BUBBLE BANTER: Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, Florida with a chance for huge wins
Michigan (KenPom: 56, RPI: 64, CBT Bracketology Seed: Next Four Out) got the win that they needed, and they may now be on the right side of the bubble.
Kameron Chatman hit a three with 0.2 seconds left to give Michigan a 72-69 win over No. 12 Indiana on Thursday afternoon. That’s the fourth top 30 win that the Wolverines have on their résumé. They’ve beaten Texas and now Indiana on neutral courts and own home wins over Purdue and Maryland. Those are their only four top 100 wins and the Wolverines will finish the year with 12 losses against top 100 teams if they don’t win the Big Ten’s automatic bid, but they also have not lost to a team outside the top 100 this year.
That does compare quite favorably to the like of Syracuse and Vanderbilt, although their win over Texas -- the only big non-conference win they landed this season -- came with Caris LeVert in the lineup.
But that may not be enough to get the Wolverines a bid. They’ll play the winner of Illinois and No. 13 Purdue on Saturday in the semifinals. I’d recommend winning that one as well.
- UConn (KP: 29, RPI: 55, CBT: Play-in Game): UConn had to beat Cincinnati on Friday to have any chance of getting to the NCAA tournament, and they did just that ... albeit in four overtimes thanks to this 70-foot prayer. Will that be enough to get them into the tournament? They now have three top 50 wins -- including SMU -- with a 7-10 record against the top 100 and no losses outside the top 100. They’re on the right side as of today. They probably want to beat Temple to make sure they stay there.
- VCU (KP: 35, RPI: 39, CBT: Play-in Game): The Rams took care of business against UMass on Friday night, meaning they will take on the winner of the final quarterfinal of the night between Davidson and St. Bonaventure. The Rams aren’t safe yet even with this win, and while a loss on Saturday wouldn’t exactly kill their chances, it would go a long way towards helping them avoid a play-in game.
- San Diego State (KP: 38, RPI: 42, CBT: 11): The Aztecs advanced to the finals of the Mountain West tournament with a win over Nevada on Friday night. The Aztecs will be an interesting case if they don’t win the automatic bid -- They’re profile is awfully similar to Wichita State, only without the otherworldly KenPom numbers -- but there’s an easy way for them to end that drama.
- Temple (KP: 88, RPI: 57, CBT: 11): The Owls didn’t lose to South Florida, who would have been the kind of landmine that would have toasted their tourney chances. Like every other relevant team in the AAC, Temple needs a couple of more wins to really feel comfortable about their standing.
- Saint Joseph’s (KP: 47, RPI: 28, CBT: 9): The Hawks beat GW on Friday, which should be enough to clinch their at-large bid.
- Cincinnati (KP: 31, RPI: 38, CBT: 10): The sweating starts for the Bearcats. Cincinnati has beaten SMU and won at VCU, but they also lost to Memphis. They’re 2-5 against the top 50 and 7-9 against the top 100. Selection Sunday is going to be stressful in Fifth Third Arena.
- St. Bonaventure (KP: 72, RPI: 25, CBT: 10): The Bonnies lost in overtime to Dayton in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament, putting themselves squarely on the bubble come Selection Sunday. They’re 22-8 on the season with an RPI that is going to be in the top 30 range. That’s good. So is their trip of top 30 wins, two of which came on the road. But they only have six top 100 wins and a trip of losses to teams outside the top 100. My gut says they’re headed for the play-in game, but they could find themselves on the wrong side of the bubble.
- South Carolina (KP: 51, RPI: 43, CBT: 8): The Gamecocks are another team in an interesting position come Selection Sunday. They lost to Georgia on Friday night, locking them in at 23-7 on the season. Their eight top 100 wins are strong, as is their win at Texas A&M, but with a pair of losses outside the top 100, they’re not as comfortable as they were a month ago. I think Frank Martin’s club is probably safe considering how many other bubble teams have already lost.
- Florida (KP: 42, RPI: 46, CBT: First Four Out): The Gators lost to Texas A&M on Friday. They’re headed to the NIT.
- Ohio State (KP: 65, RPI: 71, CBT: N/A): Ohio State lost to Michigan State, meaning they’ll be headed to the NIT.
- George Washington (KP: 75, RPI: 61, CBT: Next Four Out): GW had some ground to make up on the rest of the bubble field, and unfortunately they blew a 16 point lead to Saint Joseph’s and lost a game where they hit 15 threes. NIT bound.
- Alabama (KP: 83, RPI: 63, CBT: N/A): The Crimson Tide lost to Kentucky, relegating them to the NIT.
- Tulsa (KP: 44, RPI: 53, CBT: Play-in Game): Tulsa lost to Memphis in the quarterfinals of the AAC tournament, meaning that they probably cost themselves a shot at getting in as an at-large bid.