Arkansas made the biggest splash among the NCAA Tournament bubble teams on Tuesday night with an 80-76 overtime win over No. 1 Auburn. Needless to say, that is the Razorbacks' biggest win of the season so far and their ninth straight win overall. It is also just their second win over a team likely to make the tournament.
North Carolina picked up a hard-fought, 79-77 win at Clemson -- the Tar Heels' best win away from home so far this season. They get three of their next four at home and the road game is Virginia Tech, which is one of just three ACC teams in the top 60 of the NET after Duke.
West Virginia stopped a seven-game losing streak with a 79-63 win over Iowa State. The Mountaineers moved to 14-9 with the win, which is important because teams with records that are fewer than four games above .500 only get into the NCAA tournament as at-large teams under extraordinary circumstances.
The biggest loser of the evening, though, was San Francisco, which lost 69-68 at home to Portland. That's a Quad 4 loss that is not going away. A team can get into the field with a Q4 loss; it happens every season, but that team rarely gets a good seed.
Indiana announced before its game with Northwestern on Tuesday that five players were suspended for violating team rules. The suspended players included two starters, the backup center and all of the team's point guards. So, we should not be surprised the Hoosiers lost at Northwestern. While the selection committee is aware of a team's roster issues when it goes through the selection process, keep in mind that does not mean losses get ignored or assumed to be wins. Losses are never anything more than losses.
USC was a loser as well, even though it won. The Trojans added Pacific to an already miserable nonconference schedule and have dropped to the bottom of the SOS rankings among potential at-large teams. They have a win over San Diego State, which is in the bracket for now, but that's about it. How the Trojans stay in the polls is beyond me, as I can barely keep them in the bracket.
Now we turn our attention to another busy slate of games this evening, including pivotal matchups in the Big 12 and American Athletic Conference.
Here are the bubble teams in action Wednesday. All times Eastern
Bubble teams in action
|vs. Georgia, 6:30 p.m. | SEC Network fuboTV (Try for free) -- Speaking of Quad 4 losses, the Gators are still trying to mitigate the damage of a home loss to Texas Southern. Playing Georgia does not help with that, but Florida can avoid further damage with a win. Florida only has one Quad 1 win, which came over Ohio State in Ft. Myers, and is just 4-7 vs. the top two quadrants.|
|vs. Houston, 7 p.m. | ESPN2, fuboTV (Try for free) -- SMU has the best chance to become the second team from the AAC to crack the bracket, but the Mustangs probably cannot do that without beating Houston. The Cougars have dominated this league all season long and are the only potential quality win for the bubble teams in the conference. SMU has a loss in each of Quad 3 and Quad 4, so its margin for error is very small.|
|vs. Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. -- Miami won at Duke a few weeks ago, which is the best a team can do in this league, but they have been very inconsistent since then and are sliding down the bracket. The 'Canes now enter a string of winnable games. Even the road games are ones a solid tournament team should win, with the exception of the game at Wake Forest on Saturday. Miami will likely be an underdog in that one, so it needs to start a strong stretch run tonight.|
|vs. St. Joseph's, 7 p.m. | ESPN+ -- A-10 leader Davidson has had a good season, which includes a win over Alabama. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, their conference schedule has one-plays with Richmond, St. Bonaventure, Saint Louis and Dayton, which are four of the five teams right behind them in the standings. That means they have a lot of games left which hurt their schedule strength and are no more than potential bad losses, including tonight.|
|vs. Xavier, 7 p.m. | FS1, fuboTV (Try for free) -- Seton Hall gets a chance to improve its tournament resume by adding a Quad 1 win tonight with a victory over Xavier. After tonight, there are only three home games remaining for the Pirates, all against teams near the bottom of the standings. This is their best chance left to pick up a big win.|
|vs. Louisville, 7 p.m. | ESPNU, fuboTV (Try for free) -- The Irish have bounced back nicely from the ugly loss to Duke last week with wins at Miami and NC State. Notre Dame has been good on its home floor this season and has a home-heavy finishing schedule. The Irish need to take advantage of that.|
|at NC State, 7 p.m. | ACC Network, fuboTV (Try for free) -- Wake Forest has a gaudy record, but little behind it. The Demon Deacons' nonconference strength of schedule ranks 329th. Among potential at-large teams, only Indiana's (331) and USC's (noted above) are worse. Indiana, however, has wins over Purdue and Ohio State, albeit at home. Wake has yet to beat a team that is currently in the at-large portion of the bracket, let alone teams as good as those. Teams with resumes that look like Wake Forest's routinely get left out. Unfortunately, tonight's game does not provide an opportunity to fix that problem.|
|vs. Tulane, 8 p.m. ESPN+ -- There may not be a team that has failed to live up to the level of its talent as much as Memphis. The Tigers have multiple wins and multiple losses in each of the top three quadrants and are 8-8 overall against that group. Needless to say, tonight is a must-win, then opportunities for big wins follow. Memphis' next three games are at Houston, at Cincinnati and at SMU.|
|vs. Pitt, 9 p.m. | ACC Network, fuboTV (Try for free) -- Florida State got the big win over Duke but has not done enough to take advantage of that. The Seminoles have lost four straight and cannot afford to lose to the last-place Panthers anywhere, but especially at home. The Duke rematch is coming up and the Noles need to get hot going into that game.|
|vs. Tennessee, 9 p.m. | ESPN2 fuboTV (Try for free) -- The Bulldogs have home wins over Alabama and Arkansas, and for now, that is barely good enough to be in the bracket. They need to take advantage of getting a good team at home because this happens only one other time -- when Auburn visits on March 2.|
|vs. Texas Tech, 9 p.m. | ESPNU fuboTV (Try for free) -- The Sooners' primary problem at the moment is that they are only 13-10. They have lost eight of their last 10 in a very unforgiving Big 12. It does not get any easier tonight. Heck, it never gets easier, but if the Sooners cannot start winning at least some of these home games, their tournament hopes could get dashed quickly.|
|at Bradley, 9 p.m. | CBS Sports Network -- Loyola was on a roll early on but have come back to the pack some lately. A home loss to Missouri State is a particular head-scratcher, but the Ramblers also lost at Drake, which is not quite as good as it was last season. They cannot afford too many more losses in the league if they hope to be an at-large team.|
|at San Jose State, 11 p.m. | CBS Sports Network -- The Aztecs have nice wins over St. Mary's and Colorado State, but the losses are starting to stack up. None of them have come to opponents that hurt, but that 42-37 home loss to Boise State was particularly ugly. A loss at San Jose State would be one that may be too much for the Aztecs to overcome.|