Bubble Banter: Minnesota, UCF miss on big chances for Quadrant 1 wins

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Here is the latest NBC Sports bracket projection.

WINNERS

UNC GREENSBORO (NET: 59, SOS: 121): Losing at Furman (44) and at Wofford (24) last week was a real buzzkill, but the Spartans kept their prayers alive by winning at home against Western Carolina in overtime. A loss there would have been the end of their at-large dreams.

BELMONT (NET: 62, SOS: 219): The Bruins are still sitting with just four losses on the season after sandblasting Eastern Illinois. They have to win out during the regular season to have a shot. They have a 2-1 mark against Q1 opponents and a 3-1 record against Q2, which includes a sweep of Lipscomb (46), a win at Murray State (60) and a win at UCLA (116). If they do end up missing the NCAA tournament, it will be because they were swept by Jacksonville State during league play (127) and lost at Green Bay (213) in December.

LOSERS

UCF (NET: 39, SOS: 91): The Knights remain in a difficult spot after blowing a lead at Cincinnati (25) on Thursday. This was just the third Q1 opponent that UCF has faced, and they are now 0-3 in those games. The Knights have not beaten a top 50 team in the NET this season, and they lost at home to FAU (147), who has climbed enough in the NET that they are now a Q3 loss. UCF’s last three games this year run like this: at Houston (9), Cincinnati (25), at Temple (53). They need to win two of those to avoid the sweat of a Selection Sunday on the cut line.

MINNESOTA (NET: 51, SOS: 62): The Golden Gophers are not in a great spot when it comes to the NCAA tournament, but it could be worse. On Thursday night, Minnesota lost at home to Michigan (7), which isn’t a bad loss but is their fifth loss in the last six games. Three of their last four are on the road, with sneaky-tough road trips to Rutgers (112) and Northwestern (85) coming before a home game against Purdue (11) and a trip to Maryland (23). I think they need to win three more games — including the regular season and the Big Ten tournament — to really feel comfortable.