ACC Has a Good Bubble Watch Saturday; The Big East Didn’t
Life on the Bubble isn’t easy, especially with March on the horizon. Ask the seven teams who lost today. They weren’t season-ending, bubble popping, turn in the uniform losses. They were, however, ‘we could have helped our resume today, we better win our next game’ type of losses. See who helped their cause today and who wishes they were in that category…Hint!!! The Big East had a bad day, while the ACC had a good day.
NOTE: Three Bubble Watch teams had their games postponed today: SMU vs South Florida, Western Kentucky vs North Texas, and Colorado State vs Nevada. SMU and Colorado State were due to pauses in their own programs. Western Kentucky’s postponement was winter-weather-related in Texas.
Indiana (lost to Michigan State 78-71): The Hoosiers may have been the team who lost the most today. They entered today as one of the Last Four Byes but suffered a bad home loss to Sparty. The road to an NCAA Tournament berth, which is being played in their home state, with games in their own home arena, just got a little tougher. Indiana finishes with Rutgers, Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue. Only one of those games will be played in Assembly Hall.
St. John’s (Lost to DePaul 88-83): The Red Storm rising is now Red Storm falling. A loss to last-place DePaul will do that for you. St. John’s has one resume-enhancing win (Villanova). This loss makes the road longer to hearing their name called Selection Sunday.
Minnesota (lost to Illinois 94-63): The only good news is this performance only counts as one loss for the Golden Gophers, who fell by 31 at home. Minnesota was one of the Last Teams In and might fall out of the next Bracketology.
Stanford (lost to Washington State 85-76 in 3OT): The Cardinal were the proverbial Bubble Team as in THE Last Team In. This 3OT loss will likely see them fall into the Next Four Out category and create some urgency the next time they tipoff against USC Monday night.
UConn (lost to Villanova 68-60): The Huskies had a chance to enter the field as they were THE First Team Out, while certainly adding a huge Quad 1 win today against Villanova. Dan Hurley’s squad played tough but eventually lost by 8.
VCU (lost to George Mason 79-76): VCU was seeded 10th in Joe Lunardi’s latest ESPN Bracketology, so they are safely in the field as of today, but they didn’t do themselves any favors with a head-scratching loss to George Mason to end a five-game winning streak.
Seton Hall (lost to Georgetown 81-75): The Pirates were firmly in the field as a 10-seed, so this loss is not crippling for Seton Hall’s tournament chances. However, it does add some urgency to their last two games of the regular season against UConn and St. John’s.
UNC (beat Louisville 99-54): No one had a bigger win than the Tar Heels Saturday and that does not reference the final margin. UNC had the Final Bye heading into today’s matchup with the Cards. Not only does this add an important Quad 1 win on the Tar Heels resume, but it will also give them a little cushion heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.
Syracuse (beat Notre Dame 75-67): The Orange might have been feeling blue as they trailed the Irish by 20 in the second half. However, a 40-12 run over the final 16 minutes led to a huge win for Jim Boeheim's squad, who still have work to do over the final two weeks. That starts with Duke on Monday night.
Duke (beat Virginia 66-65): The Blue Devils aren’t on Joe Lunardi’s radar just yet, but they claimed their best win of the year beating Virginia, capping off a great day for ACC Bubble Watch teams. Jaemyn Braefield’s layup with 1:59 left provided the difference as neither team scored after that. Guess who Duke gets next? Syracuse Monday night on ESPN.
Oregon (beat Utah 67-64): The Ducks garnered two wins that help solidify their resume in the last 48 hours. They followed up a Thursday win over Colorado with a three-point win over Utah. They also stayed even in the loss column with league leaders USC and UCLA (pending ASU late game).
LSU (beat Auburn 104-80): The Tigers are inching toward removal from Bubble Watch. Their 104 points were the most scored against an SEC foe since 1994. Cameron Thomas poured in 27 points as he adds to his resume for freshman postseason awards within the SEC and nationally.
Richmond (beat Duquesne 79-72): The Spiders needed a win after falling to VCU on Thursday night. They scored the last seven points of the game to avoid a crippling defeat and keep their Bubble Watch status for another week.
Georgia Tech (beat Miami 87-60): The Wreckers wasted no time in its win over Miami as they jumped out to a 48-18 halftime lead. Michael Devoe tallied 29 points for Josh Pastner’s squad, who still has a long road to hearing their name on Selection Sunday.
Sunday’s Games To Watch: Wichita State/East Carolina 12 pm; Maryland/Rutgers 3 pm; and Drake/Evansville 4 pm