Bracketology Bubble Watch: Gonzaga faces must-win game with showdown vs. Kentucky up next


Welcome to the debut edition of Bracketology Bubble Watch, the daily column wrapping up the status of teams on the bubble of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament who played the previous day and a look ahead at the action today involving bubble teams..
Also listed are teams I consider to be locks for the NCAA Tournament. For me, a team is a lock only if I believe it would still make the NCAA Tournament even if it lost all of its remaining games. That is a more strict definition than is widely used.
Also, this page will also show the teams closest to the cut line in my most recent bracket. Those are the last four teams in, the first four out and the next four out. Those groups also appear on the Bracketology page except for the next four out.
The bubble is pretty fluid, with teams moving in and out as the season goes on.
We start out bubble season with two “double bubble” games, including a matchup of home court heroes in the Big Ten. For the others, there are games they must not lose.
Here are the bubble teams in action Wednesday. All times Eastern
Check out all the teams on Palm’s Bubble Watch, the field of the 68 and the entire bracket on the Bracketology hub
Wednesday’s ‘Double bubble’ games
Nebraska at Northwestern
9 p.m. | Big Ten Network, fuboTV (Try for free)
Nebraska The biggest problem with each of these teams’ tournament resumes is that all of their best wins have come at home. Only one team can do something about that Wednesday. Nebraska has only one win in the top two quadrants away from home and that came at Kansas State, a win that looks a little better after the Wildcats win over Kansas on Monday. However, the Huskers are only 2-6 away from Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Northwestern The Wildcats have only lost once in their home gym, but that loss came to Quad 4 Chicago State. That is still dragging down Northwestern. When you are a home-court hero, you really need to win your home games. Wednesday’s game is no exception in a battle of Bulldogs that is more important for Georgia.
Georgia at Mississippi State
9 p.m. | SEC Network, fuboTV (Try for free)
Georgia Georgia is on the fringes of the bubble because it has not done well against good teams. It doesn’t have any bad losses, but it is just 3-8 against the top two quadrants. That record has to get much better if Georgia is to play in the NCAA Tournament.
Miss. St. Mississippi State’s resume is OK, but it is also below .500 against the top two quadrants at 6-7. That is not a deal breaker. It has been pretty bad on the road (0-6), but has six neutral court wins, including over Washington State and Northwestern. A home loss to Georgia would be its worst of the season so far.
Other bubble teams in action Wednesday
Seton Hall vs. Georgetown, 6:30 p.m. | FS2, fuboTV (Try for free) — The Pirates have had a week off to get ready for the stretch run. The biggest problem with their tournament profile is that they are below .500 against the top three quadrants. Teams like that almost never make the tournament. They have just been inconsistent. If Seton Hall can get on a bit of a run, the Pirates could play themselves off the bubble. 2 Gonzaga vs. Portland, 8 p.m. | CBS Sports Network — Gonzaga has not missed the NCAA Tournament since 1998, a streak of 24 consecutive tournaments. That is in serious danger due to a lack of quality wins this season. The Zags get their next shot at one Saturday at Kentucky, but a loss here would render that game meaningless.
Texas A&M at Missouri, 9 p.m. | ESPN2, fuboTV (Try for free) — The Aggies may have overscheduled this season. They have the 18th ranked schedule, but are only five games above .500 and right at .500 against the top three quadrants. That last part has been an historic minimum standard for selection in the NET era, which only goes back to 2019. TAMU will have enough difficult games ahead, which makes games against non-tournament quality teams must win.
NCAA Tournament locks
Locks based on resume: 3 | Bids secured: 0 | At-large spots remaining: 29
Conference Locks Teams ACC 0 Big East 1 UConn Big Ten 1 Purdue Big 12 1 Houston Pac-12 0 SEC 0 American 0 Others 0
Near the cut line
Last 4 In Team Record NET Michigan State 14-9 22 New Mexico 19-4 50 Texas A&M 13-8 50 Nevada 18-5 56
First 4 Out Team Record NET Oregon 15-7 57 Cincinnati 15-7 30 Seton Hall 14-8 66 Wake Forest 15-7 41
Next 4 Out Team Record NET Richmond 16-6 74 Georgia 14-8 88 Gonzaga 16-6 27 Memphis 16-6 80
Note – all references to NCAA tournament selection records and trends based on NET rankings excludes the 2021 tournament. Due to shortened schedules and a relatively small number of non-conference games, those rankings are not reliable enough to be considered.


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