Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm takes a daily look at games he’ll be watching involving teams on the bubble to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. For more details on bubble teams, consult the Bubble Watch and then compare resumes of any two teams trying to make The Big Dance to see who has the edge.
Georgia dug too big of a hole in this one, trailing by 18 at the half. The Bulldogs fought back to tie it late in the second half, but the Gamecocks were able to put it away 64-58.
This has been a disasterous few days for the Bulldogs. Back-to-back home losses to Auburn and South Carolina put them squarely on the bubble. That’s four bad losses now, and only wins over Ole Miss and Texas A&M to make up for it. They still have games at Ole Miss and Auburn, along with a home game against Kentucky.
Texas A&M knocked off fellow bubbler LSU 68-62 at home to sweep the season series from the Tigers. It was a bigger win for the Aggies than it was a loss for the Tigers because the Aggies need quality wins to bolster their tournament profile.
LSU can always use more quality wins as well, but it’s more important for the Tigers right now to avoid adding to their total of bad losses, and this certainly isn’t a bad loss. However, if it comes down to the committe having to choose one or the other, the season sweep for the Aggies could become a factor. Note that unlike football, head-to-head isn’t necessarily a decisive point for the committee. Despite the sweep, LSU still has a better tournament resume than Texas A&M right now.
Oklahoma came back from seven points down in the second half to defeat Texas 71-69 and keep the Longhorns in seventh place in the Big 12.
Texas is still looking for a second win against an RPI top 25 team to go with a home win over West Virginia earlier in the season. Fortunately for the Longhorns, the league provides ample opportunities to get those wins. Their next four games are against teams in the current RPI top 25.
The Spartans find themselves in the unusual position of sweating out NCAA tournament selection. They haven’t missed the field since 1997, but and up-and-down year has put that streak in jeopardy. They sit at 17-8, but just 2-6 vs the RPI top 50, and both of those wins came at home. They also have bad losses at Nebraska and at home to Texas Southern.
The schedule down the stretch is unkind, with four road games in the last six. Believe it or not, tonight’s clash at arch-rival Michigan is the easiest of those four. Rivalry aside, that is what makes this an important game for Michigan State.
San Diego State’s stay on the bubble was a short one after it smoked New Mexico 63-46. It would take a monumental collapse to keep the Aztecs out now. Tonight’s game at The Pit was the toughest road game left on their schedule, and reaslitically, there aren’t enough bad losses left to eliminate them.
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