Bubble Banter: Seven bubble teams play on the road on Wednesday night

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Here is the latest NBC Sports Bracket Projection.


UCF (NET: 34, SOS: 78): The finally did it. It took until February 27th to get it done, but the Knights have a Q1 win — and it came on the road against South Florida (72), of all teams. They are going to have three more chances in the regular season to add Q1 wins — at Houston (4), Cincinnati (25), at Temple (56) — and for my money, they need to get two to feel comfortable heading into the AAC tournament. One might be enough if that one is a win over the Cougars.

CLEMSON (NET: 43, SOS: 31): The Tigers smoked a Pitt team that has been reeling for the last month, which is important because, as things currently stand, the Tigers are sitting as one of the teams in the play-in game in many bracket projections. Clemson has a massive chance to land a difference-making win on Saturday as they host North Carolina (8).

AUBURN (NET: 24, SOS: 21): Auburn has such a head-scratching resume. They’re 18-9 overall and they have really strong computer numbers, but those numbers aren’t really backed up by wins. They beat Washington (29) at home in November, but that win is a loss or two from the Huskies away from not being a Q1 win anymore. They won at Texas A&M (69), and that win is a loss or two away from not being a Q1 win anymore. They beat Florida (31) at home. That’s it. This is the perfect example of a resume being floated by a lack of bad losses, and that’s what made Wednesday’s win over Georgia so important.

FLORIDA (NET: 31, SOS: 35): The Gators moved to 17-11 on the season and 9-6 in the SEC with a win at Vanderbilt (129) on Wednesday night. And here’s the thing about Florida: They only have two losses that are outside Q1 (Butler on a neutral and South Carolina at home) but they are just 3-9 against Q1 competition. One of those three, however, one is a win at LSU (13) which is about as good as you’ll find anywhere on the bubble. If they can get past Georgia at home without trouble, their last week of the season features a visit from those Tigers and a trip to Lexington to take on Kentucky (5). I think they probably need to get two of those if they want to be comfortable.

GEORGETOWN (NET: 74, SOS: 85): The Hoyas kept the dream of an at-large bid alive by picking off DePaul at home on Wednesday. They are now 17-11 overall and 7-8 in the Big East with wins over Villanova (28), at Saint John’s (48) and at Butler (52). Overall, they are 7-9 against Q1 and Q2 opponents with a pair of Q3 losses, but the biggest hurdle they are going to face is a non-conference SOS of 250. I think the Hoyas need to win out — Seton Hall (64), DePaul (110), at Marquette (18) — to have a chance.


DAVIDSON (NET: 67, SOS: 111): Davidson’s dream of an at-large bid died on Wednesday. They lost at La Salle (210), their fourth Q3 loss of the season to go along with an 0-2 record in Q1 games.

TEXAS (NET: 37, SOS: 10): Texas blew a 19 point lead in regulation and a six point lead in overtime to find a way to lose at Baylor (35) on Wednesday night. The Longhorns are going to be the most fascinating bubble team come Selection Sunday. As it stands, they are still fairly comfortably in the field in most bracket projections, climbing as high as the No. 9 seed line in some. That is mostly a function of two things: Their SOS — which ranks top 10 nationally — of which the by-product is a number of “good” losses. Texas is 4-8 against Q1 opponents and 8-11 overall in Q1 and Q2 games. But more telling is this: They beat North Carolina (8) on a neutral. They beat Purdue (12) and Kansas (17) at home. They have a 20 point win at Kansas State (27). Those are four really, really good wins, better than anything else that is at the bottom of the bubble.

And the question, then, that you have to task yourself if pretty simple: Would you rather see Texas or a team like Georgetown, who will also have a stockpile of losses to their name, in the field? Would you rather see the Longhorns or someone like UCF, whose best win on the season is South Florida? This is what life on the bubble is in 2019.