There are eight 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.
Gonzaga: The Zags entered Monday night’s WCC quarterfinal sitting in pretty good position to earn an at-large bid to the Big Dance. Their RPI is in the high-20s, which is terrific, and they had an 8-4 record against the top 100. The problem, however, is that the Zags don’t have a win over a surefire NCAA tournament team. Their only top 50 win came against BYU, who they lost to in Provo, and their best non-conference win came on a neutral court against Arkansas, who might miss out on the NCAA tournament. Throw in a pair of sub-150 losses, and Mark Few’s club probably didn’t want to risk a loss before the final.
On Monday, they knocked off Saint Mary’s for the third time which should be enough to get them into the tournament. Without much in the way of an elite win — and with a number of other bubble teams playing in tournaments where quality wins are readily available — any loss is going to be risky. But BYU is a top 30ish team. That’s not the kind of loss that will be detrimental to a team’s profile.
BYU: Like Gonzaga, BYU advanced to the finals of the WCC tournament, meaning that both the Zags and the Cougars should feel pretty comfortable about their chances of dancing regardless of the outcome of the title game.
Here’s the question: who can better handle a loss? I think the answer, believe it or not, is BYU. Gonzaga has one good win this season. They beat BYU in Spokane. The Cougars not only picked off the Zags in Provo, but they also beat Texas on a neutral court and went into Palo Alto and knocked off Stanford. Their records against the top 100 are similar enough, but the Cougars have four sub-100 losses (Gonzaga only has two), although that number should be made up for by BYU’s top five non-conference SOS.