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March to Madness: NCAA Basketball Bubble Watch, February 4th

Another bad road loss puts the Frogs into must-win mode

NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Baylor Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

Frog Status

· NET Rank: 36 (↓6)

· RPI: 23 (↓3)

· KenPom Rank: 37 (↓8)

· ESPN BPI: 39 (↓4)

NET result for the road loss at Baylor

OK, I’m just going to rationalize it this way – TCU lost so bad in Waco that it pushed Baylor into the Top 30, turning TCU’s January home win over the Bears into a Quadrant 1 win. We got our first Q1 win of the season folks! OK, that’s about all the silver lining I can muster. For the 2nd game in a row, the Frogs put up a season-worst Defensive Efficiency number as Makai Mason had his best game since he defeated Baylor in the NCAA Tourney when he was at Yale. The loss in Lubbock turned into a losing streak snowball in Waco and would become an avalanche if it extends to a third game.

Oklahoma State comes to Fort Worth this week following a complete drubbing at home at the hands of K-State. The #81 Cowboys have now dropped to their lowest NET ranking all season, turning Wednesday’s game into just a Quadrant 3 opportunity. While it is true that TCU will have plenty of chances for top-level, résumé-boosting wins remaining on the schedule, this week’s game is as close to a must-win as it will get. The season could turn dark, as a loss would likely drop TCU into the 40s, with #13 Iowa St and #17 Kansas ahead. The biggest game is always the next one, but this week the season may depend on it.

NET Impacts

· #36 TCU (↓6) vs #29 Baylor (↑5) – Enough already. Moving on.

· #43 Alabama (↓3) vs #21 Auburn (↑3) – The Tide lost the hardwood version of the Iron Bowl by 3 TDs, so only falling 3 spots isn’t so bad. With a home game against lowly Georgia this week, Alabama should be able to bounce back nicely.

NET Positive / NET Negative

· #43 Indiana (↑5) – I had written the Hoosiers off as likely to be a team to drop out of the Top 50, seeing as they were on the road at one of the best teams in the country. But Indiana is staying alive and will win a lot of tiebreakers if it comes down to it, as they hold some big time wins, with another opportunity against #22 Iowa this week.

· #34 NC State (↓9) – In what is definitely the most double-take inducing, NickYoungHuh??.gif result of the season, the Wolfpack scored 24 points…total, shooting 16.7% from the field. It was a virtuoso performance that leaves NC State tumbling ahead of their tough rivalry matchup in the Dean Dome against #10 UNC.

Bubbles Burst

· #53 Minnesota (↓3) Continuing their yo-yo between sides of the Top 50, the Golden Gophers lost at #11 Purdue and suffered a slight fall. A win hover #12 Wisconsin this week would immediately put them back on the right on the right side of the Bubble

· #56 Hofstra (↓9) – The NET caught up to Hofsta, as the loss to #91 Northeastern should end any hope of an at-large bid.

· #69 Murray St. (↓20) – This is mostly from the loss last week that NET didn’t update before the Friday review, don’t think we’ll be hearing from the Racers in the Bubble talk again.

New Faces

· #47 Saint Mary’s (↑5) – The Gaels earned a spot back into the Top 50 with a good home win over conference rival San Fran, but the bad losses, and accumulation of losses, should keep Saint Mary’s down…unless they can win at Gonzaga this weekend.

· #48 VCU (↑5) – Hey look, the Rams won and the Patriots lost on Sunday…VCU has been lurking just outside of the Bubble for some time and the combo of their impressive win with some bad losses from others finally boosted them into the Top 50.

· #50 Clemson (↑4) – The Tigers held their opponent to 37 total points and NET noticed, even if it was at home against #198 Wake Forest

What to (Bubble) Watch

· #42 Syracuse vs. #31 Florida St. – Tues. Feb. 5, 7:00 PM ACC Network

· #21 Auburn vs. #40 Florida – Tues. Feb. 5, 7:00 PM ESPNU

· #33 Nebraska vs. #24 Maryland – Wed. Feb. 6, 6:00 PM B1G Network

· #41 Texas vs. #29 Baylor – Wed. Feb. 6, 7:00 PM Longhorn Network

· #67 ETSU vs. #27 Wofford – Thur. Feb. 7, 6:00 PM ESPN+

· #43 Indiana vs. #22 Iowa – Thur. Feb. 7, 8:00 PM ESPN