among potential at-large teams. It currently ranks 325th, which would be the worst ever for an at-large team if the Hokies become one.|
|at Oklahoma State, 7 p.m., ESPNU: Kansas State is another team trying to overcome a bad non-conference schedule -- one that rates slightly worse than even Virginia Tech's. They do have four Q1 wins, which helps, but were swept by Kansas, Texas Tech and West Virginia and have lost three of their last four. The Big 12 has shown us that there are no easy games, but the Wildcats have winnable home games left. This is their best chance to pick up a road win before the Big 12 tournament.|
|at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m., SEC Network: The Bulldogs have a good record, but not much behind it. They are the third team on this list with a non-conference strength of schedule ranking in the 300s. They have been bad on the road, with a record of only 1-6. They have a bad record against the top quadrant at 1-6 and have two games left against teams in that group. There is not much of a margin for error for Mississippi State.|
|vs. Georgia, 9 p.m., SEC Network: Florida is a bubble team more because of its schizophrenia than anything. They have five Quadrant 1 (Q1) wins, all away from home against likely tournament teams. They also have four home losses in Q2 and Q3. The Gators just need to take care of business at home and they will not be on the bubble for long.|
|at Syracuse, 9 p.,m., ACC Network: Both of these teams are on the bubble. The Wolfpack are on here because of a poor non-conference schedule that included two bad losses. Their four top 16 wins are a big step in overcoming that. They still are not above .500 against the top three quadrants. Only six teams ever have received at-large bids with that on their resume.|
|vs. NC State, 9 p.m., ACC Network: The Orange actually have the opposite problem. Syracuse has played a decent schedule but has been unable to get the kind of quality wins that get the committee's attention. The Orange did win at Louisville and beat Virginia Tech at home, but that's it against teams that are potential at-large teams. As usual with Syracuse, it has done most of its best work at home.|
|vs. Nevada, 11 p.m., ESPNU: This is the big game in the Mountain West, and it's bigger for Boise State than for Nevada. The Broncos have a nice record and nothing that you would call a bad loss, but they are lacking a quality win. Their best came at home against Missouri Valley leader Loyola. They also won at Oregon, but that does not mean as much this year as in years past. This is their best chance to make a positive impression on the committee.|
|at Boise State, 11 p.m., ESPNU: Nevada, on the other hand, does have a nice win over Rhode Island and beat the Broncos in their first matchup in Reno. The Wolf Pack took Texas Tech to OT in Lubbock before losing and lost to TCU by four in LA, but good losses are still losses. They also have losses at home to UNLV and against San Francisco. They can probably afford a loss to Boise and still have a shot at an at-large bid, but they need to continue to take care of business otherwise.|
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