Bubble Banter: St. Joseph’s, Xavier, Minnesota celebrate big wins

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There are 23 days left until Selection Sunday. Every morning from now until the bracket comes out, we’ll help you get caught up on the happenings with impact on the bubble from the night before. 

You can see NBCSports.com’s latest bracket here.

Dayton (RPI: 54, KenPom: 64) went to Philly and got worked over by St. Joseph’s (RPI: 38, KenPom: 57) on Tuesday in a key bubble game. Both the Flyers and the Hawks entered the night sitting right around the bubble’s cut line, and that probably’s won’t change much after the 26-point win.

Dayton has a stronger resume than you realize. They have two top 30 wins and are 7-6 against the top 100. Their issue is three losses to teams sitting outside the top 100. The good news? With homes games left against UMass and Richmond and a road trip to a Saint Louis team that will have already clinched a league title, Archie Miller’s club has three chances to earn quality wins that will put them on the right side of the bubble.

The Hawks have a fairly similar profile. The win over Dayton moved St. Joe’s to 6-6 against the top 100, which includes top 25 wins against UMass and VCU. They only have two losses to teams outside the top 50, against LSU and at Temple, which is a bad loss on paper but doesn’t look as awful when you factor in the fact that it was a rivalry game.

Phil Martelli’s club has three more games against top 100 competition, heading to St. Bonaventure and GW while hosting La Salle. They probably need to win two of the three and avoid a loss in their first game in the Atlantic 10 tournament to truly feel comfortable.


  • Minnesota (RPI: 48, KenPom: 49) picked up a huge win, knocking off Iowa at home. It’s their fourth top 50 win and sixth top 100 win. The Gophers are still sitting right around the cutline, but a win at Michigan on Saturday would change that.
  • Xavier (RPI: 60, KenPom: 44) beat St. John’s (RPI: 52, KenPom: 37) in a game between Big East bubblers. It was a huge win for Xavier, who is now 7-7 against the top 100. They have just one top 50 win (Cincinnati), but they get home games against Creighton and Villanova still. The Johnnies are in a bit of a tougher spot. They’re 5-9 against the top 100, and while the win over Creighton is nice, they missed out on chances to improve their resume the last week. They cannot afford a loss to Marquette or DePaul.
  • Missouri (RPI: 45, KenPom: 61) is in a tough spot after a loss at Georgia. The Tigers were already sitting close to the bubble’s cutline, and another loss to a team with an RPI outside the top 65 — their seventh — certainly doesn’t help. They do have eight top 100 wins, but only one top 50 win. The Tigers cannot afford another loss before the league tournament.
  • Georgia (RPI: 88, KenPom: 81) is still a long way from being on the bubble even after Tuesday’s win over Missouri but … they can dream, right? Win out, which would include roadies against Arkansas and LSU, and make the finals of the SEC tournament — which would include a win over Kentucky or Florida — and who knows? No one else seems to want to win their way in.
  • Kansas State (RPI: 43, KenPom: 43) avoided what would have been a damaging loss at Texas Tech with a late rally. It’s their second Big 12 road win, although both have come against the bottom two teams in the conference.
  • Clemson (RPI: 67, KenPom: 47), barring some kind of miracle, is done after losing at Wake Forest.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.