Bubble Banter: Did Texas Tech play their way onto the right side of the bubble?
No one got a bigger win on Wednesday night that Texas Tech.
There were a handful of teams that took losses they may not be able to receover from, however.
Let’s get into all of Wednesday’s bubble action:
TEXAS TECH (NET: 37, NBC: Play-in game): It cannot be overstated just how important a win over West Virginia (7) was for Texas Tech. The Red Raiders entered Wednesday night with just one Quad 1 win and only four wins in the top three Quads. They were the last team in the field in the most recent bracket projection from our Dave Ommen. Throw in the fact that they were coming off of a pair of losses and were getting prepped to head to Phog Allen Fieldhouse for a showdown on Saturday, and this was as close to a must-win as you can get in late-January. And they got it.
TEXAS (NET: 68, NBC: Off the bubble): Texas entered Wednesday having losing three in a row and five of their last seven games, but the Longhorns found a way to land a critical, much-needed road win against TCU (61). They are now 2-4 against Quad 1 opponents and 3-7 against the top two Quads.
MEMPHIS (NET: 51, NBC: 10): The Tigers somehow found a way to pull out a win at UCF on the back of 20 points from Lance Thomas as they avoided a three-game losing streak and started the trek to get their season back on track. With three very winnable home games coming come in the next 10 days, Memphis should be able to play their way back into a rhythm before they have to make the trip to Cincinnati (50).
SAINT LOUIS (NET: 67, NBC: Off the bubble): Saint Louis avoided a disaster by winning in overtime at La Salle on Wednesday. The Billikens are just 2-5 against Quad 1 and 2 opponents, with wins at Richmond (54) and Kansas State (88). They don’t have any bad losses, but a Jalen Crutcher three at the buzzer at Dayton (5) two weeks ago may end up being what keeps them from making a real push to be a bubble team.
UNCG (NET: 75, NBC: Off the bubble): The Spartans won on Wednesday, something they had to do at Western Carolina (126). Wins at Georgetown (52), Furman (80) and Vermont (98) get the Spartans mentioned, particularly with a game at East Tennessee State (42) left on their schedule. But with a loss at Wofford (142) and at home against Montana State (215), UNCG has to win out and lose to ETSU in the SoCon tournament to have any actual shot at an at-large.
NORTHERN IOWA (NET: 49, NBC: 12): Their strong NET and wins at Colorado (17) and over South Carolina (89) on a neutral keep the Panthers in the conversation, but loss at Southern Illinois (166) and Illinois State (214) are killers. Beating Missouri State (165) at home was a must on Wednesday. UNI cannot lose another game unless it is against Loyola-Chicago (91) in the MVC tournament if they really want a chance at an at-large.
DEPAUL (NET: 66, NBC: 11): DePaul fell to 1-7 in the Big East with a loss at Seton Hall (10) on Wednesday. They do have three Quad 1 wins, including two Big Ten road wins — Iowa (21) and Minnesota (43) — as well as Butler at home, but a loss to Buffalo (163) at home puts them in a really tough spot. It doesn’t help matters that three of their next four are on the road, too.
ALABAMA (NET: 40, NBC: Off the bubble): The Crimson Tide whiffed on a great chance to add to their resume with a 14 point loss at LSU (23). To me, Alabama is one of the teams that is better than what their wins and losses might tell you right now, but with a Quad 4 loss and just one Quad 1 win, it’s tough to make an argument for them to get a bid without some serious work being done in the next six weeks.
EAST TENNESSEE STATE (NET: 42, NBC: 12): ETSU lost at home to Mercer on Wednesday. That’s a Quad 4 loss. With wins at LSU (23) and UNCG (74), they had a chance. Not anymore.
TCU (NET: 60, NBC: Off the bubble): The Horned Frogs lost another winnable game on Wednesday, falling by a point at home against Texas (68). They are still without a Quad 1 win and are now 3-7 against the top two Quads. They have quite a bit of work to do.
XAVIER (NET: 61, NBC: Next four out): The Musketeers are in desperate need of quality wins, and they missed out on a phenomenal opportunity to land one on Wednesday. With Markus Howard out for the final 12 minutes and overtime, Xavier held an eight point lead with eight minutes left and a five point lead with 90 seconds left and still lost in double overtime to Marquette (26). They’re now just 1-7 against Quad 1 opponents without a single win over a top 50 team.
ARIZONA STATE (NET: 56, NBC: Play-in game): How does Arizona State follow up a massive win over their archirival Arizona (10)? By going on the road and losing at Washington State (109), of course. It’s only a Quad 2 loss, but it is the worst loss of the year for the Sun Devils, and adding bad losses to a resume that only have one win over a top 70 team is problematic.