Welcome back everyone! We had another busy night in the world of college hoops, especially when it pertains to the NCAA tournament "bubble". There were a handful of games with major "bubble" implications, with two of them taking place within the Pac-12. There were winners & losers once again, and as always, plenty to cover so let's jump right into it:
We start in the Pac-12 where Arizona State & Stanford both started the day in the "Last 4 In" category. The Sun Devils were hosting Washington last night, and promptly fell to the Huskies 90-83. It was just the 4th conference win for Washington, and bad timing for a home loss to a team that is no where near the "bubble". It marks the third straight loss for ASU after a 5-game winning streak. While the loss hurt, it didn't quite knock them from the field. Arizona State still has solid enough metrics, and an overall resume that features a big road win at fellow "bubble" foe Stanford. Despite the "bad" loss, ASU remains in the field, but as the second-to-last team in. They need to win the regular season finale at home to Washington State or risk falling out of the field ahead of conference tournament week.
Speaking of Stanford, the Cardinal were also in action last night, as they made the trip up to Corvallis to take on Oregon State. The Beavers came in at just 5-11 in Pac-12 play, and they were able to upset Stanford 68-65, giving them a sweep of the Cardinal on the season. The loss & resulting sweep at the hands of the Beavers does not bode well for a Stanford team that still needs some more wins despite a very solid "NET" ranking of 27. The loss now has them in the middle of the pack in the Pac-12, and with just one road win of note (a 15-point win at UCLA), they still have work to do. The loss dropped them from "Last 4 In" to the first team out of the field. No need to be too discouraged, however, because the Cardinal finish up the season at #13 Oregon tomorrow, which represents a massive opportunity for a "marque" win on the road. Win tomorrow in Eugene, and Stanford will be back in the field, and possibly with room to spare.
The other big game of note in terms of the "bubble" last night, was showdown in the American Athletic Conference. Memphis welcomed Wichita State to town, and ended up scoring their second big resume victory in a week by taking care of the Shockers 68-60. Wichita State really needed the victory to stay safe and remain in the field. The loss was a damaging one, however, because it leaves them significantly lacking in quality wins within the conference. They were swept by Cincinnati, and without a win over Tulsa or Houston on the resume, there just aren't enough wins despite a solid NET of 48. The loss dropped the Shockers out of the field and into the "Next" category, leaving them with some major work to do. It starts on Sunday with a big opportunity at home against Tulsa - who clinched at least a share of the AAC regular season title thanks to Houston's upset loss at UConn last night.
Speaking of Tulsa, they received a boost thanks to that loss by Houston. While the Golden Wave still need a boost to their resume, the opportunity to win the AAC outright with a victory at Wichita State on Sunday is a massive one. Having already clinched at least a share of the regular season title, should help their standing with the committee, and makes Sunday's showdown even more important for both of these perspective "bubble" foes. One final note - Utah State avenged their loss to New Mexico to close out the regular season by rallying past the Lobos 75-70 in the Mountain West tournament to keep their "bubble" hopes alive. After yet another eventful night, here is an updated look at how I see the NCAA tournament "bubble" heading into the final weekend of the regular season:
*Team followed by conference record & overall record in parenthesis, NET ranking/SOS ranking
Last 4 Byes:
✩UCLA (12-5, 19-11) 76/72
✩RICHMOND (13-4, 23-7) 44/94
✩INDIANA (9-10, 19-11) 52/14
✩XAVIER (8-9, 19-11) 42/32 ^
Last 4 In:
❊CINCINNATI (12-5, 19-10) 49/65
❊TEXAS (9-8, 19-11) 56/31
❊ARIZONA STATE (10-7, 19-11) 53/48
❊PURDUE (9-10, 16-14) 32/5 ^
First 4 Out:
STANFORD (9-8, 20-10) 27/75 -
N.C. STATE (9-10, 18-12) 59/42
MISSISSIPPI ST. (10-7, 19-11) 51/53 ^
ARKANSAS (7-10, 19-11) 43/50
Next: (In Order)
MEMPHIS (10-7, 21-9) 60/81 ^
WICHITA ST. (10-7, 22-8) 48/73 -
UTAH STATE (12-6, 24-8) 38/90
TENNESSEE (9-8, 17-13) 55/35
TULSA (13-4, 21-9) 75/91
RHODE ISLAND (12-5, 20-9) 57/83
DUQUESNE (11-6, 21-8) 86/108
FURMAN (15-3, 25-6) 68/121
As always, I appreciate the support and would love to get your thoughts in the comments section below - who are your last 4 teams in as of today?
Be sure to checkout today's video featuring a full "bubble" rundown ahead of the final weekend in the college hoops regular season!:
You can find me on IG & YouTube @sportsguychris
I'll be providing weekly top 25 rankings, NCAA tournament projections, and "bubble" assessments as we get closer to the Big Dance. Be sure to check back for plenty of college hoops coverage & everything else in the world of sports!