Wednesday was another rough night for teams on the bubble.
North Carolina, who was one of the last four teams in, had it the worst. The Tar Heels added a game with Marquette at home, then lost 83-70 in a game that was never competitive. That is UNC's worst loss of the season and first in Quad 3.
It was not much better for Seton Hall, which lost at Butler to drop to 13-10 overall. That is the Pirates' second consecutive loss to a non-contender in the league. The schedule gets harder now and the need for wins more urgent for Seton Hall, which was the first team out.
For the second game in a row, Indiana jumped out to a big lead early then went in the tank. The Hoosiers lost at Rutgers 74-63 in a game that was not as close as that score would indicate. IU is now 12-11 with games left against Michigan, at Michigan State and at Purdue.
The bubble action Thursday is heavy in the Pac-12 and Big Ten, but the big game is one that was just thrown together this week.
Here are the bubble teams in action Thursday, staring with a double-shot of 'double-bubble' games. All times Eastern
|Team||Game||Time (TV)||Bubble breakdown|
|BOISE STATE AT||9 p.m. (FS1)||This is an important series for both teams as both teams battle to build NCAA Tournament resumes and try to win the Mountain West. For Boise State, there is a little more give in their resume thanks to a road win over BYU in non-conference play and a 3-1 record in the other two key series in the MWC. Their other two league losses came at Nevada.|
|SAN DIEGO STATE|| ||The Aztecs need this more because they are already just 1-3 vs Colorado State and Utah State, the other two league contenders. They beat UCLA to start the season and that remains their best win.|
|OREGON AT||9 p.m. (ESPNU)||The Ducks have yet to beat a sure tournament team, but they do have wins over three other bubble teams, including one in the first meeting with the Cardinal. They also beat Colorado at home and Seton Hall on a neutral court. They had a chance to pick up a big win Monday but USC blew them out. The Pac-12 preseason favorites will need to finish strong to ensure a spot in the field.|
|STANFORD|| ||Stanford has played its way down and out of the bracket for now, but there is still hope. That begins with a game against fellow bubbler Oregon. The Cardinal have a win over Alabama in non-conference play, which is big, but they have too many losses to non-contenders for that to be enough.|
Other bubble teams in action Thursday
|Team||Game||Time (TV)||Bubble breakdown|
|WESTERN KENTUCKY at Houston||7 p.m. (ESPN2)||The Hilltoppers were given a late season gift, They already won at Alabama this season and gave West Virginia a good game in defeat, but Conference USA does not give them many chances to build theirresume. Then, this game drops in their lap this week. What a great opportunity for WKU to put another exclamation point on their resume.|
|UCLA at Utah||8 p.m. (PACN)||UCLA has done reasonably well lately, winning their last three games. The problem for the Bruins is that only four of their 16 wins have come against Quad 1-2 teams and they are 4-5 against that group. The only win over a potential tournament team came against Colorado. This is the first – and easiest – of three straight road games for UCLA before a home finale against USC.|
|MICHIGAN STATE vs. Ohio State||9 p.m. (ESPN)||The Spartans are coming off a huge win over Illinois just two days ago and now they get the projected No. 1 seed Buckeyes. This will be Michigan State's third game in six days. The first two were wins and another one here would be enormous, but MSU does not necessarily have to have this game to make the tournament. There are plenty more opportunities ahead thanks to a strong finishing schedule.|
|MINNESOTA vs. Northwestern||9 p.m. (BTN)||Gabe Kalscheur broke a finger on his shooting in hand in practice in advance of the Indiana game last week and the Gophers haven't won since. They are 0-3 since Kalscheur went out and he is expected to miss the rest of the regular season and maybe the Big Ten Tournament as well. They have to find ways to win without him if the Gophers are to make the NCAA tournament.|
|COLORADO vs. Southern Cal||9 p.m. (ESPN2)||The Buffaloes have a resume that does not measure up to its metrics. That seems to be more common this season than in others, which is no surprise since pandemic schedules have made metrics a little less reliable this season. Colorado has a big road win at USC and a home-and-home split with Oregon, but also three bad losses. A sweep of the Trojans would be a big boost for Colorado.|
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