BUBBLE BANTER: The SEC’s bubble teams are in action today

(Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun via AP)
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Vanderbilt (KenPom: 23, RPI: 48, CBT Bracketology Seed: 10) may have just played their way out of the NCAA tournament.

The Commodores lost to Tennessee in their opening game of the SEC tournament on Thursday afternoon, falling behind by 12 at the half and losing when a game-tying layup from Wade Baldwin was waived off at the buzzer.

Let’s take a look at their profile: Vandy has a pair of really good wins in league play, beating both Texas A&M and Kentucky in Nashville. But that’s it in terms of elite wins for the ‘Dores. They did sweep Florida and they do have seven top 100 wins, but they’re 2-8 against the top 50 and they have three losses to teams outside the top 100.

Their KenPom rank is terrific, and there may be an argument to make that that will be enough to get them into the dance. I don’t think it will be enough, however.

Vandy is headed to the NIT.

WINNERS

  • Florida (KP: 44, RPI: 54, CBT: First Four Out): The Gators beat Arkansas in their first game in the SEC tournament, setting themselves up for a clash with Texas A&M in the quarterfinals of the event. That’s the game that Florida has to get if they want to get themselves onto the right side of the bubble. Barring a win tomorrow afternoon, Mike White’s promising first season in Gainesville is going to end in the NIT.
  • Michigan (KP: 55, RPI: 67, CBT: Next Four Out): It was closer than the Wolverines probably would have liked, but they eventually held on to knock off Northwestern in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament. The Wolverines will now get a shot at Indiana in the quarterfinals, and they cannot get a bid without beating the Hoosiers. Even that may not be enough. But they’ll have their shot now.
  • San Diego State (KP: 38, RPI: 43, CBT: 11): The Aztecs picked up a win over utah State in the opening round of the MWC tournament, meaning that SDSU still has a chance to avoid having to sweat out Selection Sunday. I’m not sure they’ll have the profile to get an at-large bid should they lose this week in Vegas.
  • Alabama (KP: 91, RPI: 69, CBT: N/A): The Crimson Tide beat Ole Miss on Thursday setting themselves up with a date against Kentucky in the SEC tournament quarterfinals. Alabama has to win that if they even want a prayer of getting to the dance.

LOSERS

  • Pitt (KP: 42, RPI: 45, CBT: 9): The Panthers held an early lead on North Carolina, but a late 10-0 second half run combined with a flurry midway through the second half was too much for Jamie Dixon’s club overcome. The Panthers are probably in a position where they will be able to get into the NCAA tournament — losing to UNC only hurts their profile in the sense that it didn’t add to it — but there’s a chance they end up in one of the play-in games. Selection Sunday will be a sweat, but I’d wager that it ends up being a happy day for Pitt.
  • Butler (KP: 33, RPI: 44, CBT: 8): Like Pitt, I’m not sure Butler is in real danger of missing out on the NCAA tournament following their loss to Providence on Thursday afternoon, but stranger things have happened. They have a sweep of Seton Hall and a neutral court win over Purdue which, when combined with their lack of bad losses, should probably do the trick. It’ll be a sweat, though.
  • USC (KP: 47, RPI: 39, CBT: 8): The Trojans are in the same boat at Butler and Pitt. They’ve probably done enough to finish on the right side of the bubble on Selection Sunday, but a win tonight over Utah would have been the clincher. They lost, so they’ll have a moderately stressful Selection Sunday.
  • Oregon State (KP: 58, RPI: 26, CBT: 8): The Beavers would have locked up a bid with a win over Cal on Thursday. They lost to the Bears, but I think that this group has done enough to get into the dance.