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Bubble Banter: Houston, California with big chances

The latest NBC Sports bracketology can be found here. This is where the seeds listed below are from.

This post will be updated throughout the night.


Middle Tennessee State (RPI: 32, KenPom: 46, No. 10 seed): Somehow the Blue Raiders dug themselves a 19-1 hole against a 6-23 FIU team at home. They also managed to find a way to win that game, meaning that MTSU is not going to have to find a way to explain a loss to a team ranked 343rd in the RPI. That would not have been something the Selection Committee wanted to hear. So this is where we stand with the team that orchestrated arguably the biggest upset in NCAA tournament history last season: They have two top 50 wins (UNC Wilmington and Vanderbilt) and four total top 100 wins. They’re 26-4 on the season and they steam-rolled their way to the outright Conference USA title. They also have three sub-100 losses to their name and, should they lose in the CUSA tournament, they will have a fourth.

To be frank, that’s very similar to the profile that Wichita State had last season, when they were given a spot in a play-in game as an at-large. The difference? The Shockers were ranked in the top 10 in KenPom. MTSU is 46th, which means the bottom-line is simple: Don’t leave this up to the Selection Committee.


Cal (RPI: 51, KenPom: 47, first four out): Cal lost at Utah on Thursday night, meaning that the Golden Bears have now dropped four of their last five games, with the only win in that stretch coming against an abysmal Oregon State team. Cal has just one top 50 win, no top 30 wins and four top 100 wins. They have to be Colorado over the week, and they probably need to win a game over Arizona, UCLA or Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament to truly feel comfortable.

Houston (RPI: 53, KenPom: 39, next four out): The Cougars had a chance to put themselves in the bubble conversation with a win at No. 18 Cincinnati. That didn’t happen.