Wednesday night was all about the bubble in college hoops as teams with shaky profiles were featured in most of the day’s important games. While one Big East team pulled off a win that could ultimately get them in on Selection Sunday, things weren’t so kind for most of the other teams on the bubble.
Seton Hall rallies to stun No. 16 Marquette
Wednesday’s most important win undoubtedly went to Seton Hall as the Pirates stormed back to stun No. 16 Marquette for a Big East home win. Closing the game on an 18-0 run while holding the Golden Eagles scoreless for the final 4:40, this is a massive bubble win for the Pirates — as they currently sit at “First Four In” status in our latest Bracketology. Myles Powell (34 points) went on a personal 10-0 run during that span, as the junior guard’s hot shooting helped propel Seton Hall to the victory.
The win was vital for Seton Hall’s at-large chances, but the major storyline here is that Marquette’s season is continuing to crumble before the postseason begins. In the driver’s seat for the Big East title less than two weeks ago, the Golden Eagles have now dropped three consecutive games — all in sloppy fashion — as they’ve been thoroughly outplayed in the final minutes against bubble teams in back-to-back games. Sam Hauser (25 points) was impressive during most of this one, but he didn’t get much consistent help. Markus Howard (six points), Sacar Amin (eight points) and Joey Hauser (four points) combined to go a forgettable 7-for-32 from the field as Marquette had 18 turnovers. Villanova now holds a one-game lead over Marquette entering the final game of Big East conference season this weekend.
No. 10 LSU outlasts Florida for OT road win
For the second time in as many meetings this season, LSU and Florida needed extra time as the Tigers prevailed this time in Gainesville with a 79-78 OT win. Maintaining its shared lead in the SEC with Tennessee, LSU stayed hot behind 19 points and a clutch game-tying bucket at the end of regulation by sophomore point guard Tremont Waters. The Tigers now have the inside track to the No. 1 seed in the upcoming SEC Tournament thanks to a head-to-head win over the Vols a few weeks back. As long as the Tigers take care of business at home against SEC bottom-feeder Vanderbilt they will gain at least a share of the league title.
Florida looked to be in solid NCAA tournament shape a week ago but back-to-back SEC losses could really hurt them come Selection Sunday. The Gators had a monster night from Jalen Hudson (33 points), but on the game’s final possession, the senior slipped and Florida didn’t get a shot off on a broken possession. Luckily for the Gators, they get another crack at a top-ten team this weekend when they head to Lexington to face Kentucky. Florida might need to win that game to feel comfortable heading into the NCAA tournament.
A brutal night for most of the bubble
Besides for Seton Hall’s big win over Marquette, Creighton and Clemson were the only two other bubble teams to earn wins on Wednesday night as both of them escaped with tight wins.
Things weren’t so kind for the rest of the teams on the bubble.
The Big East saw Providence fall to the Bluejays in OT, while Georgetown got absolutely smoked by a suddenly-dangerous DePaul squad. Across town from the Hoyas getting obliterated, Ohio State also suffered a blowout loss to a Northwestern team that has barely showed a pulse in months.
And the night’s worst bubble loss went to N.C. State as the Wolfpack allowed a game-winning dunk with 1.4 seconds left to fall to Georgia Tech at home. It’s been stressed here, and elsewhere, plenty of times before, but this is an atrocious year for the bubble.
CBT’s Rob Dauster goes deeper into Wednesday’s bubble picture here.