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March to Madness: NCAA Basketball Bubble Watch, February 12th

Frogs win a must-win and can build significant résumé padding in Morgantown

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 10 Texas at TCU Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Frog Status

Current KenPom Rank: 22 (↑2)

Opponent Average KenPom Rank: 84 (-)

Strength of Schedule: 23rd (↓7)

It is impossible to overstate how important the victory over #44 Texas was on Saturday. Horned Frog Nation was trying our hardest to not call the game a must-win, for fear of losing the game and losing hope. Instead Mo Bamba was rendered useless on the defensive end, getting absolutely worked-over by Brodziansky to the tune of 25 points, and Osetkowski was shut down on offense after putting up 20 in the previous match-up

Winning put a bit of security in our résumé before the league’s most difficult quick turnaround, a Monday visit to Morgantown. Road wins are key to pleading a case to the new Committee formula, and a season-sweep of the Mountaineers would put TCU on the brink of lock status ahead of a tricky Big 12 stretch run.

Weekend’s Biggest Impact

· #25 Florida St. (↓6) vs #37 Notre Dame (↑4) This was not an ideal result for Bubble Watchers. FSU is closer to a lock than they are to being on the Bubble - with two match-ups against #15 Clemson as their only remaining games against the top-60, FSU would need a major collapse to truly fall out of the Tournament. The Irish however were hovering in borderline Bubble territory before this 15-point victory and could keep pushing upward with an upset in Chapel Hill Monday night.

On the Move

· #26 Florida (↑11) – Smashing a fringe Bubble contender on the road has a way of making a statistical profile pop. The 24-point victory has effectively eliminated 2017 Final Four darling #92 South Carolina from the Bubble picture. The Gators now get two sub-75 lightweights ahead of a brutal stretch of top-50 teams to close the season.

· #28 Louisville (↑6) – I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Pitt fans for believing they could be better off without Jamie Dixon. The #223 Panthers lost to Louisville by 34 points on Saturday in Pittsburgh, putting them as the 4th-worst rated team in a Power 7 conference – ahead of only Cal, ECU and USF. As for the Cardinals, this was a much needed break before a closing stretch that includes three games against the Top Ten.

· #36 Miami (↓8) – The Hurricanes got caught looking ahead, with #1 Virginia on deck this week and five remaining games versus the Top-40. Losing to #81 Boston College will remain a significant blemish for Miami, but they’ll have plenty of chances to cover it up with big games ahead.

· #31 Oklahoma (↓6) –The Committee released their current top 16 seeds on Sunday and included the Sooners as a 4-seed. This indicates that number or quality of losses do not matter as much, so long as you have the big wins or college basketball’s favorite superstar. Mostly it means OU is a lock to make the tournament despite a continued tumble down the rankings.

Bubbles Burst

· #56 Kansas St. (↓8) – KSU received another thrashing at the hands of the a top-20 Big 12 team. The Wildcats will have a chance to claw back as they benefit from a light close to the season – as relatively light as you can get in the Big 12 – with only one top-20 game (@ TCU) remaining

New Faces

· #42 Alabama (↑9) – Of course, when I ask for a big Tennessee victory to finally bury Bama, the Rick Barnes-led squad disappeared, boosting Alabama back into the Bubble discussion. A bad home loss Tuesday to #61 LSU could keep the yo-yo going and send the Tide below the Bubble line again

What to (Bubble) Watch

· #34 Baylor vs. #44 Texas – Mon. Feb. 12; 8:00 PM CT; ESPN

· #39 Maryland vs. #52 Nebraska – Tue. Feb. 13; 6:00 PM CT; Big Ten Network

· #46 Syracuse vs. #59 NC State – Wed. Feb. 14; 8:00 PM CT; ACC Network

· #24 Arizona vs. #32 Arizona St. – Thu. Feb. 15; 8:00 PM CT; ESPN