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March to Madness: 2022 NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch, February 14th

TCU missed an opportunity in Lubbock with a critical Bubble showdown ahead this week.

TCU v Texas Tech
Damion Baugh and crew will look to get back on track at home this week after a tough trip to Lubbock
Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

Frog Status

  • NET Rank: 54 (↑1)
  • RPI: 55 (↑2)
  • KenPom Rank: 58 (↓3)
  • ESPN BPI: 52 (↑1)

Bracketologists View of TCU:

NET impact for the road loss at Texas Tech. Note: NET only calculates scoring margin to +/- 10 points.

Going to Lubbock was always going to be a tall task, where a near perfect game would be needed to leave with a victory. The Frogs looked up to the task in the first half – draining threes, grabbing boards, and generally playing sound basketball. That was very much not the case in the 2nd half as turnovers fouls and other sloppiness gave way to this result. Despite the disappointment at failing to steal a monumental road victory, the loss did little harm to the TCU NET ranking and tournament resume.

TCU only gets two games outside of Quad 1 for the remainder of the regular season, the first of which comes Tuesday in the Schollmaier vs. #43 Iowa State, the other being home vs. WVU next week. Given the incredible difficulty of the final month of the season, it will be critical to fill up the win column with these Q2 games to remain in the good graces of the Selection Committee. ISU still sits in the NET top 50 despite a brutal four-game losing streak, including Saturday’s home OT loss to K-State. The game in Fort Worth is a near must-Win for the Cyclones to keep their resume afloat in the Bubble race. Izaiah Brockington is a legit star for Iowa State, capable of catching fire and overpowering a team himself. If the Frogs can contain him to complete the season sweep of ISU, avoiding a losing streak of its own, the Tournament resume will remain intact ahead of a miserable trip to Waco this weekend.


Impact Games of the Weekend

  • #48 OK State (↑13) def. #70 (↓11) West Virginia – The Big 12 continues to be a grind and the bottom of the conference standings continues to eat each other. These teams are both still considered to be Tournament-caliber, and could certainly win their way back into high regard, but the accumulation of losses will make it very difficult to earn a bid. Both teams travel to the Sunflower State, with WVU at the Little Apple and OK State headed to Allen Fieldhouse.
  • #68 (↑5) Miami FL def. #40 (↓7) Wake Forest – The Demon Deacons were sitting pretty in the ACC standings while certified stud guard Alondes Williams continued to fill up the box score. Meanwhile the Hurricanes toiled under the radar since winning at Duke in early January. Those roles filled on Saturday a the Miami guard combo of Wong and McGusty went into Winston-Salem and flipped the narrative and now these two will be fighting out conference seeding and positioning on the Bubble, but Miami’s season sweep of Wake may just serve as the back-breaking tiebreaker.

Climbing

#44 Memphis (↑14) – The Tigers took down highly regarded Houston, serving as the second consecutive upset the Cougars suffered, having lost to SMU earlier in the week. Perhaps Houston is doing its best to support its (soon-to-be former) conference mates, to allow as many into the Big Dance as possible. The Tigers are now very near the Bubble cut line, with key showdowns with Cinci and SMU this week, all leading to the season finale hosting Houston, where a win could secure a bid for Coach Penny’s squad.

#42 North Texas (↑10) – This is simply a case of the NET being totally enamored with double-digit road victories, regardless of the opponent. Defeating #178 Rice should not come with this significant of a boost, regardless of where the game was played.

#67 VCU (↑9) – It wasn’t just on the gridiron that Rams won big games this weekend, as these VCU Rams secured a double-digit victory over #107 George Mason – another case of the NET calculation caring more about where and by how much rather than against whom for rating a performance. I don’t know that VCU is truly a threat to build a bid-lock resume, given the limited number of Q1 games (only one remaining opportunity, at #60 Saint Louis), but with no obscene losses, the Rams may continue to hang around this range.


Falling

The weekend was brutal to the Bubble, as teams ranked NET 26-68 went under .500, with some devastating losses to lowly Q3 & Q4 competition. These are the kind of games that could be the tipping point pushing some of these fringe contenders out of at-large consideration, or at least sets the stage where another bad loss leads to elimination. The more the Bubble shrinks, the better the outlook will be for the Frogs.

  • #52 UAB (↓10)
  • #58 Utah State (↓13)
  • #60 Saint Louis (↓11)
  • #61 Davidson (↓7)
  • #62 Oregon (↓14)

Look Ahead: What to (Bubble) Watch

This week doesn’t feature quite as many Bubble headline games, which leaves the door open for some possible chaos if again some lowly-ranked squads can secure upset wins over borderline contenders.

  • #90 St. Bonaventure vs. #60 St. Louis – Mon. Feb. 14, 4:00 PM CBS Sports Net
  • #77 Virginia vs. #38 VA Tech– Mon. Feb. 14, 6:00 PM ESPN
  • #46 Wazzu vs. #62 Oregon – Mon. Feb. 14, 8:00 PM ESPNU
  • #15 Texas vs. #36 Oklahoma – Tue. Feb. 15, 6:00 PM ESPN2
  • #79 Cincinnati vs. #44 Memphis– Tue. Feb. 15, 6:00 PM ESPN+
  • #73 Texas A&M vs. #49 Florida – Tue. Feb. 15, 6:00 PM SEC Network
  • #23 Wisconsin vs. #41 Indiana – Tue. Feb. 15, 8:00 PM ESPN2
  • #58 Utah St. vs. #50 San Diego St– Tue. Feb. 15, 9:00 PM CBS Sports Net
  • #22 Alabama vs. #53 Mississippi St. – Wed. Feb. 16, 6:00 PM ESPN2
  • #19 Iowa vs. #35 Michigan– Thur. Feb. 17, 6:00 PM ESPN
  • #32 San Francisco vs. #21 St. Mary’s - Thur. Feb. 17, 9:00 PM
The Bubble snapshot for the week of February 14