Bracketology Bubble Watch: UCLA, NC State, Texas, Texas Tech, Rutgers look to pick up crucial victories
Five teams on the bubble are in action Thursday
We had an even split on Wednesday. Two teams won games that keep them alive, one of which off the bubble. For two others, Selection Sunday will be a nervy day.
Xavier and Stanford each lost to the No. 10 seeds in their conference tournaments. For Xavier, it's just their second Quadrant 2 loss and therefore, their second worst loss of the season. Stanford took a second Quadrant 3 loss, each of which came to Cal. The Cardinal are more in danger of the two that lost Wednesday.
Thursday before Selection Sunday is typically one of the busier bubble days of the week, mostly because several teams end up losing to finish their seasons. There is a lot at stake for these teams.
All times Eastern
|Team||Game||Time (TV)||Bubble breakdown|
|Texas Tech vs. Texas||12:30 p.m. (ESPN2)||This is an elimination game, but the winner is not definitely in. That is especially true of Texas Tech, which sits at 18-13 overall, but only 10-13 against teams above Q4. The Red Raiders have a NET ranking in the top 25, which is remarkable and shows the power of margin of victory in the NET. They have the third biggest difference between NET ranking and RPI of any team in the top 75 of the NET. They would be 50 spots lower in the RPI, which would make seeing the flaws in their resume more obvious to the casual observer. Like the RPI, the NET is not a decisive thing and while the committee is definitely not using or looking at the RPI, they are also not casual observers. Those flaws will be obvious to them as well.|
|Texas does not have any bad losses either, but are just 7-12 vs Q1-2, and four of those losses are Q2. The Longhorns took their two worst losses of the season in the last seven games, but won the other five to at least give themselves a chance. Beating Texas Tech doesn't guarantee anything, but losing means a trip to the NIT.|
|Rutgers vs. Michigan||12 p.m. (BTN)||The Scarlet Knights' troubles away from home are well documented, but today they face the only team to beat them at the RAC this season. A win locks Rutgers into the field and they may get in even with a loss, but when you are historically bad in an important factor to the committee, you can't be too comfortable.|
|NC State vs. Duke||2:30 p.m. (ESPN)||The Wolfpack beat Duke once before, but that was at home, as was their win over Wisconsin. Better to have good home wins than none at all, but a win away from home, albeit in an empty arena, could put NC State into the field for good.|
|UCLA vs. Cal||9 p.m. (P12N)||UCLA's remarkable run through the Pac-12 has put them into the bracket, but they are far from safe. The Bruins definitely cannot afford a bad loss at this point. It would have been better for them to face Stanford, but that's not in the cards. This is must-win for UCLA.|
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