Saturday’s bubble winners and losers

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Winners

Virginia Tech: The Hokies had to beat Duke. And they did, 64-60, despite an off night from Malcolm Delaney. Once again, Seth Greenberg’s team has taken up residency on the bubble. They have a decent resume, but it lacks the marquee victories at top. I think it is safe to say that the No. 1 team in the country qualifies as a quality victory. If the Hokies don’t collapse, Delaney will be playing in his first NCAA Tournament.

Kansas State: The Wildcats all but cemented their NCAA Tournament bid this afternoon with an 80-70 win over Missouri. Its not just the last four wins that have done it. Kansas State finally looks like the team we all expected this season. They are focused, they are out working their opponents, and they have a star in Jacob Pullen playing like an all-american.

Colorado: The Buffaloes still have plenty of work left to do. In fact, I don’t think its a stretch to say that Colorado would still have work to do in the Big 12 Tournament should they knock off both Nebraska and Iowa State next week. But they would be done if they didn’t knock off No. 5 Texas 91-89 today, coming back from being down by as much as 22 points.

Baylor: The Bears are in the same boat as Colorado. This 58-51 win over Texas A&M puts them back into the conversation, but they still have some work to do. They did nothing in the non-conference portion of their schedule and they’ve lost to Iowa State, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech in league play. The Bears need to win out to finish above .500 in conference play, which would include Texas in the season finale. Of note — Baylor has no top 25 RPI wins, and two top 50 wins, both Texas A&M.

Florida State: I know it was only Miami, and I know the final score says 65-59, but the Seminoles absolutely beat down the Hurricanes. This was a 20 point game at the half. Florida State was up by double digits until a flurry of points from Miami when the game was no longer in doubt. After getting smacked by 18 at Maryland on Wednesday, FSU needed to prove that they could play without Chris Singleton. And they did.

Losers

Alabama: The Crimson Tide suffered a crushing, 68-63 loss to Ole Miss on the road. The Crimson Tide were atrocious during the non-conference portion of their schedule, leaving them very little room down the stretch of the SEC schedule. With games at Florida and against Georgia at home down the stretch, Alabama has opportunities. They may need to cash in on both if they want to dance.

Tennessee: The Vols once again suffered an inexcusable home loss, this time to Mississippi State 70-69 when Dee Bost found Wendell Lewis for a dunk with 3.4 seconds left. Now, this loss doesn’t necessarily crush Tennessee’s chances. In fact, it probably wouldn’t knock them out if the tournament started today. But with a trip to South Carolina and Kentucky still on their schedule, it puts the Vols into a position that they cannot lose either of those games. How well has Tennessee played under pressure this year?

Minnesota: The Gophers are done. After losing to Michigan 70-63 at home in what essentially amounted to a play out game — the Gophers seventh loss in their last eight games — Minnesota is not 6-10 in the Big Ten. The good news? With the win, Michigan still has an outside chance of playing their way into an at-large bid.

Memphis: The Tigers were on the edge of the bubble after last week’s loss to Rice. And now, after losing 74-47 to UTEP, the Tigers now must win the C-USA Tournament if they want to go to the Big Dance. Its fairly shocking how bad C-USA is this season. Legitimate question — is the CAA better?

VCU: The Rams were in a bad spot coming into this game, and after losing to James Madison 72-69 they are now 12-6 in the CAA. This is certainly not going to be an NCAA Tournament team, and now may be a team that is on the verge of missing the NIT.

Colorado State: Well, so much for the Rams as an at-large candidate. After losing to BYU on Wednesday, the consensus seemed to be that CSU had a shot if the could knock off San Diego State on the road to close out the season. That’s no the case after losing to Air Force 74-57.