There are three conference tournaments beginning next week, but none of those involve bubble teams so we are down to just three loaded Saturdays left in the regular season. In other words, time is running out for teams to make their cases for inclusion.
Surprisingly, we have no double bubble games for the sixteen teams in action Saturday. There was one Friday though as Boise State completed its sweep of Utah State 81-77. The Aggies are going to have to do some work in the Mountain West Conference Tournament now -- maybe even win it -- to make the Big Dance.
The other bubble game saw Saint Louis get smoked by Dayton 76-53. The Billikens are in some serious trouble now too. That is their second loss to the Flyers. The first came in SLU's first game after a 34-day pause.
Only three teams in action Saturday have an opponent that can really give their resumes a jolt. Everybody else is just hoping to prevent further damage.
Here are the bubble teams in action Saturday. All times Eastern
|Team||Game||Time (TV)||Bubble breakdown|
|INDIANA vs. Michigan State||12 p.m. (ESPN)||IU started the season 5-2 and has fluctuated between one and three games above .500 ever since. The Hoosiers are relatively hot, having won three of their last four. They better take advantage of the toothless Spartans because their next three games are at Rutgers, home to Michigan and at Purdue.|
|UCONN at Villanova||1 p.m. (Fox)||The Huskies could use some quality wins and there isn't a better opportunity for one than at Villanova. UConn lost home games with the Wildcats and Xavier due to COVID, so this is the Huskies only shot at Villanova in the regular season unless the other game gets rescheduled.|
|SYRACUSE vs. Notre Dame||2 p.m. (ACCN)||Unfortunately for the Orange, they do not have the kind of games they need to build up their resume left on their schedule. The best chance they will get is the regular season finale against UNC. In the meantime, they have to keep winning games like this.|
|VCU vs. George Mason||2:30 p.m. (NBCSN)||The Rams lead the A-10 and have only one helpful game left on their regular season schedule. That is the next one, when VCU hosts Saint Louis. The Rams' best wins this season are St. Bonaventure and Utah State. They already have one bad loss and cannot afford to add to that list.|
|BYU at Loyola Marymount||3 p.m. (CBSSN)||The Cougars' best wins are over fellow bubblers San Diego State, Utah State and St. John's. Unfortunately, all they can really do in their league is hurt themselves. Or beat Gonzaga. That cannot happen until the conference tournament and if that game happens -- good luck with that.|
|MINNESOTA vs. Illinois||3:30 p.m. (Fox)||The Gophers get back to the comforts of home after yet another road loss at Indiana. Minnesota cannot fix that hole in their resume yet, but if you're going to be a home-court hero, you better be very good at home. Getting a win over the red hot Illini will require them to be very good.|
|STANFORD at Washington State||4 p.m. (ESPN2)||The Cardinal has won four of their last five, but those wins were simply avoiding bad losses. The one loss came to Colorado. They have been living off that win over Alabama in November, but the only other win over a bracket team since came against UCLA. They have games at USC and home to Oregon next.|
|LSU vs. Auburn||4 p.m. (ESPN)||LSU has emerged from a tough stretch where it lost four out of five with wins over Miss St and Tennessee. That latter one was huge because it was the Tigers second over a likely tournament team and their best of the season. They still have a trip to Arkansas left on the schedule, but the other games can only hurt. A loss to Auburn would not just as much as some others though.|
|SETON HALL at Georgetown||5:30 p.m. (CBSSN)||Seton Hall has done pretty well away from home this season with wins at Xavier, UConn and Penn State. That will have to continue for the Pirates as they finish with three of four on the road. The last two games will be helpful. This one is not.|
|NORTH CAROLINA vs. Louisville||6 p.m. (ESPN)||North Carolina scheduled a mid-week game against Northeastern last week in part because the Tar Heels had not had many chances to play at home. That is about to change. UNC needs quality wins if it is going to make the NCAA Tournament and its next two games are this one and at home to Florida State. The Heels may not get better chances than this.|
|MISSISSIPPI vs. Mississippi State||6 p.m. (SECN)||We welcome Mississippi to the bubble with a game against its in-state rival. Mississippi has gotten hot, winning four in a row, and needs to stay hot. Three of their four games left are against non-contenders, but they might need to win all four to charge into the bracket.|
|ST. JOHN'S vs. DePaul||7:30 p.m. (FS1)||The Red Storm have picked up a couple of good wins at home lately over Villanova and Xavier to give themselves a chance to play their way into the field. However, their one loss in the last eight games came at Butler, which is their worst loss of the season. This would be worse than that.|
|SAN DIEGO STATE at Fresno State||7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)||The Aztecs are 4-4 vs Quads 1-2, but 0-3 against Q1. Their best wins are UCLA and Colorado State at home, which was part of a split of two games at home with the Rams. Nothing good can come from this game, but SDSU cannot take a loss to the Bulldogs.|
|COLORADO at Oregon State||8 p.m. (ESPNU)||The Buffaloes have three bad losses, the most recent of which came at Cal last Saturday. They need a win here to avoid another bad loss and build momentum for the visit from the L.A. teams next week.|
|OREGON vs. Utah||9 p.m. (P12N)||The Ducks have bounced back from a couple of bad losses to win four in a row. The most recent of those came over fellow bubbler Colorado. Unfortunately, they don't have many games left that help them move up the bracket quickly and this is Oregon's last regular season game at home.|
|UCLA vs. Arizona State||10 p.m. (ESPN2)||The Bruins are not in too bad of shape in terms of the bracket, however they only have one win over another team in my current bracket. That came at home to Colorado back on Jan. 2. UCLA won't play Oregon in the regular season, but the Bruins still have the return trip to Colorado and a home game with USC. A loss to the Sun Devils would be their worst of the season.|