Bubble Trouble Or Bubble Bliss? 16 Bubble Profiles In Early February

A week ago, we took a look at how teams stood nationally. Instead of rehashing the same ground, let’s take a look 16 teams who either improved or drove their NCAA tournament at large hopes into a brick wall… a brick wall named conference road losses.



Florida – The Gators did something they hadn’t done all season: They went out and took care of business. Florida won at Alabama on Tuesday and then came home to beat Arkansas on Saturday. Florida picked up its first top-50 win of the season and moved to 4-3 against 50-100. The thing about Florida’s profile is that only the Florida State loss is “bad.” The problem is the number of losses. At 12-9, the Gators probably can’t take more than three or four losses the rest of the way. They do play Kentucky twice, starting this weekend, and will very likely need to beat the Wildcats once to have a better-than-average chance of cracking the field.

UCLA – The other member in the “name brands on life support” club, UCLA had a monster homestand against the mountain teams in the Pac-12. The Bruins hammered Utah and Colorado. UCLA has only two top-50 wins, Utah and the team the Bruins play Thursday night, Stanford.

Purdue – The Boilers needed some wins to start looking interesting. They went out and got them last week. One of them was the best win of the season against Indiana. That was followed by winning at Northwestern. Could Purdue get six more wins to get to 20? It has some chances, like a huge home game against Ohio State this week. A win there and Purdue will have forced itself into the conversation.

Michigan State – The Spartans did what they had to do after the loss at Nebraska. This is the first team many have pegged for the tournament that we’ve mentioned, so this was more of a cosmetic week. Winning at Rutgers was nice; avoiding a home loss to Michigan was nicer. The Spartans should have 19 wins when they host Ohio State on Valentine’s Day. That’s how you get the boat back on track.

Seton Hall – After losing three straight conference games, Seton Hall won at Marquette for the first time in ages. The Pirates got Isaiah Whitehead back from injury and accomplished a split against Xavier. Not only did they stablize themselves, they also picked up their second best win of the season. This should be an easy week for them with DePaul and Marquette on the docket.

Tulsa – While Tulsa isn’t adding anything significant, the Golden Hurricane is adding wins. More and more are adding Tulsa as an at large in their brackets. The dangerous thing is that Tulsa has won its last few games by 2, 7 and 7 (OT) against East Carolina, Tulane and South Florida. That’s not exactly a murderer’s row. Tulsa gets its game of the year Saturday against SMU. Frank Haith’s team would probably be better off not losing to Houston first.

Boise State – I neglected to write about Boise State a week ago; that was an oversight. The Broncos are now 15-6 after a huge win against Colorado State. After swooning following a broken-wrist injury to Anthony Drmic, the Broncos have pulled off five straight wins, including key triumphs over New Mexico and the Rams. The resume is thin, of course — CSU was Boise State’s first top-50 win. There are bad losses, too. However, the team is playing well and making people notice.




LSU – It was as though the Tigers spent the week (after picking up two big road wins at Florida and Vanderbilt) wondering how they could squander the goodwill. After a win at home against South Carolina, LSU lost at Mississippi State. LSU has now lost to two of the worst teams in the SEC on the road.

Alabama – The Tide probably sank their NCAA hopes with a big swing-and-a-miss week. They lost at home to Florida, as mentioned, then were blown out at Kentucky. The Tide were once 12-3, 2-0 in the SEC. They’ve cratered to 13-8, 3-5. They only have LSU, Georgia and Ole Miss left as games that can elevate their profile. They are sunk. As a result, Alabama is your crash of the week.

Miami – Oh what a week to lose a pair of games. After vanquishing fellow bubble squads N.C. State and Syracuse, Miami lost at home to Georgia Tech. By 20. The Canes then lost to Florida State. Those are going to end up as two losses to sub-100 RPI squads. That’s what’s known as a resume killer, especially when you already have a loss to Eastern Kentucky. Miami seems like it is going to live on the bubble all year. The Canes host Louisville tonight, though, so they’ll probably win by 20.

N.C. State – The Wolfpack at least avoided a full-on disaster week by beating Georgia Tech in overtime. Like Miami, State was worked over at home by a conference also-ran. Clemson did the trick to the Wolfpack, which are now 14-9. There is a must-win against Wake Forest tonight before hell week. Can’t afford a slip-up in Winston-Salem.

Texas – On paper, the Longhorns seem like a shoo-in NCAA team. They have a top-30 RPI and a top-15 SOS. When you actually look at what they’ve done, it’s not much. They beat West Virginia and Iowa. That’s about it. There are a lot of decent wins. There’s a good win against Long Beach State. Once Connecticut falls out of the RPI top 100, Texas will have three top-100 wins. Oklahoma State goes to Austin Wednesday, hunting for the sweep. If Texas is swept, I think there could be legit concerns about this profile. UT ends with a brutal stretch. Since Texas doesn’t play close games, it’ll either win or lose the next few games by 30. (Just to be clear: We’re having a little fun with some of these last-sentence predictions in team profiles. Carry on…)

Cincinnati – Another team that should fall out of the tournament, just muddying up the waters, was the Bearcats. Cincinnati took the worst loss of the weekend at 9-12 East Carolina. This gives Cincinnati an anchor loss ahead of its huge road game at SMU. UC is 4-1 agaisnt the top 50, which looks fantastic, but then you look at how easily things can change for the worse. Connecticut will soon take away one of the Bearcats’ six top-100 wins while giving Cincinnati a third loss to a team with an RPI higher than 100. North Carolina Central isn’t far from falling out of the RPI top 100, either. Memphis is a few losses from moving into the 90s. If or when Temple and N.C. State slip out of the top 50, there will be four top 50 games. That makes SMU gigantic. We just saw an AAC team not make the tournament because it ate bad losses. That SMU team didn’t beat anyone outside of league play, however, and Cincinnati has. This was a loss that put a lot of things into a dark perspective.

Kansas State – The past week was not so much a crash as a fall to Earth for the Wildcats. They ate losses to West Virginia and Kansas. Nothing bad, but the record is now 12-10 overall. KSU hosts Texas Saturday in what could be a last-ditch grasp for life.

Washington – The Huskies were 11-0. They are 14-7 after getting swept by the northern California schools. At home. Double ouch. The Robert Upshaw suspension has seemingly sealed U-Dub’s fate. Winning against Arizona later this month is an absolute must.

George Washington – What could have been a huge week ended with a whimper. GW went to VCU, receiving a 26-point beating. The Colonials doubled down on losses by losing at Rhode Island. The 0-2 week now leaves GW 3-6 against the top 100. The Colonials host Dayton in what looks like a very interesting game Friday night.

About Scott

I write Bearcats Blog and also on the Student Section.