NCAA / florida gators

"Bubble" Update: After an Eventful Thursday, It's Still Wide Open
"Bubble" Update: After An Eventful Thursday, It's Still Wide Open The "bubble" had an eventful Thursday, with several head-to-head matchups in multiple conference tournaments acting as de facto elimination games for a possible at-large bid. While a few teams came up short, and seemingly saw their "bubble" burst, others picked up big wins to stay alive ... for now. A pair of teams in the SEC really helped their respective cases yesterday in particular. Florida & Alabama were on shaky ground to say the least heading into yesterday. Recent losing skids had both teams facing virtual must-win games. Florida got all they could handle from Arkansas in the first half, before pulling away for a much-needed victory. The win helps keep Mike White's bunch in the projected bracket. A victory over LSU today would cement them in the field. A loss will leave them very much right on the "bubble". Meanwhile, Avery Johnson and Alabama were also in need of a massive win to help keep their fading at-large hopes alive. They had a great opportunity by drawing Ole Miss in their opening game - an opponent slated to be rather comfortably in the field at the moment. The Crimson Tide were able to grind out a 62-57 victory and now face Kentucky today. A victory over the Wildcats would make two this season for the Tide, and almost certainly catapult them back into the projected field. A loss? Well that would leave them 18-15, and in all likelihood in "first four out" territory. While Florida & Alabama stayed alive, there was an elimination game of sorts in the Big TEN in their 8/9 matchup between Indiana & Ohio State. The Hoosiers came in hot, while the Buckeyes had been reeling. It was OSU that came out on-fire yesterday however, as they raced out to a comfortable first half lead. The Hoosiers made a spirited rally in the closing moments of the game to turn a 16-point deficit into a 4-point loss, but it wasn't enough. Now at just 17-15 overall on the season, with that eye sore of an 8-12 record in Big TEN play, the Hoosiers' had their "bubble" burst. Texas also found themselves in a must-win scenario just to have a chance. The Longhorns came into their Big XII tournament showdown with Kansas at just 16-15, desperately needing another victory (especially a marque one to make up for the mediocre overall record) to cling to "bubble" relevance. They battled hard, but in the end bowed out to the Jayhawks and in the process witnessed their "bubble" burst as well. The bubble may be weak this year, but at just 16-16 overall, it's not weak enough for the committee to do something it's never done before and award an at-large bid to a .500 team. Creighton and Xavier squared off in the Big East tournament where the loser would fall out of "bubble" contention as well. The Musketeers got it done, and although Creighton closed the season strong, the early loss in conference tournament play, to a fellow -surging "bubble" team means Creighton's "bubble" has popped as well. Staying in the Big East, Georgetown's slim chances for an at-large bid went down in a beatdown handed to them by Seton Hall. If the Pirates hadn't already cemented themselves in the field by defeating both Marquette & Villanova last week, the complete domination of the Hoyas should. For Patrick Ewing's bunch, it was an improvement, but still not enough to land an at-large bid. Other "bubble" teams had their conference tournaments come to an end as well yesterday. N.C. State lost to Virginia and St. John's fell to Marquette, allowing the Golden Eagles to end their four-game losing streak. Both teams picked up big wins in the opening rounds of their conference tournaments, and neither were expected to win those matchups yesterday. A win could have really solidified both teams' chances. Instead, the Wolfpack and Red Storm are both in for now, but with other "bubble" teams still in action, and the possibility for bid thieves shrinking the "bubble" even more it will be a nerve-racking wait until the bracket is revealed Sunday. Updated after all of yesterday's conference tournament action, here is how the "bubble" stands heading into the all-important weekend of conference tournament week: "SHOULD BE SAFE": ---------------------------------- MINNESOTA (9-11, 20-12) (56/43) OKLAHOMA (7-11, 19-13) (38/34) "LAST FOUR BYES": --------------------------------- ARIZONA STATE (12-6, 22-9) (67/37) TEMPLE (13-5, 23-8) (50/30) ST. JOHN'S (8-10, 21-12) (66/52) N.C. STATE (9-9, 22-11) (32/103) "LAST FOUR IN": ---------------------------- FLORIDA (9-9, 18-14) (33/68) TCU (7-11, 19-13) (47/46) BELMONT (16-2, 26-5) (45/41) OHIO STATE (8-12, 19-13) (55/74) "FIRST FOUR OUT": -------------------------------- ALABAMA (8-10, 18-14) (58/61) UNC-GREENSBORO (15-3, 28-6) (58/30) FURMAN (13-5, 25-7) (41/58) XAVIER (9-9, 18-14) (71/84) "STILL IN THE MIX": -------------------------------- LIPSCOMB (14-2, 25-7) (48/70) DAVIDSON (14-4, 23-8) (69/43) OREGON (10-8, 21-12) (61/66) "BUBBLE HAS BURST": 💥 -------------------------------------- CLEMSON (9-9, 19-13) (35/49) INDIANA (8-12, 17-15) (51/82) TEXAS (8-10, 16-16) (39/62) CREIGHTON (9-9, 18-14) (54/51) GEORGETOWN (9-9, 19-13) (76/77) Oklahoma's loss to open the Big XII tournament to West Virginia was a bit of a shock and actually made it 2/3 this season for the Mountaineers over the Sooners. However, due to the shallow "bubble" this season, OU will more than likely be the first team in 20 years to fail to win 8 games or more in an 18-game conference schedule, but still receive an at-large bid. Fellow Big XII foe TCU could match them, as they are currently sitting in "last four in" territory after their loss to Kansas State yesterday. At just 7-11 in Big XII play, both should still be a bit cautious heading into selection Sunday - especially the Horned Frogs, who can't afford any retraction of the "bubble". In closing, I essentially see it as 10 teams competing for the final 6 spots. Now those 6 spots could shrink of course thanks to bid thieves over the weekend. As it currently stands though we still have several spots up for grabs, and of course, teams could do it the hard way and win their respective conference tournaments and take it out of the committee's hands. Well ladies & gentlemen there you have it! The "bubble" situation as it stands heading into the final three days of college hoops conference tournament action! As always, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below, who do you have in? Who's out? And thank you all for your support! Happy reading & writing!!

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