0

Bubble Wrap – Thursday Edition

Bubble wrap

Wednesday night was typically busy as far as mid-February bubble activity is concerned. Here’s what you need to know about the night’s action.

ACC

Miami continued its hot play, winning a must-win home game against upstart Georgia Tech that is on the periphery of the bubble, looking in. The Hurricanes are in the midst of solidifying their spot in the big dance, edging away from the dreaded play-in games.

Atlantic 10

Rhode Island, who I had as my first team out on Tuesday, received a devastating blow to their tourney chances last night by doing the unthinkable: losing to Fordham. Yes, Fordham. Wait, there’s more, they lost to Fordham at home. The Rams respectable R.P.I. will take a huge hit, as will their tournament hopes.

Big 12

Kansas State looked to be in decent shape a couple days ago, but an 87-79 home loss to Iowa State drops the Wildcats to 5-8 in league play and suddenly they have a lot more work to do. The Cyclones, meanwhile, are entering borderline lock territory.

Speaking of home losses, TCU and Jamie Dixon suffered a tough one at the hands of Oklahoma State, which puts the Horned Frogs’ tournament hopes in peril. Conversely, the Cowboys move to within a game of .500 in league play and likely improve on their current 8-seed projection.

Big East

The Big East is one of the most interesting leagues when talking bubble, because four of its teams are on it and there is little separation between them. Providence got a big home win versus Xavier, keeping the Friars in the hunt. However, it will be an uphill battle for Providence thanks to a slew of bad losses, including at BC and at DePaul.

Seton Hall needed 41 points from Khadeen Carrington in order to secure a big-time home victory over Creighton. The win should push the Hall further into the tournament field, after being my last team in, as of Tuesday.

Big Ten

Indiana just can’t buy one. Last night’s game versus Minnesota was basically a must-win for the reeling Hoosiers. It looked like they might pull it out, after taking a five-point lead with just over two minutes to play. But, as has been the case for most of the season, Indiana could not finish the job and dropped their fourth straight game and sixth out of their last seven. Things are looking quite bleak for Tom Crean and company.

Missouri Valley

Illinois State sneaked by Missouri State and moved to 14-1 in conference and more importantly, kept their R.P.I. in the low 30s. The Redbirds are currently on the outside looking in and likely need to win the MVC tournament in order to go dancing.

Wichita State won at Southern Illinois and likely stay put in the last-four-in range. The Shockers, too, will need to win the conference tournament in order to feel safe.

SEC

Arkansas, one of my last four out, got their biggest win of the season, last night at South Carolina. The win does wonders for their resume, taking some of the stink off of their horrible loss at lowly Missouri, twelve days ago.

Alabama kept its long, long shot odds intact by squeaking past aforementioned Missouri, 57-54. Bama is actually 8-5 in league play, but has a high R.P.I. and just one top 50 win.

Scott Zolotorow