Teams who helped themselves:
Butler – Beating Seton Hall at home gives Butler a sweep of the Pirates and their third top 50 win. With two wins away from home over bubble competition (Cincinnati and Temple), Butler moves into the field for now. Beat Marquette at home this weekend and they’ll be 10-8 in the Big East. With a likely matchup against Seton Hall in the Big East quarters, Butler would likely end up on the right side of the bubble.
St. Bonaventure – Want to make the tournament? Beat a likely tournament team like the Bonnies did. Beating St. Joe’s at home was a must, and they got it done. They now own a sweep of St. Joe’s and an away win against Dayton. This is far from safe, but they are on the right side of the bubble for now.
VCU – With just two top 50 wins (St Joe’s and St Bonaventure), VCU desperately needed to beat Davidson at home. It’s not much of a boost to the resume, but it’s enough to be in for now. But with just 6 top 100 wins and two bad losses to UMass and George Mason, VCU will need a successful A-10 tournament.
Providence – The Friars’ future was up for grabs late in the game at home against Creighton. But one win later, they’re looking good for the tournament. They aren’t a lock yet but four top 50 wins, including at Villanova, makes it likely that they will make the tournament. This win was far more about protecting the work already done than improving upon it.
Kansas State – Any loss before the Big XII final will end at-large hopes. Beating TCU at home just kept this team in play.
Virginia Tech – The Hokies kept the dream going by beating Pitt at home. Tech is now 9-8 in the ACC with two top 50 wins (Pitt and Virginia). Beat Miami at home and win two in the ACC tournament, and it will start to get very interesting. Losing before the semis would certainly end at-large hopes, and it will likely take a trip to the final to have a serious chance.
Washington – Beating Washington State at home moved the Huskies to 9-9 in league play. With three wins over tournament teams in the bag and a 5-2 record against 51-100 in the RPI, there is still some real potential here if the Huskies win a few in the Pac-12 tournament.
USC – The Trojans stopped the slide with a home win over Oregon State. A regular season-ending win over Oregon would be more than enough, and they might not need to win another game to make it. But they aren’t a lock quite yet because of potential bid thieves and other power conference teams that can make runs. They’re sitting at about 95%, though.
Teams who hurt themselves:
Pitt – They’ll still likely make the field and there’s no shame in losing to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, but they wasted a golden opportunity to lock up a bid. Winning at Georgia Tech might be enough, but winning two more would definitely do it. With just two top 50 wins, two bad losses, and 189th ranked non-conference schedule, there is still work to do.
St. Joe’s – Like Pitt, it wasn’t a bad road loss. But a win at St. Bonaventure likely would’ve been enough to sow up a bid. With just two top 50 wins (one of which is against Princeton), the Hawks cannot feel safe. They better beat Duquesne at home, and getting at least one in the A-10 tournament will help.
Alabama – As much as St. Bonaventure helped themselves with a win against St Joe’s, Alabama harmed themselves with a home loss to Arkansas. Alabama was my last team in the field, but they drop out for now. Hope is not lost, but it all but will be if they don’t win at Georgia and drop to 8-10 against a mediocre SEC.
UCLA – Dropping the game to Oregon puts the Bruins at 15-15. It’s now going to take at least a home win over Oregon State and a trip to the Pac-12 final. The record is just too bad to sustain itself otherwise, despite four quality wins (Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado and Oregon State).
Creighton – Dropping to 9-8 in the Big East isn’t so bad… unless you’re outside the top 100 in the RPI and have a 297th ranked OOC schedule. It’s not time to completely cross them off because they have the potential to reel off consecutive wins away from home over Xavier, Providence, and Villanova. But even that will likely not be enough.
Oregon State – A slumping USC was the perfect chance to get a quality road win for a bid lock. Instead, Oregon State’s road woes continue. A win at UCLA should still be enough to get it done, but it could get interesting if they don’t. This team needs to prove they can win away from home, and their chances are limited now.