Thursday saw a team drop out of the bracket and another get its "bid" stolen without even playing. Such is life on the bubble.
Friday's game focus on three teams very near the bottom of the bracket and one trying to stay in contention.
Let's start with the bubble teams that played on Thursday:
Wichita State lost at Memphis 68-60: It was a comfortable win for Memphis over the Shockers, and enough to drop Wichita State out of the bracket for now. Ironically, the new team in the bracket is Tulsa, the current conference leader. However, the Golden Hurricane are not in as an at-large team. Tulsa took Cincinnati's bid, not Wichita State's.
Stanford lost at Oregon State 68-65: This isn't an especially damaging loss for the Cardinal, at least not enough to drop them from the bracket entirely. They have a chance at a signature win at Oregon next, which would give Stanford the season sweep. Their tournament hopes more likely will not be resolved before the Pac-12 Tournament.
Here are the bubble teams in action Friday. All times Eastern
|Team||Game||Time (TV)||Bubble breakdown|
|NORTHERN IOWA vs. Drake||1 p.m. (ESPN+)||UNI has borderline at-large hopes. Those ride on losing to nobody but Loyola in Arch Madness. Drake is not Loyola, so the Panthers need a win on Friday.|
|Wake Forest at NC STATE||7 p.m. (ACCN)||NC State got drilled at Duke last time out, which is not a big deal, but it was a win the Wolfpack really could have used. If the Wolfpack lose this game, they would be pushed off the wrong end of the bubble.|
|RICHMOND at Duquesne||7 p.m. (ESPN+)||Richmond has a win over Big Ten co-leader Wisconsin and a road win over Rhode Island, but otherwise, the best thing you can say about the Spiders' resume is that it is inoffensive. A loss to Duquesne isn't awful, but might be enough to move them down and out.|
|UTAH STATE vs. Wyoming||11:30 p.m. (CBSSN)||The second-seeded Aggies tried really hard to blow their tournament hopes in their first-round game against New Mexico, but they overcame significant foul trouble and a big second-half deficit to win and advance. On Friday, they face the 11th-seeded Cowboys, who knocked off Nevada on Thursday. Needless to say, this is a must-not-lose for Utah State.|