For those who are not familiar, the “bubble'” is a term associated with teams who are on the cut line of making the NCAA Tournament. Fans of teams who are firmly on the bubble are in for a stressful two weeks. That’s why conference tournaments are such a great opportunity for such teams. Teams get a chance to get wins on a neutral court that will enhance their resume. With less than two weeks until Selection Sunday, here are this week’s key games involving “bubble” teams:
Xavier at Butler – The Musketeers have hit their stride as of late while Butler has lost four of five.
VCU at George Mason – The Rams appear to be a lock for the “Big Dance” but can ill afford to drop one to the Patriots.
Purdue at Minnesota – Minnesota has lost six of their last eight, but can still feel good about their tournament chances. If they can get a win in their last two either against Purdue or at Maryland, they should be in.
Kansas at Oklahoma – The Sooners finish with Kansas at home and a road game at Kansas State. Win one of those and Oklahoma is basically in.
Auburn at Alabama – The Tigers seem to be in good shape, but the Crimson Tide need this game big time. They haven’t beaten an NCAA Tournament-caliber team since they beat Mississippi State on January 29.
Marquette at Seton Hall – As a bubble team, Seton Hall couldn’t ask for two better opportunities to get a big win to end the year. The Pirates host Marquette and Villanova this week, and if they can split the two, it’ll be hard to keep them out with wins over Kentucky and Maryland.
LSU at Florida – The Gators suffered their first “bad loss” on Saturday against Georgia, bringing their record to 17-12. A win against a top 10 opponent in their final two against LSU and at Kentucky should get Florida in, given this year’s bubble is extremely weak.
Clemson at Notre Dame – If the Tigers have any hope of going dancing, they simply cannot lose this one to the Irish on the road.
Georgia Tech at NC State – The Wolfpack definitely need to win their final two games against Georgia Tech and Boston College to earn a bid.
Temple at UCONN – Since the Owls only signature win is a home win vs Houston, Temple must win this game and might need to beat UCF in the regular season finale.
Indiana at Illinois – The fact that the Hoosiers are still in consideration for the tournament goes to show how bad the bubble is this season. Indiana will not be dancing if they lose either to the Illini or against Rutgers.
Minnesota at Maryland – The Gophers need to split games against Purdue or Maryland to feel good about their chances.
Villanova at Seton Hall – The Pirates have a golden opportunity this week, hosting two top 25 teams.
Syracuse at Clemson – It’s a surprise we’re not talking about the Orange being on the bubble this year, but Clemson desperately needs this one.
TCU at Texas – This could ultimately be deemed as an NCAA Tournament elimination game with the winner just barely staying in the conversation.
NC State at Boston College – The Wolfpack might need to win their final two, plus one in the ACC Tournament
UCF at Temple – The Owls will be desperate for a Quadrant 1 (Q1) win against the Golden Knights as they only have one Q1 win.
Arizona State at Arizona – The Pac-12 has had just an awful year with Washington the only lock for the tournament. The Sun Devils need to win in Tucson to get two Pac-12 teams in the Big Dance.
St. Johns at Xavier – This could be another “elimination game” as St. Johns have played themselves back onto the bubble.
Oklahoma at Kansas State – The Sooners will be looking for a huge Q1 win, while the Wildcats will be seeking a Big 12 title.
Alabama at Arkansas – A loss for the Tide could mean an automatic one seed….in the NIT Tournament.
Rutgers at Indiana – If there’s ever been a true “must win”, this is it for Indiana.
Wisconsin at Ohio State – The Buckeyes need to win their last two to get to .500 in Big Ten play.