Michigan was on the bubble but in the projected bracket as a No. 9 seed before Saturday’s 82-70 victory vs. Purdue. Now the Wolverines are solidly in the field of 68 for now and were the big winner of the day.

Here’s a complete rundown of all the bubble teams in action.

Saturday’s ‘Double-Bubble’ games

Rhode Island 69, VCU 59

This is a huge win for Rhode Island, which was the last team out of the bracket heading into Saturday’s games and needed another quality win.  The Rams are not out of the woods yet, especially since they have shown an ability to have brain cramps at home against lesser foes.  URI has nothing but potential bad losses left on the schedule.

For VCU, it was a lost opportunity to pick up a quality win on the road, which is the biggest thing missing from their tournament profile.  VCU will get another chance next time out when the Rams go to Dayton.  They will also get a chance to pull back into a tie for first in the A-10.

Providence 73, Marquette 69

Marquette had a double digit lead in the second half, but could not hold off the Friars in a game that both teams needed.

Providence has now won four in a row, all over potential tournament teams, and has a sweep of the Golden Eagles.  However, the Friars already have three bad losses, so games left against DePaul and at St. John’s are must win too.

Marquette drops to 17-11 overall and has games left at Xavier and at home with Creighton.  The Golden Eagles do not necessarily need quality wins, but they do not have a choice.  Marquette likely needs a split of those two games to give themselves a good chance at  a bid entering the conference tournament.

Looking for the big win

West Virginia 61, TCU 60

TCU fell agonizingly short again of getting that big win it really needs, no thanks to a controversial foul call at the end of the game.  That is the fifth loss in a row for the Horned Frogs, which must simply stop the bleeding now.  It is not too late yet, but they will likely need to do something in the conference tournament to build their case.

Michigan 82, Purdue 70

The Wolverines knocked off the Big Ten leaders in a game that was not as close as this score would indicate.  Michigan has now five out of six, with the loss coming in overtime at Minnesota.  This is how a team plays its way into the field.  The Wolverines are off the bubble.

Looking to avoid the bad loss

Oklahoma 81, Kansas State 51

Well, that was embarrassing.  Nothing says “send us to the NIT” like a 30-point loss to the last place team in the league.  That is the Wildcats’ eighth loss in the last ten games.  They are lucky to still have two weeks to fix this mess.  The question is whether they can.

Seton Hall 82, DePaul 79

It wasn’t pretty, but the Pirates did what they had to do.  NCAA Tournament teams win games like this and Seton Hall did.  Now, they need to keep that up because another taking care of business game is next.  Slumping Georgetown visits on Tuesday.

Wichita State 86, Missouri State 67

Wichita State has people everywhere backing them. Gary Parrish wrote a column about how unfair the whole process is to the Shockers. He talked about how they had to replace three starters from last season (Gonzaga lost four) and had to play the best teams on their schedule early (Gonzaga beat Florida, Arizona and Iowa State by Dec. 3) when they were still trying to figure things out.

He also said that these were things out of their control, which is false. The only thing about this season that Wichita State could not control is that the MVC is having its worst season since 2003. Of course, they are part of that problem. The fact is that the Shockers didn’t get the job done. They lost to Michigan State, which might not make the tournament, on a neutral floor. They got blown out at home by Oklahoma State. Those teams were still trying to figure things out too. Michigan State still is. At that time of year, every team is.

Parrish loves Wichita State’s KenPom rating, which would make the Shockers a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament if you used only that. However, Ken Pomeroy said in our meeting with the NCAA about metrics that the committee should not use his ratings in the selection process because they do not measure the things that the committee wants to reward. The result of all this is that Wichita State might have to win the league, which is something it controls and is perfectly fair. And frankly, if the Shockers are as good as everyone says they are, that will not be a problem. 

The win over Missouri State avoided their first bad loss and gave the Shockers a share of the MVC title.  They will be the second seed in the MVC tournament after losing a tiebreaker with Illinois State due to RPI.

Illinois State 63, Northern Iowa 42

Illinois State looked dominant for the first time in a couple of weeks in the Cardinals MVC tournament tuneup.  They shared the regular season title with Wichita State and will be the No. 1 seed in Arch Madness due to a better RPI.  Wichita State may be the better at-large candidate though because ISU has a couple of bad losses.

Boise State 85, San Jose State 78

Boise State is still hanging in there after a win over the Spartans.  The Broncos avoided a bad loss, which would have likely popped their bubble and stayed in touch with the top of the league in the Mountain West race.

Nevada 94, UNLV 58

There is nothing like sticking it to your archrival by 36 on their home floor.  Nevada is still in first place in the Mountain West, but does not have a quality win outside of the league.  The fact the Wolf Pack played only one potential tournament team in non-conference play could be held against them.  The fact that they got smoked in that game would be too.

Arkansas 79, Auburn 68

Arkansas has done some nice work since its disastrous Missouri-Vanderbilt two-step. The Razorbacks have now won five in a row since that awful week.  They still lack in the quality win department, but at least they are not hurting themselves any more.

Ole Miss 80, Missouri 77

Ole Miss nearly flushed its season down the drain, but held on to beat Missouri.  When there is not a whole lot about your tournament profile that is outstanding, you certainly don’t want to add such a huge negative.  Mississippi narrowly avoided that.

Texas A&M 56, Alabama 53

Alabama spent this week proving that it is not ready for prime time.  First, a home loss to Georgia, then a loss to the Aggies.  There is no reason to think the Tide can make the kind of run it needs to make the tournament.  Bubble popped.

UT Arlington 86, South Alabama 75

UT Arlington is trying to finish out the regular season without taking another bad loss and seeing if it can get far enough along in the Sun Belt Tournament to give itself a chance at an at-large bid if it needs one. The Mavericks have the best nonconference win of any of these smaller-conference champions, a victory at Saint Mary’s. They have three games left in the regular season, all potential bad losses.


Dayton 89, Davidson 82 (OT)

It took a late rally to force overtime, and then, of course, overtime, but the Flyers got the win they needed.  Dayton has won eight in a row and is a half-game up on VCU in the Atlantic 10.  Even though it is a road game, this would have been considered a bad loss if the Flyers had not come through.

Cal 76, Oregon State 46

In RPI terms, Oregon State is not just the worst team in a major conference this season, the Beavers are close to breaking the record set by Rutgers last year for the worst RPI ever for a major conference team.  Rutgers came in at 294 in 2016, while Oregon State currently sits at 291.  So, Cal did what Cal had to do to a team of that caliber.  Having to play the game at all was bad enough.  Losing would have been an unmitigated disaster.