Bracketology Bubble Watch: Minnesota faces Michigan hoping for its biggest victory of the season

While everyone was watching Duke-North Carolina Wednesday night, the bubble was especially active. Florida picked up a huge win as part of its late season charge toward the bracket, while Arkansas fell apart like Zion Williamson's shoe in a loss to Auburn in a "double-bubble game."

After losing to Auburn 79-56, Arkansas seems to have packed it in for the season. At 14-12, 3-10 against the top two quadrants, there just isn't much to talk about for now. Auburn, on the other hand, picked up another blowout win at home. The Tigers need to do something away from home eventually.

Florida picked up its best win of the season, and third road win against Quadrant 1 opponents, in a 82-77 overtime victory at LSU. The Gators still have work to do. They are currently 15-11 with three pretty winnable games coming up before the rematch with the Tigers in Gainesville. Florida needs to pad that win column.

Here's how the rest of the bubble teams in action Wednesday fared:

  • Georgetown defeated Villanova 85-73 and still has a ways to go before it can feel comfortable as a tournament team, but this win really helps. The Hoyas strength of schedule is pretty poor and they have a couple of bad losses to make up for. The next four games are winnable, even if they won't be favored in all of them. Georgetown finishes the regular season at Marquette.
  • Butler put up a decent fight, but came up short again in a 79-69 loss to Marquette. Butler's win over Florida is looking better every day, but it is still all the Bulldogs have in Quadrant 1. They only have one such game left, at Villanova next week.
  • Syracuse was dominant from the start in a 69-49 victory vs. Louisville. They needed this one too, because the end of season schedule is tough. Syracuse still has to play Duke and Virginia at home and at North Carolina.
  • NC State tried to blow it, but failed, beating Boston College 89-80 in overtime. This would have been a tough loss for NC State, but not a problem now. Wake Forest is at home next, followed by the only meaningful game left on their schedule, at Florida State.
  • Just when you thought Seton Hall had things under control, they come up with a 70-69 loss to Xavier. The loss to the Musketeers  is the Pirates' third bad loss of the season at home. They may be underdogs in each of their four final games, but can't afford to lose them all.
  • Lipscomb's bubble may have burst in a 67-61 loss to 244th ranked FGCU. Unfortunately, that is life for teams in smaller conferences. They cannot build up enough quality wins to sustain losses like this. It's a soft bubble, so maybe there is still hope, but the Bisons should set their sights on winning the Atlantic Sun tournament.
  • Arizona State did what it needed to do, beating the Cardinal 80-62. ASU will get last place Cal at home before finishing up with road games with the Oregon schools and Arizona.
  • The Buckeyes took care of business in a 63-49 victory vs. Northwestern. The next three will not be easy. Ohio State has road trips to Maryland and Purdue sandwiched around a home game with Iowa. Those are great chances to resume build.
  • Utah State handled the Lobos easily in a 71-55 victory as the Aggies count down the days to the showdown with Nevada – a showdown that could be for first place after the Wolf Pack lost to San Diego State on Wednesday.
Bubble teams in action Thursday
1

vs. Michigan, 7 p.m. -- ESPN

The Gophers broke a four-game losing streak with a blowout win over Indiana last Saturday. Now, they get a shot at what would be their biggest win of the season. Michigan is one of the three co-leaders of the Big Ten, so it's a big game for the Wolverines too.

2

at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. -- ESPN2

The Knights are still looking for that first Quadrant 1 win and this is a chance to get it. UCF can also pull into a tie for second place in the AAC with a win over the Bearcats.

3

vs. Eastern Illinois, 8 p.m. -- ESPN+

Belmont's tournament resume took a hit Wednesday when Lipscomb lost at Florida Gulf Coast. The Bruins beat their Nashville rivals twice in the regular season and those are two of their three best wins. Thursday's game is one that could end any talk of Belmont as an at-large team if it loses.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Jerry Palm started writing about sports on the Internet right after Al Gore invented it. He was the first to bring RPI out in the open and is one of the pioneers of predicting the March Madness bracket.... Full Bio

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