Thirteen bubble teams took the court on Saturday with varying results, as you might expect. Let’s start with those that hurt themselves the most.
We begin at the top of the blueblood list as Duke dropped its third straight game and fell to .500 overall with a 91-73 loss at North Carolina. With their latest loss, the Blue Devils’ bubble has popped.
Another team we can say that about is Seton Hall, which fell at St. John’s 81-71 for the Pirates’ fourth straight loss. They are now 13-12 overall, and by the time they get enough wins to help their resume enough to possibly get an at-large spot, they will be the automatic qualifier.
Xavier is also falling hard to end the regular season. The Musketeers are now among the last four teams in the bracket after a loss at Marquette on Saturday, and have now lost five of seven since coming back from a COVID pause on Feb.13. Four of those losses have come to teams that are not in the bracket.
UCLA led USC the entire game — except for after the final shot in a 64-63 loss to the Trojans. The Bruins are now in double-digit seed territory after suffering their third straight defeat.
Saint Louis fell out of the bracket after getting blown out by top seed St. Bonaventure in the A-10 semifinals. The Billikens are done with their resume now, and that was not a good final impression to give the selection committee. The Bonnies, on the other hand, may have built a cushion against a loss to VCU in the A-10 final next week. We will have a better idea how they look by then as the major conference tournaments get going. VCU is also in better shape this morning.
Sunday features a triple-header of bubble games, all on CBS, and here are those bubble teams in action throughout the day. All times Eastern
Drake vs. Loyola Chicago
Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Championship, 2 p.m. (CBS)
|Drake played one of the most exciting games of the day yesterday in a back-and-forth affair with Missouri State. The Bulldogs have been holding it together with duct tape and bubble gum after the injuries to ShanQuan Hemphill and Roman Penn. They need to squeeze out one more win to take the nerves out of selection Sunday. That will definitely be a very nervous day if Drake loses this afternoon.|
|Loyola is the better at-large candidate of the two, and thus the MVC has a better chance of getting two teams in if Drake wins. That is not the Ramblers’ problem, though. Their job is to win and erase all doubt for themselves. Loyola is no sure thing if its best win is over Drake — a team that it also lost to twice.|
Other bubble teams in action
|vs. Michigan, 4:30 p.m. (CBS) — The Spartans get another crack at their in-state rival and Big Ten champion Michigan Wolverines. A win this afternoon would be a significant boost to Michigan State’s tournament hopes. Not many teams could claim victories over three of the top five teams in the nation. The Spartans are not without hope even with a loss today, however. They will just have to do some work in the conference tournament.|
|at Houston, Noon (CBS) –Memphis is in a similar situation as Wichita State. The Tigers are not going to have any chance to be an at-large team if they don’t beat Houston at some point, and Sunday is the regular season opportunity. Memphis needs something like this to start to overcome two losses to Tulsa in conference play.|