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Bubble Banter: All of the weekend’s bubble action in one place

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Now that conference play is just about done and the NCAA tournament is right around the corner, it is time for us to get fully invested in the “who’s-in-who’s-out” discussion. Bubble Banter has never been more important!

Some quick housekeeping before we dive into it:

  • This page will be updated throughout the weekend, so be sure to check back on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as the games get played. 
  • We’ll update them best that we can, but the NET rankings will be accurate through Friday morning. 
  • If you see something we missed, if you have an issue with a team we left out or if you want to congratulate us on a job well done, drop a comment below or hit us up here: @RobDauster.
  • The cut-off we will be using this year for teams that are “on the bubble” is the No. 9 seed line. If your favorite team is seeded as a No. 9 or better in our most recent bracket, they will not be discussed below. This does not mean that those teams are locks, but it means they need to do something dumb before they are in danger of missing out on the tournament. 
  • On Thursday, our Dave Ommen released an updated bracket, and these eight teams were placed in an 8-9 game: Ole Miss, Ohio State, Auburn, Wofford, Baylor, Minnesota, St. John’s, Syracuse.

Onto the weekend’s action.

WINNERS

TCU (NET: 41, SOS: 33): The Horned Frogs are the biggest winners of the day, as they avoided a second half collapse to land their second win of the season over Iowa State (14), 75-72. TCU is not 18-9 overall, and while they are 6-8 in the Big 12, they don’t have a bad loss to their name right now. Losing at Oklahoma State (87) is the only time they’ve lost to a team that isn’t at the very least in the bubble picture. The problem with their resume is that the only Q1 wins that they currently have are against the Cyclones; TCU is 2-6 against Q1 and 5-3 against Q2.

WOFFORD (NET: 24, SOS: 152): The Terriers continued to build on their at-large profile by going into Furman (45) and knocking off the Palladins, 72-62. That’s Wofford’s third Q1 win of the season, and they don’t have a single loss to their name that is “worse” that at Oklahoma. For my money, Wofford will be an at-large as long as they don’t lose at Chattanooga and at Samford.

CLEMSON (NET: 44, SOS: 31): Beating Boston College (123) at home isn’t going to change all that much for the Tigers, but for a team that is currently sitting at one of the First Four Out in the most recent NBC Sports bracket projection, that’s a loss that would have been tough to survive.

VCU (NET: 37, SOS: 32): The Rams blew out George Washington, which is exactly what they need to do. With the way their schedule has shaken out — a non-conference win at Texas (35) and over Temple (56) on a neutral — and the lack of quality wins available in the Atlantic 10, VCU is in a spot where they simply cannot afford a loss to any of the teams left on their schedule.

UTAH STATE (NET: 36, SOS: 123): I’m not quite sure how Utah State managed it, but the Aggies found a way to win in overtime after blowing a big lead and finding themselves down late. That’s their fourth straight win and their 11th win in the last 12 games. That’s really what the Aggies need to do until they get a shot at Nevada (22) at home on March 2nd.

FLORIDA (NET: 31, SOS: 29): After going into Baton Rouge and beating LSU (17) in overtime on Wednesday night, the Gators very nearly found a way to ruin all the positive momentum they had built by struggling with Missouri (92) at home. Florida does have 11 losses this season, but 10 of those 11 losses are against Q1 opponents. The problem? They have just three Q1 wins. The question for Florida is going to end up being simple: Does the committee value a resume like this over a resume like Furman’s? Both have one elite win and one Q3 loss. The difference is that the Gators got 13 chances for Q1 wins while Furman only got six.

N.C. STATE (NET: 32, SOS: 208): The Wolfpack could not afford to lose at home to Wake Forest (192), and they didn’t. Kevin Keatts’ team has a resume that looks an awful lot lie a mid-major teams’ resume. They have one Q1 win — at home against an Auburn team that has one win over a tournament team — and one Q3 loss, but the bigger issue is a non-conference SOS that ranks 352nd nationally. I think they have to win at Florida State (24) on Saturday, at this point.

ALABAMA (NET: 51, SOS: 27): The Crimson Tide jumped out to a big, early lead on Vanderbilt (132) and never looked back on Saturday. Alabama does not have a great profile — they are 2-6 against Q1 with a 16-11 record and two Q3 losses — but they do have a win over Kentucky (5) that looks better and better with each blowout win that the Wildcats land.

UCF (NET: 39, SOS: 72): The Knights absolutely obliterated SMU (103) on Sunday, beating them 95-48. That looks great in the box score. It doesn’t help their tournament resume all that much, though. UCF is still 0-3 against Q1 opponents, and while they are 6-2 against Q2, they have no wins over top 50 competition and they lost at home to FAU (153), a Q3 loss. The Knights either need to win at Houston (4) or beat Cincinnati at home (50) if they don’t want to sweat out Selection Sunday.

ARIZONA STATE (NET: 66, SOS: 69): It was more of a sweat than it should have been, but the Sun Devils got the job done in the end, winning at home against Cal and avoiding another brutal loss on their resume. As it stands, ASU sits at 4-1 against Q1 opponents with a 4-4 record against Q2, but they’ve lost to Utah (102), Washington State (168) and Princeton (170) at home. No one else near the bubble has three losses that are quite that bad.

BELMONT (NET: 53, SOS: 217): Belmont has two more landmines to dodge in the regular season after they beat up on SIU-Edwardsville on Saturday night. If they can get to the OVC tournament without taking another loss, and if they can find a way to lose to Murray State and only Murray State in the OVC tournament, then I think that the Bruins have a real chance to get a big. They have ins at Lipscomb, at Murray State and at UCLA.

OKLAHOMA (NET: 38, SOS: 13): Have the Sooners figured things out? After snapping a five-game losing streak last Saturday at TCU (41), they turned that into a winning streak by beating Texas (41) at home this Saturday. The Sooners are 17-10 on the season and 5-9 in the Big 12, but with a couple of good wins — Wofford (24) at home, Florida (31) on a neutral, at TCU (41) — they are in a good spot considering the state of the bubble this year.

TEMPLE (NET: 54, SOS: 63): Temple picked off a Tulsa team that has been playing better of late, but the issue the Owls are currently facing is that there isn’t really a way to drastically improve their profile until the American tournament starts. As it stands, we have them in a play-in game. Essentially every game they play is a must-win at this point.

LOSERS

GEORGETOWN (NET: 69, SOS: 75): The Hoyas had a chance to add another Q1 win on Saturday afternoon, and instead they went into Omaha and lost 82-69 to Creighton (57). The Hoyas are still in a decent spot thanks to last week’s win over Villanova (27) at home, but the Wildcats are barely a Q1 win and Georgetown has also lost to SMU (101) at home and to Loyola Marymount (153) on a neutral. Those are two Q3 losses. Georgetown’s schedule closes out like this: DePaul (111), Seton Hall (64), at DePaul (111), at Marquette (18). I think they need to win out to get an at-large bid.

FURMAN (NET: 45, SOS: 232): The Palladins are going to be a very interesting team come Selection Sunday. They are 19-6 on the season and 11-5 in the SoCon, but because of the strength of that league, four of those five leagues losses are actually Q1 losses. One of those is today’s loss to Wofford (24) at home. There are three other things here to note:

  • 1. Furman won at Villanova (27) back in November.
  • 2. They lost at home to Samford (156), which is a Q3 loss.
  • 3. Their non-conference SOS is 252nd nationally, a number that is not ideal. That’s why 14 of their wins are Q4 wins.

Frankly, I think that it is No. 3 that will end up costing the Palladins an at-large bid.

SETON HALL (NET: 64, SOS: 51): The Pirates lost at St. John’s (49) on Saturday, and in a vacuum, that’s probably not a loss that is going to hurt them. That is a Q1 loss, and given where Seton Hall currently sits on the bubble, they can survive it. The problem? They finish up the year at Georgetown and with Marquette and Villanova at home. That is a tough finish for a team that is already 16-11 overall.

TEXAS (NET: 35, SOS: 9): Playing without Kerwin Roach, Texas went into Norman and lost to Oklahoma (38), 69-67. That’s the seventh Q1 loss for the Longhorns this season. On the season, they’re 15-12 overall with four Q1 wins and an 8-11 mark against the top two quadrants. Throw in a home loss to Radford (130) and Texas is nowhere near safe despite the fact that they have a neutral court win over North Carolina (9), home wins over Purdue (11) and Kansas (15) and a win at Kansas State (28). This team is the perfect example of why the bubble is so soft this season.

NEBRASKA (NET: 46, SOS: 92): Nebraska lost 75-72 at home against Purdue (11). They’re now 14-13 on the season. I have them here because if they end the season with wins at Michigan (7), at Michigan State (8) and over Iowa (30) in Lincoln, they’ll be in. But that’s a big ‘if’.

JJ Culver scores 100 points in Wayland Baptist NAIA win

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JJ Culver made national headlines on Tuesday night by scoring 100 points during an NAIA game in Texas.

The brother of former Texas Tech star Jarrett Culver, JJ dropped 100 in nationally-ranked Wayland Baptist’s 124-60 win over Southwest Adventist.

Going 34-for-62 from the field, 12-for-33 from three-point range and 20-for-27 from the free-throw line, Culver reached the Wilt Chamberlain mark with an incredible 83 percent usage rate.

Culver even got the Wilt photo taken after the memorable win.

Jarrett might be the famous NBA player who helped Texas Tech to the national title game last season. JJ has the better individual story to tell during the holidays when the Culver family gets together. Scoring 100 in a game, at any level, is completely ridiculous.

Putting up 36 points per game on the season, Culver is a monster scoring threat every time he takes the floor. I’m sure he never envisioned getting the Holy Grail scoring number of basketball in a single game though.

No. 2 Kansas rides hot start to 95-68 win over UW-Milwaukee

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Devon Dotson had 22 points and nine assists, Udoka Azubuike added 15 points and 17 rebounds, and second-ranked Kansas rolled to a 95-68 victory over Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Tuesday night.

Ochai Agbaji also had 22 points for the Jayhawks (8-1), who built a 40-12 lead in the first half and cruised the rest of the way to their 26th consecutive home win. It also gave them 300 for the decade, joining Gonzaga (304) as the only Division I schools to have reached the milestone before the calendar flips to January.

Darius Roy had 25 points to lead the Panthers (5-5), who actually outscored the Jayhawks most of the second half. Leading scorer Te’Jon Lucas was held to 11 points on 1-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.

Kansas basically put the game away with a faultless first 12 minutes.

Agbaji, who went for 20 points and 12 boards against Colorado over the weekend, continued his torrid pace by knocking down three 3-pointers in the first three minutes. McCormack and Azubuike got into the act down low, using their massive bulk against the smaller Panthers. And then Dotson went on a scoring binge, using cat-quick penetration to get into the lane and knocking down a series of 3s when Milwaukee began to collapse on the paint.

The result was a 17-1 run to start the game, a 23-4 advantage by the 14-minute mark, and a 40-12 lead — and a whole bunch of used timeouts by Milwaukee coach Pat Baldwin — by the time the buzzer sounded on the under-8 media timeout.

Just how efficient was Kansas by that point? Try a 19-3 rebounding advantage, an 8-of-13 mark from the 3-point line, and 11 assists on the Jayhawks’ first 15 made field goals. Oh, and they had just three turnovers.

The crisp passing and utter selflessness was on display during one fast-break opportunity, when Dotson curled a bounce pass around a defender to Agbaji, who passed up his own look to dump the ball to Tristan Enaruna for a layup.

Milwaukee finally had a stretch of success late in the first half, but the Jayhawks still cruised into the locker room with a 52-27 lead. The second half was mostly academic, punctuated by a few big highlights — like the alley-oop pass from Dotson that Agbaji threw down with a rim-rattling reverse dunk with about 12 minutes to go.

That was enough to start the victory party nice and early.

BIG PICTURE

Milwaukee never gave itself a chance by spotting Kansas a big lead on the road, but it also never gave up. The Panthers scored seven of the first eight points to start the second half and stood toe-to-toe with the Jayhawks the rest of the way.

Kansas is poised to move to No. 1 next week after top-ranked Louisville lost to Big 12 rival Texas Tech at the Jimmy V Classic in New York. The result was shown on the video boards in Allen Fieldhouse and elicited a big roar.

UP NEXT

Milwaukee plays its lone home game in December against Eastern Illinois on Saturday night.

Kansas plays Kansas City on Saturday night at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

VIDEO: Texas Tech celebrates win over No. 1 Louisville

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Texas Tech pulled off another upset of a No. 1 team on Tuesday night when the Red Raiders took down Louisville in Madison Square Garden.

Playing without freshman guard and leading scorer Jahmi’us Ramsey, Texas Tech earned its biggest win over the season in the Jimmy V Classic.

It led to a wild postgame celebration for Texas Tech, one week after dropping a tough overtime game on the road at DePaul.

The win could lead to the Red Raiders getting back in the top 25 this week.

No. 1 goes down … again; Texas Tech upsets No. 1 Louisville

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NEW YORK — It was the fourth time it’s happened in the first five weeks of the season, the third time it’s happened against an unranked team and the second time that Madison Square Garden played host to the carnage.

The No. 1 team in the country lost.

On Tuesday night, in the opener of the Jimmy V Classic, No. 1 Louisville lost to the unranked Texas Tech, 70-57. That’s the same Texas Tech that arrived in New York City on a three-game losing streak — against Iowa, Creighton and DePaul — and who was forced to play with leading scorer Jahmi’us Ramsey, who missed his third straight game with a hamstring injury.

Davide Moretti led the way for the reigning national runners-up, finishing with 18 points, while freshman Terrence Shannon chipped in with 13 of his own and Chris Clarke added seven points, 12 boards and six assists.

On Monday morning, we will officially have the fifth No. 1 team in college basketball this season.

Here are three things we learned from Texas Tech’s win over Louisville:

1. BREAKING NEWS: CHRIS BEARD IS A GOOD COACH

We knew this already, and you didn’t need a win in December to tell you this, but it’s worth reiterating a few things about this game before we move on.

Texas Tech have five freshmen on their roster. They have just three eligible players in their program that are not freshmen or sophomores, and two of those three are grad transfers. Only three guys returned from last year’s team, and one of those three is a walk-on. They had just lost three games in a row to unranked teams, and their best player and leading scorer was not healthy enough to play.

Should I mention they were facing off with the No. 1 team in the country, a team that has one of the five best players in the sport and a coach that is as good as anyone?

And if you didn’t know anything about either team entering this game, you would have thought that the 5-3 Red Raiders were actually the nation’s best team while the top-ranked Cardinals were the program in the midst of a rebuild.

As we have become accustomed to under head coach Chris Beard, Texas Tech won this game with their defense. They held Louisville to 34 percent shooting for the game. The Cardinals were 3-for-17 from three. They turned the ball over 19 times and made 18 field goals. Nwora shot 4-for-16 from the floor. It was, to be frank, just as bad as it sounds.

Texas Tech does this to teams. They take you out of what you want to do offensively. If a guy wants to drive right, they make him drive left. If a team wants to run ball-screens, they ice the hell out of it. If a team wants to reverse the ball, the force you to keep it on one side of the floor. The Red Raider coaching staff scouts as well as any staff in the country — in the first half, with their defense right in front of their bench, they were calling out Louisville’s sets as Louisville was calling their plays — and this put Louisville in an impossible spot, because …

2. … LOUISVILLE’S GUARDS WERE NOT (ARE NOT?) GOOD ENOUGH

Like I mentioned before, Texas Tech’s game-plans make it really difficult for their opponents to be able to score out of the offense they run. Louisville couldn’t get good shots out of their sets because Texas Tech wouldn’t let them run what they wanted to run. Part of the reason the Cardinals looked like they were standing around so much offensively is because Texas Tech wouldn’t let them make the first pass to initiate the offense.

Simply put, Texas Tech forces players to make plays.

And Louisville doesn’t have anyone that can do that.

It showed.

Louisville’s current point guard situation can, at best, be described as “a work in progress,” and that’s probably a bit too flattering. Darius Perry is not good enough. Fresh Kimble is not the answer. The Louisville staff thinks that freshman David Johnson has the potential to solve their issue of playmaking at the point, but he’s coming off of shoulder surgery and has looked – understandably –slow, out of shape and rusty since returning. Adjusting to the college game is tough as a freshmen.

Doing it after invasive surgery?

It’ll take some time.

But facts are facts, and these are facts: The three players I just listed combined to go 3-for-11 from the floor with 10 points, two assists and seven turnovers; Perry had six of those seven turnovers.

That is not good enough, and it will continue to be a problem against teams that pressure the Cardinals.

3. WE WROTE TEXAS TECH OFF TOO SOON

Beard was not thrilled with the way that his team had played in the two weeks before their trip to the Garden.

But he also didn’t think that they were as bad as people like me thought.

“If we get a rebound here, a basket here, it’s a different tone,” Beard said of his slow start. “I never like to overreact. I try to stay steady. We were playing some good basketball, but we were losing to three BCS teams in one possession games, one of them on the road.

“We’re playing five freshmen. One of our best players is out with injury right now. But you know how it is, Prince today, frog tomorrow. If we got a basket here and a rebound there, this is No. 9 Texas Tech against No. 1 Louisville. It doesn’t quite work that way when you lose some close games. I told them, ‘Guys, we’re still the same team, we could be in this locker room right now and we won the game. But we’re really the same team.'”

He wasn’t wrong.

Penn State upsets No. 4 Maryland

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Penn State used five double-figure scorers and played consistently hard on both ends of the floor as the Nittany Lions stunned previously-unbeaten No. 4 Maryland with a 76-69 Big Ten win on Tuesday night.

Losing by 30 on the road to Ohio State in their last conference game, Penn State displayed impressive intensity on the defensive end, limited turnovers on the offensive end and received plenty of help for star senior Lamar Stevens when he wasn’t having his best game. For the second straight season, Penn State upset a ranked Maryland team on its home floor as the Nittany Lions proved they’ll be a tough out at home all season.

Penn State (8-2, 1-1) received double-doubles from both Stevens (15 points, 10 rebounds) and big man Mike Watkins (15 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks) as the duo did a ton of damage on the interior. The Nittany Lions also had double-digit scoring efforts from Myreon Jones (14 points), Izaiah Brockington (14 points) and Myles Dread (10 points). With 19 assists and only eight turnovers, Penn State’s offense did an outstanding job of running clean sets and getting good looks from multiple players.

This is a quality win for the Nittany Lions early in the Big Ten portion of the schedule. It gives an unproven team a major boost of confidence — particularly beating a top-five team on a night where Stevens was only 5-for-13 from the floor. The Ohio State road loss shows Penn State still has a long way to go to be considered any kind of major threat. But Pat Chambers’ team is at least balanced and feisty enough to be a really tough out at home this season. A few more wins like this could put Penn State in the NCAA tournament picture with the kind of schedule they’ll play in the Big Ten this season.

But the major story here is the loss for Maryland. Because the Terps have some concerning trends they need to address.

Early in the season, Maryland (10-1, 1-1) has made a habit of falling behind early. It happened multiple times in an early-season tournament. And it’s now happened in back-to-back Big Ten games against Illinois and Penn State. While Maryland has been able to overcome slow starts all season with talent and comeback wins, a bad start came back to really bite them on Tuesday.

Trailing by 10 at halftime, Maryland tried to make second-half runs to stay with Penn State. Ultimately, the Terps were derailed by inconsistent offense, sloppy and careless turnovers (Penn State had 17 points off turnovers in the first half) and an inconsistent effort on the inside.

Maryland’s offense had 20 turnovers to only nine assists for the game as the Terps never seemed to figure out the proper way to run its offense. Alternating between senior Anthony Cowan Jr. (16 points) and sophomore Eric Ayala (15 points) initiating offense, both guards had too many bad passes and unforced errors for a team with Big Ten title aspirations.

It’s very clear that Maryland has the talent to compete with nearly any team in the country. Even on an off night, the Terps made this a one-possession game against a balanced Big Ten team with some veteran players. But Maryland can’t have these kinds of unforced errors if they see themselves making a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

That mainly falls on Cowan. A few of his turnovers were stunningly bad for a senior floor leader. Getting stripped 35 feet from the hoop and throwing lazy passes for interceptions and easy layups can’t happen for Cowan. There’s just too much talent on offense for Maryland to be giving away points in close games.

The good news for Maryland is that there is plenty of time to correct some of these mistakes. Cowan can limit the mistakes. The offense will likely play better and more together. But Maryland’s slow starts are a trend to keep an eye on as it has been a factor for them in multiple games this season.