Bubble Banter: Providence, UCLA, Memphis the day’s biggest winners

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There is plenty of action happening on the bracketology bubble watch despite it being a relatively slow night for college hoops.

Dave Ommen’s latest bracketology can be found here. Rob Dauster’s Bubble Watch can be found here. The full NET rankings can be found here.

Here is everything you need to know to.

THE BUBBLE WATCH WINNERS

PROVIDENCE (NET: 50, NBC: Off the bubble): The Friars are now the official owners of the strangest resume in college basketball. On Friday, Marquette (23) paid a visit to The Dunk and lost. Providence has now won three straight games and have now won five of their last seven. All five of those wins are Quad 1 wins, and they include a road win over Butler (17), home wins against Creighton (11) and Seton Hall (16), and Saturday’s win against Marquette. The Friars now have seven Quad 1 wins. If you only look at wins, Providence is like a five seed.

The problem is the losses. There are 12 of them, and some of them are really, really bad. Providence lost to Charleston (136) and Long Beach State (292) on neutral courts, at Northwestern (159) and to Penn (163) at home. That’s a pair of Quad 3 and a pair of Quad 4 losses at home. It’s wild that the Friars are even in the conversation with all of that garbage on their resume, but they very much are.

UCLA (NET: 90, NBC: Off the bubble): The Bruins are making a push to get into the NCAA tournament. On Saturday, they completed a sweet of the mountain schools — the toughest road trip in all of college basketball — and have now won five in a row and nine of their last 11 games. They own a sweep of Colorado (12), they won at Arizona (7) and while they do have a Quad 3 loss — Hofstra (120) — and a Quad 4 loss — Fullerton (269) — the Bruins are now sitting on five Quad 1 wins, three of which came against top 15 teams, two on the road. The metrics don’t love the Bruins, but today’s win will help and if the metrics love Arizona and Colorado this much, it should mean quite a bit that UCLA was able to beat them. Their resume isn’t quite as weird as Providence’s, but both of these teams are going to give the Selection Committee a headache on Selection Sunday.

With games left against Arizona, Arizona State and USC, the Bruins will have the chances to play their way in. It’s wild to think that we’re here after the way the season started, but we are.

MEMPHIS (NET: 63, NBC: Next four out): Memphis is hanging on by a thread right now, but they are still alive after landed a critical win over Houston (26) at home. Memphis now has a pair of Quad 1 wins, and finally have a win over a team ranked in the top 50. The Tigers have also won at Tennessee (65), beaten Cincinnati at home (55) and beat N.C. State on a neutral. The program? Those three Quad 2 home losses, and the fact that they are playing without D.J. Jeffries, their best perimeter weapon. With three of their last four on the road and a home date with Wichita State (42), Memphis has chances to improve their resume.

VIRGINIA (NET: 55, NBC: 10): Virginia won for the fourth straight time on Saturday, knocking off Pitt (116) on the road. They only have three Quad 1 wins and a 9-6 mark against the top two Quads with home dates left against Duke (6) and Louisville (10). They can’t afford slip-ups, and could really use three or four more wins before Selection Sunday. But Virginia is starting to play much better, and as of today they are in a pretty good spot to get to the tournament.

ALABAMA (NET: 45, NBC: Off the bubble): The Crimson Tide did what they good on Saturday, blowing out Ole Miss (85) on the road. It’s the fourth road win for Alabama, which is relevant for a team that doesn’t have all that much else going for it. They’re 15-12 overall. They have just two Quad 1 wins compared to a Quad 3 loss and a Quad 4 loss. I’m not sure they can afford another loss.

ARKANSAS (NET: 48, NBC: Off the bubble): The Razorbacks snapped a five-game losing streak on Saturday by beating Missouri (84) at home. They have a pair of Quad 1 wins and a 4-10 mark against the top two Quads, but the more important record is this: They are 16-5 on the season with a healthy Isaiah Joe, who returned to action and scored 21 points on Saturday. It will be very interesting to see how the Selection Committee handles Arkansas.

… AND LOSERS

OKLAHOMA (NET: 46, NBC: 10): Oklahoma lost again on Saturday, this time at Oklahoma State (72), and I’m having trouble figuring out why they are considered in the tournament safely as a 10 seed. They’ve now lost three in a row and five of their last eight games. They are 16-11 on the season and are sitting with just a single Quad 1 win and a 1-10 record against the top Quad. They do have eight Quad 2 wins, but outside of a win over West Virginia (10) at home earlier this month, there really is nothing about this profile that is overly impressive. They certainly belong in the mix, but I think are in a far tougher spot than the consensus.

N.C. STATE (NET: 52, NBC: 11): The Wolfpack missed out on a chance to land another elite win on Saturday, blowing a halftime lead and losing at home to Florida State (15). The big news was picking up the win over Duke (6) on Wednesday night. It was the fifth Quad 1 win for Kevin Keatts — they’ve also beaten Wisconsin (29) at home and three sub-50 teams on the road — to go along with an 8-7 record against the top two Quads. The biggest problem here is that they have three Quad 3 losses, two of which came at home. Before beating Duke, the Wolfpack lost at Boston College (143). It’s worth noting that Markell Johnson, N.C. State’s best player, did not play in one of the three Quad 3 losses — Georgia Tech (81) — so like Arkansas, this will certainly be something the committee takes into account.

PURDUE (NET: 32, NBC: First four out): After the Boilermakers lost to Michigan (24) at home on Saturday, they are sitting at 14-14 overall and just 7-10 in the Big Ten. They do actually have a pretty strong resume in regards to the number of good wins that they have, but the biggest issue currently facing Purdue is the number of losses, including a pair of Quad 3 losses. The most losses and at-large team has ever had is 15. For context, Indiana last season was 17-15 with six Quad 1 wins and nine Quad 1 and 2 wins and they were left out. Purdue is 5-10 against Quad 1 opponents — three of those five wins vacillate between Quad 1 and Quad 2 — and 7-12 against the top two Quads with a 3-8 record on the road. Their best road win is at Indiana (58). They’re in a tough spot right now.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (NET: 50, NBC: First four out): Mississippi State significantly dinged their at-large chances by losing at Texas A&M (124) on Saturday. That’s the third bad loss on their resume, and with a win at Florida (36) and a sweep of Arkansas (48) the only notable accomplishments to date, the Bulldogs find themselves in a tough spot. What’s worse is that they only get one more Quad 1 opportunity in the regular season, and that’s a game at South Carolina (61).

RICHMOND (NET: 43, NBC: Play-in game): Richmond had their five-game winning streak snapped on the road against St. Bonaventure, which is not a bad loss in real life but is a bad loss on an NCAA tournament resume. The Spiders only have one truly terrible loss to their name — Radford (165) got them on a neutral court — but they only have two Quad 1 wins and a 4-6 record against the top two Quads.

RHODE ISLAND (NET: 31, NBC: 11): The Rams did not help themselves by losing at Davidson (83) on Saturday, which isn’t a killer but is a Quad 2 loss. They’re now 19-7 overall with just one Quad 1 win, but they are 6-6 against the top two Quads. The loss to Brown (218) is ugly, but as long as URI avoids the landmines on their schedule, I think they can get an at-large even with a loss to Dayton (5) at home in March.

GEORGETOWN (NET: 52, NBC: Play-in game): This is why Georgetown can’t have nice things. After beating Butler (17) on the road to play themselves onto the right side of the bubble, the Hoyas went out this week and lost to Providence (50) at home and at DePaul (74) on Saturday. They still get Marquette (23) and Creighton (11) on the road, and Villanova (14) at home, so they’re not dead. But they are in a bad spot.

SOUTH CAROLINA (NET: 62, NBC: Next four out): The Gamecocks had a chance to play themselves into a really good spot on Saturday, but they lost to LSU (30) at home. At 16-11 overall with a Quad 3 and a Quad 4 loss, the Gamecocks have plenty of work left to do and not all that many great chances left for wins. They’re in trouble.