There are just three weeks left in the 2016-17 college basketball regular season, plus Championship Week. That’s all that remains in the season.
Things are starting to tighten up in terms of the NCAA tournament bubble, and with Marquette (kind of still) in contention for a spot, here’s what we’re going to do every Monday: We’re going to take a look at the other teams in contention for the back end of the at-large spots and see what games they have coming up over the next week.
We’ll use Bracket Matrix, which was last updated on Sunday evening, and their aggregate seed list in order to determine where Marquette stands at the moment, and then look at their competition for the final available spots in the tournament. With the cutline for at-large teams coming in directly at the end of the #11 seeds, which is where Marquette is currently landing, we’ll cover from the #9 seeds downwards this time around. We’ll also include Bracket Matrix’s First Four Out teams for a full picture, but that’s it. As it stands now, the matrix checks 97 brackets, and the fourth team off the bubble is only appearing on 32 of them. At that point, it’s not exactly a very serious competitor for entry to the field of 68, y’know?
We’ll give you each team’s current KenPom ranking, whether their games this week are home or away, and the KenPom rankings for their opponents. If something particularly jumps out as impactful for a particular team, we’ll point that out.
Here we go then!
Virginia Commonwealth Rams (#44) - Tuesday vs #159 St. Joseph’s; Friday at #94 Richmond
VCU could probably absorb one loss without falling out of the field, especially as they ride a six game winning streak. Never hurts to keep winning, though.
Virginia Tech Hokies (#54) - Tuesday at #66 Pittsburgh; Saturday at #5 Louisville
The Hokies got a huge double overtime win on Sunday night against Virginia and could definitely boost themselves even more with just a 1-1 week.
Kansas State Wildcats (#28) - Wednesday vs #26 Iowa State; Saturday at #69 Texas
Down in this area of the bracket at this time of the year, winning in Austin is probably a requirement for KSU.
TCU Horned Frogs (#38) - Wednesday vs #21 Oklahoma State; Saturday at #26 Iowa State
Same as KSU, except winning in Hilton Coliseum is not a fun time for anyone not wearing red and white.
California Golden Bears (#47) - Friday at #105 Stanford
Only one game for Cal, so they really can’t slip up against their local rival.
Miami Hurricanes (#35) - Wednesday vs #80 Georgia Tech; Saturday vs #39 Clemson
Two winnable games for the Canes against teams right around the edge of the bubble.
Michigan State Spartans (#53) - Tuesday vs #61 Ohio State; Saturday at #10 Purdue
Izzo’s crew has won three of four, lending thought to an idea that the Spartans are figuring this out. Of course, the loss was a 29 point drubbing at the hands of Michigan, so they really can’t afford losses, either.
Wichita State Shockers (#16) - Wednesday at #163 Southern Illinois; Saturday vs #141 Northern Iowa
The Shox are currently in the field as the Missouri Valley automatic bid placeholder, but they’re still clear of the line if they don’t win it all in Arch Madness. I really wouldn’t recommend losing either of these games, though.
Syracuse Orange (#49) - Monday vs #5 Louisville; Sunday at #80 Georgia Tech
Getting a five game winning streak snapped by a bad Pitt team was not good for Syracuse. They need to go 1-1 and definitely beat the Yellow Jackets.
Marquette Golden Eagles (#43) - Saturday vs #29 Xavier
The Golden Eagles have firmly moved over to “can not lose another game in the regular season” territory, and will probably be further down than this after a Monday refresh.
Seton Hall Pirates (#55) - Wednesday vs #22 Creighton; Saturday vs #3 Villanova
Have fun with that week, Seton Hall. PSSSSSST. The Pirates are just 3-6 in their last nine.
Tennessee Volunteers (#41) - Tuesday at #8 Kentucky; Saturday vs #165 Missouri
No one would fault the Vols for a 1-1 week, but dumping the ‘Cats in Rupp Arena would certainly be very good for them.
Arkansas Razorbacks (#58) - Wednesday at #27 South Carolina; Saturday vs #68 Mississippi
They’ve lost three of their last five, including a road trip against Missouri. They need positive news in the worst way.
Indiana Hoosiers (#42) - Wednesday at #37 Minnesota
Lost five of six. You redo the Bracket Matrix on Monday night after people publish Monday morning bracketology, and they are no longer in the field.
First Four Out
Illinois State Redbirds (#46) - Wednesday at #125 Missouri State; Sunday vs #101 Loyola Chicago
Nothing ISU can do but hope that teams in front of them lose or that they beat Wichita State in Saint Louis in a few weeks.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (#30) - Tuesday at #39 Clemson; Saturday at #15 Duke
Wins would be big for the Deacs, especially with both coming on the road.
Michigan Wolverines (#31) - Thursday vs #12 Wisconsin; Sunday at #37 Minnesota
Two chances to prove they belong in the field against two teams that are currently in. UM wins would help Marquette out, too.
Rhode Island Rams (#44) - Wednesday vs #217 Fordham; Saturday at #116 George Mason
Hey, check out the Rams giving the Atlantic 10 three teams under consideration. Not 100% sure how they wandered in after a Friday loss to Dayton, but it did snap a four game winning streak. They need to take care of business here.