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March to Madness: NCAA Basketball Bubble Watch, February 5th

Frogs fall on weekend filled with upsets

Texas Tech at Texas Christian Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images

Frog Status

Current KenPom Rank: 25 (↓6)

Opponent Average KenPom Rank: 85 (↓1)

Strength of Schedule: 28th (↓1)

In less than 5 minutes of game time, this one went from tied at 9 to a 27-9 Red Raider advantage. As it was happening, this 18-point run felt like the worst stretch in TCU basketball history. We know this is not true – TCU won just 1 game during an entire Mountain West season this decade, it’s been much much worse. Even top teams look bad during great seasons – on Saturday Duke lost to a St. John’s team that is winless in the Big East. Also, this Texas Tech team has made opponents look inept all year: TCU’s 71 points ties the fifth most that Tech has given up all season.

#11 Kansas also took a 12-point home loss at the hands of Tech and has been unexpectedly vulnerable at Allen Fieldhouse this season. The Horned Frogs will be entering the Phog looking to give the Jayhawks back-to-back home losses. The mystique of that building has taken a dip this season, but is still one of the venues where TCU has never won. A win Tuesday would certainly be an upset, but is achievable and would be the biggest résumé boost possible with the remaining schedule.

Weekend’s Biggest Impact

· #33 Louisville (↓3) vs #21 Florida State (↑4) It doesn’t take a blowout to cause a shakeup in the rankings, a back-and-forth game between mid-tier Bubble teams can result in movement. The Seminoles avenged a 4-point loss to Louisville a few weeks ago with a 4-point win at the YUM Center. It’s likely these teams move back towards each other this week as FSU has to take on #2 UVA and Louisville gets the comparatively easier #51 Syracuse.

On the Move

· #26 Texas A&M (↑7) – Aggies get a good boost to their ranking before a brutal week against #8 Auburn and #30 Kentucky. Even a split of those could push A&M into the top-20.

· #37 Missouri (↑6) –Not afraid of the CBS Spotlight, Mizzou went from the brink of a burst Bubble to safely into Tier 3, jumping 12 spots in two weeks.

· #38 Florida (↓10) – Back-to-back weeks with the big down arrow, dropping 17 spots in 2 weeks. The Gators have kept the lower level of the SEC in the Bubble hunt, with 3 consecutive conference losses. #68 LSU has a chance to receive the Gator aid this week.

· #42 Notre Dame (↓7) – Shout out the Bubble Watch commenter who said we shouldn’t worry about the Irish and instead place our fear in NC State. The Wolfpack proved that theory on Saturday, climbing into the top-60 and leading from the tip against Notre Dame.

Bubbles Burst

· #51 Syracuse (↓5) – As perhaps the best group of Cavaliers in basketball right now, dropping a game to Virginia is understandable, but being held under 45 points at home warrants a fall off the Bubble.

· # 52 Kansas St (↓10) – Another top-20 Big 12 game and another humiliating loss for the Wildcats, as WVU ended its losing streak in impressive fashion.

· #55 Western Kentucky (↓10) – A double-digit loss to #164 UTSA has likely ended any hope for America’s Favorite Mascot to be dancing in March without a C-USA tournament championship

New Faces

· #44 Penn St – Hovering just under the top-50 for a while with the résumé-building win over #14 Ohio State a couple weeks back, PSU finally won a blowout to push into Bubble consideration ahead of a massive Bubble matchup with #39 Maryland this week.

· #48 Alabama – After an 18-point victory in Gainesville over #38 Florida, Alabama continues to build a clean résumé. You thought this was the Bubble Watch? It’s a Tide ad.

· #49 SMU –Ponies had the weekend off and could benefit from the carnage at the bottom of the Bubble while they recover from injuries ahead of a Bubble-busting trip to H-Town this week

Look Ahead Bubble Impact

This week is filled with Top-30 teams facing off, which will make for great games every night and impact seeding, but those teams are currently sitting pretty for a Tournament bid. The following should prove a greater influence on the Bubble status:

· #39 Maryland vs. #44 Penn St. – Wed. Feb. 7; 5:30 PM CT; Big Ten Network

· #29 Seton Hall vs. #50 Marquette – Wed. Feb. 7; 6:00 PM CT; FS1

· #32 Arizona St. vs. #43 USC – Thu. Feb. 8; 10:00 PM CT; ESPN2

· #35 Houston vs. #49 SMU – Thu. Feb. 8; 8:00 PM CT; ESPN2