Bubble Watch: Duke's season in trouble, Xavier enters clubhouse

/ by Tyler Byrum
Presented By Chasen Boscolo

For a moment, Duke was back on the bubble after beating Louisville decisively. Then Stadium's Jeff Goodman reported a positive test within the Blue Devils team meant they will forfeit their Thursday night ACC Tournament game. 

If Duke is forced to forfeit Thursday's game, it will likely end their chances of making the tournament and extending their season. The bubble teams also moved around a bit. Xavier likely falls to the bad side of the bubble after losing to Butler and Syracuse did its job in Wednesday's action. 

But more importantly, the bubble highlights one of the best days on the college basketball calendar: Thursday of conference tournament week. Today, 55 games will be played and 110 teams will take the court. Most of them will be the bulk of the NCAA Tournament field and the chance to study up in preparation for the bracket.

Needless to say, today will get pretty crazy.

Duke's Wednesday night win and temporary bump knocked St. John's out, but the Thursday morning news could change that. The Red Storm still has upcoming games in the Big East Tournament. With Louisville's loss, the Cardinals drop into the bubble and briefly move VCU onto the good side of the bubble. 

But the biggest story on Wednesday, other than Duke winning, was Xavier's inexplicable loss to Butler. Based on the bracketologist's projections, they are right on the line on making the tournament or not. Their main issue is that they're in the clubhouse for the weekend. No more games to improve their resume. Other teams will have to lose.


Syracuse's jump by beating fellow bubble team N.C. State may have been enough to vault them just barely into the field. A win over Virginia today would definitely cement their fate. 

*Average seed is a combination of the latest ESPN, CBS, SB Nation and Bracketville bracket projections.

Louisville Cardinals Resume

Record: 13-7 (8-5 ACC)

NET: 57

KenPom: 56

SOS: 35

Average Seed: No. 11 seed (Last Four Byes)

Remaining Schedule: N/A

Wichita State Shockers Resume

Record: 15-4 (11-2 American)

NET: 64

KenPom: 69

SOS: 97

Average Seed: No. 11 seed (AAC Automatic Qualifier)

Remaining Schedule: vs. Temple/ South Florida (AAC Quarterfinals)

Drake Bulldogs Resume

Record: 25-4 (15-3 Missouri Valley)

NET: 45

KenPom: 54

SOS: 193

Average Seed: No. 12 seed (Last Four In)

Remaining Schedule: N/A

Colorado State Rams Resume

Record: 17-5 (14-4 Mountain West)

NET: 50

KenPom: 61

SOS: 126

Average Seed: No. 12 seed (Last Four In)

Remaining Schedule: vs. Fresno State (MWC Quarterfinals)

Boise State Broncos Resume

Record: 18-7 (14-6 Mountain West)

NET: 43

KenPom: 57

SOS: 105

Average Seed: No. 12 (Last Four In)

Remaining Schedule: vs. Nevada (Mountain West Quarterfinals)

Syracuse Orange Resume

Record: 16-8 (9-7 ACC)

NET: 39

KenPom: 44

SOS: 56

Average Seed: No. 12 seed (Last Four In)

Remaining Schedule: vs. Virginia (ACC Quarterfinals)

Xavier Musketeers Resume

Record: 13-8 (6-7 Big East)

NET: 62

KenPom: 62

SOS: 66

Average Seed: First Four Out

Remaining Schedule: N/A

Utah State Aggies Resume

Record: 18-7 (15-4 Mountain West)

NET: 49

KenPom: 48

SOS: 122

Average Seed: First Four Out

Remaining Schedule: vs. UNLV (MWC Quarterfinals)

Saint Louis Billikens Resume

Record: 14-6 (6-4 Atlantic 10)

NET: 46

KenPom: 49

SOS: 103

Average Seed: First Four Out

Remaining Schedule: N/A

Ole Miss Rebels Resume

Record: 15-10 (10-8 SEC)

NET: 53

KenPom: 52

SOS: 69

Average Seed: First Four Out

Remaining Schedule: vs. South Carolina (SEC Second Round)

Duke Blue Devils Resume

Record: 16-10 (10-9 Big East)

NET: 51

KenPom: 34

SOS: 47

Average Seed: Next Four Out

Remaining Schedule: vs. Florida State (ACC Quarterfinals) - reportedly forfeited due to COVID-19 positive test


One of the best days on the college basketball calendar wouldn't be complete unless there was a loaded bubble docket, which there is. 


The direst situations today come from Duke, St. John's and Ole Miss. All those teams need a tournament run to move back into the field of 68. Flirting on the edge of the bubble, wins would make sure they are at least considered on Selection Sunday. A win by Duke over Florida State might even be enough to put the Blue Devils in the tournament. 

All the Mountain West teams need wins too. None of the three are in a comfortable position. Losses here in the quarterfinal round would pretty much end any of those teams' at-large hopes. 

Syracuse topping Virginia would also give the Orange a tournament bid, taking one bid away from the rest of the field.

Maryland vs. Michigan State is thrown in the schedule for today because the loser will assuredly fall to the bubble with no games left on their season. 

Bubble Watch Schedule (March 11)

Maryland vs. Michigan State, Thursday at 11:30 a.m. (BTN)

Virginia vs. Syracuse, Thursday at 12:00 p.m. (ACCN) - ACC Quarterfinals

Seton Hall vs. St. John's, Thursday at 3:00 p.m. (FS1) - Big East Quarterfinal

Nevada vs. Boise State, Thursday at 5:30 p.m. (CBSSN) - Mountain West Quarterfinal

Florida State vs. Duke, Thursday at 6:30 p.m. (ACCN) - ACC Second Round

South Carolina vs. Ole Miss, Thursday at 9:00 p.m. (SECN) - SEC Second Round

UNLV vs. Utah State, Thursday at 9:00 p.m. (CBSSN) - Mountain West Quarterfinal

Fresno State vs. Colorado State, Thursday at 11:30 p.m. (CBSSN) - Mountain West Quarterfinal