Cincinnati, South Florida and Colorado State were the bubbles big winners on Wednesday night. But we already told you that. Who else helped their NCAA Tournament chances?
Mississippi State: Finally, a sign of life out of the Bulldogs. After losing five straight games and playing their way out of the top 15 and onto the cut line, Rick Stansbury’s club picked up a win that can hopefully change the direction the season is currently headed. This is a win Mississippi State had to have to keep their hopes alive. That’s the good news. The bad? Arnett Moultrie, Dee Bost and Renardo Sidney all had double-doubles and MSU still needed a buzzer-beating layup in overtime to seal the win. Maybe Moultrie’s prediction will prove true after all.
Texas: The Longhorns beat Oklahoma (although it was in less-than-inspiring fashion and required a late comeback at home), which they needed to do to keep their tournament chances alive, and set themselves up for a must-win game when they head to Lawrence to take on Kansas on Saturday night. Right now, the Longhorns have, more or less, three noteworthy wins — Temple, Kansas State and Iowa State and an RPI of 55. How much stronger does that resume get with a win in Phog Allen? Probably enough that they don’t have to worry about winning a game in the Big 12 tournament. A loss and the Longhorns probably need to make a run and beat a name-opponent.
Alabama: Alabama did what they needed to do, although it wasn’t pretty. Playing in the much-less-glamourous version of the Iron Bowl, the Crimson Tide struggled but pulled away from Auburn late to avoid a bad loss. Alabama is pretty safe right now as long as they don’t mess it up with a loss at Ole Miss this weekend.
Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles are in that “don’t mess it up” stage of bubble life. As in, they are probably in as of right now, but if they go losing to teams like SMU at home, they’ll play themselves straight into the NIT. It wasn’t flashy, but USM got the job done.
Purdue: Purdue was in pretty safely before Wednesday and they are still right there after beating Penn State. But I will take this time to mention that Robbie Hummel, in his senior night, had 26 points, eight boards and six assists. Congrats, Robbie. It has been a fun ride.
Northwestern’s night ended in heartbreaking fashion, per usual. They still have work to get done to earn a bid. Who were the other bubble losers?
Miami: The Hurricanes are in bad shape. They got the win they needed against Florida State on Sunday, putting them in with Southern Miss as the teams that just need to avoid doing something bad. On Wednesday, they did something bad. Wins over Florida State and Duke aren’t likely to be enough to carry what is a weak resume overall.
The Atlantic 10: As of Sunday, it looked like there was a chance as many as five Atlantic 10 teams could earn a bid to the tournament. Then Xavier went and got embarrassed by St. Louis in the second half of their game. St. Joseph’s blew a six point lead in the final minute of regulation and a five-point lead in the final 50 seconds of overtime to lose to St. Bonaventure in double-overtime. And Dayton, who was coming off of a 33 point win over UMass, went and lost to Richmond.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.