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Bubble Banter: Big night for Providence, Syracuse, Texas A&M

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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 Wednesday.

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.


TEXAS A&M (RPI; 24, KenPom: 29, NBC seed: 9): I’m still not quite sure how they pulled it out, but they did: Texas A&M won at Georgia on Wednesday night. Now if they can get past Alabama on Saturday, the Aggies should just about have a bid locked up. Even if they don’t, it’s hard to see how they end up falling out of the NCAA tournament field. Not only do they have five Quadrant 1 wins and seven more Quadrant 2 wins, but they have just one bad loss and they’ve beaten USC and Auburn on the road, Kentucky at home and West Virginia by 23 on a neutral floor.

NOTRE DAME (RPI: 69, KenPom: 30, NBC seed: Out): In theory, Notre Dame has no shot at the NCAA tournament this year. They’re 17-12 overall and 8-9 in the ACC with just two Quadrant 1 wins and three Quadrant 3 losses. But … they’ve played the last 15 games without Bonzie Colson and gone 6-9 in that stretch. It’s not exactly breaking news that having an all-american makes you a better team than not having an all-american. Here’s the problem: Notre Dame’s two worst losses of the season — Ball State at home, Indiana on a neutral — came with Colson healthy. I’m not going to count them out, not when they play at Virginia on Saturday and not when the ACC tournament is right around the corner, but the case for the Irish with Bonzie is not as strong as you might think.


PROVIDENCE (RPI: 42, KenPom: 73, NBC seed: 10): The Friars missed a chance to lock up a bid to the NCAA tournament by winning at Xavier, but that doesn’t really matter all that much. What was a killer tonight was that Minnesota, who was a top 15 team when they played Providence early in the season, got smoked by Rutgers in their Big Ten tournament opener. That means that the Golden Gophers are now a Quadrant 4 loss for the Friars, the third Quadrant 4 loss to their name. The saving grace for the Friars here is that they have beaten both Villanova and Xavier this season, but I would strong recommend beating St. John’s this weekend.

LSU (RPI; 89, KenPom: 67, NBC seed: Next four out): LSU lost at South Carolina. Any chance of an at-large is probably gone.

TEMPLE (RPI; 46, KenPom: 83, NBC seed: Out): Temple lost at UConn. Any chance of an at-large is gone.

SYRACUSE (RPI; 43, KenPom: 49, NBC seed: Play-in game): The one thing that Syracuse could not afford to do in the final three weeks of the season was to lost at Boston College, but that is precisely what they did on Wednesday night. They have just a 2-7 record against Quadrant 1 — although their two wins are at Miami and at Louisville — and a pair of Quadrant 3 losses. I think they’re on the wrong side of the bubble as of today, but it’s close. Beating Clemson in the Carrier Dome this weekend would be massive.

Police: Thief steals electronics from UNC basketball program

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Police say someone stole thousands of dollars in electronics from the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team locker room and office while they were away for the ACC tournament.

UNC-Chapel Hill campus police said on Twitter that the break-in happened at the Dean Smith Center on March 9, and they released images of a man they believe may have been involved.

A police report says the thief managed to get into the team locker room and basketball office without forced entry, according to The Herald-Sun.

The report says the thief stole a PlayStation 4, Xbox One and clothing worth $2,900 that belonged to the athletic department. Police say the thief also stole a laptop worth $1,200 and a financial document worth about $3,000 belonging to one of the players.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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)