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Bubble Banter: Wednesday’s key bubble watch games

Maui Invitational - Oklahoma State v UConn

LAHAINA, HI - NOVEMBER 21: Jawun Evans #1 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys dribbles the ball during the second half of the Maui Invitational NCAA college basketball game at the Lahaina Civic Center on November 21, 2016 in Lahaina, Hawaii. (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images). Oklahoma State won the game 98-90

Getty Images

You can find the latest NBC Sports bracketology here. This is where the seeds listed below come from.


VCU (RPI: 29, KenPom: 47, No. 9 seed): Somehow, some way, VCU is still in the NCAA tournament field with a bit of room to spare thanks to their second straight win in a game where they fell behind with 0.4 seconds left on the clock.

Tennessee (RPI: 37, KenPom: 36, first four out): The Vols kept themselves in tournament contention with a win over Ole Miss on Wednesday. It’s not a profile-changing win, but it does provide another top 100 win. Tennessee’s biggest issue at this point is that they already have 10 losses and the season and still have to play at Kentucky and at South Carolina. There isn’t much room for error with this group, regardless of how tough their schedule has been.

Miami (RPI: 54, KenPom: 39, play-in game): The Hurricanes picked up a massive win on Wednesday, landing just their second top 50 win of the season. Miami’s biggest issue right now is that they just don’t have enough good wins, and with four games left against Louisville, Duke, Virginia and Florida State - with all but Duke coming on the road - there are a lot of tough games left on their schedule. Miami has the feel of a team that’s going to head into the ACC tournament needing to win a game or two to get a bid.

Seton Hall (RPI: 36, KenPom: 52, play-in game): The Pirates got taken to overtime at home by Providence, but they survived thanks to a game-winning bucket from Myles Powell. It adds another top 100 win to their profile and, more importantly, the Pirates still haven’t lost at home to anyone not named Butler. The Pirates will earn their bid in the next two weeks, when they get Creighton, Villanova and Xavier in consecutive games.

Cal (RPI: 39, KenPom: 53, No. 10 seed): The Golden Bears moved to 18-6 overall and 9-3 in the Pac-12 with just one bad loss to their name. But there isn’t much meat to their profile. Their only top 50 win is at USC, and the only two chances they have left come at Arizona this weekend and against Oregon in two weeks at home. They need at least one of those two wins.

Minnesota (RPI: 22, KenPom: 38, No. 9 seed): The Gophers added another win over Iowa in overtime, this time at home. I continue to believe Minnesota is safer than a No. 9 seed. They have four top 50 wins, three of which were away from home and two of which were true road games. They also only have two sub-50 losses, both on the road, and a non-conference SOS of 18.


Oklahoma State (RPI: 28, KenPom: 21, No. 9 seed): The Pokes are still in a really good spot on the bubble - losing to Baylor anywhere isn’t going to hurt one’s profile - but this was a golden opportunity to steal a win that could have, in theory, moved them off the bubble for now. As of today, eight of their nine losses came against top 50 opponents and four of their six best wins came away from home. This is a good position for them to be in, but the only other chance Oklahoma State will have to get an elite win comes at home against Kansas in the season finale.

Virginia Tech (RPI: 38, KenPom: 54, No. 8 seed): The Hokies are still in a good spot despite losing at Miami on Wednesday. A road loss to a top 50ish team isn’t a stain on their profile and they still have those eight top 100 wins, including a home win over Duke. If Buzz Williams’ club can hold serve at home the rest of the way, they should be just fine on Selection Sunday.