Getty Images

Bubble Banter: Sunday Funday on the bubble

Leave a comment

As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Sunday.

It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:

  • Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
  • Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
  • Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
  • Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus

The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.


N.C. STATE (RPI: 47, KenPom: 40, NBC seed: 9): N.C. State is probably a lock at this point. I’m not even sure it’s justifiable to have them on the bubble as of today. They’ve won seven of their last night games and they have five Quadrant 1 wins, including some elite wins: Arizona on a neutral, Duke, Clemson, at North Carolina.

NEBRASKA (RPI: 58, KenPom: 54, NBC seed: Out): Nebraska is proof that looking at a power conference team’s league record is meaningless without context. The Cornhuskers are 13-5 in the Big Ten and 22-9 overall, but they have just one Quadrant 1 win and three wins in the top two Quadrants. They are going to need to win a game or two in the Big Ten tournament to really have a chance at this thing, and those wins are going to need to come against the teams at the top of the conference.


UCLA (RPI: 54, KenPom: 58, NBC seed: Next four out): The Bruins fell at Colorado on Sunday, putting them in a position where they might have to win a couple of games in the Pac-12 tournament to really have a chance at an at-large bid. The good news is that the Bruins have three Quadrant 1 wins — including Kentucky on a neutral and at Arizona — with a road game against USC to close out their season. Win that, and their profile looks a whole lot better.

PENN STATE (RPI: 84, KenPom: 32, NBC seed: Out): The Nittany Lions had a chance to play their way in with four Quadrant 1 games to close out the season, but they lost their last three. They need to win at least two games in the Big Ten tournament — including at least one against one of the top four teams in the league — to have a real shot.

No upsets over here: No. 1 seed UConn women set scoring records in first round game

Ron Jenkins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The No. 1 overall seed on the men’s side of the NCAA tournament made history on Friday night.

They because the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed in the first round of the tournament, as Virginia lost to UMBC, if you were still unaware.

Over on the women’s side, the bracket is nowhere near as broken, because UConn’s women made history, too. They set NCAA tournament records for … well, almost everything it seems like.

The Huskies were up 55-19 at the end of the first quarter of their first round game against St. Francis (PA). Those 55 points are an NCAA tournament record. They held a 94-31 lead at the half, another NCAA tournament record, and held on to win 140-52.

The 140 points that Geno Auriemma’s team scored was an NCAA tournament record. The 88 points that they won by was one point short of an NCAA tournament record 89 points that was set by Baylor in a win over Texas Southern last season.

Oh, and the Huskies set the record for more assists in an NCAA tournament game — 38 — for good measure.

All in all, I think it’s safe to say that the fans in Storrs had a better weekend than the fans in Charlottesville. Hopefully, that will allow them to forget the fact that the men’s basketball program has become a laughing stock.

2018 NCAA Tournament: Maryland Governor calls UMBC upset, so does NBC Sports’ writer son

Chris Coduto/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Never before in the history of the NCAA tournament as a No. 16 seed upset a No. 1 seed.

That was until Friday night, when UMBC sent the No. 1 overall seed Virginia packing.

And if you thought no one had picked that upset, you were wrong.

Let’s start with the Maryland Governor, who was clearly a homer in picking UMBC to not only beat Virginia, but to win a national title:

Never say never, but … that’s never going to happen bud.

But how about this: My son, who is two years old and based his picks on his hard and fast rule of “all the doggies”, called this upset!

He also called Penn over Kansas, Fullerton over Purdue and Butler winning a national title, but whatever.

That bracket is actually pretty good!

VIDEO: Virginia’s Ty Jerome does not appreciate dumb question after UMBC loss

Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images
Leave a comment

You have to give Virginia some credit.

After losing to No. 16 seed UMBC in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the players on that roster faced the music. They went up to the dais and answered question from reporters on national television.

There is no way they enjoyed that.

And you can tell because Ty Jerome had absolutely no interest in answering dumb questions from reporters:

He was not amused.

2018 NCAA Tournament: Saturday’s betting lines, point spreads, over-unders

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Here is the full TV schedule, with spreads, over-unders and betting lines, for every game for the first four days of the NCAA tournament.

(Lines are updated for Saturday morning.)

Pittsburgh: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner and Dana Jacobson

  • 12:10 p.m.: No. 1 Villanova (-11.5) vs. No. 9 Alabama, CBS (149.5)
  • 2:40 p.m.: No. 2 Duke (-9.5) vs. No. 7 Rhode Island, CBS (149)

Boise: Brian Anderson, Chris Webber and Lisa Byington

  • 5:15 p.m.: No. 5 Kentucky (-5.5) vs. No. 13 Buffalo, CBS (155)
  • 7:45 p.m.: No. 4 Gonzaga (-4) vs. No. 5 Ohio State, CBS (141.5)

Dallas: Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Len Elmore and Ros Gold-Onwude

  • 6:10 p.m.: No. 3 Tennessee (-5) vs. No. 11 Loyola (Chicago), TNT (131.5)
  • 8:40: No. 3 Texas Tech (-1.5) vs. No. 6 Florida, TNT (133.5)

Wichita: Brad Nessler, Steve Lavin and Evan Washburn

  • 7:10 p.m.: No. 1 Kansas (-4.5) vs. No. 8 Seton Hall, TBS (154.5)
  • 9:40 p.m.: No. 3 Michigan (-3) vs. No. 6 Houston, TBS (135)

March Madness betting odds and national title futures

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With Virginia falling out of the NCAA tournament after losing to UMBC, here are the updated national title futures and betting odds in the NCAA tournament.

Odds via

Villanova: 5/1
Duke: 11/2
Michigan State: 7/1
Michigan: 8/1
Kansas: 10/1
Cincinnati: 12/1
Kentucky: 12/1
North Carolina: 12/1
Purdue: 12/1
Xavier: 14/1
Gonzaga: 15/1
Tennessee: 25/1
West Virginia: 25/1
Texas Tech: 40/1
Auburn: 50/1
Florida: 50/1
Houston: 50/1
Ohio State: 60/1
Rhode Island: 75/1
Seton Hall: 75/1
Alabama: 100/1
Clemson: 100/1
Kansas State: 100/1
Nevada: 100/1
Syracuse: 100/1
Texas A&M: 100/1
Buffalo: 150/1
Butler: 150/1
Florida State: 150/1
Loyola Chicago: 150/1
Marshall: 300/1
UMBC: 500/1