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Bubble Banter: Providence, Florida State solidify résumé with critical wins

Providence v Villanova

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 21: Ed Cooley, head coach of the Providence Friars, reacts against the Villanova Wildcats during the first half at the Wells Fargo Center on January 21, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Villanova won 78-68. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)

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As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Wednesday.

It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:

  • Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
  • Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
  • Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
  • Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus

The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.


PROVIDENCE (RPI: 43, KenPom: 72, NBC seed: 10): On Saturday, Providence got whipped at home by Big East cellar-dweller DePaul. My guess is that Ed Cooley let his team know that was not going to fly in practice this week, because they turned around and landed a win over Villanova on Wednesday. The Friars now have six Quadrant 1 wins, which should be enough to outweigh the fact that they have lost to two Quadrant 3 opponents and one Quadrant 4 game. They should be in as long as they go at least 2-3 down the stretch.

FLORIDA STATE (RPI: 48, KenPom: 23, NBC seed: 8): Florida State landed a win over Clemson (4) on Wednesday after trailing by as many as 13 points in the first half. The Seminoles now have a 6-4 record against Quadrant 1 opponents and no losses outside the top two Quadrants. At this point, they will no longer be in the Bubble Banter conversation. They will, however, be back on Sunday if they lose to Pitt.

KANSAS STATE (RPI: 57, KenPom: 47, NBC seed: Play-in game): The Wildcats landed another Quadrant 2 win on Wednesday, going into Stillwater and picking off Oklahoma State. Kansas State will be interesting come Selection Sunday. They have some good wins -- Oklahoma, TCU, at Baylor, at Texas -- but no great wins, one bad loss to Tulsa and a terrible non-conference SOS. I think they need to win at least four games the rest of the way. Their final five in the regular season are: Iowa State, Texas, at Oklahoma, at TCU, Baylor. Then there is the Big 12 tournament.

N.C. STATE (RPI: 73, KenPom: 59, NBC seed: Play-in game): The Wolfpack added another Quadrant 1 win to their profile when they went into the Carrier Dome and picked off Syracuse. They are now 5-7 against Quadrant 1 teams, and the fact that they’ve beaten the likes of Duke, Clemson, Arizona and North Carolina on the road should carry serious weight for a committee that showed up during the bracket reveal just how much they value quality wins.


VIRGINIA TECH (RPI: 56, KenPom: 43, NBC seed: 9): Virginia Tech lost at Duke. No shame in that. They are 4-6 against Quadrant 1 opponents and have eight wins against the top two Quadrants with just a single Quadrant 3 loss and three more Quadrant 1 games left on the schedule. Beat Georgia Tech and then go 1-3 in their final four (Clemson, Louisville, Duke, at Miami) and the Hokies are in.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (RPI: 68, KenPom: 58, NBC seed: Out): The Bulldogs played their way even further out of the bubble picture on Wednesday when they lost at Vanderbilt on a buzzer beater. With just a single Quadrant 1 win, a 4-8 record against the top two Quadrants and a non-conference SOS of 305, they are in a bad place. They may need to go 4-1 in their final five to feel good, and that may not even be enough.

OKLAHOMA STATE (RPI: 98, KenPom: 68, NBC seed: Next four out): The Cowboys have now lost five of their last seven games. The two wins? At Kansas and at West Virginia. They needed to beat Kansas State on Wednesday, if for no other reason than they have three road games, Texas Tech and Kansas left.

SYRACUSE (RPI: 41, KenPom: 46, NBC seed: First four out): The Orange blew a chance to land another Quadrant 2 win on Wednesday night when they lost at home to N.C. State, another team that is right there on the bubble with them. They have just one Quadrant 1 win to their name right now. They will have chances -- at Miami, UNC, at Duke, at Boston College, Clemson -- so they are anything-but dead at this point, but my best quess would be they beat BC and win two of four against the rest of that group.

BOISE STATE (RPI: 36, KenPom: 55, NBC seed: Next four out): Boise State’s chances of getting an at-large bid are dead. They lost at home to Nevada tonight, meaning they will not have a Quadrant 1 win on Selection Sunday, not if they finish second in the MWC, where they have a one-game lead on third-place with four games left. They need to beat Nevada to land that Quadrant 1 win, but the only way they can currently beat Nevada is if it is in the title game of the MWC tournament.