Bracketology Bubble Watch: Wisconsin vs. Rutgers leads Sunday slate of key games


The season is winding down and the bubble is getting pared down. We say goodbye to VCU, which lost on Friday, and to Purdue and Georgetown. However, we welcome Providence back to the bubble and UCLA for the first time this season.

The Friars beat Marquette at home 84-72 to get to 16-12 on the season. They have done well in Big East play and picked up a handful of quality wins, but are still trying to make up for four bad losses in November. Providence is one of only four potential at-large teams with a Q4 loss, joining Kentucky, East Tennessee State and our next guest, UCLA.

The Bruins have caught fire at a good time. They have won nine of 11, including a win at Arizona and a sweep of Colorado which they completed yesterday. The eighth of those wins pushed UCLA into the top 100 of the NET. Yesterday’s win in Boulder has moved them into the top 80. It is not hard to imagine how bad things had gone before that hot streak — it’s a lot to make up for.

Saturday was generally a bad day for the bubble, as only one team helped itself in any significant way yesterday. Everyone else was either treading water to taking it on.

Memphis beat Houston 60-59: Memphis picked up its best win of the season by far in knocking off the Cougars. However, it is the only win the Tigers have over a team likely to be in the bracket. They do have wins over fellow bubble teams NC State and Cincinnati, but that does not yet make up for three bad home losses. They also play three of their last four games on the road.

Houston does not have a win over a sure tournament team either, but it did sweep Wichita State and the Shockers are in the bracket for now. The Cougars will likely enter selection Sunday without a win over a sure tournament team because they are the closest team to that in the AAC.

Arkansas beat Missouri 78-68: It may not be the greatest win in the world, but when you are going as badly as Arkansas was, it looks like it should come with a trophy. Isaiah Joe returned to the lineup and the wins returned to the schedule. The Razorbacks still have a lot of work to do.

Rhode Island lost at Davidson 77-75 in OT: This is a tough one for the Rams. Not that Davidson is terrible, but the Wildcats add another Q2 loss to the URI resume. Because they have only one win over a team that is even on the bubble (Providence), losses like this do more damage.

Richmond lost at St. Bonaventure 75-71: St. Bonaventure was not very good before A-10 play started, but the Gaels have been pretty good in league play, as Richmond found out on Saturday. The Spiders do have a non-conference win over Wisconsin and a road win over Rhode Island that could end up being decisive between the two.

Oklahoma lost at Oklahoma State 83-66: It was a rough day for the Sooners, which got drilled by their rivals. The Cowboys are not a tournament team, but this would have been a Q1 win for Oklahoma. The Sooners have a couple of home games coming up against Texas Tech and Texas that might fall into the category of must win.

Mississippi State lost at Texas A&M 87-75: The Bulldogs were hoping not to take on a bad loss before the conference tournament. Too late. That is exactly what happened on Saturday. Mississippi State has four more games just like this one and the Bulldogs might need to end the regular season on a four-game winning streak. 

Here are the bubble teams in action Sunday starting with two double-bubble games. 

All times Eastern





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