As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Wednesday night.
It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:
- Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
- Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
- Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
- Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus
The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.
SOUTH CAROLINA (RPI: 57, KenPom: 80, NBC seed: Out): In the last eight days, the Gamecocks went from being a team nowhere near the bubble to being a team with a real shot of finding themselves in the NCAA tournament. It started with a win over Kentucky (15) at home. It continued on Wednesday with at Florida (25). That gives them three Quadrant 1 wins, no loss worse than a Quadrant 2 loss and no home loss worse than Missouri (37). The best part? Every opponent left on their schedule is ranked in the top 80.
SYRACUSE (RPI: 41, KenPom: 50, NBC seed: Next four out): The Orange added another Quadrant 2 win on Wednesday night, beating Boston College in the Carrier Dome. They now have six of those, a number that will go to seven if Virginia Tech (76) gets into the top 75. The problem? No Quadrant 1 wins. They’ll have six chances to land one the rest of the way. I would guess they need two, maybe three, or them to feel good.
USC (RPI: 40, KenPom: 47, NBC seed: Play-in game): The Trojans are quietly one of the hottest teams in the country. If it wasn’t for a half-court buzzer beater at Stanford, they would have won eight straight games after getting their revenge against the Cardinal on Wednesday. They’re second in the league in defensive efficiency during Pac-12 play. The problem? There isn’t one Quadrant 1 win in that streak. USC’s two best wins right now are Middle Tennessee and New Mexico State on a neutral court. They get Cal at home this weekend, then have a three-game stretch where they are at UCLA (61), at Arizona State (32) and at Arizona (20). USC probably wants to win two of those.
NEBRASKA (RPI: 67, KenPom: 65, NBC seed: Out): Nebraska is in a very difficult situation when it comes to their NCAA tournament hopes. They don’t have a Quadrant 1 win to their name — their best win is a home win over Michigan (38) and they don’t one top 100 win away from home — and they don’t play another Quadrant 1 game. None of their remaining opponents are top 50 teams. One one (Maryland) is top 85, and the only other top 100 opponents they have left (at Minnesota, Indiana) will bounce in and out of the top 100. They are going to need to beat someone in the Big Ten tournament.
BOISE STATE (RPI: 33, KenPom: 48, NBC seed: First four out): Boise State whipped up on a team at the bottom of the Mountain West. The names don’t matter, mainly because there are only three teams in the league that are top 100 in the RPI. I’d feel much better about the Broncos if they had managed to win at Wyoming (73) or Nevada (13); they lose by a combined seven points. Boise currently does not have a Quadrant 1 win. If they do not beat both Nevada and Wyoming in the final month of the season, they are probably NIT bound.
N.C. STATE (RPI: 85, KenPom: 68, NBC seed: First four out): The Wolfpack tried really hard to ruin their NCAA tournament chances, as they trailed Pitt by 10 late in the second half. They would go on to win, meaning that the dream is still alive. Home wins over Duke (1) and Clemson (6), plus a neutral court win over Arizona (20) gives the Wolfpack three great wins.
FLORIDA STATE (RPI: 39, KenPom: 22, NBC seed: 9): Florida State is in a good spot right now. They are 15-5 on the season with four of those five losses coming away from home and all of them either Quadrant 1 or Quadrant 2 opponents. They beat Georgia Tech on Wednesday. Beat Miami (21) on Saturday and they’ll be off this list for the time being.
MISSOURI (RPI: 37, KenPom: 36, NBC seed: Play-in game): The Tigers missed out on a great chance to land an elite win, losing by 18 at home to Auburn. Right now, Cuonzo Martin’s team has three Quadrant 1 wins — Tennessee (14) at home, at UCF (59) and South Carolina (57) — and every game they play the rest of the season would be, at worst, a Quadrant 2 win. They’ll have chances to build.
STANFORD (RPI: 91, KenPom: 97, NBC seed: Out): The Cardinal were much more interesting before Arizona (20) snapped their five-game winning streak. After Wednesday’s loss at USC (40) it might be time to move them out of consideration for the time being. The qualifier here: Stanford has had a bunch of injuries and roster issues, something the selection committee considers.
MARQUETTE (RPI: 44, KenPom: 39, NBC seed: 10): Marquette had a shot to really improve their profile on Wednesday night, playing at Xavier. They lost by 19, which is hardly a bad loss; Xavier is 4th in the RPI right now. The Golden Eagles are in pretty good shape right now. They have two Quadrant 1 wins (Seton Hall, at Providence) and six games left against teams ranked in the top 36. Marquette’s next three games are critical: They get Villanova (2), Butler (26) and Providence (36) at home.
BOSTON COLLEGE (RPI: 63, KenPom: 77, NBC seed: Out): The Eagles lost at Syracuse, a Quadrant 1 opponent, which is only problematic in the sense that they now have eight losses on the season. The Eagles have a weird profile: Just one Quadrant 1 win, only three top 150 wins (all at home) and their best win away from home was La Salle (172) on a neural; at Hartford (241) is their only road win. But … they beat Duke, who is No. 1 in the RPI. That will keep them in the mix for a while.
TEMPLE (RPI: 45, KenPom: 91, NBC seed: Out): Neutral court wins over Auburn and Clemson keeps Temple in the conversation, but a 10-10 record and a sweep at the hands of Cincinnati — including a 33-point loss Tuesday night — might be the end of it.