Bubble Banter: Three bid thieves take the floor hoping to shrink the bubble

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Throughout the day, we will be tracking how every result impacts the teams currently sitting on the bubble. You can find our most recent bracket projection right here. This story will be updated throughout the afternoon and evening.

Big Thievery is alive and well in the Atlantic 10, as Rhode Island upset No. 1 seed VCU in the quarterfinals. Assuming that the Rams handle this Marcus Evans injury the smart way — play it close to the vest, if it’s a serious knee injury don’t announce that he’s out until after Selection Sunday — and they should be OK. They entered the day with a NET of 31, and with a pair of Q1 wins, winning at Texas (37) and at Dayton (66). They do now have three Q3 losses, but a 25-7 record and a non-conference SOS that ranks No. 2 nationally should be enough to get them in. VCU was a No. 8 seed in our most recent bracket projection. They’re not going to fall out of the tournament.

Nevada also went down on Friday night, although the Wolf Pack are in a different situation than the Rams were. San Diego State still has to beat Utah State in the Mountain West title game to be considered a bid thief — the Aggies are in the tournament regardless of whether or not they win or lose. The good news for bubble teams is that Buffalo found a way to win, meaning that the MAC is still a one-bid league, as far as we know.

WINNERS

FLORIDA (NET: 32, SOS: 42): Andrew Nembhard hit a three with 1.0 seconds left to break a tie and give the Gators their second win over LSU (14) this season. For my money, that is going to be enough to get them onto the right side of the bubble. They have four Q1 wins — including a win at LSU in February — and they are 8-12 against Q1 and Q2 opponents.

UTAH STATE (NET: 30, SOS: 106): The Aggies picked off Fresno State (85) by 25 points on Friday afternoon, advancing to the Mountain West title game to take on San Diego State (124) and Jaden McDaniels. I think this team is in. They are 4-2 against Q1 opponents with a win over Nevada (18) and Saint Mary’s (34). They are 4-2 against Q1 opponents and four of their six losses are Q2 losses. The only concern is their opponent in the title game — SDSU on a neutral court would be their worst loss of the season. I don’t think it would be enough to push them to the wrong side of the cut line, but it would not be a comfortable Sunday if the can’t find a way to win.

MINNESOTA (NET: 57, SOS: 49): Minnesota is dancing. They were essentially in the tournament prior to today’s game against Purdue, and the Golden Gophers went out and beat the Boilermakers.

LOSERS

OHIO STATE (NET: 55, SOS: 56): Ohio State fell against Michigan State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament on Friday afternoon, but despite the loss, I think they are going to end up being OK. They have four Q1 wins, including a road win at Cincinnati (26) in their season-opener. That is their only elite win of the season, but with just one Q3 loss and a 9-13 mark against Q1 and Q2 opponents, I think that they did enough, but they are going to want to see Nevada and Buffalo win.

ALABAMA (NET: 58, SOS: 22): Alabama, like Ohio State, is going to be one of the teams that ends up directly on the cutline on Selection Sunday. After losing to Kentucky (5) in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament on Friday, the Crimson Tide are 3-10 against Q1 opponents and 10-13 against the top two quadrants. They did beat Kentucky at home, but they also lost to Texas A&M (83) and Georgia State (126) in that same building. It is going to be close. Pray that Utah State and Buffalo win, I guess.

TEMPLE (NET: 51, SOS: 78): Now the sweating begins. The Owls fell against Wichita State on Friday, meaning that they are going to spend the next two days seeing just how long fingernails can be chewed for. At this point, I think Temple will be in. They are 2-6 against Q1 opponents with an 8-8 record against the top two quadrants. They only have one bad loss — Penn (108) at home — and they also knocked off Houston (4) in Philly. The bubble is slowly getting tougher as the days pass, but I think Temple will be on the right side of history.

XAVIER (NET: 70, SOS: 51): Xavier is out. After losing to Villanova, the Musketeers are likely NIT bound.