Bubble Banter: A wild night on the bubble drops two teams from consideration
As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Tuesday night.
It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:
- Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
- Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
- Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
- Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus
The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.
ARKANSAS (RPI: 37, KenPom: 46, NBC seed: 11): The Razorbacks committed some bubble-on-bubble crime on Tuesday, picking off South Carolina at home and adding a second Quadrant 2 win to their name. Arkansas is 4-6 against Quadrant 1 opponents, although a 1-6 road record and a loss at home to LSU -- a Quadrant 3 loss -- is going to be something they need to overtime. Four of their last seven games are at home, and five of the seven are Quadrant 1 games. If they go 4-3 down the stretch, they’re in.
MISSOURI (RPI: 29, KenPom: 36, NBC seed: 10): The Tigers won their third straight game on Tuesday night, beating Ole Miss on the road for their eight win against Quadrant 1 and 2 opponents; Missouri is 5-6 against Quadrant 1 teams and 3-1 against Quadrant 2. The one issue Missouri has is that they only play one more Quadrant 1 game, and with a loss to Illinois (156) already to their name, they can’t afford many more slip-ups.
NEBRASKA (RPI: 54, KenPom: 61, NBC seed: Out): Every game that Nebraska plays the rest of the season falls into one of two categories: must-win or can’t-lose. Winning at Minnesota tonight? That was a must-win because, as of today, it’s one of just three Quadrant 2 wins that the Huskers have to their name. That’s a problem considering they are 0-5 against Quadrant 1 opponents. Nebraska could end up 14-4 in the Big Ten and miss the NCAA tournament.
PROVIDENCE (RPI: 28, KenPom: 62, NBC seed: 10): The Friars avoided disaster on Tuesday, beating Georgetown at home after trailing at the half. With a pair of Quadrant 3 losses to their name already, that would have been a major blow. As it stands, a 4-5 record against Quadrant 1 teams with home games left against Villanova and Seton Hall and road trips at butler and Xavier means the Friars will have chances to lock up their bid.
MISSISSIPPI STATE (RPI: 53, KenPom: 64, NBC seed: Out): The Bulldogs have now won four in a row, including two Quadrant 1 and two Quadrant 2 wins. Tonight’s win over Alabama. This was an important stretch for a team that had love five of their previous six. The biggest issue Ben Howland’s club is currently facing is that their non-conference schedule was pathetic, meaning that they all of their Quadrant 1 wins and two of their three Quadrant 2 wins have come in the last two weeks.
BOISE STATE (RPI: 31, KenPom: 48, NBC seed: First four out): The Broncos avoided disaster with a wild comeback at New Mexico on Tuesday night. The way I see it, if Boise State wants an at-large bid, they have to win out. They already have a Quadrant 3 loss and have not yet landed a Quadrant 1 win. They only have one more Quadrant 1 game and two more Quadrant 2 games on their schedule.
BUTLER (RPI: 32, KenPom: 20, NBC seed: 9): Losing at home to Xavier doesn’t hurt Butler’s profile in-so-much as it is a glorious opportunity missed. The Bulldogs took a top five team to overtime and lost. They end the season like this: at Villanova, Georgetown, Providence, Creighton, at St. John’s, at Seton Hall. Going 3-3 in that stretch should be enough to lock up a bid.
TCU (RPI: 31, KenPom: 24, NBC seed: 9): TCU lost to Kansas in Phog Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas has been beatable at home this year, but that’s still The Phog. Move on. The Horned Frogs are still in a good spot with a 4-7 record against Quadrant 1 opponents and just one loss to teams outside the top Quadrant.
SOUTH CAROLINA (RPI: 64, KenPom: 83, NBC seed: Next four out): The Gamecocks have not lost four in a row to drop to 12-11 on the season after losing at Arkansas. They’re just 2-8 against Quadrant 1 opponents. They will no longer be under consideration until they string together a few wins.
OKLAHOMA STATE (RPI: 105, KenPom: 69, NBC seed: Out): The Pokes had a chance to make some noise against winning at Kansas over the weekend. Then they lost to Baylor at home. They probably need to go at least 5-2 down the stretch to have a real chance at dancing.