Bubble Banter: The theme of the night was missed opportunity
Georgia (RPI: 51, KenPom: 52, bubble): The Bulldogs desperately needed a marquee win, and all the stars were aligned for them to get it on Tuesday night. Kentucky, playing at home, was coming off of a two-game losing streak and playing without De’Aaron Fox, who reportedly had the worst of a stomach bug that had spread through the team. Then the Bulldogs jumped out to a 14-point lead in the first six minutes, and this thing looked like it was going to go their way.
But alas, Malik Monk went bananas, Isaiah Briscoe had one of his best games as a Wildcats and Kentucky, in the end, pulled out the win. It was a massive missed opportunity for the Bulldogs, which was a common theme on Tuesday night on the bubble.
Pitt (RPI: 58, KenPom: 86, next four out): The Panthers are very much on the outside looking in right now, and they missed a golden opportunity to vault themselves past some other teams on the bubble. Pitt had a shot to beat North Carolina at the buzzer in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night and couldn’t capitalize.
Iowa State (RPI: 44, KenPom: 26, No. 9 seed): The Cyclones had a chance to solidify their tournament status and improve their seeding with No. 7 West Virginia, a team that has struggled on the road this season, coming to town. It went to waste in a double-digit loss.
Illinois (RPI: 50, KenPom: 67, next four out): Like Pitt and Iowa State, the Illini missed a great opportunity to land a marquee win with a home game against No. 15 Wisconsin. John Groce’s club is running out of chances to get themselves off of the bubble.
Auburn (RPI: 56, KenPom: 77, bubble): It was probably generous to put Auburn in bubble consideration. Losing at home to Tennessee doesn’t help.
Tennessee (RPI: 41, KenPom: 38, next four out): The Vols backed up their wins over Kentucky and Kansas State last week by adding a road win over Auburn on Tuesday night. The Vols are now 12-9 on the season and 4-4 in the SEC. They probably needed to get to 11-7 in the league to really have a chance, but it’s certainly doable. As we know, the SEC isn’t exactly loaded with title contenders.
Georgetown (RPI: 54, KenPom: 55, bubble): Georgetown put themselves back into the bubble picture after beating No. 22 Creighton and winning at No. 16 Butler last week. They backed that up by going into Chicago and knocking off DePaul, a win that matters in that it’s not a loss on the Hoya résumé. Georgetown still has work left to do, but with wins over Oregon (neutral), Butler (road) and Creighton (home), they have three wins that most bubble teams can only dream of having.
Dayton (RPI: 33, KenPom: 36, No. 8 seed): The Flyers avoided doing what VCU did earlier this month - losing at Fordham - and kept themselves comfortably on the right side of the bubble.
Wake Forest (RPI: 29, KenPom: 34, play-in game): The Demon Deacons played with fire, blowing a big lead and finding themselves behind Boston College in the second half, but they were able to pull out a road win over a team that is not all that good. Wake Forest is in a spot right now where they don’t really have the margin for error to drop a game like this.
Rhode Island (RPI: 48, KenPom: 48, bubble): The Rams are in a tough spot right now, playing in an Atlantic 10 that doesn’t have a lot of quality wins available. They picked up a win they needed tonight, knocking off George Washington at home.