Welcome to March! Let the madness begin!
Here are the bubble teams playing on Wednesday and how they fared:
Wednesdayâs âDouble-bubbleâ games
Kansas State at TCU
Kansas State 75, TCU 74
Kansas State got a much-needed victory at TCU. The WIldcats (18-12) gave themselves a little bit of cushion entering the regular-season finale. K-State has quality victories against Baylor, West Virginia and Oklahoma State, so that is not an issue for the Wildcats. It is simply having a good enough record to get considered.
For TCU, this might be the end of their realistic at-large hopes. The Horned Frogs (16-13) are 2-10 against the RPI top 50 and 11-13 vs. the top 200. None of those numbers is good enough, especially since the two top-50 wins are not against higher-quality teams. The Horned Frogs need to put a winning streak together, but it might have to carry through to a conference championship.
Marquette 95, Xavier 84
Marquette picked up another top-50 win tonight, giving them six on the season. Quality is not a problem for the Golden Eagles. Their nonconference strength of schedule is dragging them down a bit, but Marquette is getting closer to safely in the field. They will finish at home with Creighton.
Xavier, on the other hand, continues to slide. The Musketeers have lost six in a row, and while none of those losses is bad, the losses are mounting. Xavier needs to stop the bleeding and soon. Up next is DePaul: That would be a bad loss.
Illinois 73, Michigan State 70
Illinois (17-12) picked up another good victory. That is Illinoisâ fifth victory against a middle-of-the-bracket team, the best two of which came against Northwestern. The Illini needed to get hot and stay hot to give themselves a shot at an at-large bid. So far, so good.
Michigan State is still struggling away from home, which is why it is still on the bubble. The Spartans are done playing at home. They are now 18-12 with a game at Maryland left before the Big Ten tournament. That will be their second successive game as the opponent on senior night. MSU needs one more victory to feel comfortably in the bracket.
Other bubble teams in action Wednesday
Wake Forest 88, Louisville 81
What a huge victory for Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons had been only 1-9 against the RPI top 50, but they added a high-quality win to that count. The only thing that would have been better would have been to win it on the road. Wake is only 17-12, so it still has some work to do.
Florida 78, Arkansas 65
Arkansas was never in this game. The Hogs did not have to win to make the tournament, but it would have taken them off the bubble. They still have a tough game with Georgia left before the SEC tournament.
Dayton 79, VCU 72
VCU was playing from behind the whole game and got close, but could not quite get over the hump. The Flyers clinched the outright Atlantic 10 regular-season championship. VCU is still looking for that quality victory away from home. That opportunity will not present itself again until the conference tournament.
Alabama 70, Mississippi 55
Ole Miss needed this game to give itself a realistic chance of doing what needed to be done to get an at-large bid. The Rebels didnât get it, and they didnât even come close. Their bubble is popped.
Georgia 79, Auburn 78
Georgia survived a scare in its first game on the bubble. The Bulldogs trailed big early and by seven at the half before coming back to win. Georgia avoided a potentially damaging loss, but will get a chance to pick up a victory against a fellow bubbler at Arkansas next.
Rhode Island 68, Saint Josephâs 49
The Rams had an easy time with Saint Joeâs, as you would expect. Rhode Island played well coming off a big victory against VCU. The Rams could really use another top-100 win, but will have to wait until the conference tournament.
Nevada 82, San Jose State 67
Nevada got back into a tie for first place with Colorado State in the Mountain West, but more important, avoided a bad loss that would have ended any chance at an at-large bid.