Bubble Banter: Xavier lands a critical non-conference win over Cincinnati

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WINNERS

  • Xavier: The Musketeers landed a massive win for the tournament profile on Wednesday, as they knocked off Cincinnati on the road. Entering the day, the Musketeers were squarely on the cut-line, sitting as a No. 11 seed in our latest bracket, and adding a top 50 road win to that resume will certainly help their cause. There’s still plenty of work left to do, however, as Xavier is currently 17-10 overall and 7-7 in the Big East. They also still have to play Butler and Villanova at home and head to St. John’s. I’d want to win at least two of those if I’m Chris Mack, because the four sub-100 losses Xavier has suffered take the luster off of their three top 25 wins and eight top 100 wins.
  • Davidson: The Wildcats added a top 100 road win on Wednesday, knocking off George Washington, but they still have a long way to go to get onto the right side of the bubble. Winning out maybe a necessity to help the committee see past three sub-100 losses and just four top 100 wins.
  • Rhode Island: The Rams landed their first top 50 win of the season and just their third top 100 win as they knocked off UMass at home. Rhody is still in the picture, but they probably need to win out to have a realistic shot.
  • Providence: The Friars are in a really good spot to return to the NCAA tournament for a second straight season, and a 27-point win over DePaul certainly doesn’t hurt their case.
  • Colorado State: The Rams are in a tough spot. They’re probably in the tournament as of today, but they have just five top 100 wins and every opponent they play from here on out — including Fresno State on Wednesday night — are sub-150 teams. They cannot afford to lose any of those games if they want to feel comfortable entering Selection Sunday.
  • Oregon: The Ducks picked up a home win over Colorado, which, like their road loss to UCLA last Saturday, doesn’t really change their situation much. Oregon is right there on the cut-line — probably on the wrong side as of today — and the only way they’re really going to change that fact is by beating Utah this weekend.
  • Boise State: The Broncos avoided a second-straight bad loss by winning at UNLV on Wednesday, but they’re still essentially in the same position. Boise State is on the wrong side of the bubble, which is what happens when you have as many sub 100 losses — three — as you do top 100 wins. The Broncos have five games left on the regular season. Three are against sub-200 teams. One is against New Mexico, who is No. 141. And one is at San Diego State, which would be a top 30 win on the road. The Broncos basically need to win out.
  • Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane avoided falling to East Carolina at home, which is a good thing. Tulsa is one of the teams that is generally found in the last four in, first four out range of most brackets. One top 50 win and three top 100 wins will do that. The good news? They have three more top 50 teams on their schedule: Temple, Cincinnati and at SMU.

LOSERS

  • Cincinnati: The Bearcats lost their second straight on Wednesday, falling to Crosstown Shootout rival Xavier, but the still should be in pretty good shape. Their RPI is good, their non-conference strength of schedule is in the top 25 and they have five top 50 wins that will help the committee overlook the eyesores that are losses to Tulane and East Carolina.
  • UCLA: The Bruins lost to Arizona State in Tempe on Wednesday, which isn’t a killer for the Bruins. It’s a road loss to a team in the top 100, and all-in-all, that’s not a killer. But it certainly doesn’t help the Bruins with wiggle-room, as they’re currently in the play-in game of our latest bracket. At the end of the day, the Bruins are in the same position that they were entering the night: Saturday’s game at Arizona is basically a must-win if UCLA doesn’t want to have to sweat out Selection Sunday.
  • Minnesota: Any dim hope that the Golden Gophers had of dancing are probably gone after losing at home to Northwestern.
  • George Washington: If the Colonials chances didn’t end after the loss to Duquesne or the loss to VCU, they’re definitely out of the bubble picture.
  • UMass: It was going to be a long shot for UMass to make the run they needed to put together an at-large caliber profile, and Wednesday’s loss at Rhode Island is a major blow. The Minutemen need all the quality wins they can get.