Wednesday was a slower night for Championship Week as only one autobid was decided and a lot of conference tournaments getting into key matchups beginning on Thursday. But the bubble still had some important movement while the night’s only autobid has a fun story to follow for the next week.
N.C. State stuns Clemson with wild ACC tournament comeback
Two bubble teams collided in the ACC tournament second round on Wednesday afternoon as N.C. State rallied to knock out Clemson. Trailing by 16 at the half, the Wolfpack stormed back to win as the Tigers went over 10 minutes without a field goal in the second half. Markell Johnson hit two free throws with 2.6 seconds left to give N.C. State the win on what some considered a controversial late foul call.
But N.C. State’s comeback is secondary to the impact this game has on the bubble.
With both of these teams clinging for their at-large lives, the Wolfpack extended their season while Clemson is likely going to be left out of the Field of 68. The win for N.C. State is also nice, but they might still have work to do when they get a crack at No. 1 Virginia on Thursday.
CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on both of these teams in the latest edition of Bubble Banter.
Colgate makes first NCAA tournament appearance in 23 years
Wednesday night’s only autobid went to the Patriot League as Colgate outlasted Bucknell to earn its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1996.
Sophomore guard Jordan Burns erupted for a career-high 35 points during a night in which the Raiders’ best player, Rapolas Ivanauskas, was battling foul trouble. Ivanauskas, the Patriot League Player of the Year, finished with 14 points and eight rebounds while junior Will Rayman finished with 18 points and seven rebounds.
While Colgate isn’t projected to be any sort of major threat as a likely No. 15 seed, they have a fun story as a program with minimal success since the mid-’90s. Learn more about the Raiders with our in-depth look here.
TCU, St. John’s survive the bubble (for at least another day)
The only other bubble teams to play outside of the Clemson/N.C. State matchup on Wednesday was TCU in the Big 12 tournament and St. John’s in the Big East tournament.
Holding off Oklahoma State to advance, the Horned Frogs avoided a potentially disastrous loss as Kouat Noi tallied a team-high 20 points in the victory. TCU advances to face No. 1 seed Kansas State in the Big 12 quarterfinals on Thursday, as the Wildcats will likely be without senior forward Dean Wade (foot).
St. John’s finally got the best of DePaul with a win in Madison Square Garden after the Blue Demons swept the regular-season series. Shamorie Ponds, Mustapha Heron and Justin Simon all had 18 points each to pace the Red Storm as Simon also deserves credit for slowing down DePaul star Max Strus (14 points, 4-for-12 shooting). St. John’s could gain more at-large credibility tomorrow with a matchup against Marquette in the Big East quarterfinals.
CBT’s Rob Dauster examines more on St. John’s and TCU’s bubble cases in Bubble Banter.