Bubble Banter: N.C. State lands a critical win, Texas loses … again

AP Photo


  • N.C. State: It’s fun to see teams play their way into the NCAA tournament, and the Wolfpack have come close to doing exactly that. On Tuesday, N.C. State went into Chapel Hill and knocked off North Carolina, their third elite win since ACC play began and the second that came on the road. Mark Gottfried’s club is just 17-11 on the season and 8-7 in the ACC, but their only sub-100 loss came on the road against Wake Forest. They’re 5-6 against the top 50 and 8-10 against the top 100. What all that means is that the Wolfpack are decidedly bubbly, the kind of team that is in — and avoiding a play-in game — as of today, but one loss in their final three (at Boston College, at Clemson, Syracuse) could change that.
  • LSU: The Tigers avoided a loss at Auburn, which brings them to a key stretch to end the season. They get Ole Miss and Tennessee at home before making a trip to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas. The Tigers are in a good spot right now — somewhere around a No. 10 seed in most brackets, including our latest — but with three sub-150 losses, they’re not anything close to a lock yet. Win two of their last three, and they’re in.
  • Pitt: The Panthers continue to make a push for one of those final few at-large spots, as they survived a visit from Boston College. The Panthers don’t have any opportunities to shore up a less-than-stellar resume left on their schedule — they’re 5-8 against the top 50 with a pair of sub-150 losses — which means that they’ll likely need to reel off wins at Wake Forest, against Miami, at Florida State and against a quality opponent or two in the ACC tournament to feel safe. They’re smack in the middle of the conversation, but right now they’re probably on the outside looking in.


  • Texas: Oh, Texas. Why must you do this to yourselves? The Longhorns lost tonight. It’s their third straight loss overall and their seventh straight loss to a team headed to the NCAA tournament. The Longhorns are now 17-11 overall and 6-9 in the Big 12 with a road trip to Phog Allen Fieldhouse coming up this weekend. There are no bad losses in their profile, but with just one top 50 win, a 1-11 record against the top 50 and just five top 100 wins, the Longhorns are in serious trouble. They need at least three more wins, I’d think, to feel comfortable heading into Selection Sunday. Their remaining schedule: at Kansas, Baylor, Kansas State, Big 12 tournament. Can Rick Barnes turn this thing around?
  • Texas A&M: The Aggies didn’t really hurt themselves by losing at Arkansas on Tuesday night, but they missed out on the biggest opportunity left on their schedule to help themselves. The only way Texas A&M enters Selection Sunday with a top 50 win on their resume is if LSU — currently No. 51, according to ESPN’s RPI — makes a jump. There are no bad losses on their profile — Kansas State on a neutral site and at Alabama are the worst — but can a team that hasn’t proven they can beat anyone get an at-large bid?
  • Syracuse: The Orange picked off Notre Dame on the road tonight just six days after beating Louisville at home. With trips to Duke and N.C. State and a home game against Virginia left on their schedule, the Orange would have chances to play themselves onto the right side of the bubble … if their administration hadn’t made the horrendous and wholly unfair decision to self-impose a postseason ban.