Auburn Tennessee Basketball

Bubble Banter: Who helped their tournament chances?

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WEDNESDAY’S BUBBLE WINNERS

Villanova: The Wildcats beat Georgetown and now own victories over the top four teams in the Big East. While they still haven’t beaten anyone (except UConn) away from home and have losses to Columbia, Seton Hall and two to Providence, given what the rest of the bubble looks like, Jay Wright should feel pretty comfortable right now.

Iowa State: The Cyclones still have just OK computer numbers and a pair of bad losses, but they now have wins over three top 30 RPI teams. That’s monstrous compared to some of the other bubble teams. They aren’t safe yet, but they should feel pretty good about their standing.

Temple: The Owls didn’t want to leave any doubt tonight, so they went out and blew the doors off of Fordham. Fran Dunphy’s club would be smart to beat VCU at home on Sunday.

La Salle: The Explorers are in the same boat at Temple. They are probably sitting a better position right now because they don’t have the awful losses that Temple does, but La Salle’s profile is more or less supported by that one week where they beat Butler and VCU. They head to St. Louis this weekend. A win would be very, very helpful.

Tennessee: The Vols did what they needed to do on Wednesday: not lose to Auburn. That sets them up for a game on Saturday that could determine their NCAA tournament future. Tennessee will host Missouri with a chance to put themselves into a really good position heading into the SEC tournament. A loss wouldn’t be disastrous, but it would put Tennessee into a spot where they will need two wins — and maybe more, depending on how weak their matchups are — in Atlanta to go dancing.

San Diego State: The Aztecs probably are safe right now, and they probably would have been even if they lost to Air Force tonight. But their best road win is at USC, they have just four top 50 wins and seven top 100 wins, and their last game is at Boise State. They’ll likely have a rematch with the Broncos in the first round of the MWC tournament. Lose both and … they’re probably still in, but it’s not a lock yet.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

 

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: