Alabama, Seton Hall among week's biggest bubble winners
One game can mean so much, good or bad, at this point in the season. A number of teams took significant steps toward or away from the Field of 68 this week. Ahead of Tuesday's next full update, here's an interim look at the biggest bubble results from this week (teams in alphabetical order):
The Tide won at Arkansas and can now put themselves in a good spot if they can handle Mississippi State at home on Saturday. If they win enough games down the stretch, the committee won't have to worry about personnel availability when it comes to bracket inclusion.
The Bearcats continue to win and improve their RPI. After handling Louisville at home Thursday night, they now need a road win at South Florida or a home victory over Marquette to get to 11 Big East wins. It's not a vintage year in the league, but that will be hard to argue with.
The Rams toppled New Mexico at home for a second significant home win in conference play. Now they travel to San Diego State (seeking a sweep and a chance to pull even with the Aztecs) before hosting UNLV (which has struggled a lot on the road). Computer numbers look great, but actual profile inspection is a bit lighter. Initial sense is the Rams need to get two more big wins -- either sweep this week, or get a split and then win an MWC semifinal.
The Flyers' win and St. Joe's unexpected home loss, help bump the Flyers another half-step up in the A-10 pecking order. Getting past the road trip at Duquesne opens the door for a possible 10-6 finish. Of course, this is Dayton, so anything can happen, especially with a visit from UMass.
It's not clear if the Dragons can get an at-large without a top-50 win and such a weak SOS. The only path to one involves a CAA title. With George Mason's loss Wednesday night, the Dragons can claim a solo crown by winning at Old Dominion this weekend. They benefited from a schedule where they only played VCU and Mason at home, but leave that for the committee to parse out.
The Zags took care of BYU at home Thursday and will lock up at least second place (and the double bye) with a win at San Diego this weekend. This also keeps them nicely on track for an at-large if needed.
The Wildcats wrapped up the best back-to-back road wins in the nation this season, backing up the victory at Baylor by completing a sweep of Missouri with a win in Columbia. Things look really good now, and will look even better if they can handle Iowa State this weekend in Manhattan.
The Gaels hammered Portland on the road Thursday and now are a win at San Francisco away from a solo WCC crown. That should be plenty to see the Gaels into the bracket, regardless of what happens in what could be a really good conference tournament.
The Pirates picked up an enormous home win with a romp of Georgetown on Tuesday, getting back to .500 in the league and adding another high-quality win to the profile. Now with Rutgers at home and at DePaul remaining, 10-8 looks very attainable. That should be enough to get the Pirates into the NCAAs.
Any real at-large hopes for the Buffaloes vaporized in a crushing home loss to Stanford Thursday night.
The Hurricanes suffered a damaging loss Tuesday night, falling at Maryland. This is their first loss that can be considered questionable, but they don't have a ton in the plus side of the ledger, either. Now they really need to grab these next three, including home to Florida State and then a possible quasi-elimination bout at N.C. State.
The Wolfpack had three straight shots at a profile-defining victory and couldn't get any of them. Now even if they can win their last three and finish 10-6 with a sweep of Miami, they'll need to do some solid work in the ACC tournament to feel like they have legitimate at-large hopes.
The Wildcats had a win in their grasp, but couldn't close out Michigan and lost in overtime for a very damaging home defeat. Now if they can't beat Ohio State at home next week, they'll finish under .500 in the league, which makes them a dicey bubble proposition. They're no certainty to win at Penn State and surging Iowa, either. The streak may continue thanks to the latest in a series of tough Ls this season.
The Golden Eagles need to be more careful than they have been, dropping another league game (at UTEP) and falling behind Memphis in the title race. The computer numbers are great. The best wins aren't and they still have a road game left at Marshall, which is no gimme at all.
I mentioned on Twitter last week that the Mountaineers' profile was pretty thin. Now it's even worse after they lost by 27 at Notre Dame on Wednesday. Now the home game with Marquette Friday night is huge.
The Musketeers are flirting with danger if this continues. A loss at UMass on Tuesday drops them further into the A-10 morass below Temple and Saint Louis. They still have to play at the Billikens next week. Will 10-6 with all the suspensions and drama be enough? It's not certain. X lacks true quality Ws.