While the big news in college hoops Saturday was about the NCAA selection committee’s bracket reveal and a game between No. 1 seeds Duke and Virginia, it was a busy day for bubble teams as well. As usual, with so many games played, we had a mixed bag of results. Teams like Clemson, Butler and TCU really helped themselves, while Temple, Arkansas and Oklahoma took a step backwards.
There are only two bubble games Sunday, but they are for teams right on the cutline. It’s a big game for each of those teams.
First, here are where bubble teams in action Saturday stand:
Clemson 59, Virginia Tech 51: Virginia Tech is playing shorthanded, but Clemson will take it. The win over the Hokies is the Tigers best of the season so far. Virginia Tech was one of the teams considered for a spot in the NCAA’s top 16, but came up short of being selected.
Butler 73, Georgetown 69: Butler’s biggest problem this season has been an inability to win away from home. This game was doubly important because the Hoyas had previously beaten Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Bulldogs came away with a big win that breathes some new life into their NCAA tournament hopes.
Temple 58, Tulsa 76: It is one thing to take road loss to a team that hurts you and another to get blown out. The Owls were never in the game at Tulsa. It is a quadrant 2 loss, so it’s not the end of the world, but hanging their hat on being the only team to beat Houston so far is probably not enough to get selected in March.
VCU 85, St. Bonaventure 55: VCU dominated from the opening tip. It was a taking care of business game and take care of it the Rams did.
Auburn 78, LSU 83: Auburn led most of the way at LSU, but the Bayou Bengals took over in the second half and came away with the win. Auburn is still looking for a notable win away from home. The Tigers only wins of any significance are against Washington and Alabama at home.
TCU 92, Iowa State 83: This is a huge win for the Horned Frogs because it fills two holes on their tournament resume. It is their best win of the season and their first of consequence on the road. TCU isn’t a lock yet, but this is a big step in the right direction.
NC State 79 Pitt 76: It was ugly, but after last week, this win looks beautiful to NC State. Pitt is not a tournament contender, but it’s still a quadrant two win. At the moment, it is the Wolfpack’s best road win of the season.
Syracuse 67, Boston College 56: Syracuse has now won three out of four, with two of those wins coming against the Eagles. This stretch of games coming up could determine Syracuse’s fate as a tournament team. They travel to NC State, followed by Louisville and Duke at home, then a trip to North Carolina.
Arkansas 65, South Carolina 77: Just when you think Arkansas has things figured out, they take another loss like this. It’s not that South Carolina is a bad team, especially at home, but these are the kinds of games bubble teams need to find a way to win.
Florida 61, Tennessee 73: With this loss, the Gators drop to 12-11 overall and will be dropped from the bubble until they can get their record back up a bit. Florida is 1-9 vs quadrant 1 opponents. That pretty much screams NIT.
Oklahoma 54, Texas Tech 66: The Sooners have now lost four in a row and dropped to 3-8 in Big 12 play. That does not disqualify them, especially in what is so far a weak field, but this is a trend that needs to be stopped very soon. Their strength of schedule is keeping them afloat at the moment.
Seton Hall 63, Creighton 58: Seton Hall has this one in control, then blew it. Creighton looked to be on its way to a big road win, then blew it. The Pirates escaped with a win that keeps them in the hunt for an at-large berth. Creighton is still looking for that kind of win.
Texas 75, West Virginia 53: I asked the question “which Texas will we see today”? We saw the good one. The Longhorns dominated West Virginia in a game they really needed to win. Texas has messed up with lesser opposition too many times already this season.
Alabama 77, Vanderbilt 67: Vandy is really scuffling right now and Alabama did not make the mistake of letting them off the mat. The Crimson Tide has a chance to really help itself at Mississippi State on Tuesday.
Nebraska 62, Purdue 81: Nebraska put up a fight at Purdue for a half, but the Boilermakers put the Cornhuskers away in the second half. That will knock Nebraska off the bubble until they can string a few wins together.
Arizona State 75 Washington 63: Arizona State did was Arizona State does – play to the level of its competition. Coming off an embarrassing 21-point loss at home to Washington State, the Sun Devils handed Washington its first conference loss of the season. ASU is in a better place now, but not that much better. With nothing left but games that can hurt them, we’ll see if the Sun Devils can string some wins together.