Bubble Watch 2021: Locks, Should Be, Over, On & Bursting
Welcome to Bubble Watch 2021!
Bracketology provides fans provide insight into how the committee sees teams and what the tournament would look like if the season ended that day. But there’s a lot that goes into it, and from only seeing the finished bracket, you don’t get the full picture.
That’s why we’re releasing a bubble watch where our bracketologist (me) breaks down where teams stand from the cutline and what they can do to remain or work themselves into the Field of 68.
There are five categories: locks, should be in, over the bubble, on the bubble and bubble bursting.
Locks are teams that could lose the rest of their games and still get an at-large bid. It’s a tricky thing to lock a team up, and so it isn’t done lightly. Just because a team is unlocked doesn’t mean it won’t be in the tournament. It only means there are enough potential losses left that the resume could fall apart and risk being left out.
Should be in teams aren’t quite locks, but they’re looking pretty solid. If Selection Sunday was tomorrow, they would be absolute locks, and there’s a slim chance they play themselves out of the field. But the possibility remains, and so they stay unlocked.
Over the bubble squads are exactly that. They wouldn’t be worried about being excluded if the season ended now, but the resume isn’t strong enough that a few mistakes wouldn’t drop them down onto the bubble.
Those on the bubble are either barely in or barely out. They are receiving significant enough consideration for at-large positions, but in no way could they feel safe if the tournament selection occurred now. Finally, bubble bursting teams have enough of a foundation laid that if they collected some quality wins, they could play themselves onto the bubble, but at the time aren’t receiving significant consideration for an at-large bid.
You can see all the resumes for yourself here.
With that out of the way, let’s look at the state of the bubble as of Friday afternoon on Feb. 26, 2021:
Houston (AAC): 18-3, NET: 4, SOS: 65, vs. Q1: 2-1
Virginia (ACC): 15-6, NET: 14, SOS: 55, vs. Q1: 3-4
Florida State (ACC): 14-3, NET: 11, SOS: 54, vs. Q1: 3-2
Baylor (Big 12): 18-0, NET: 2, SOS: 212, vs. Q1: 6-0
Oklahoma (Big 12): 14-6, NET: 28, SOS: 78, vs. Q1: 5-5
West Virginia (Big 12): 16-6, NET: 13, SOS: 5, vs. Q1: 6-6
Kansas (Big 12): 16-8, NET: 17, SOS: 27, vs. Q1: 5-8
Texas (Big 12): 14-6, NET: 24, SOS: 2, vs. Q1: 4-6
Villanova (Big East): 15-3, NET: 8, SOS: 88, vs. Q1: 2-1
Creighton (Big East): 17-5, NET: 20, SOS: 173, vs. Q1: 3-1
Michigan (Big Ten): 17-1, NET: 3, SOS: 46, vs. Q1: 7-1
Ohio State (Big Ten): 18-6, NET: 7, SOS: 41, vs. Q1: 9-5
Illinois (Big Ten): 17-6, NET: 5, SOS: 68, vs. Q1: 7-5
Iowa (Big Ten): 17-7, NET: 6, SOS: 68, vs. Q1: 6-6
Wisconsin (Big Ten): 16-8, NET: 18, SOS: 102, vs. Q1: 4-6
Alabama (SEC): 18-6, NET: 9, SOS: 13, vs. Q1: 6-4
Tennessee (SEC): 16-6, NET: 15, SOS: 132, vs. Q1: 5-4
Arkansas (SEC): 18-5, NET: 22, SOS: 53, vs. Q1: 4-4
USC (Pac-12): 19-5, NET: 23, SOS: 44, vs. Q1: 3-3
Gonzaga (WCC): 23-0, NET: 1, SOS: 91, vs. Q1: 7-0
BYU (WCC): 17-5, NET: 25, SOS: 29, vs. Q1: 3-3
SHOULD BE IN
Clemson (ACC): 14-5, NET: 32, SOS: 9, vs. Q1: 3-5
After having two games postponed, Clemson was able to play, conquering Wake Forest (156) in Winston Salem, 60-39, extending its winning streak to four. At this point, the negatives on this resume – a 2-4 road record, a previously-ugly NET, losing Q1 record – have either been rectified or overshadowed by positives. The Tigers are pretty close to lockdom. A home win over Miami (167) could do it.
Texas Tech (Big 12): 14-8, NET: 19, SOS: 30, vs. Q1: 4-7
Really just TTU’s record and the difficulty of the Big 12 is why it isn’t a lock already. It shouldn’t take much more, maybe one or two wins, but until those come, the Red Raiders remaining in this category. It’s now three-straight Ls for Texas Tech, but when they’re against the Big 12’s tournament-caliber competition, it doesn’t hurt you much. But continuing to rack up losses would, if that were to happen, which is why lockdom is not yet in the cards for TTU.
Oklahoma State (Big 12): 15-6, NET: 37, SOS: 62, vs. Q1: 6-4
Oklahoma State topped Texas Tech (19), 74-69, at home inn overtime Monday, its third win in a row. The Cowboys are now very close to lockdom, and one win in their upcoming home-and-home with Oklahoma (28) would probably do it. An NET close to 40 and a home loss to TCU (113) are the only possible weaknesses you could find on this resume, but those aren’t enough to keep them out of the field, or even close to that really. As long as Oklahoma State doesn’t tank, it’ll dance.
Purdue (Big Ten): 15-8, NET: 26, SOS: 37, vs. Q1: 4-7
Purdue has built itself a tournament resume, and that’s unquestionable. Right now, it’s just a matter of not losing every game remaining. The Boilermakers still go to Penn State (41), welcome Wisconsin (18) and Indiana (54), plus at least one Big Ten Tournament game. If they lose all four, things could maybe be sticky, although I still think they’d be in. But if they could take care of the Nittany Lions on Friday, then it’ll be lock status in West Lafayette.
Colorado (Pac-12): 18-7, NET: 16, SOS: 69, vs. Q1: 3-4
After dropping two in a row, Colorado rebounded with two Ws, including a big one at home over USC (23), 80-62, to complete the sweep of one of the Pac-12’s best. It catapulted Colorado into the top 20 of the NET and means it now has two top-25 NET wins to brag about and a 9-4 combined record in Q1 and Q2 games. Even with a 5-3 mark in Q3 contests, the Buffaloes are in a good spot for a tournament bid and shouldn’t need a ton more to make it definite. Beating UCLA (38) at home Saturday would likely do it.
Florida (SEC): 12-6, NET: 27, SOS: 63, vs. Q1: 3-3
The Gators have picked up two Ws in a row – Georgia (83) at home and at Auburn (77) – which gives them six wins in eight games now. Up next is a date at Kentucky (63), which will be a Q2 game at worst by Selection Sunday. With such few games played, this could be a volatile resume, and even one loss might tank its NET. Still, Florida would still certainly be in with a loss to the Wildcats, but if those losses begin to pile it, problems would arise. For now, though, Florida can consider itself to be relatively safe.
OVER THE BUBBLE
Virginia Tech (ACC): 14-5, NET: 51, SOS: 101, vs. Q1: 3-2
Virginia Tech is the latest victim of the volatile NET we’re seeing this season, plummeting from 36 to 51 in the NET by losing to Georgia Tech (40) at home Tuesday. It feels cruel, but that’s what happened, and that fall hurts this resume a good deal. The Hokies aren’t shoved to the bubble, though. A neutral win versus Villanova (8) and home win over Virginia (14) and no Q3 or Q4 defeats are excellent, and a combined 6-5 mark in Q1 and Q2 games is plenty good enough. But now things are more tenuous, so VT needs to be careful. Falling to Wake Forest (156) in Blacksburg on Saturday would be a real issue.
Rutgers (Big Ten): 13-9, NET: 30, SOS: 17, vs. Q1: 4-8
If not for the record, Rutgers would be further from the cutline than it is. No team that was worst than two games above .500 on Selection Sunday has been awarded an at-large bid. That might change this year, and if it does, a team like Rutgers could be the reason why. But until the Scarlet Knights are certain to finish at least with a record of that merit, they won’t be a lock. This team has a relatively easy finish to the season by Big Ten standards after taking care of Indiana (54), 74-63, in a very important game for both teams – at Nebraska (142) and at Minnesota (65). Win just one, and lockdom is very possible. Win both, and it’s a wrap.
Loyola Chicago (MVC): 17-4, NET: 10, SOS: 146, vs. Q1: 1-2
Loyola has come roaring onto the scene lately, winning 11-straight games recently until Drake (34) found a win to win in the second half of the teams’ doubleheader last weekend. With an outstanding NET and a good collection of Q2 wins, Loyola is in a good spot right now, holding a 5-4 combined record in Q1 and Q2 outings and a perfect record in Q3 and Q4 contests. However, being in the MVC puts the Ramblers in a precarious position. Drake is the only team in the conference that will really help you with a win and not really hurt you with a loss, and those games are done, at least until the conference tournament. Loyola narrowly escaped Valparaiso (229), 54-52, on Wednesday and has two games with Southern Illinois (230) to go. Two wins could realistically lock the Ramblers in to an at-large bid. One loss might cause some concern. Two losses, and it’s right to the cutline this resume goes.
San Diego State (MWC): 17-4, NET: 21, SOS: 36, vs. Q1: 0-3
With San Diego State’s home win in the first half of a doubleheader against Boise State (36), it officially moves off the bubble, at least for the time being. The Aztecs don’t have a Q1 win, which is holding them back a good deal, but they do have a 5-1 mark in Q2 games as well as a top-25 NET, very good SOS numbers, a 5-2 road record and no bad losses. It’s not a guarantee by any means, but San Diego State should feel decent about its tournament odds for the time being. Sweeping the Broncos would make a huge difference in making that safety permanent.
UCLA (Pac-12): 17-5, NET: 38, SOS: 123, vs. Q1: 2-3
The Bruins now hold sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 after getting some help from Colorado (16), who just so happened to be their next opponent. If UCLA is able to care take of the Buffaloes in Boulder on Saturday, it would need an epic collapse to find itself on the bubble. The end of its regular season is tough, though – at Oregon (46) and USC (23) are the other two contests before the Pac-12 Tournament. That means losses wouldn’t hurt that much and wins would be a boon, but those Ws will be tougher to collect than most of the victories in UCLA’s current four-game win streak. Going 1-2 to finish would probably be enough to get in, but it’s unclear if 0-3 would.
Oregon (Pac-12): 15-5, NET: 46, SOS: 113, vs. Q1: 3-3
Oregon has played itself off the bubble by winning six of its last seven, most recently handling Stanford (60) on the road, 71-68, in a matchup with serious tournament implications. Now, the Ducks don’t have the most dazzling resume out there, but five wins over teams at least being considered for at-large bids is solid, as well as a 5-2 road record and 4-0 Q2 mark. It could easily fall apart, though, with some anchor losses, and opportunities for those are on the horizon. A defeat at California (190) on Saturday would almost definitely place Oregon right back on the bubble. A win wouldn’t do a ton to move the needle forward, but the avoidance of harm would be helpful enough.
Missouri (SEC): 14-7, NET: 47, SOS: 12, vs. Q1: 6-3
The tank is officially on in Columbia. That’s now four Ls in five outings, and some of them are eyebrow raisers. Most recently, Missouri lost to Ole Miss (59) at home, 60-53, the second time it has fallen to the Rebels during this skid. The Tigers have home wins over Illinois (5) and Alabama (9) and road triumphs at Tennessee (15) and Arkansas (22), which is really impressive. But their NET is inching closer and closer to 50, and one most loss would probably send them over the edge there. They’re also 2-4 in Q2 games, which the committee will hate. Still, with those high-end wins, Missouri is in and controls its own destiny to dance, but it could absolutely throw it all away with more losses.
LSU (SEC): 14-7, NET: 29, SOS: 16, vs. Q1: 3-6
LSU lost at Georgia (83) in its last outing, which isn’t very helpful when you’re aiming for an at-large bid. But it didn’t take a huge NET hit for the L like some other teams have for their defeats, so this team remains off the bubble for the time being. The NET is very important for LSU specifically as it’s probably the biggest strength on this resume other than home wins over Tennessee (15) and Arkansas (22). Beyond that, it won at Ole Miss (59) and hasn’t lost in any Q3 or Q4 contests. But LSU is 3-6 in Q1 games and 4-7 if you add in Q2 contests. There’s no safety in that. There is safety in winning at Arkansas to sweep the series, though, which LSU could do Saturday.
ON THE BUBBLE
Wichita State (AAC): 11-4, NET: 67, SOS: 28, vs. Q1: 2-2
Wichita State wasn’t on the bubble until last Thursday when it knocked off Houston (8), 68-63, also supplanting the Cougars top the AAC standings. Now, the Shockers are in the throws of it. There is plenty of work to be done, though, with a bad NET and only one other victory against a team in the NET top 100. Unfortunately for Wichita State, its game against SMU set for Sunday was postponed, and the only remaining regular season games as of right now won’t move the needle in the committee’s eyes. Still, avoiding anchor losses is always good, more ground can be made up in the AAC Tournament, and other bubble teams can lose around the Shockers to help their odds. Right now, though, this resume would not get an at-large bid.
Richmond (A-10): 12-5, NET: 52, SOS: 70, vs. Q1: 2-2
Richmond is quietly 5-3 in Q1 and Q2 contests, with a top-10 NET win with a 75-73 victory over Loyola Chicago (10) from December. It is also outside of the NET top 50 and doesn’t really have any attention-grabbing secondary wins. On the horizon is a matchup at Saint Louis (50), and while the Billikens have been tanking lately, it’s still a solid opportunity for a win the committee will care about. Otherwise, it’s about avoiding anchor losses and going as far as possible in the A-10 Tournament for the Spiders. And if some of those A-10 Tournament wins could be against St. Bonaventure, VCU, Saint Louis, Dayton and/or Davidson, it would make a solid difference (to varying degrees).
St. Bonaventure (A-10): 12-3, NET: 35, SOS: 43, vs. Q1: 1-2
The Bonnies swept Davidson (82) in a home-and-home that gave this resume another Q2 win, which no bubble team can scoff at. St. Bonaventure is now 4-3 in Q1 and Q2 games, including a home win versus VCU (33) and road one at Richmond (52), and remains without a Q3 or Q4 defeat. With so few games played, a loss could really hurt a lot, especially if it came at home to George Washington (228) on Friday. Do not lose that game, Bonnies. Seriously, do not lose that game.
VCU (A-10): 17-5, NET: 33, SOS: 35, vs. Q1: 0-3
VCU lost to George Mason (134) and beat Saint Louis (50) at home since our last update, a mix of results that sees the Rams more or less remain where they were. Adding another Q3 defeat to this resume is bad, but the biggest issue is the 0-3 Q1 mark. Being 8-0 in Q2 games helps quite a bit, though, and that, along with a top-40 NET, is why VCU is under consideration for a bid. A date at Davidson (82) is all that is left for VCU before the A-10 Tournament, and that won’t fix the Q1 problem, but a loss could harm the NET solution. Opportunities for Q1 wins are thin in the A-10, but they’re possible to come in the conference tournament. VCU can get in without one, though, if it takes care of teams it should and stacks up Q2 wins.
Louisville (ACC): 12-5, NET: 48, SOS: 52, vs. Q1: 0-4
After getting absolutely eviscerated at North Carolina (44), 99-54, the Cardinals took care of Notre Dame (73) at home, 69-57, to even things out a bit. The win helped salvage their NET that had tanked after the UNC beating, also providing Louisville with its seventh Q2 victory. Those are very necessary for this resume, which also sports an 0-4 Q1 record. The volatility will continue for this resume with every win and loss, so who knows where the roller coaster goes next. But a road date at Duke (49) in this team’s next game Saturday will be massive for both teams.
North Carolina (ACC): 14-8, NET: 44, SOS: 57, vs. Q1: 1-6
UNC did the opposite of Louisville – after beating the Cardinals senseless and boosting itself into the NET top 40, it lost to Marquette (85) at home in a recently-schedule contest, providing the Tar Heels with their first Q3 blemish of the season. North Carolina is still 1-6 in Q1 games, though that one win is getting better with every win Duke picks up. A 6-1 Q2 mark is what saves this team, but it’s far from safe. Beat Florida State (11) at home in its next game, and UNC will be looking at a very different situation with that marquee win its resume so desperately needs. Pick up the L, and it’ll be in the same spot.
Duke (ACC): 11-8, NET: 49, SOS: 79, vs. Q1: 2-3
Duke has come from the depths of bubble bursting and set up a potentially passable resume, naming by defeating Virginia (14) at home, 66-65. That was the marquee win this resume needed, and now the Blue Devils could avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in my lifetime. The record is far from safe, though, and they have other blemishes – a road loss at Miami (167) and losing Q1 and road records. But it’s possible now when it didn’t look like that a week ago, and if Duke extends its winning streak to five when Louisville (48) comes to Durham on Saturday, it will would make a sizable difference.
Georgia Tech (ACC): 12-8, NET: 40, SOS: 56, vs. Q1: 2-6
Another ACC team that seemed dead until just now: Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have rocketed up the NET rankings, and they’ve done it by winning three in a row, bouncing back from dropping five of its previous seven contests. Most recently, GT took care of Virginia Tech (51) on the road, 69-53, for its second Q1 win of the campaign. Now, Georgia Tech sports a 6-6 combined Q1 and Q2 record, a marquee home win over Florida State (11), a Q1 road victory and a perfect 4-0 mark in Q2 contests. But it’s also rocking two home Q3 anchor losses to Mercer (118) and Georgia State (139). The margin of error is fine, and losing to Syracuse (54) at home would undo some of the good GT has done lately, but there’s a clear path to an at-large bid here.
Connecticut (Big East): 11-6, NET: 43, SOS: 81, vs. Q1: 2-3
Winning at Georgetown (97) was apparently good enough for UConn to jump more than 10 spots in the NET, but the Huskies aren’t complaining. Connecticut is now 5-5 in Q1 and Q2 games with a 5-3 road mark, both pretty solid positives the committee will appreciate. It won’t like a home loss to St. John’s (76) or the lack of a true marquee win outside of a neutral-site victory over USC (23) on Dec. 3. Connecticut didn’t capitalize on a trip to Villanova (8) last week and doesn’t have any more remaining Q1 shots in the regular season. But it does have chances at anchor losses, first when Marquette (85) comes to Storrs on Saturday, and those would be wise to avoid if UConn wants to maintain a top-50 NET.
Seton Hall (Big East): 13-10, NET: 53, SOS: 47, vs. Q1: 3-6
One of the bubble teams trending downwards, Seton Hall is inching close to .500 after dropping two games in a row, both to teams not in tournament contention. Most recently, the Pirates lost at Butler (131), 61-52, and now their NET is sub-50. There’s no marquee win to point to on this resume, and its combined Q1 and Q2 record is now 5-9. Yeah, not the best. Seton Hall needs to get that figured out quickly, and winning against Connecticut (43) at home when the Huskies come to town Wednesday would be the place to start. There is a reasonable chance that a loss in that game would make an at-large bid nearly impossible to achieve.
Xavier (Big East): 12-5, NET: 58, SOS: 74, vs. Q1: 1-1
After taking a long break due to COVID-19, Xavier has had trouble shaking off the rust. Following a road defeat at Providence (79) on Wednesday, the Musketeers have lost three of four, their NET is approaching 60 and their Q2 record is now negative. These are all very bad things. Xavier has a home win over Oklahoma (28) from December, which is losing luster every time the Sooners lose. Things could change quickly with a win when Creighton (20) comes to Cincinnati on Saturday, but without that win, Xavier will need to do some serious damage in the Big East Tournament to have a shot.
Indiana (Big Ten): 12-11, NET: 54, SOS: 72, vs. Q1: 2-9
The Hoosiers are in desperation mode after two-straight losses that have brought them to only one game above .500. As I continue to say, no team has veer gotten an at-large bid without finishing at least two games above .500, and while this is the year that could change, I wouldn’t want to take that risk. Indiana plays Michigan (3) at home next, and while that’s probably a loss, it is also an opportunity to totally change the narrative about this resume. If the Hoosiers do lose, though, they will have to win their last two games at Michigan State (68) and at Purdue (26) to be two games above .500 before the Big Ten Tournament.
Maryland (Big Ten): 13-10, NET: 31, SOS: 6, vs. Q1: 5-10
Maryland has put together four-straight wins and is taking advantage of a late portion of its schedule that is pretty easy by Big Ten standards. The Terps are now three games above .500 with five Q1 wins and no bad losses. This resume is definitely in right now, and if this team beats Michigan State (68) when it comes to College Park on Sunday, it might move off the bubble. The key for Maryland is to keep that record two games above .500 at a minimum, almost regardless of who the wins and losses are.
Minnesota (Big Ten): 13-11, NET: 65, SOS: 18, vs. Q1: 4-9
How to destroy a good resume 101. Minnesota has lost four in a row and only won four games 2021, really adding some pain to that abysmal collapse with a 67-59 failure to Northwestern (88) on Thursday for its first Q3 blemish of the season. Now, the Gophers are in the 60s of the NET, still haven’t won a road game and are just two games above .500. Sure, wins over Michigan (3), Iowa (6), Ohio State (7) and Purdue (26) are fantastic, and they’re the reason Minnesota is still on the bubble. But those aren’t enough when you can’t win away from home or take care of Northwestern when you have to. Win at Nebraska (142) on Saturday or bubble bursting is very possible.
Michigan State (Big Ten): 13-9, NET: 68, SOS: 142, vs. Q1: 5-8
Michigan State has totally changed the narrative of its season with two incredible home wins over Illinois (5) and Ohio State (7) in back-to-back games this week. The NET is still an issue, though more wins could solve that. You can’t ignore this resume, though, with five Q1 Ws and two top-10 NET victories. The Spartans need to keep winning to help their NET and keep their record eligible for selection, but they’re in the discussion now. Plus, Duke suddenly turning things around has helped improve this resume, too. If MSU can win at Maryland (31) on Sunday, it would be unquestionably be in the tournament for the time being.
Drake (MVC): 21-2, NET: 34, SOS: 256, vs. Q1: 1-1
After starting the season 18-0 and dealing with a lengthy COVID-19 pause, Drake is right on the bubble. Its at-large hopes hinged entirely on whether or not it could take one of its back-to-back games against Loyola Chicago (13) last weekend, and in the second meeting, the Bulldogs got the W they needed in overtime, 51-50. Now, Drake can boast a Q1 win, and a top 15 on at that, to couple with a 4-0 mark in Q2 contests, a top-40 NET and 8-1 road record. There is very little room for error, though, and it did well to take care of Evansville (240) in back-to-back contests this week. Now avoid bad losses at Bradley (171), and you might be in a spot where you only need to reach the MVC Tournament Final to dance.
Boise State (MWC): 17-5, NET: 36, SOS: 64, vs. Q1: 2-3
A doubleheader at San Diego State (21) to close the regular season is a huge opportunity for Boise State to put itself in the tournament. Except the Broncos lost the first meeting, 78-66, in overtime, and now only have one more chance to add a third Q1 win to its resume before the MWC Tournament. Could Boise State dance without a win over the Aztecs? Yes, but it would be harder and less guaranteed. If Boise can beat San Diego State, though, it would do a lot for this resume, and the Broncos may be able to just avoid an anchor loss in the conference tournament and be fine for an at-large bid. That’s a big if, though. Until then, the Broncos have a losing record in Q1 games and just one win over the NET top 40.
Utah State (MWC): 13-7, NET: 55, SOS: 115, vs. Q1: 2-4
After losing at Boise State twice last week, the Big Dance began much more distant for the Aggies. Utah State plays Nevada (104) at home twice to close the regular season, and both are absolute must wins. One loss would take this team off the bubble. At this point, Utah State needs to beat the Wolfpack twice and do some real damage in the MWC Tournament to have an at-large shot. There just isn’t enough on this resume for it to absorb more losses and still be viable.
Colorado State (MWC): 13-4, NET: 45, SOS: 39, vs. Q1: 2-3
Colorado State has won at San Diego State (26) and at Utah State (55), plus added a home win versus Boise State (37) to its resume Jan. 27. The Rams are 5-3 on the road, have a 3-4 combined Q1 and Q2 record, are a perfect 10-0 in Q3 and Q4 games, and have a solid SOS. The NET is currently top 50, but just one loss could change that, and no bubble team can truly feel safe outside of the NET top 50 without a plethora of Q1 wins, which CSU does not have. At this point, the Rams haven’t played since Feb. 6, which is concerning for a multitude of reasons. No remaining regular season games are against anyone of note, which means only anchor losses are possible. Those must be avoided.
Stanford (Pac-12): 14-10, NET: 60, SOS: 60, vs. Q1: 4-5
This is a strange resume, with a solid 4-5 record in Q1 games and an extremely ugly 1-5 mark in Q2 contests. Stanford didn’t help its resume by losing to Oregon (46) at home, its second-straight loss. Now, the Cardinals have an NET of 60, which is quite poor for a bubble team, and are trending negatively. A neutral-site win over Alabama (9) is a pretty good marquee win, and that’s something to hang your hat on. But Stanford needs more. It has to beat Oregon State (119) at home, then a huge opportunity at USC (23) presents itself. The Cardinal will need to add some Q1 and Q2 wins to its resume to feel remotely comfortable at this point, and that’s one of the few ones they’ll have left.
Ole Miss (SEC): 13-9, NET: 59, SOS: 67, vs. Q1: 2-4
Ole Miss completed the sweep over Missouri (47) on Tuesday and has now won four of five to play itself onto the bubble. There’s work to be done to get to the right side of the cutline, though, with an unremarkable NET, 2-4 Q1 mark and two Q3 defeats, but the path is there. Its final three games don’t offer much – home and road dates with Vanderbilt (124) and Kentucky (63) in Oxford – but winning those games would likely move Ole Miss into the field, or very close to it, by virtue of not losing while other bubble teams surely will. But any losses, especially to Vanderbilt, would hurt a good deal.
SMU (AAC): 11-4, NET: 57, SOS: 109, vs. Q1: 0-3
Memphis (AAC): 13-6, NET: 61, SOS: 118, vs. Q1: 0-2
Saint Louis (A-10): 11-5, NET: 50, SOS: 232, vs. Q1: 1-2
Syracuse (ACC): 13-7, NET: 56, SOS: 129, vs. Q1: 0-5
North Carolina State (ACC): 11-9, NET: 78, SOS: 148, vs. Q1: 1-6
Providence (Big East): 12-11, NET: 79, SOS: 66, vs. Q1: 2-5
St. John’s (Big East): 14-10, NET: 76, SOS: 128, vs. Q1: 2-6
Winthrop (Big South): 20-1, NET: 71, SOS: 269, vs. Q1: 0-0
Western Kentucky (C-USA): 15-5, NET: 80, SOS: 83, vs. Q1: 2-3
Mississippi State (SEC): 13-11, NET: 81, SOS: 112, vs. Q1: 2-5
St. Mary’s (WCC): 13-7, NET: 66, SOS: 19, vs. Q1: 0-4