Here’s an essential truth about the teams that have found themselves on the March Madness bubble: Sooner or later, they’re going to tell you if they really want to play in the NCAA tournament.
This happened in 2019, when Ohio State faced Indiana in a second-round Big Ten tournament game, which bracket analysts identified as one in which the winner would have a strong chance of joining the field and the loser was almost certain. Form will be reduced.
MORE: March Madness Predictions: SN’s latest Region 68
The Buckeyes entered that performance with an 18–13 record and left it at 19–13. they made it. IU did not.
So what are we doing with the statement issued Wednesday night by the Stanford Cardinal?
Challenged to move on to the Southern California Trojans, Stanford scored 17 points in the first half, shot 25 percent from the field, rolled the ball 16 times and trailed by 34 points at one point in the second half. The Cardinals’ fourth consecutive defeat, 79–42, dropped them to 14–12 on the season.
All of these recent losses were without star big man Oscar Da Silva, but this level of performance is difficult to justify in the absence of a single player.
This is something to consider as a “bubble” game to continue through the conference tournament over the next eight or nine days. Who really wants to be? It is not as simple, but it covers a lot of ground in the discussion.
Let’s take a look at today’s short list of such games:
NCAA bubble game to watch on Thursday
Richmond Vs. Dusen, Atlantic 10 Championship Round 2, 11pm, NBCSN. Are we still listing Richmond (12-7, No. 62 nett) as a bubble team? It’s hard to see the Spiders reaching the NCAA tournament without an A-10 automatic bid, but the tournament offers an opportunity to knock out regular-season champion St. Bonavanture in bracket quarters and bubble-bound Louis Lewis. Half. So it is not over.
Michigan state In Michigan, 7 pm, ESPN. The Spartans (14-10, No. 71) forced their way over the bubble with wins over Illinois and Ohio State, and they were victorious in Maryland on Sunday. Now with two matches against rival Wolverine to close the season, they will need to split to feel safe. This is a hilly task, given that Wolverine has lost only twice this season. But it is better than no chance. If MSU were to win, it would have been five Quad 1 wins – its own, with Sporting News predicting the top two seed line with three teams – and nine against the first two quadrants. It is awkward for a team to be so close to closing a bid, and at the same time, close to completely missing the field. But this is an unusual season.
Wyoming In the state of Utah, 9:30, FS1. Utah State (15-7, No. 47) hasn’t played since completing a series sweep of Nevada on Sunday, but Aegis is one heck of a week. Stanford, Seton Hall, fellow Mountain West contenders Boise State – have all picked their way from the bracket and since the selection committee’s waiting list. Someone has got to take his place, although it won’t be the Aggies if they don’t handle their trade against the 12-9 Cowboys.