April 20, 2024

Bracketology Bubble Watch: Texas drops from field; Michigan State, Nebraska in must-win situations Sunday


After a busy Saturday that saw more near upsets than actual upsets, we have a pretty stable bracket. San Diego State has the highest change in the bracket, moving up to a 3-seed, replacing Duke after its loss to Wake Forest. Kentucky also moved up two lines to a 5-seed after eviscerating Alabama 117-95, though losses for Colorado State and Texas Tech helped, too. 

There are only a couple of bubble games today, both in the Big Ten.  Before we get to that, let’s look at some of the winners and losers from Saturday.

Winners

Wake Forest has crept into the bracket following a win over Duke. The Demon Deacons could still use a decent win away from home to feel more comfortable. They will play at Virginia Tech on Saturday, and a win there would be their best of the season away from home. 

Colorado beat Utah in a double-bubble game on Saturday, giving the Buffaloes a little more securing entering the home stretch of the season. They have mostly winnable games left, and in their position those are must-wins.

Seton Hall may have put the final nail in Butler’s hopes to advance to the NCAA Tournament with a 76-64 win. The Pirates now have games coming up where they can really get the selection committee’s attention – at Creighton and at UConn.

Losers

Texas fell out after an 86-67 loss at Kansas. That may seem harsh, but the Longhorns are 9-12 against the top three quadrants. No team has ever received an at-large bid three games below .500 against that group. They don’t have any easy games left, either, with the possible exception of a visit from Oklahoma State.

Texas A&M got buried by Tennessee 86-51 and is just about done as a potential NCAA Tournament team. In fact, The Aggies are no longer on my bubble. There isn’t any reason to believe Texas A&M has what it takes to make the run it would need to get into the NCAA Tournament.

New Mexico used to be a home-court hero, but after taking a Quad 4 loss at home to Air Force, maybe the Lobos are a no-court hero. The loss to the Falcons is their third home loss in their last four games at The Pit. The road win over Nevada is the saving grace on their résumé at the moment.  They finish with games at Boise State and Utah State surrounding a home game with Fresno State.  You have to wonder if New Mexico will win any of them.

Bubble teams in action Sunday

NCAA Tournament locks

Locks based on resume: 14 | Bids secured: 0 | At-large spots remaining: 17

ACC

2

Duke, North Carolina

Big East

3

UConn, Marquette, Creighton

Big Ten

1

Purdue

Big 12

4

Houston, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas

Pac-12

1

Arizona

SEC

3

Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn

American

0

Others

0

Near the cut line

Note – all references to NCAA Tournament selection records and trends based on NET rankings excludes the 2021 tournament. Due to shortened schedules and a relatively small number of non-conference games, those rankings are not reliable enough to be considered.





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