Bubble Banter: Butler, Missouri land critical wins

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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 Tuesday 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.

WINNERS

BUTLER (RPI: 31, KenPom: 30, NBC seed: 10): Butler absolutely pounded Marquette on the road on Wednesday, giving them yet another Quadrant 1 win. The Bulldogs have wins over Villanova (2) at home, Ohio State (22) on a neutral and now Marquette (46) on the road. They’ve also beaten Marquette and Utah at home and don’t have a bad loss to their name. Perhaps the most important part of this win? They now have a road win better than Georgetown (153).

VIRGINIA TECH (RPI: 71, KenPom: 41, NBC seed: First four out): Virginia Tech added another Quadrant 1 win on Wednesday night when they picked off Boston College on the road in overtime. That’s their fourth Quadrant 1 win, although three of them could drop down a level if BC, Notre Dame and Ole Miss go cold. The biggest issue for the Hokies is probably their non-conference SOS, which is 323rd. That means they’ll have some ground to make up.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (RPI: 65, KenPom: 70, NBC seed: Out): The Bulldogs added a second-straight win on Wednesday, going into South Carolina (54) and leaving with a Quadrant 1 win. It’s their second Quadrant 1 win but just the third Quadrant 1 or 2 win. MSU has no bad losses, but they do have a non-conference SOS of 279. They have a lot of work to do, and the next two home games — Georgia, Alabama — will help.

MISSOURI (RPI: 43, KenPom: 46, NBC seed: Next four out): The Tigers snapped a three-game losing streak by going into Alabama and knocking off the Crimson Tide. That’s a top 25 road win, one that will likely have some staying power. It’s also the fourth Quadrant 1 for the Tigers. Four of their six best wins are away from home.

LOSERS

SYRACUSE (RPI: 32, KenPom: 49, NBC seed: First four out): The best thing you can say about Syracuse at this point in the season is that they still have chances left. They are going to need to capitalize on those chances, however, as the Orange don’t have a single Quadrant 1 win on their résumé. Their best win on the season? Buffalo, who lost to Kent State last night, at home. The Orange do have six more top 20 games left. So there’s still a chance.

MARYLAND (RPI: 57, KenPom: 42, NBC seed: Out): Maryland might have just relegated themselves to the NIT. They went into Purdue on Wednesday night and lost to Purdue (8), 75-67. Their profile isn’t awful. They’ll have a Quadrant 1 win once Butler’s win over Marquette works through the formula, but that’s their Quadrant 1 or 2 win. The killer? They only play one Quadrant 1 game the rest of the way. It’s auto-bid or bust.

MARQUETTE (RPI: 46, KenPom: 40, NBC seed: Play-in game): The Golden Eagles are in the midst of their most important stretch of the season, and thus far, it’s not going well. They’ve now lost three in a row, four out of five and five out of seven as they got worked over at home by Butler. They get Providence at home on Saturday then play five of their next six games on the road. The details of what is on Marquette’s profile right now are irrelevant if they don’t find a way to fix this slump and fast.

HOUSTON (RPI: 50, KenPom: , NBC seed: 11): Houston has some good wins — Arkansas, Wichita State, Temple, Providence on a neutral — but their biggest issue right now is that they did not play a good non-conference schedule and that they lost to Drexel on a neutral. They need some big wins to make up for it, and blew a GREAT chance at one on Wednesday, wasting an 18-point lead at Cincinnati. If they miss the tournament, that one will sting.

PROVIDENCE (RPI: 34, KenPom: 63, NBC seed: 9): The best thing about Providence getting their tails kicked at Seton Hall on Tuesday is that the RPI doesn’t factor in score. All it looks like is a road loss to a top 20 team. Forget it happened and get one back at Marquette on Saturday.

SOUTH CAROLINA (RPI: 54, KenPom: 68, NBC seed: Play-in game): Losing at home to Mississippi State did not help things for the Gamecocks, who are one of the teams right there on the cut-line. The rest of their schedule is brutal. All but two opponents are in the top 55, none are outside the top 80 and six of the nine are Quadrant 1 games.

ALABAMA (RPI: 24, KenPom: 56, NBC seed: 9): Alabama dropped a home game on Wednesday, falling to a Missouri team that had just lost three in a row. The Tigers are good enough this year that it is hardly a bad loss, and a loaded non-conference SOS plus four Quadrant 1 wins has Alabama in a good spot.