College Basketball Bubble Watch: February 24th3 min read
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Syracuse Orange 17-12 (9-7) RPI: 74 KenPom: 46
Key Wins: Monmouth, Miami (FL), Wake Forest, Florida State, Virginia, Duke
Key Losses: Connecticut (Neutral Floor), St. John’s, @ Boston College
The numbers may not look great for Syracuse, especially away from the Carrier Dome, but wins over Florida State, Virginia, and Duke is hard to ignore. 9-7 in the extremely difficult ACC is also an impressive mark. Syracuse will close the season with two more chances to improve their resume at Louisville and home against Georgia Tech.
Providence Friars 17-11 (7-8) RPI: 54 KenPom: 56
Key Wins: Rhode Island, Seton Hall, Butler, Xavier, @Creighton
Key Losses: @ Boston College, @ DePaul
Plenty of good wins for the Friars, the last three have been picked up consecutively. This team is just a game under .500 in Big East play with an easy finish to the season hosting Marquette, DePaul and heading to St. John’s before the Big East Tournament. With just 1 game separating the 4 and 7 seeds in the BET, this final stretch is crucial. The Friars cannot afford to slip up and if they do, they will need to make a run at MSG.
Vanderbilt Commodores 15-13 (8-7) RPI: 46 KenPom: 51
Key Wins: @ Florida, Iowa State, @ Arkansas, South Carolina
Key Losses: @ Missouri
Believe it or not, the Commodores still have a shot at an at-large bid. For a vast majority of the year, it seemed that the SEC might only get 3 teams in, now it looks like the conference can land 5 teams in the field. Vandy still has some work to do but their resume is at or better than a lot of the other bubble teams. 4-7 against the top 50 isn’t great, but it is good enough this year with such a weak bubble. The Commodores have two chances left to pick up resume-boosting wins against Kentucky and Florida. They need at least one and a few wins in the SEC tourney to get a tournament invite.
California Golden Bears 18-9 (9-6) RPI: 44 KenPom: 50
Key Wins: @ USC
Key Losses: San Diego State (Neutral Floor)
The Bears are currently in the field but have stumbled down the stretch, losing their last three games including one against Oregon where they held the Ducks to 16 points in the first half. Cal does not have an impressive resume, it’s very blah in every way. There are a pair of numbers that jump off the page that is detrimental for Cal’s at-large bid. The Bears are currently 0-6 against the top 25 and 1-7 against the top 50. Not ideal. Win out against lesser teams of Oregon State, Utah, and Colorado and then pick up a win or two in the Pac-12 tourney and Cal will be dancing, a loss could be very dangerous.
TCU Horned Frogs 16-11 (6-9) RPI: 53 KenPom: 43
Key Wins: Illinois State, Iowa State
Key Losses: None
TCU could really use a quality win to add to their resume as they boast no bad losses, but just a pair of marquee wins. One of which is against an Illinois State team that might not even make the tournament. The Frogs have really struggled of late losing 8 of their last 11, book-ended by a pair of 4 game losing streaks. TCU still has time to pick up that marquee win as they host West Virginia, they will also have games against Kansas State and Oklahoma. Beat West Virginia and avoid a bad loss at Oklahoma and the Frogs should be in decent position for an at-large bid.
Clemson Tigers 14-13 (4-11) RPI: 60 KenPom: 36
Key Wins: Georgia, @ South Carolina, UNC-Wilmington, @ Wake Forest, Wake Forest
Key Losses: Oklahoma (Neutral Floor)
The Tigers are done. What looked to be an incredible story was officially ended when the Tigers fell at Miami and Virginia Tech. This was a Clemson team that stuck with a lot of the upper-echelon of the ACC in games home and away, but in the end couldn’t get it done. The dual national titles will not happen this season.