Bubble Banter: Big night on the bubble for Alabama, Butler, Ohio State
The latest NBC Sports bracket projection can be found here.
OHIO STATE (NET: 42, SOS: 53): Ohio State made a statement on Tuesday night, landing a 20 point win over Iowa (30) in Columbus. The Buckeyes are going to have to hope that this performance doesn’t drop the Hawkeyes too far, because a 20 point win over a Q1 team in theory looks much better than a 20 point win over a Q2 team. Either way, Ohio State has put themselves in a position where they are pretty safe. They have five Q1 wins, and a win at Cincinnati looks better and better as the Bearcats continue to win. Their two “bad” losses came at home against Illinois (90) and at Rutgers (102), both of whom have been really good in league play. Win two more games before Selection Sunday and I think they get a bid.
ALABAMA (NET: 53, SOS: 32): The Crimson Tide put themselves in a position where they can just about clinch a bid with their next two games as they went into South Carolina (80) and knocked off the Gamecocks. As it stands, Alabama is just 2-7 against Q1 with eight Q2 losses, but they do have a win over Kentucky (5) that will be significant. One major concern is that they are just 3-7 in true road games that aren’t against Stephen F. Austin (304), and their best road win was tonight’s win in Columbia. They won’t get another shot at an elite road win, but knocking off either -- both? -- LSU (15) or Auburn (23) in Tuscaloosa would be a boost. I think they need to win both to really feel comfortable.
VCU (NET: 35, SOS: 39): We’ve been saying it for a while -- the lack of quality wins available in the Atlantic 10 combined with two Q3 losses (Charleston at home, at Rhode Island) have put VCU in a position where they more or less need to win out until they lose to Dayton (70) or Davidson (67) in the Atlantic 10 tournament. They took one step closer to that with a home win over Saint Louis on Tuesday night.
UTAH STATE (NET: 37, SOS: 131): The Aggies are basically in the same boat at VCU, but they don’t have a win as good as VCU’s win at Texas. USU needs to win out, including a home win against Nevada (19) on Saturday, and they’ll have a really good chance to dance. They got one step closer on Tuesday win a home win over San Diego State.
BUTLER (NET: 49, SOS: 19): This was a bad night for Butler on the bubble. They were already on the edge of the cut-line with a 15-12 and they dropped another one, their worst loss of the season -- at home against Providence (83). The Bulldogs have just two Q1 wins -- Florida (31) on a neutral and at Georgetown (73) -- and a 5-5 mark against Q2. That’s not good enough.
TEMPLE (NET: 51, SOS: 68): The Owls whiffed on a chance to add their third Q1 win of the season as they went into FedEx Forum and lost to Memphis (60). This was, in all likelihood, the last chance that Temple will have during the regular season to get a Q1 win. They’ve going to have to hope that the committee is really impressed with a home win over Houston (4).