BC got a bunch of favorable results yesterday from the Big 12 Tournament First Round. Nebraska bubble has all but burst entirely with the Huskers' 53-52 loss to Oklahoma State. That said, the Eagles need to worry about the Cowboys stringing a few more wins together at this point, as OSU could creep back onto the bubble.
Like Nebraska, Baylor is likely toast after getting bludgeoned by Oklahoma. A team, I might add, that lost to Chaminade in the Maui Invitational. Thanks for playing, Bears.
As for today, a HUGE day of college basketball, with plenty of Bubble teams looking to play their way into the NCAA Tournament. Here's your handy rooting guide for Thursday's college basketball action.
Miami vs. Virginia (ACC Tournament First Round, Noon, ACC Network): Root for the team that you think is less likely to upset North Carolina in the ACC Quarterfinals. Rooting interest: Pick'em.
Conference USA Quarterfinals (Conference USA Championship, Noon / 2:30 / 6:30 / 8:00 PM, CBS C): None of the teams left in the C-USA Championship are solid locks for the NCAA Tournament. Of the eight teams remaining, UAB is probably in the best shape with a 22-7 record and a 12-4 conference record. Still, with a weak SOS (71), a loss in the Quarterfinals would probably knock even UAB out of the NCAA Tournament picture. I'm struggling to come up with scenarios where C-USA would get two teams in the Dance, so it's unlikely that this conference will be a two-bid league. Best not to chance it, though, especially with Memphis and UTEP hanging around in the First Four Out category. Root for the top seed in this one. (A somewhat weak) rooting interest: UAB.
Oklahoma State vs. Kansas (Big 12 Tournament Quarterfinals, 12:30 PM, ESPN2): Yesterday, we rooted FOR the Cowboys. Today, it's time for Oklahoma State's Big 12 Tournament run to end. OSU doesn't have a great tournament resume -- 19-12 (6-10 Big 12) -- but we can't risk having these guys reach the Big 12 Semis or the Big 12 Championship. Rooting interest: Kansas.
Auburn vs. Georgia (SEC Tournament First Round, 1:00 PM, SEC Network): The opening game of the SEC Tournament is a matchup with HUGE bubble implications. Georgia is currently on the 11 line, a few spots ahead of BC in the bubble pecking order. A Bulldogs loss to an 11-19 Auburn team that has losses to powerhouses Samford, Campbell, Jacksonville, Presbyterian and LSU could be enough to knock UGA out of the Tournament entirely. The good news? Georgia needed OT to beat Auburn at home in the regular season's only meeting. That, and despite all the horrible losses this year, the Tigers managed to somehow beat Florida State this season. So I guess there is hope... Rooting interest: Auburn.
California vs. USC (Pac 10 Tournament Quarterfinals, 3:00 PM, FSN): If you needed any indication of how soft this year's bubble is, see also: USC Trojans. USC (18-13, 10-8 Pac 10) has losses to Rider, Bradley, TCU, Oregon State and Oregon x2, and is STILL hangin' with the First Four Out. Looks like wins over Texas, Arizona and Washington are enough to counteract some really bad losses. Cal, on the other hand, has much better resume numbers, fewer bad losses, and is nowhere to be found on the bubble. The Bears probably need to with the Pac 10 to go Dancing. Bonus: RPI and SOS boost! Rooting interest: Cal.
Colorado vs. Kansas State (Big 12 Tournament Quarterfinals, 3:00 PM, Big 12 Network): Colorado survived Iowa State yesterday, but let's hope their Big 12 Tournament run ends today against K-State. The Wildcats are definitely in. The Buffs are still bubbalicious. Rooting interest: K-State.
Iowa vs. Michigan State (Big Ten Tournament, 4:30 PM, ESPN2): Like the Auburn-Georgia matchup, this one is another huge game for BC. Root for the Hawkeyes like you've never rooted for a team before ... Rooting interest: Iowa.
New Mexico vs. Colorado State (Mountain West Tournament Quarterfinals, 5:30 PM, The Mtn. / CBS CS): Both teams are currently on the outside looking in, and would probably have to knock off BYU in the Semifinals to get back into the First Four discussion. Considering that the Lobos just beat a Davies-less BYU squad 82-64, I'm pulling for the Rams here. For the other three MWC Quarterfinals, the best outcome is for the favorites to win. BYU, San Diego State and UNLV are all in. Rooting interest: Colorado State.
Maryland vs. N.C. State (ACC Tournament First Round, 7:00 PM, ESPN2): Both teams probably have to win the ACC to get in, but the Terps can at least get back in the conversation with a run to the ACC Championship Game. If you think there is absolutely 0 chance that Maryland can get to the ACC title game, then the rooting interest is the Terps (makes BC's sweep look a bit better). Me? I'm rooting for the 'Pack, assuming that Duke will take N.C. State out in the Quarterfinals. Rooting interest: N.C. State.
Indiana vs. Penn State (Big Ten Tournament First Round, 7:30 PM, Big Ten Network): I suppose the Nittany Lions still have an outside shot at the NCAAs with a conference tournament run, so bursting Penn State's bubble plus SOS boost is the play here. Go Hoosiers! Rooting interest: Indiana.
Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech (ACC Tournament First Round, 9:30 PM, ACC Network): A Hokies win here would make BC's regular season sweep look a bit better, but Virginia Tech is being compared to equally bubbalicious BC and Clemson in the ACC. A loss to Georgia Tech would put even more distance between BC/Clemson and Virginia Tech. Rooting interest: Georgia Tech.
Washington vs. Washington State (Pac 10 Tournament Quarterfinals, 11:30 PM, FSN): Washington still has a bit of work to do. A third loss to the Cougars could put UW on the wrong side of the bubble. I think Washington is probably in the Dance regardless, but it never hurts to make us look better in comparison. Washington State likely has to win the Pac 10 to get in. Rooting interest: Washington State.