It’s another solid weekend of Bubble Watch games this weekend. There are 20 games over the three-day weekend that will have far-reaching implications come Selection Sunday. March is now less than 72 hours away and time is dwindling to impress the Committee and enhance your resume.
Before we jump in, let’s take a quick look at Thursday’s winners and losers.
One night after three of the four Bubble Teams who played lost, that trend continued. Western Kentucky, Stanford, Minnesota, and Boise State all lost. Heck, the one team who benefited the most from a Thursday night win was Michigan State, which isn’t officially a Bubble Watch team....yet! Hint: They will be next week. Why? Sparty has beaten Illinois and Ohio State in the last 48 hours to improve to 13-9. They play at Maryland in a Bubblicious game Sunday at 2 pm.
We’ll be back with another post on Saturday night to let you know who helped and hurt their resume with their performance and highlight Sunday’s Bubble Watch games.
Western Kentucky (Lost to Houston 81-57): Western Kentucky gambled and scheduled Houston, but the Cougars showed why they are worth a high seed with this win. The Hilltoppers were within one at halftime but were outscored 42-19 in the final 20 minutes.
Stanford (Lost to Oregon 71-68): The Cardinal were the First Team Out in Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology and missed an opportunity with this loss to Oregon. Life on the Bubble is hard! Stanford is now 14-10 and hosts Oregon State Saturday and then plays at USC on March 3.
Minnesota (Lost to Northwestern 67-59): When you are the Second to Last Team in the Field, you can’t lose to 6-14 (3-13 in Big 10) Northwestern at home, where you are 13-2 on the season. But that’s exactly what Richard Pitino’s squad did Thursday night. Granted they were without two of their arguably most important three players, still, this result will HURT on Selection Sunday!
Boise State (lost to San Diego State 78-66 OT): The Broncos were a 10-seed in the latest Bracketology and had a chance to solidify their resume against the Aztecs, who are firmly in the field as a 9-seed. The two teams will meet again Saturday afternoon.
Now, let’s take a look at the weekend slate of games. As a reminder, there are three categories - Bubblicious, Resume Enhancing, and Bubble Games.
Friday, February 26, 2021
There are only four games on Friday’s slate, highlighted by a bubblelicious matchup between Richmond and St. Louis. Neither team was in the field in Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology, with Richmond placed in the First Four Out category. St. Bonaventure (George Washington), Drake (Bradley), and Utah State (Nevada) are also in action.
Those four games serve as the appetizer to the Saturday feast. Get your errands done early, so you can have your me-time on the couch taking in your choice of the following games.
Bubblicious - Two bubble teams squaring off in an ultra-important game. These could feature teams inside the latest Bracketology predictions or those outside them. Or both. Either way, it’s teams who have not played themselves into LOCK status just yet.
Syracuse vs Georgia Tech - 12 pm ACCN
Of these two teams, Georgia Tech is closer to hearing their name called on Selection Sunday. Josh Pastner’s team is 38th in the NCAA NET Rankings and has won three in a row, including a Quad 1 win over Virginia Tech in their last outing. Syracuse has three resume-enhancing opportunities starting with GT and concluding with UNC and Clemson at home to impress the Committee.
Duke vs Louisville - 6 pm ESPN
Let’s do a blind resume test.
Team A - 11-9 - NET 49 - 2-3 Quad 1 - Hasn’t seen their name in Bracketology since December
Team B - 12-5 - NET 48 - 0-4 Quad 1 - Been firmly in the field all season
This game might be a bigger game for Louisville (Team B). It’s a big game for both teams.
Resume Enhancing - A bubble team taking on a team right now that is solidly in the field of 68, creating a chance for a quality win to improve a team’s resume.
Indiana vs Michigan - Noon
The Hoosiers are on the brink of seeing their season collapse. They have lost three of their last four and fallen to 53rd in the NCAA NET Rankings. The bad news, they play Michigan. The good news, they play Michigan. If you want to impress the committee, no better way than to beat a 1-seed.
UNC vs FSU - 4 pm ESPN
The Tar Heels are coming in off a loss to Marquette during the week. UNC has fallen to a 10-seed in the latest Bracketology while seeing their NET fall to 44 (from 33). They only have one Quad 1 win. They can double that against FSU Saturday.
Boise State vs San Diego State - 4 pm CBSS
These two teams just played Thursday night and the Aztecs won in OT. Boise State, who was a 10-seed in the latest Bracketology, can help solidify their bid by earning a split.
Bubble Games - These games pit a team on the Bubble playing a non-Bubble team, who can ill-afford a conceived “bad” loss. The “bubble” team is listed first.
VCU vs Davidson - 2 pm ESPNU
VCU stock is rising as they have climbed to a 10-seed in the latest Bracketology. The Rams are tied with St. Bonaventure for first place and would love a win in what is their final regular-season game as of now.
UConn vs Marquette - 2:30 pm Fox
The Huskies (11-6, 8-6) have moved into the field (Last Four Teams In) with wins in three of their last four games. A win over Marquette will help keep them in the field in advance of a huge game against Seton Hall on Wednesday.
Ole Miss vs Vandy - 3:30 pm SECN
The Rebels (13-9, 8-7, 57 NCAA NET) just joined Bubble Watch last week and are in The Next Four Out category and play last-place Vanderbilt twice in the next seven days. The game in between also looms large - vs Kentucky - Tuesday night in Oxford.
Stanford vs Oregon State - 7 pm Pac12N
The Cardinal missed an opportunity to claim a resume-enhancing win when they lost to Oregon Thursday night. Now Stanford (14-10, 10-8, 58 NET, 4 Quad 1 wins) hosts Oregon State in a must-win game before traveling to play Pac 12 leader USC on Wednesday night to close the regular season.
Drake vs Bradley - 7 pm ESPN+
Drake (23-2, 14-2, 34 NET) is firmly in the field but just lost Roman Penn with a season-ending foot injury. Bradley (11-14, 5-11) offers the Bulldogs an opportunity to learn how to play without him. Drake will want to sweep Bradley to stay atop the Missouri Valley standings with Loyola.