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March to Madness: NCAA Basketball Bubble Watch, February 2nd

Frogs get motivated; jump into Top-20 ahead of Saturday’s Showdown

NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Frog Status

Current KenPom Rank: 19 (↑7)

Opponent Average KenPom Rank: 84 (-)

Strength of Schedule: 27th (-)

We were a little bit concerned; TCU was in Nashville and found a sub-100 loss. We were all concerned this would lead to other worse things like sub-50 conference losses or cheering for Baylor to help our strength of schedule. Frog Fans were probably asking ourselves “How can we get back on the right track?” There was only one solution: get our gear, head to Stillwater and earn a road victory. We promise not to lose to a sub-50 team ever again, we don’t want to live in a van down by the river.

#11 Texas Tech comes to town this weekend for what will certainly be another raucous affair at Schollmaier. As the calendar turns to February, TCU’s schedule turns dangerous - The next four games are against top-40 teams, perhaps the toughest stretch all season. The Frogs will have to survive the punches during this time to still be standing for a comparatively lighter close to the month, with four straight sub-40 games before the season finale in Lubbock.

Week’s Biggest Impact

· #50 Marquette (↓12) vs # 21 Butler (↑9) The Butler did it - The 20-point slaughter of the Golden Eagles sent Butler skyrocketing up the ranks. With remaining games against each of the teams ahead of them in the Big East standings, (#14 Xavier, #1 Villanova, #24 Creighton, and #29 Seton Hall) the Bulldogs still have a lot more barking left to do. Meanwhile, Marquette only has three top-50 games left and will likely need to make noise in the Big East Tournament to fly back into serious Bubble consideration

On the Move

· #20 Arizona (↑7) – The 28-point victory over #167 Wazzu boosted Arizona into the top-20, and we can probably close the Bubble question for this team. The Wildcats have been on a groove through a down Pac 12 and could certainly run the table towards a 1 or 2 seed - their remaining schedule has an average KenPom rank of 90, including zero teams in the top-30.

· #43 Missouri (↑6) – Mizzou was able to take this significant Bubble battle, holding #60 Alabama below the Bubble-line and keeping pace in a messy SEC race at the halfway-point of the conference schedule. The Tigers will get their opportunity for a national résumé showcase Saturday when #27 Kentucky comes to town.

· #28 Florida (↓7) – The Gators continue on their Bubble roller coaster, suffering bad losses following every big win. After crushing Baylor last week, Florida got handed a 12-point loss against #58 Georgia, their 4th sub-50 loss this season (#56 Loyola Chicago, #76 Ole Miss, and #73 South Carolina). This dampens what should have been a certain top-20 résumé, with 7 top-50 wins.

· #42 Kansas State (↓7) – Every Meow A Whimper. Losing to #7 Kansas certainly isn’t cause for panic, but the Wildcats had no chance against their Sunflower State rival, at no point did it appear they’d make a threatening run. KSU now faces a two-game road stretch in Morgantown and Austin that will prove critical to sustaining their Bubble chances

Bubbles Burst

· # 51 SMU (↓7) – The injuries have finally fully caught up with the Ponies, with star Shake Milton missing Thursday’s game with a wrist injury. #122 Tulsa ran away with the game after halftime and put another dent in one of TCU’s biggest résumé wins. SMU will have to bounce back in a hurry to return to the Bubble conversation, as they get #38 Houston and #5 Cinci next week.

New Faces

· #49 Baylor – We know what it’s like to do enough to beat Oklahoma and still come out on the losing end. However for the Bears, the near victory in Norman did enough to boost their numbers inside the top-50. With the next two games being against #98 Iowa State and #74 OK State, Baylor should be able to maintain its position on the Bubble deep into February.

Look Ahead Bubble Impact

· #32 Miami FL vs. #39 VA Tech – Sat. Feb. 3; 1:00 PM CT; ESPN

· #27 Kentucky vs. #43 Mizzou – Sat. Feb. 3; 1:00 PM CT; CBS

· #25 Florida St. vs. #30 Louisville – Sat. Feb. 3; 3:00 PM CT; ACC Network