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SportBubble watch: Saturday's winners, losers from the edge of March Madness

06:00  24 february  2019
06:00  24 february  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

March Madness bubble tracker: Why Indiana, at-large mid-majors can get NCAA tournament spots

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Bubble Watch : Saturday ' s winners and losers from the edge of March Madness . Several college basketball teams gave their NCAA tournament chances a major boost on Saturday . Several others, however, did not.

March Madness bubble tracker: Why Indiana, at-large mid-majors can get NCAA tournament spots. The Hoosiers have lost nine of 10 games but are Here's a look at the rest of Saturday ' s winners and losers among bubble teams. Don't count out the Hoosiers just yet. They edged out seemingly

Bubble watch: Saturday's winners, losers from the edge of March Madness© Provided by USA Today Sports Media Group LLC TCU Horned Frogs forward Kouat Noi (12) and guard Desmond Bane (1) celebrate in front of Iowa State Cyclones guard Tyrese Haliburton (22) during the second half at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena. Selection Sunday is only three weeks away and, as usual, bubble teams have already begun to sweat.

Whether it's a chance at a marquee victory or a trying to avoid a résumé stain against an inferior conference foe, every outcome is under a microscope as teams do their best to stay worthy of the field of 68.

Following three consecutive losses in Big 12 play, TCU was in desperate need of a win to avoid drifting to the wrong side of the NCAA tournament bubble. The Horned Frogs snapped their losing streak with a critical Quadrant 1 (top-30 home, top-75 road) victory.

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But Saturday ' s victory is exactly what every bubble team is craving this time of year, and it helped reverse course following Georgetown's 32-point Alabama: The Crimson Tide (17-14, 8-10 SEC) lost to Arkansas 82-70 in the SEC regular-season finale for an outcome that likely moves them from " the

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By escaping Iowa State 75-72, TCU picked up a home win against a team with a top-15 ranking in the NET, the NCAA's new metric this year replacing the RPI. The win likely pushes the Horned Frogs from a projected No. 11 seed to a much safer No. 10 seed.

Other fringe teams weren't so fortunate in their Quadrant 1 opportunities. Nebraska had a chance to secure a Q1 win at home against Purdue but came up short with a 75-72 loss that likely ends the Cornhuskers' Big Dance hopes — if they had any left in the first place. There's still a glimmer of hope with road tests at Big Ten leaders Michigan and Michigan State coming up. But those are on the road; Nebraska coughed up a genuine opportunity to revive its résumé at home Saturday.

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Please read the rules before joining the discussion. Bubble Watch : Saturday ' s winners and losers among NCAA tournament fringe teams. Indiana got off on the right foot in March by upsetting Michigan State for the second time this season Saturday — getting its first winning streak of the New

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Here's a look at all of the winners and losers from Saturday's action among fringe teams:

Winners

Clemson: As one of the first four teams out of the field entering Saturday, beating ACC bottom-feeder Boston College 76-66 was necessary to stay in the mix . The one thing the Tigers (16-11, 6-8 ACC) have going well on their résumé is that there are no bad (Quadrant 3 or 4) losses to help offset just one Q1 win so far.

Florida: Same story for the Gators (16-11, 8-6), who are riding high following this week's profile-boosting win over LSU that catapulted them to a No. 10 seed. Expect them to stay there after dodging a scare in dispatching Missouri 64-60. Florida's already got one bad loss on its portfolio so adding another could have spelled doom.

Oklahoma: In a clash between two Big 12 bubble teams, the Sooners (17-10, 5-9) held on for a 69-67 victory over Texas at home. It's the second win in a row for OU after losing five straight. The outcome might flip flop the two teams as far as bracket seeding goes, with Texas starting the day on the No. 9 line and Oklahoma at the No. 10 line. OU's top-40 NET score helps separate itself .

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Not after Saturday . Here's a look at the winners and losers , among bubble teams, in Saturday ' s action. Middle Tennessee crushed Florida Atlantic by 34 points behind 30 points from sharpshooter Giddy Potts. That's a far cry from the narrow win the Blue Raiders had in a three-point win against

Here's a look at the rest of Saturday ' s winners and losers among bubble teams. Don't count out the Hoosiers just yet. They edged out seemingly safe Northwestern on Saturday to just back in the mix and Wins this next week against Alabama ( March 1) and South Carolina ( March 4) could do that.

TCU: As we said above, the Horned Frogs' earned a critical Quadrant 1 category over Iowa State. That's two wins over the Cyclones that will help push TCU (18-9, 6-8 Big 12) closer to a No. 10 seed.

Alabama: The Crimson Tide (16-11, 7-7 SEC) shook off the SEC's worst team, Vanderbilt, to avoid a dent on their résumé. Alabama already has two Q3 losses and they can't afford a third. The Tide started the day as one of the first four teams out and could shift into the last four in based on other bubble teams' successes/failures.

Utah State: The Aggies (22-6, 12-3 Moutain West) have a No. 36 NET score, which is much higher than they'd be if the RPI was still being used. The NCAA's new metric is supposed to look at in-game detail that reveals how good teams really are. Saturday saw Utah State avoid a setback by staving off Boise State 78-71 in overtime. It's an important victory because with the bubble this soft this season, the Aggies have a really strong case to get an at-large from the Mountain West. It starts with a non-conference strength of schedule of 26, which shows they challenged themselves. A March 2 date with MW leader Nevada will be an excellent chance to really make an impression on the committee.

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Ole Miss: The Rebels (19-8, 9-5 SEC) barely avoided a loss that would've pushed them back from their rather safe No. 9 seed by escaping SEC bottom-feeder Georgia 72-71 at home. Now Ole Miss gets two contests against league kingpins Tennessee next week and Kentucky the following week.

Losers

Georgetown: Right after the Hoyas had played themselves into the field -- as a No. 12 seed -- by knocking off Villanova earlier in the week, they shot themselves in the foot by losing to former bubble team Creighton, 82-69. Georgetown has a 70 in the NET and its non-conference strength of schedule is in the 200s, so this road loss isn't helping the Hoyas' cause.

Furman: The Paladins (22-6, 11-5) had a chance to make a rare case for an at-large bid from the Southern Conference but couldn't muster up enough to hand Wofford its first loss in conference play. The 72-64 loss means the Southern could be a one-bid league whereas a win would've positioned both Wofford -- a projected No. 8 seed -- and Furman -- which beat Villanova on the road in non-conference -- as likely at-large bids. Instead the home loss pushes Furman out of bubble contention and with little chance to boost the profile outside of a conference tournament rematch with the Terriers.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks (14-13, 9-5) were inching closer to the field of 68 before Saturday's action and would've been right in the thick of the bubble battle had it knocked off Mississippi State. But a relatively close game quickly was pushed out of reach as South Carolina fell 76-61. The Gamecocks have a NET in the 80s and two glaring Quadrant 4 losses that are keeping them back as well.

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Here are the winners and losers from Selection Sunday as March Madness gets underway. More important than the numbers beside a school’ s name are the opponents. And the 2019 bracket provided the clearest example of that March Madness truth in a while.

Here's a look at other winners and losers , among bubble teams, in Saturday ' s action — just One of the first four teams out of the projected field heading into Saturday , the Cardinals took another big March 1: Michigan forward Isaiah Livers reacts after a dunk against Iowa during the second half of a

Ohio State: Hanging on the No. 9 line, the Buckeyes (17-10, 7-9) coughed up a genuine opportunity to get a Q1 victory in their 72-62 loss to Maryland. OSU has four Q1 wins keeping it safe but another would've helped offset the one Quadrant 3 loss -- to Illinois at home -- that's currently staining its résumé.

Nebraska: Consider the Cornhuskers (15-13, 5-12) an NIT team at this point, after losing to Purdue 75-72 at home. There are just too may losses on their credentials and without any eye candy victories to entice the committee, this portfolio won't cut it.

Auburn: The Tigers were relatively safe on the No. 9 seed line but Saturday's 27-point loss to Kentucky might push them back near the No. 10 line. That's not necessarily because of the UK loss so much as it has to do with other movement on the bubble. On a side note, this team looked really bad Saturday (or Kentucky just looked that good).

Syracuse: The Orange (18-9, 9-5 ACC) are pretty safe at the No. 8 line, and it's not like losing to Duke -- even without Zion Williamson -- isn't a respectable loss. That's especially the case with 'Cuse having beaten a healthy Duke squad back in mid-January. But there's also a little bit of reason for pause when looking at this team's profile, which includes three Quad 1 victories -- but maybe more importantly three Q3 losses. Look, they're safe for now. But there's still three weeks left and there's games at North Carolina and vs. Virginia on tap.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bubble Watch: Saturday's winners and losers from the edge of March Madness

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Bubble watch: Saturday's winners, losers from the edge of March Madness

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