Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Bracketology Bubble Watch: Michigan and Indiana need critical wins; Oregon on the outside looking in

The Ducks were unable to complete their season sweep of the LA schools

CBS Sports Graphic

The news from the bubble on Saturday was mostly negative. Only one team picked up a big enough win to get off the bubble for now. TCU held off No. 9 Texas Tech 69-66, ending its one-game stay on the bubble. The Horned Frogs have back-to-back games with Kansas coming up next.

  • The biggest bubble loser on Saturday was Loyola-Chicago. The Ramblers have been the class of the Missouri Valley Conference since their Final Four run in 2018, but they’ve struggled at the end of this season and lost on Saturday at Northern Iowa to finish second in the conference standings. Loyola went 8-5 in its last 13 games, losing every third game down the stretch. It is unlikely the Ramblers can get into the field as an at-large now since that would require yet another loss.
  • Rutgers also lost again, this time at home to Wisconsin, which avenged an earlier defeat by the Scarlet Knights. It was the third straight loss for Rutgers after that four-game run to get into contention for a bracket spot. Things get a little easier with games at Indiana and vs. Penn State. Winning those two may not be enough, however.
  • Oregon came up just short of a season sweep of the LA schools, falling at home to USC 70-69. The Ducks are the first team out as of this morning and have road games left with the Washington schools to finish up conference play.
  • Finally, Miami lost again at home, this time to Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes are now 10-5 on their home floor, but a slightly better 10-4 away from home. You do not very often see bubble teams as good on the road as they are at home.

There are not many bubble games today, but they are all important. The American Athletic Conference and Big Ten take center stage.

Note – all references to NCAA tournament selection records and trends refer only to pre-pandemic tournaments. Due to shortened schedules and a relatively small number of non-conference games in 2021, those rankings were not reliable enough to be considered.

Here are the bubble teams in action Sunday. All times Eastern

Memphis 16-9 45
Michigan 15-11 34
Wake Forest 22-8 42
Florida 18-11 51
North Carolina 21-8 40
Oregon 18-11 58
VCU 20-7 54
Loyola-Chicago 22-7 31

Check out all the teams on Palm’s Bubble Watch, the field of the 68 and the entire bracket on the Bracketology hub  

Bubble teams in action Sunday

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