Bubble Games to Watch: March 2
As quickly as the Dayton Flyers played their way onto the bubble is how quickly they fell off it. The Flyers lost at home to a bad Rhode Island team bursting their bubble Friday night. The only other team in action was Lipscomb who took care of business against North Alabama. We’ve got a ton of games on the slate that have NCAA Tournament and bubble implications.
6 Michigan State at Indiana 11am CT FOX
Just a couple games back I had said Indiana’s bubble had burst. I had drastically underestimated how weak this year’s bubble is. The Hoosiers still have the slimmest of slim chances, but there is a chance. They need to win out and a season sweep over Sparty would be huge.
13 LSU at Alabama 11am CT ESPN
This is a huge opportunity for Alabama to stamp their resume with one of the best wins an SEC team can grab. The big news is that Tremont Waters will not play in this one. Will his absence be enough for the Tide to take advantage of, or will we see another great performance from Ja’vonte Smart?
NC State at 18 Florida State 11am CT ESPN 2
The Noles have played very well of late and NC State really needs a resume boosting win. They have been very hit or miss since the 24 point debacle against Virginia Tech. Both teams are in but NC State certainly isn’t completely safe at this point.
Syracuse at Wake Forest 11am CT ACC Network
Given the Orange’s love of being a fringe tournament team and playing in Dayton to open the tournament, a loss here wouldn’t surprise me. That being said, this is a much different Syracuse team than the recent past. They have some great playmakers and more than one guy can beat you.
Ole Miss at Arkansas 12pm CT SEC Network
This one is simple for Ole Miss, avoid a let down following the brutal home loss to Tennessee. It was an ugly scene at the end of that game and one of the best free throw shooting teams couldn’t close it out. Bounce back here and they’re good to go.
Ohio State at 14 Purdue 1pm CT ESPN
Every win is important for a bubble team this time of year, even when they’re as safely in as Ohio State. A win over Purdue moves the Buckeyes up a seed line, that is huge.
24 Wofford at Samford 1pm CT ESPN 3
The Terriers have a chance to complete the perfect conference season with a road win at Samford. This is one of the best mid-majors in the country and they are second weekend good.
Butler at Villanova 1pm CT FOX
Essentially half the Big East is on the bubble right now. Villanova is safe and Marquette is safe, but from there on down to DePaul and Providence is bubble teams. Butler could use a big win desperately and this is their chance. Villanova just beat Marquette at home so this win would move the needle.
Iowa State at Texas 1pm CT ESPN 2
Iowa State is very confusing this season, they win big games and then drop games they should win. Texas would fall under the latter. The Longhorns are without Kerwin Roach and Osetkowski missed their last game, a heartbreaking loss at Baylor. Texas needs a win badly.
West Virginia at Oklahoma 1pm CT ESPNU
Bob Huggins is looking to play spoiler at Oklahoma as the Sooners are clinging on to an at-large bid. OU cannot afford this loss, the only positive is that the bubble is weak.
UCF at 8 Houston 3pm CT ESPN
This is the chance for UCF to prove they’re a tournament team at Houston. The Knights resume is missing a little bit extra and this would be a lot more to add on and finish the job.
11 Texas Tech at TCU 3pm CT ESPN 2
TCU is another team that could use this win. It locks them in instead of pushing them closer to the bubble. The Frogs have lost 4 of their last 5 including a loss against West Virginia which is bad.
VCU at Richmond 3pm CT CBSSN
The Rams are looking to secure their bid to the tournament but this is a low reward high risk game. A loss at Richmond would be a devastating blow to their resume. Beat the in-state rival and shift the focus to the A-10 tournament.
Toledo at Central Michigan 3:30pm CT ESPN+
The only game that is okay to lose in the MAC is Buffalo. This game is obviously not Buffalo. The goal for Toledo is survive and advance, let the teams above you lose and that’s how they will work their way up.
5 North Carolina at Clemson 5pm CT ESPN
Clemson is right on the Last Four In/First Four out line and they’ve had many chances to get themselves off that line. This would absolutely do it. The last big home game they had was a 59-51 win over Virginia Tech. I do not see this one going that way. They will need to score a bunch to win this one.
Seton Hall at Georgetown 5:30pm CT CBSSN
The Hall needs a win to stop the bleeding, Georgetown needs the win to keep moving their stock up. The Pirates are in (barely) and the Hoyas are out (barely) the winner is in a good spot while the loser needs to win out.
Baylor at 16 Kansas State 7pm CT ESPN 2
Huge chance for Baylor and a huge game for the Big 12 Title race. Kansas State needs to win to stay atop the league while Baylor clinches a bid with a win in Manhattan.
12 Nevada at Utah State 7:30pm CT CBSSN
I love Utah State, I think they’re in the tournament right now and this win would just be gravy. However, the consensus is they’re right on the fringe of being in and this win would catapult them to the big dance.
Georgia at Florida 7:30pm CT SEC Network
It is simple for Florida, just don’t lose. Georgia is better than their record shows, but it this still isn’t a good win or loss.
1 Gonzaga at Saint Mary’s 9pm CT ESPN
The Zags are very good. Saint Mary’s is desperate for a win and if they get it they might actually sneak in. But beating Gonzaga is a tall task. The Zags haven’t won by less than 10 points in conference play yet this season.