Florida-Kentucky highlights a heavy slate of bubble games
No. 11 Florida at Kentucky (Sat. 12:00 p.m. ET, CBS): This is how weak the bubble is this season: We said that Kentucky couldn’t afford a loss at Arkansas and still go dancing. After they lost, we said they really couldn’t afford a loss at Georgia and still go dancing. And now here we are, after the Wildcats lost both of those games, and they can put themselves into a position where one win in the SEC tournament may lock up an NCAA at-large bid if they can somehow find a way to beat Florida on Saturday afternoon.
It’s not going to be an easy thing to do, mind you. Florida is a very good basketball team with a really, really good defense that finally got healthy. They can pressure the Wildcats in the half court or the full court, something that hasn’t exactly been a good thing for Kentucky in the Ryan Harrow era.
San Diego State at Boise State (Sat. 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network): Boise State is on the brink of locking up an NCAA tournament bid, especially if they can manage to knock off San Diego State on Saturday afternoon. Don’t worry though. Even if they lose, they’ll be getting a rematch in the first round of the Mountain West tournament anyway. The Aztecs probably aren’t in danger of missing out on the NCAA tournament.
Missouri at Tennessee (Sat. 4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN): It’s do or die time for Tennessee. The Vols have won seven of their last eight games to put themselves in a position where they have a shot at the tournament. Missouri struggles mightily on the road and Jordan McRae has been playing like an all-american of late. I’m not sure a win locks up a bid completely, but it certainly puts them a lot closer to the right side of the bubble than they are now.
Maryland at Virginia (Sun. 6:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU): Both the Terps and the Cavs are at a point where they probably need (at least) three wins to make their way into the Big Dance. What that means is Saturday’s matchup will be a play out game. Win, and they have a chance. Lose, and they might as well resign themselves to the fact that they are going to need the automatic bid.
Xavier at Butler (Sat. 6:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network): You want another example of how week the bubble is this season? After beating St. Louis on Wednesday, if Xavier can somehow manage to pull off an upset at Butler on Saturday, they may have gotten themselves to the point that a win or two in the Atlantic 10 tournament could get them into the tournament. How much do you think Chris Mack regrets blowing that 17 point lead to VCU now?
The rest of the weekend’s bubble action:
- La Salle at No. 16 St. Louis (Sat. 1:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network)
- Ole Miss at LSU (Sat. 1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
- Iowa State at West Virginia (Sat. 1:30 pm. ET, ESPN3)
- UMass at Rhode Island (Sat. 2:00 p.m. ET)
- Nebraska at Iowa (Sat. 2:21 p.m. ET, Big Ten)
- Georgia at Alabama (Sat. 4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
- South Florida at Cincinnati (Sat. 4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
- Arizona State at No. 18 Arizona (Sat. 4:30 p.m. ET, FSN)
- No. 4 Kansas at Baylor (Sat. 6:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
- Louisiana Tech at Denver (Sat. 7:00 p.m. ET, ROOT)
- UCF at Southern Miss (Sat. 8:00 p.m. ET)
- No. 21 VCU at Temple (Sun. 12:00 p.m. ET, CBS)
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.