BYU bubble watch — March 9

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The Universe will be updating a BYU bubble watch every day leading up to Selection Sunday on March 15. (Twitter)
The Universe will be updating a BYU bubble watch every day leading up to Selection Sunday on March 15. (Twitter)

LAS VEGAS — College basketball fans had an incredible weekend. There were multiple upsets, thrilling buzzer-beaters and overall great individual performances, many of which significantly impacted the NCAA Tournament bracket. Most of the teams on the bubble played over the weekend, which makes for a lot of changes to the bubble watch today.

Here’s your daily update on the teams BYU is competing with for an at-large NCAA Tournament berth. We’ve included the 16 teams surrounding the “cut line,” according to ESPN’s bracketology expert Joe Lunardi, as well as any teams who were recently on the bubble, but have since made their case for selection or fallen off.

Safely in

Davidson (23-6, 14-4 A-10)

Last game: March 7 – W 107-78 at Duquesne

Next game: March 13 – A-10 quarterfinal vs. 8 Massachusetts/9 La Salle

Davidson wrapped up the regular season A-10 crown Saturday by blowing out Duquesne. They’ll go into the A-10 tournament on a nine-game winning streak.

Cincinnati (22-9, 13-5 AAC)

Last game: March 8 – W 77-65 vs. Memphis

Next game: March 13 – AAC quarterfinal vs. 6 UConn/11 USF

The Bearcats roll into the American tournament, having won five in a row following a three-game losing streak in early February. Sweeping league leader SMU in the regular season will be good enough to get them in, regardless of what happens this week.

Colorado State (26-5, 13-5 MWC)

Last game: March 7 – W 75-70 at Utah State

Next game: March 12 – MWC quarterfinal vs. 6 Fresno State

The Rams are the epitome of a true bubble team. Their one bad loss (at New Mexico) is canceled out by two good wins (Boise St. and San Diego St.). The perfect non-conference schedule is a plus, but CSU would benefit from a few wins in the Mountain West tourney.

Last four byes

LSU (22-9, 11-7 SEC)

Last game: March 7 – W 81-78 at No. 18 Arkansas

Next game: March 13 – SEC quarterfinal vs. TBD

LSU took advantage of its last regular-season chance for a quality win with an impressive game against the Razorbacks. The Tigers might be in even with a loss in the SEC tournament, but a win makes them a lock.

Ole Miss (20-11, 11-7 SEC)

Last game: March 7 – L 86-77 vs. Vanderbilt

Next game: March 12 – SEC second round vs. 11 South Carolina/14 Missouri

The Rebels were feeling really good a few days ago. They had a solid resume that included an overtime loss to No. 1 Kentucky and two top-25 wins. They had just been upgraded to a “lock” in Eamonn Brennan’s ESPN Bubble Watch. Then they lost at home to Vanderbilt, dropping their third out of the last four and returning to the bubble conversation. Ole Miss is still in good shape, but to feel safe, it can’t have another bad loss.

Oklahoma State (18-12, 8-10 Big 12)

Last game: March 7 – L 81-72 at No. 20 West Virginia

Next game: March 12 – Big 12 quarterfinal vs. No. 15 Oklahoma

The Cowboys have more quality wins this season than most other bubble teams combined. They beat Kansas and swept Baylor, but have gone 1-5 in their last six games, including losses to Big 12 bottom-feeders TCU and Texas Tech. Winning this year’s third installment of Bedlam on Thursday would probably lock them into the tourney.

Purdue celebrates a home win with fans. The Boilermakers are in a good position, but they’d love more wins to lock them into the NCAA Tournament. (Twitter)

Purdue (20-11, 12-6 Big Ten)

Last game: March 7 – W 63-58 vs. Illinois

Next game: March 13 – Big Ten quarterfinal vs. TBD

Purdue is virtually a lock for the tournament, which could be both good and bad for the Cougars. On one hand, the Boilermakers getting in shrinks the bubble ever-so-slightly. On the other, it raises the quality of BYU’s non-conference schedule. It’s a true win-win (or lose-lose) situation, depending on how you look at it.

 

 

Last four in

Bryan Pearson
The Cougar bench celebrates during BYU’s win in Spokane. The March 1 upset over Gonzaga significantly improved its at-large resume. (Bryan Pearson)

BYU (24-8, 13-5 WCC)

Last game: March 7 – W 78-76 WCC quarterfinal vs. 7 Santa Clara

Next game: March 9 – WCC semifinal vs. 6 Portland

After Tyler Haws’ buzzer-beater, Cougar fans must be thinking, “Please, just one more win!” Obviously they’d love to win their first postseason conference championship since 2001, but beating the Pilots on Monday should get them into the tournament.

Texas (19-12, 8-10 Big 12)

Last game: March 7 – W 62-49 vs. Kansas St.

Next game: March 11 – Big 12 first round vs. 10 Texas Tech

The Longhorns’ upset of Baylor on Monday gave them a sigh of relief after having missed on their last seven chances against top-20 teams. Texas still needs an upset or two in the Big 12 Tournament to feel better about their tourney hopes.

Temple (20-9, 11-5 AAC)

Last game: March 7 – W 75-63 vs. UConn

Next game: March 13 – American quarterfinal vs. 5 Memphis

Great non-conference scheduling significantly improved the Owls’ chances of dancing. Temple may very well ride its Dec. 22 25-point win over #10 Kansas all the way to Dayton despite a few AAC slip-ups.

Texas guard Isaiah Taylor sinks a game-winning shot in the Longhorns’ much-needed upset of Baylor. (Twitter)

Indiana (19-12, 9-9 Big Ten)

Last game: March 7 – L 74-72 vs. Michigan State

Next game: March 12 – Big Ten second round vs. 10 Northwestern

Yogi Ferrell had a free throw to tie the game and complete the Hoosiers’ comeback against the Spartans. Instead of potentially beating a tournament team in overtime, Indiana ended their regular season losing eight of its final 12 games, including  the last three in a row. They’ll try to take revenge for one of those losses against the Wildcats on Thursday.

First four out

Miami (FL) (20-11, 10-8 ACC)

Last game: March 7 – W 81-62 at Virginia Tech

Next game: March 11 – ACC second round vs. 11 Wake Forest/14 Virginia Tech

Miami is yet another team that has stayed on the bubble by virtue of not losing to bad teams; it hasn’t beaten a good team since its Jan. 13 win over Duke. Luckily for them, the ACC tournament has plenty of teams that would qualify as quality wins; the ‘Canes will just have to capitalize.

Old Dominion (22-6, 11-5 C-USA)

Last game: March 7 – W – 75-52 vs. Western Kentucky

Next game: March 12 – C-USA quarterfinal vs. 6 Middle Tennessee/11 Charlotte

The only thing hurting Old Dominion is its less-than-stellar record in a mid-major conference. It does have big non-conference wins over VCU, LSU and Richmond, and its 22-game win-total is higher than most other teams’ on this list. Unfortunately for the Monarchs, Conference USA is probably not strong enough to deserve more than its one automatic bid. It might have to win the conference to get in.

Tulsa (21-9, 14-4 AAC)

Last game: March 8 – L 67-62 at #22 SMU

Next game: March 13 – AAC quarterfinal vs. 7 Tulane/10 Houston

Going into Sunday’s championship-deciding game against the Mustangs, Tulsa faced the same situation BYU did before stunning Gonzaga in Spokane. This one didn’t go the way of the underdog, however, and now Tulsa needs to at least get through to the American tournament final. Honestly, that might not even be enough.

Texas A&M (20-10, 11-7 SEC)

Last game: March 7 – L 61-60 vs. Alabama

Next game: March 12 – SEC second round vs. 12 Mississippi St./13 Auburn

We said the Aggies couldn’t look past the Tide, and what did they do? Ending the season by losing to Florida and Alabama drops A&M pretty far. Luckily for the team, there’s still time to get back on the right side of the bubble if it can get out of its slump.

The ‘Canes’ win over Pitt kept them on the bubble for the time being. (Twitter)

Next four out

UCLA (19-12, 11-7 Pac-12)

Last game: March 4 – W 85-74 vs. USC

Next game: March 12 – Pac-12 Quarterfinal vs.5 Arizona State/12 USC

The Bruins have finished their regular season schedule, which means the only shot they have to improve their resume will be in the PAC-12 tournament. Barring an upset over Arizona in the semifinals, UCLA is destined to be biting its nails until Selection Sunday.

Illinois (19-11, 9-8 Big Ten)

Last game: March 7 – L at Purdue

Next game: March 12 – Big Ten second round vs. 9 Michigan

The Fighting Illini had a chance to help themselves on more counts than one with a game against fellow-bubbler Purdue on Saturday but weren’t able to seal the deal. Now they’ll need a quarterfinal upset of #6 Wisconsin on Friday to put them back in the at-large conversation.

Murray State (27-5, 16-0 OVC)

Last game: March 7 – L 88-87 Ohio Valley Championship vs. Belmont

When Taylor Barnette sank his miraculous, game-winning 3-pointer to win the OVC title, he also sank the Racers’ NCAA tournament dreams. Murray State had a disappointing non-conference schedule, and its conference just isn’t strong enough to deserve another bid. It’ll have to try again next year.

Richmond (19-12, 12-6 A-10)

Last game: March 7 – W 67-51 vs. Saint Louis

Next game: March 13 – A-10 quarterfinal vs. TBD

The last team on the bubble is a little like the last player selected in the NFL draft — irrelevant. Richmond has far too many bad losses, and apart from a 2OT victory over VCU, its best wins are against other bubble teams. Richmond’s bubble has all but popped at this point, which is a shame, because nobody in the country has a better mascot than the Spiders.

Bubble burst

Oregon’s win over Stanford put the Ducks safely into the tournament while pushing the Cardinals farther down the bubble list. (Twitter)

Stanford (18-12, 9-9 Pac-12)

Last game: March 7 – L 91-69 at #5 Arizona

Next game: March 11 – Pac-12 first round vs. 11 Washington

Winning in Tucson on senior night was always a tall order for the Cardinals, but that’s what they needed to stay in the bubble conversation. It would take at least a pair of upsets over Utah and Oregon for Stanford to become relevant again, but the way they’ve been playing lately, that’s highly unlikely.

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