Bubble Banter: Rhode Island and Tennessee land key victories

Getty Images
0 Comments

It was a fairly slow night on the bubble, as just seven teams were in action.

But as you might expect, there were some fireworks. Here’s what you need to know:

WINNERS

RHODE ISLAND (NET: 40, NBC: 10): URI took care of business against UMass (178) at home, which only matters because a loss would have been a crippling, Quad 4 loss. The Rams have just one Quad 1 win — at VCU — but they are 6-4 against the top two Quads. They do have an ugly loss at Brown (227) which is why Rhode Island is in a spot where they probably cannot afford to take a loss to anyone other than Dayton (5), who they play twice, the rest of the season.

TENNESSEE (NET: 70, NBC: Off the bubble): Just when it looked like we could write the Vols off, they turn around and erase a 15 point deficit at Alabama (41) to pick up their third Quad 1 win of the season. They are still just 13-9 overall with three Quad 2 losses and a Quad 3 loss, but the Vols still play eight Quad 1 games, and that doesn’t include Florida at home. They can survive this if they get hot.

XAVIER (NET: 47, NBC: Play-in game): Xavier followed up their resume-defining win at Seton Hall (16) by going into Chicago and picking off DePaul (59). The Musketeers have now won back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 22nd, and they are both Quad 1 wins. As it stands, they are now 3-7 against Quad 1 opponents and 6-8 against the top two quads. They suddenly have the resume of a team that might have some room to spare. What a weeks for Travis Steele.

LOSERS

MISSISSIPPI STATE (NET: 37, NBC: 11): The Bulldogs whiffed on a chance bolster their resume with a win at Kentucky (27) on Tuesday night, which isn’t a problem in and of itself. The issue is that the Bulldogs don’t have any games left against Kentucky, LSU or Auburn. Other than Arkansas (35) on the road, there isn’t a likely tournament team left on their schedule.

OKLAHOMA (NET: 49, NBC: 10): The Sooners are in a good spot despite losing to Texas Tech (29) on the road on Tuesday. They have solid computer numbers, they are 7-8 against Quad 1 and 2 opponents with wins over Mississippi State (37) at home, Minnesota (44) on a neutral and at Texas (60). But none of that really matters, because their season will be determined by the next 14 days: West Virginia (9), Iowa State (73), at Kansas (4), Baylor (2).

ALABAMA (NET: 41, NBC: Off the bubble): The Crimson Tide blew a 15 point lead at home in losing to Tennessee (70) on Tuesday night. With just one Quad 1 win to their name, the Crimson Tide need all the help they can get right now, and losing their third straight game like this is the opposite of that. It’s also a red flag that Alabama’s only wins away from home are Belmont (116) and Southern Miss (275) on neutrals and Vanderbilt (168) and Samford (308) on the road. The good news? Penn (151) has played their way into being a Quad 3 loss. With Auburn (18) and LSU (22) next week, winning at Georgia (90) on Saturday is a must-win.

DEPAUL (NET: 59, NBC: Off the bubble): The Blue Demons fell to 12-10 overall and 1-9 in the Big East with a loss at home to Xavier (47) on Tuesday. I want to make DePaul a thing, but they just are not cooperating. This will be the last time they show up in the bubble conversation unless they make some kind of run, and soon.