BUBBLE BANTER: Saturday is a huge day for bubble teams

(Charles Fox/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
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This post will be updated throughout the day as the games get played.

For a look at the most recent CBT Bracket, head over here.

Whatever happens the rest of the weekend, I’ not sure there will be a bubble team that lands a bigger win that St. Bonaventure (KenPom: 80, RPI: 48, CBT Seeding: Next Four Out). Entering the day, the Bonnies were sitting on the wrong side of the bubble and by a fairly significant margin. That’s what happens when you’re coming off of a loss to a team like La Salle, whose RPI is outside the top 200.

That loss, at the time, looked like a killer.

Until Mark Schmidt’s club when into Dayton Arena and picked off the Flyers.

Now keep in mind, this loss came without Kendall Pollard, but that’s a totally irrelevant fact when it comes to Bonaveture’s bubble profile. All the selection committee is going to see is a road win over a top ten team, which, in NCAA tournament terms, will be one of the best wins that any team in the country will get this season.

It’s not enough to make the Bonnies feel comfortable about their bubble standing given the number of landmines they have left on their schedule. But with another road win over Saint Joseph’s and a 5-5 record against the top 100, this may be enough to send them dancing as long as they avoid doing anything stupid the rest of the season. I think they need at least four, maybe five more wins to avoid sweating out Selection Sunday, and that’s very doable.

WINNERS

  • South Carolina (KP: 55, RPI: 34, CBT: 8): The Gamecocks bounced back from an ugly stretch — blown out by Kentucky, loss at Missouri — by beating a good Florida team at home. It’s not enough to get them off the bubble totally thanks to that Missouri loss, but it is enough that they can probably feel comfortable as long as they don’t do anything dumb the rest of the way; USC does have three sub-100 opponents left.
  • Cincinnati (KP: 26, RPI: 61, CBT: First Four Out): The Bearcats badly needed Saturday’s win over UConn, as it is just their fourth top 50 win. They still don’t have any great wins, and a loss to Memphis looks worse and worse as the Tigers continue to struggle. Cincy’s bid is going to come down to whether or not they beat SMU in the regular season finale.
  • Pitt (KP: 57, RPI: 40, CBT: 8): The Panthers are inching closer to locking up an at-large bid. On Saturday, they landed their third top 50 win, although they’ve only beaten two top 50 opponents — Jamie Dixon’s club swept Syracuse. Here is their remaining schedule: Louisville, Duke, at Virginia Tech, at Georgia Tech. Go 3-1 and they’re in. Go 2-2 and they’re probably in.
  • Texas Tech (KP: 28, RPI: 40, CBT: Play-In Game): The Red Raiders won at Oklahoma State on Saturday. I’m not sure people realize just how good Tech’s profile is. They have five top 50 wins, including Texas, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Baylor on the road.
  • Washington (KP: 73, RPI: 73, CBT: Next Four Out): The Huskies added a top 100 win over Stanford on Saturday night, which helps bolster their profile but doesn’t really do much to make up the gap between them and the right side of the cut line. Next weekend, Washington plays at the Oregon schools. They might want to win them both.
  • Vanderbilt (KP: 28, RPI: 63, CBT: N/A): The Commodores kept the dream of an at-large bid alive by beating Georgia at home, their fifth top 100 win of the season. With games remaining against Florida, at Kentucky and over Texas A&M at home, the ‘Dores will have the opportunity to build on their current profile. They probably need to win two, if not all three of those games.

LOSERS

  • LSU (KP: 59, RPI: 81, CBT: Last Four In): The idea of LSU being one of the most interesting at-large cases took another hit as the Tigers lost on Saturday to Tennessee, their fifth sub-100 loss of the season. We went long on our LSU analysis here.
  • Saint Joseph’s (KP: 35, RPI: 24, CBT: 8): The Hawks lost at Davidson on Saturday, which isn’t a résumé killer, especially when you consider that they just landed a win over Dayton this week. St. Joe’s should be in as long as they beat the three sub-100 opponents left on their schedule; they can probably afford a loss at St. Bonaventure.
  • Alabama (KP: 61, RPI: 30, CBT: 9): The Crimson Tide suffered their worst loss of the season on Saturday, losing to a bad Mississippi State team in Tuscaloosa on a day where Malik Newman didn’t even suit up. So while the Bulldogs are a sub-150 team in the RPI, the loss itself is worse in real life than it is for their bubble profile. Avery Johnson’s club has done enough that they’re probably still on the right side of the cut line, but their margin for error just went away.
  • Syracuse (KP: 36, RPI: 39, CBT: 7): Losing to Pitt on Saturday isn’t a killer for the Orange, but it certainly doesn’t help them. With five top 50 wins and just three of their ten losses coming outside the top 50, the Orange are still in a pretty good spot. The key is going to be figuring out exactly how the selection committee values the losses the Syracuse took while Jim Boeheim was suspended.
  • Oregon State (KP: 66, RPI: 32, CBT: Last Four In): Losing at Oregon on Saturday isn’t going to hurt OSU’s profile. The Beavers will host the Washington schools next weekend. They need to pick up a sweep, and I’d recommend a split at the LA schools in the last weekend of the regular seas as well.
  • UConn (KP: 24, RPI: 36, CBT: 7): The Huskies lost at Cincinnati on Saturday, which is something that they can survive. The Huskies still don’t have a loss outside the top 75, which, when combined with their 7-8 record against the top 100 and wins over SMU and at Texas, is enough to get them a bid as long as they avoid something dumb.
  • Florida (KP: 34, RPI: 31, CBT: 9): The Gators took South Carolina to overtime in Columbia, meaning that they missed out on a chance to land a very nice road win. But losing on the road to a top 35 team isn’t going to hurt them.
  • Butler (KP: 43, RPI: 58, CBT: Play-In Game): The Bulldogs lost on the road to No. 1 Villanova on Saturday. That’s not going to hurt them, and it may actually help their RPI simply playing that game. Where it hurts, however, is that this was the kind of win that would be the difference maker if they do end the season on the bubble.
  • Florida State (KP: 48, RPI: 62, CBT: Next Four Out) and Clemson (KP: 51, RPI: 90, CBT: Next Four Out) may have just played themselves off the bubble with losses to Virginia Tech and N.C. State, respectively. FSU’s saving grace is that they have three games left against top 40 opponents. They may need all three.