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BUBBLE BANTER: Seton Hall punches their ticket to the dance

Kevin Willard

Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard shouts to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Providence on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, in Newark, N.J. Seton Hall won 70-52. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)


This post will be updated as the games come to an end.

Welcome to the NCAA tournament, Seton Hall (KenPom: 33, RPI: 39, CBT Bracketology Seed: 8).

The Pirates knocked off No. 5 Xavier on Sunday afternoon, giving them their first truly marquee win of the season and their fourth top 50 win. With a 9-6 record against the top 100 and just one loss to a team outside the top 100 -- that would be Long Beach State, who is currently 101st in the RPI -- Seton Hall is in.

That’s a huge deal for Kevin Willard, the Seton Hall head coach. Willard was on the hot seat entering the season. That’s what happens when you’re in your sixth season at a program with nothing but a single NIT appearance to show for it. After the collapse at the end of last season (the Pirates with top 15 in the country at one point) and what appeared to be a splintering locker room, this win has to feel particularly good for Willard.

The key now? Keep winning games. Get a seed that’s good enough to spend more than a day dancing.


  • Pitt (KP: 47, RPI: 44, CBT: 9): Like the Pirates, the Panthers just about punched their ticket to the NCAA tournament on Sunday with an emphatic win over Duke. The difference for Pitt is that they already have a pair of sub-100 losses on their résumé, which, when combined with just two top 50 wins, puts them in a spot where they still have room to slip up. They have two road trips left: at Virginia Tech and at Georgia Tech. Both of those teams have been tough out this season. The Panthers would do well to avoid slipping up.
  • Wisconsin (KP: 30, RPI: 34, CBT: 8): It may be too early to lock the Badgers into an at-large bid, but it’s hard to imagine that one of the hottest teams in the country would go from winning 10 out of 11 to losing at Minnesota, which would be the only bad loss left on their schedule. It’s hard to believe, but a team that, on January 12th, was 9-9 with a loss at Northwestern and home losses to Marquette, Milwaukee and Western Illinois will be comfortably in the NCAA tournament.
  • Saint Joseph’s (KP: 35, RPI: 25, CBT: 7): The Hawks are getting closer and closer to punching their ticket to the dance. I still think they need to beat Duquesne and avoid another bad loss in the A-10 tournament, but even then the Hawks still might be able to snag a bid.
  • Oregon State (KP: 60, RPI: 27, CBT: 9): Losing to Washington State at home is a good way to derail an NCAA tournament run. The Beavers did not do that.


  • UConn (KP: 23, RPI: 42, CBT: 10): The Huskies are playing with fire right now. As of today, they are probably still safe. They have seven top 100 wins, including at Texas and SMU at home, and their only sub-100 loss was Sunday’s loss at home to Houston. Winning at SMU this week would punch their ticket. If they can’t win there, UConn may need to beat UCF and win a game or two in the AAC tournament to really feel comfortable.
  • Michigan (KP: 44, RPI: 50, CBT: 10): The Wolverines are going to be one of the most interesting teams to discuss on Selection Sunday. On the one had, they had three terrific wins: Texas, Purdue and Maryland. There are just 10 teams in all of college basketball with more top 25 wins that the Wolverines. And while those three wins are the entirety of Michigan’s top 100 wins, the Wolverines only loss outside the top 50 is at Ohio State. Pro-tip: Beat Iowa next Saturday and end any speculation.
  • USC (KP: 46, RPI: 35 , CBT: 8): The slide of the Trojans continues. They’ve now lost five of their last six games and square off with the Oregon schools next weekend with a real chance of finishing the Pac-12 season under .500. The Trojans have three top 50 wins, 10 top 100 wins and no bad losses to their name; losing to Monmouth isn’t quite as bad as losing at Arizona State in the eyes of the RPI. I think one more win might be all they need to get it done, but they still have work left to do.
  • Tulsa (KP: 40, RPI: 38, CBT: 11): I think it’s too early to say that Tulsa played their way out of an at-large bid on Sunday, but losing to Memphis is really going to hurt on Selection Sunday. The Tigers are now the worst loss on the résumé of a team with two sub-140 losses, and with A) just South Florida left on their schedule, and B) a 19-10 record and just three top 50 wins, Tulsa has some work left to do. They need to land a big win in the AAC tournament.
  • Washington (KP: 65, RPI: 73, CBT: Next Four Out): The Huskies lost to Oregon on Sunday night, which was their last chance to land a quality win during the regular season. Getting to the Pac-12 final may be needed for them to get an at-large bid.