"BUBBLE" UPDATE: Seton Hall Falls Flat, Utah State Makes a Move
Welcome back all! We are quickly closing in on Selection Sunday and the revealing of the 2021 NCAA tournament bracket! The "bubble" is shrinking more & more each day, and after Friday's action has really started to take shape.
We start off today in the Big East, where Seton Hall had an opportunity to get to the title game if they could just manage to get past Georgetown. The Hoyas came into the Big East tourny with a losing record, but after a pair of upsets - including over top-seed Villanova, found themselves in the semifinals. The Pirates had to have this one, but fell 66-58, and finish up at just 14-13 with a NET of 57. The loss not only cost them a shot at the conference's automatic bid, but also a chance at snagging one of the final at-large spots. Say goodbye to the Pirates.
The other big game of the day that had a direct impact on the "bubble" was a showdown late Friday night in the Mountain West semifinals between Colorado State and Utah State. The Aggies prevailed 62-50, and have now not only played themselves into the projected bracket, but with the victory over the Rams, actually moved past "last 4 in" territory and into "last 4 byes" territory. As for Colorado State, the loss shouldn't hurt them too much, they should still be in, but are going to be very close to "last 4 in" territory.
While Utah State slid up, a pair of teams that have been mentioned frequently in the "bubble" updates both slid back from last 4 byes to last 4 in. Both UCLA & Louisville now find themselves in the play-in games. The metrics are not as high on either one as they once were, and both are lacking in the 'quality' win department. While both are still in, they will now have to hope that between Saturday & Sunday no "bid thieves" emmerge and bump them out of the field of 68.
I still believe that both will be in, mainly because other teams that were still "alive" going into Friday, could not take advantage of their opportunities. Ole Miss fell to LSU in a game they needed to stay relevant, and SMU was upset by Cincinnati in the American Athletic tournament, leaving their "bubble" burst.
Memphis is still alive and gets a huge opportunity at a 'marque' win if they can knock off 22-3 Houston in the AAC semifinals. Of course, that would also put the Tigers in position to nab the conference's automatic bid.
Lastly, Oregon State upset rival & top-seed Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament on Friday night, bringing the Beavers into the "bubble" fray. The late-season push still might not be enough, but after upsets of UCLA & Oregon, the Beavers can punch their ticket if they can score one more upset - over Colorado in the Pac-12 title game. OSU more-than-likely needs the automatic bid, but with a pair of victories over Oregon (including on the road) and a home-victory over USC, they are at least in the conversation. (2) quad-4 losses may limit their at-large chances, however.
With most of the "bubble" teams now done, the backend of the bracket is pretty well set. Syracuse remains the final team in, while Boise State is the first team out. All eyes will be on Georgetown & Oregon State to see if they can fill the roll of "bid thieves", and then Memphis to see if they can take advantage of the massive opportunity against Houston.
We are almost there - with Selection Sunday just a day away - one final look at the "bubble":
Team, record in ( ), followed by current NET ranking, and W-L record in 'Quad 1' games (via NCAA.com)
LAST 4 BYES
10 MICHIGAN STATE (15-12) 70, 5-11
11 UTAH STATE (20-7) 37, 2-4 ^
11 COLORADO STATE (18-6) 51, 2-3
11 VCU (19-6) 35, 2-4 ^
LAST 4 IN (PLAY-IN GAMES)
11 DRAKE (25-4) 43, 1-2
11 UCLA (17-9) 47, 2-6 -
12 LOUISVILLE (13-7) 56, 1-6 -
12 SYRACUSE (16-9) 40, 1-7
FIRST 4 OUT
BOISE STATE (18-8) 50, 2-4
SAINT LOUIS (14-6) 45, 2-3
*OREGON STATE (16-12) 97, 4-5
MEMPHIS (16-7) 52, 0-3 ^
NEXT 4 OUT (BUBBLE "BURST")
XAVIER (13-8) 59, 1-3
SETON HALL (14-13) 57, 3-8
OLE MISS (16-11) 53, 3-5
ST. JOHN'S (16-11) 69, 2-6
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