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Syracuse basketball bubble watch: March 8

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It was asking a lot to beat UNC, but outside results were also problematic yesterday.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-North Carolina vs Syracuse Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange needed a win over the North Carolina Tar Heels on Wednesday night to truly feel safe. Unfortunately, that victory failed to arrive, and now we’ll have to wait this thing out until Selection Sunday.

Making matters even more complicated, several bubble teams also earned wins yesterday. That makes the task of getting into the NCAA Tournament even more concerning, because those teams now have games remaining — many of them against quality opponents, to further boost the resume.

Games get started around noon once again today. We’ll be updating this daily for the rest of the week.

Yesterday’s results

Mostly unfortunate for us. The important scores first (bubble teams bolded):

  • Louisville 82, Florida State 74
  • Colorado 97, Arizona State 85
  • Oklahoma State 71, Oklahoma 60
  • Marquette 72, DePaul 69
  • Texas 68, Iowa State 64
  • Notre Dame 71, Virginia Tech 65

Arizona State’s screwed, as mentioned in the two previous iterations of this article. But the rest set themselves up really well. I don’t think any of the five bolded teams are now locks, but Oklahoma State and Notre Dame helped themselves the most, earning quality wins and lifting themselves up into the legitimate bubble conversation. You can potentially make the case that OU should be on the bubble now as a result of that loss and their poor recent play. But that’s a lot of needless shuffling.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s games

(all times ET)

ACC Tournament: Louisville Cardinals vs. Virginia Cavaliers, Noon

Louisville has yet to pick up a big win all year, and this one would qualify for them. If they beat the Hoos (something they almost did recently), they’re in the field.

MAC Tournament: Buffalo Bulls vs. Central Michigan Chippewas, Noon

I don’t know if Buffalo’s great RPI can overcome the poor strength of schedule to steal an at-large if they fail to win the MAC. But Syracuse beat UB and the further they go, the more it could potentially help the Orange.

Big 12 Tournament: TCU Horned Frogs vs. Kansas State Wildcats, 12:30 p.m.

State’s computer numbers (RPI of 60, SOS of 97) are poor, but they do have four top-50 wins already and a high non-conference RPI (18). Beating a sure NCAA Tournament team like TCU for the second time this season could be the final piece of the puzzle.

SEC Tournament: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Texas A&M, 1 p.m.

Alabama already has six top-50 wins and a top-10 strength of schedule. Despite possessing 14 losses on the year, a second win over Texas A&M likely vaults them into the field. A loss probably eliminates them, despite the quality SOS.

Big 12 Tournament: Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Kansas Jayhawks, 2:30 p.m.

Oklahoma State has an RPI in the 80s, and an SOS of 70 — not a typical recipe for an at-large bid. However, eight top-50 wins and no bad losses puts them into the conversation. If they beat Kansas for a third time today, I’d probably lock them in.

NCAA Basketball: Stanford at UCLA Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12 Tournament: UCLA Bruins vs. Stanford Cardinal, 5:30 p.m.

UCLA’s wins over Arizona and Kentucky are what set them apart, but they’re going to need more to feel safe. That starts with Stanford, though a win over the Cardinal doesn’t lock in anything.

Big East Tournament: Marquette Golden Eagles vs. Villanova Wildcats, 7 p.m.

After just surviving DePaul last night, Marquette’s on very uneven footing for a bid. But tonight’s game against Villanova presents a real opportunity to set themselves apart from the other bubble contenders. Right now, their top wins are against Seton Hall (twice), Creighton (twice) and Providence. Beating the Wildcats would put them very close to a lock.

ACC Tournament: Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Duke Blue Devils, 7 p.m.

Many of us think Notre Dame has done far from enough to make a bid happen, but ESPN and other “experts” keep pushing the Irish. They played well enough without Bonzie Colson, and did beat Syracuse. However, they also lost to Indiana and Ball State WITH Colson. Whatever doubts that are lingering about them would be eliminated if they beat Duke, though.

C-USA Tournament: Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders vs. Southern Miss Golden Eagles, 7 p.m.

With zero top-50 wins, MTSU’s going to be hard-pressed to make an at-large case. But the RPI and SOS numbers are good enough. Might as well just root for them to win C-USA, just in case.

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Baylor Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12 Tournament: Baylor Bears vs. West Virginia Mountaineers, 9 p.m.

Baylor’s already at six top-50 wins, plus a strong SOS (11) that helps make up for the number of losses. They’re already better situated than most bubble teams, so a win over West Virginia puts them over the top and likely secures the bid.

Pac-12 Tournament: USC Trojans vs. Oregon State Beavers, 9 p.m.

It’s tough to see what the Trojans have really done all year to warrant any elevated status among bubble teams. The 12-6 record against a bad Pac-12 schedule is nothing to brag about, and they could easily lose two of their top 50 wins if Utah drops two spots in the RPI. Other than that, best victories are MTSU and New Mexico State. A loss to Oregon State should knock them out, and a win just gives them a chance to keep playing their way in.

Pac-12 Tournament: Utah Utes vs. Oregon Ducks, 11:30 p.m.

Utah hasn’t done enough yet to warrant inclusion, with just two top-50 wins and fringe computer numbers. A loss to Oregon completely eliminates them while beating the Ducks just gives them a chance to work their way in. Still need another win or two after Oregon.

Rooting Guide

To make things easiest, here’s who you’re rooting against:

  • Louisville
  • Central Michigan
  • Kansas State
  • Alabama
  • Oklahoma State
  • UCLA
  • Marquette
  • Notre Dame
  • Southern Miss
  • Baylor
  • USC
  • Utah