I’m of the opinion that the Gophers are absolutely safe. There are at least 8 teams behind them who are in more danger of missing out on a bid due to a shrinking bubble. All 8 of those teams would have to outplay the Gophers in the next few days and at least 2 of them will lose because of games played against another bubble team.
And even if the remaining 6 all win 2 or 3 games to move themselves ahead of Minnesota, then 2 more teams would have to come from “out” to “in” and bump the Gophers out. Can it happen? Sure. Getting their ass kicked on Thursday at the hands of Penn State would hurt and then you’ll need to see several teams win 2 in their conference tournament games.
But realistically, even if they lose to Penn State they will still get into the Tournament. It will just be with a lower seed.
With all of that said, there are still some Bubble games happening in the next couple days that are going to be fun to watch. Here are the games.
Wednesday Key Bubble Games
- NC State vs Clemson - 11:00 AM - ESPN
This is an elimination game for one of these teams. Both are very close to the cut line. Clemson has been right at the “last team in” for a couple weeks and NC State is either right ahead of them or right behind them, depending on which projection you look at. Clemson knows that a win should put them in.
- TCU vs Oklahoma State - 6:00 PM - ESPNU
The Horned Frogs are safely in and probably above the Dayton line, but a loss to the Cowboys would be a bad one. Win and they are safe. Lose and they should be sweating.
- St. John’s vs DePaul - 8:30 PM - FS1
Much like TCU, the Red Storm is probably safe as of this morning. The good news is that they are facing the last place team in the Big East. The bad news is that they are 0-2 against DePaul.
Thursday Key Bubble Games
This is where it gets more interesting as more teams that are really straddling the cut line will be playing. In addition to the games below there will be games for TCU, St. Johns, Clemson/NC State if they won on Wednesday. Their Wednesday wins should really help them, but a second win today should make them locks.
- Ohio State vs Indiana - 11:30 AM - BTN
The Buckeyes are barely in while the Hoosiers are likely out. One will be eliminated while the other lives to fight on.
- Florida vs Arkansas - 12:00 PM - SEC Network
Florida is probably just ahead of Clemson in terms of BARELY being in. So a win over Arkansas is imperative.
- Creighton vs Xavier - 1:30 PM - FS1
The Blue Jays have been moving their way up as Xavier fell off the map. Creighton is really straddling the cut line. As the bubble shrinks, their position become more precarious. They certainly have to have this win, maybe then a win the following day as well.
- Alabama vs Ole Miss - 6:00 PM - SEC Network
Bama is probably out, they need a win to move up and then probably beat Kentucky the next day to really get in. Ole Miss will be favored here.
- Arizona State vs TBD - 8:00 PM - P12 Network
The Sun Devils get the winner of UCLA/Stanford. Personally I think that ASU misses the tournament unless they get to the Pac 12 championship game. Losing at home to Washington State (NET of 196!!) is an awful loss and their NET of 67 is very high (keep in mind that since expanding to 68 teams, only 2 teams have made it in with an RPI above 65). They have to win this game.
Welcome to March, friends. Should be a fun couple days watching teams fight to stay alive while others punch their ticket to the NIT.