Bracketology: Updated Bubble Watch and another mailbag

Nov 11, 2016; Honolulu, HI, USA; Indiana Hoosiers center Thomas Bryant (31) guards Kansas Jayhawks center Landen Lucas (33) at the Stan Sheriff Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 11, 2016; Honolulu, HI, USA; Indiana Hoosiers center Thomas Bryant (31) guards Kansas Jayhawks center Landen Lucas (33) at the Stan Sheriff Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Even as the Bracketology season gets closer to Selection Sunday, the bubble remains as large as ever.

Welcome to another edition of the Bubble Watch and our mailbag!

In our mailbag, I took to Twitter looking for questions regarding Bracketology, the bubble, or just the general college basketball world. Below, I answer the questions I received prior to getting into the Bubble Watch for this week.

If you still have questions about any of these topics, we’ll be back soon for another edition. Well, without further ado, let’s get started.

Although it is a major throwback to the beginning of the year, I think the best win of the season by a Big Ten team is Indiana knocking off Kansas on the opening night of college basketball. Both teams have come a long way since then, but with Indiana now sitting firmly on the bubble, their early season wins over Kansas and North Carolina are proving to be extremely important.

How much stake should the committee put into the Hoosier team that won both of those games? I’m not sure, but right now, nobody in the Big Ten has as good of a win as Indiana beating Kansas, regardless of what their record is now or the injuries that they have suffered.

Will the Big East get 5+ teams into the dance? (asked by @luke_ockwood)

I think the answer to this question is yes. Villanova, Butler, Creighton and Xavier all look to be locks at this point and are the clear top four teams in the conference. After that, things get a little murkier, and Marquette’s stretch of three losses in four games doesn’t help all that much, but I think the Golden Eagles are that fifth team that gets in, and likely as a single digit seed.

As for six, Seton Hall and Georgetown are the frontrunners for that potential spot. With how weak the bubble is this season, both have legitimate chances, although I believe only one finds its way into the dance. I am going to say that team is Seton Hall, giving the conference six bids. Providence has an outside shot, but right now that seems rather unlikely. It is highly doubtful that the Big East could send seven teams, but I think that 5-6 is the most likely situation, with Georgetown/Seton Hall biting their nails the most on Selection Sunday.

That concludes our mailbag for this week, so let’s get into the Bubble Watch. Once again, here is a brief look at how the system works.

Categories for the Bubble Watch:
Lead-Pipe Lock: These are teams that are guaranteed to make the tournament and there is such a small likelihood that they miss the tournament that they are categorized as “locks.”
Some Perspiration: These are teams that should make the tournament. They are likely already in the Bracketology prior to this Bubble Watch and are usually in with room to spare.
Better Double Up On The Deodorant: These teams are very much on the fence. They could be in the tournament at the time, but there is very little room between them being in and them being out. Most of these teams are out of the tournament looking for wins to play their way in.

Also, if there is a team not mentioned in this edition of the Bubble Watch that should be, don’t worry. There is plenty of time left for teams to work their way up onto the bubble and potentially into the tournament.

For any questions or comments on this Bubble Watch, tweet your thoughts at @BustingBrackets or @hardwiredsports (that’s me!). 

Nov 25, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; SMU Mustangs guard Shake Milton (1) dribbles the ball against the Southern California Trojans during a NCAA basketball game at Galen Center. USC defeated SMU 78-73. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 25, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; SMU Mustangs guard Shake Milton (1) dribbles the ball against the Southern California Trojans during a NCAA basketball game at Galen Center. USC defeated SMU 78-73. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

American Athletic Conference

Lead-Pipe Lock: Cincinnati
Some Perspiration: SMU
Better Double-Up on the Deodorant: None.

SMU Mustangs, 20-4 (9-1): Since our last update, very little has changed in the AAC. SMU has continued their hot streak of six consecutive wins and is looking to be every bit of a tournament team. Their home match-up with Cincinnati coming up could be the game of the season in the conference and could do a lot for the seeding of the Mustangs.

Quality wins: vs. TCU, @ Memphis, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Houston

Bad losses: @ Boise State

Missed opportunities: @ USC, vs. Michigan, @ Cincinnati

Next up: @ Temple (2/9), vs. Cincinnati (2/12)

Jan 27, 2017; Richmond, VA, USA; Virginia Commonwealth Rams guard JeQuan Lewis (1) claps on the court prior to the Rams' game against the Dayton Flyers at Stuart C. Siegel Center. The Rams won 73-68. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 27, 2017; Richmond, VA, USA; Virginia Commonwealth Rams guard JeQuan Lewis (1) claps on the court prior to the Rams’ game against the Dayton Flyers at Stuart C. Siegel Center. The Rams won 73-68. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Atlantic 10

Lead-Pipe Lock: None.
Some Perspiration: Dayton
Better Double-Up on the Deodorant: VCU, Rhode Island

Dayton Flyers, 18-5 (9-2): Since last week, Dayton did exactly what was asked of them by winning both of their games. Now 9-2 in conference play, things are looking up for the Flyers, who are staring at an eight seed in our most recent bracket. As was mentioned in last week’s edition, the VCU-Dayton game later in the season could have huge A-10 tournament seeding implications as well as an impact on the NCAA Tournament. However, do not overlook Dayton-URI.

Quality wins: vs. Rhode Island

Bad losses: vs. Nebraska, @ Massachusetts

Missed opportunities: vs. Saint Mary’s, vs. Northwestern, @ VCU

Up next:  @ Rhode Island (2/10), @ Saint Louis (2/14)

VCU Rams, 18-5 (8-2): The Rams might have been closer to the cutline a few weeks ago, but now VCU has a little bit more leeway in terms of making the tournament. VCU is running on a four-game winning streak and should be able to extend that streak to nine before taking on Rhode Island and Dayton in back-to-back road games towards the end of the year.

Quality wins: vs. Middle Tennessee, vs. Dayton

Bad losses: @ Davidson, @ Fordham

Missed opportunities: vs. Baylor, vs. Illinois, vs. Georgia Tech

Up next: @ George Washington (2/8), vs. Davidson (2/11)

Rhode Island Rams, 16-7 (8-3): Despite taking their time in closing it out, Rhode Island was able to defeat UMass on Tuesday night to go 2-0 on the week. Still working to get into the tournament, as they are currently out, the Rams will need some help from the teams surrounding them as well as taking advantage of the winnable games on the schedule. Their home matchup with Dayton will mean a lot, as it could be the difference between them getting in or out on Selection Sunday.

Quality wins: vs. Cincinnati

Bad losses: @ Richmond, vs. La Salle, @ Providence

Missed opportunities: vs. Duke, @ Valparaiso, @ Houston, @ Dayton

Up next: vs. Dayton (2/10), vs. Fordham (2/15)

Feb 4, 2017; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons guard Mitchell Wilbekin (10) reacts after hitting a three-point basket in the second half against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Wake defeated Georgia Tech 81-69. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 4, 2017; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons guard Mitchell Wilbekin (10) reacts after hitting a three-point basket in the second half against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Wake defeated Georgia Tech 81-69. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

ACC

Lead-Pipe Lock: Louisville, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida State, Duke, Notre Dame
Some Perspiration: Virginia Tech
Better Double-Up on the Deodorant: Clemson, Wake Forest, Miami, NC State, Georgia Tech, Syracuse

Virginia Tech Hokies, 16-6 (5-5): With a .500 record in the ACC, things have been fairly solid for the Hokies since moving into conference play. With how difficult the ACC is, Virginia Tech closes their season with six games against tournament contenders. If the squad can manage a conference record of over .500 (which is fairly likely), they could be staring down a seed line of around a six when the year finally ends.

Quality wins: @ Michigan, vs. Duke, @ Clemson

Bad losses: vs. Texas A&M

Missed opportunities: @ North Carolina, @ Florida State, vs. Notre Dame, @ NC State, @ Virginia

Up next: @ Miami (2/8), vs. Virginia (2/12)

Clemson Tigers, 13-10 (3-8): On a last-second three by Syracuse, the Clemson Tigers dropped a home game against the Orange in what was a game with huge bubble implications. The Tigers had a busy week playing three games, but they went just 1-2 and did not help their tournament chances, even with a win over another bubble contender Georgia Tech. Clemson was in the “Next Four In” category on Monday, but are falling with their loss to Syracuse.

Quality wins: @ South Carolina, vs. UNC-Wilmington, @ Wake Forest, @ Pittsburgh, vs. Georgia Tech

Bad losses: vs. Oklahoma

Missed opportunities: vs. Xavier, @ Georgia Tech, @ Louisville, vs. North Carolina, vs. Virginia, @ Notre Dame, vs. Virginia Tech, @ Florida State, vs. Syracuse

Up next: @ Duke (2/11), vs. Wake Forest (2/14)

Wake Forest Demon Deacons, 14-10 (5-7): I hate to say it again, but…missed opportunities are killing Wake Forest. They have had what seems like endless chances against tournament teams and just cannot capitalize. Their strength of schedule continues to keep them afloat, but their resume is severely lacking a signature win. They were projected in the tournament on Monday, but are they still? Unlikely.

Quality wins: vs. Miami, @ NC State, vs. Georgia Tech

Bad losses: None.

Missed opportunities: vs. Villanova, @ Xavier, @ Northwestern, vs. North Carolina, @ Florida State, @ Virginia, vs. Duke, vs. Clemson, @ Syracuse, @ Notre Dame

Up next: vs. NC State (2/11), @ Clemson (2/14)

Miami Hurricanes, 15-7 (5-5): Over the past week, Miami went 1-1, with a win over NC State and a loss to Florida State. This was a rather pedestrian week and did very little to help the case of the Hurricanes. In fact, Miami is in the exact same position (first team out) that they were in last week. This coming week poses a lot of opportunity for Miami with games against VT and Louisville. Going 2-0 would surely put them in the tournament.

Quality wins: vs. North Carolina, @ Pittsburgh, vs. NC State, @ NC State

Bad losses: None.

Missed opportunities: vs. Florida, vs. Iowa State, @ Syracuse, @ Duke, vs. Notre Dame, @ Wake Forest, vs. Florida State

Up next: vs. Virginia Tech (2/8), @ Louisville (2/11)

NC State Wolfpack, 14-10 (3-8): Their conference record leaves a lot to be desired, but NC State continues to hang in contention for the Big Dance with wins over VT and Duke. NC State was my eighth team out of the tournament as of Monday, but in ACC play, there are all kinds of opportunity for the Wolfpack. With Florida State, North Carolina, and Virginia still left on the schedule, they can still play their way back in.

Quality wins: @ Duke, vs. Virginia Tech

Bad losses: @ Boston College

Missed opportunities: vs. Creighton, @ Illinois, vs. Wake Forest, @ North Carolina, @ Miami, vs. Georgia Tech, vs. Syracuse, vs. Miami

Up next: @ Florida State (2/8), @ Wake Forest (2/11)

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 14-10 (5-6): Even though their record is very similar to NC State, Georgia Tech boast several quality wins on their resume. Because of how the Yellow Jackets have proven their ability to win big games, GT continues to surprise and finds themselves in my projected tournament. They had an off game from ACC play by taking on Tusculum, and they were able to get the victory. 14-10 is not the ideal record for a bubble team, but they do have a few things going for them, most notably those first three quality wins.

Quality wins: vs. North Carolina, vs. Florida State, vs. Notre Dame, @ VCU, vs. Clemson, @ NC State

Bad losses: vs. Ohio, vs. Georgia, @ Penn State

Missed opportunities: vs. Louisville, @ Virginia, @ Duke, @ Tennessee, @ Virginia Tech, @ Clemson, @ Wake Forest

Up next: vs. Boston College (2/11), @ Miami (2/15)

Syracuse Orange, 16-9 (8-4): Don’t ask me how, but Syracuse is 8-4 in ACC play and has played their way back into serious NCAA Tournament discussion. The Orange are riding a five-game winning streak that consists of wins against all potential tournament teams (Wake Forest, FSU, NC State, UVA, Clemson). Can they keep it up as the rest of their conference schedule is also against likely tournament squads?

Quality wins: vs. Florida State, vs. Virginia, vs. Wake Forest, vs. Miami, @ NC State

Bad losses: @ Boston College, vs. St. John’s, vs. Connecticut

Missed opportunities: vs. Georgetown, @ Virginia Tech, @ Notre Dame, vs. South Carolina, @ Wisconsin, @ North Carolina

Up next: @ Pittsburgh (2/11), vs. Louisville (2/13)

Feb 6, 2017; Manhattan, KS, USA; Kansas State Wildcats players on the bench celebrate a three-point basket during a game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Fred Bramlage Coliseum. The Jayhawks won the game, 74-71. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 6, 2017; Manhattan, KS, USA; Kansas State Wildcats players on the bench celebrate a three-point basket during a game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Fred Bramlage Coliseum. The Jayhawks won the game, 74-71. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12

Lead-Pipe Lock: Baylor, Kansas, West Virginia
Some Perspiration: None.
Better Double-Up on the Deodorant: Iowa State, Kansas State, TCU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State

Iowa State Cyclones, 14-9 (6-5): What are we to make of Iowa State? They are losers in three of their last four games, including a loss to Texas, but also took down Kansas in that stretch. The Cyclones are an extremely puzzling team that can beat anyone in the country or lose to anybody. They have an easier stretch of games, or as easy as it gets in the Big 12, coming up, and they should be able to go around 3-1 in their next four games.

Quality wins: vs. Miami, @ Oklahoma State, vs. Kansas State, vs. Texas Tech, @ Kansas

Bad losses: @ Iowa, @ Vanderbilt, @ Texas

Missed opportunities: vs. Gonzaga, vs. Cincinnati, @ Baylor, vs. Kansas, @ TCU, vs. West Virginia

Up next: @ Texas (2/7), vs. Oklahoma (2/11)

Kansas State Wildcats, 16-7 (4-4): K-State played two games this week, and went 1-1, although it was probably a more positive week than negative for the Wildcats. In their first game, they took down the Baylor Bears by two points on the road. This was a major positive, and they followed it up by putting forth well-fought effort against rival Kansas. Kansas State was the last team in as of Monday, and still have plenty of time to move further up the seed lines.

Quality wins: vs. West Virginia, @ Oklahoma State, @ Baylor

Bad losses: None.

Missed opportunities: vs. Maryland, vs. Baylor, @ Kansas, @ Tennessee, @ Iowa State, @ Texas Tech, vs. TCU, vs. Kansas

Up next: @ West Virginia (2/11), vs. Iowa State (2/15)

TCU Horned Frogs, 17-7 (6-5): A home win over Texas Tech isn’t exactly a resume booster, but it does help their record and gives them another quality win. TCU has been a pretty big surprise this year, even if their resume isn’t the greatest in the country. They are missing the one signature win, but maybe that could come against Baylor in their next game. If that happens, they could find themselves shooting back into the field.

Quality wins: vs. Illinois State, vs. Iowa State, vs. Texas Tech

Bad losses: vs. Auburn

Missed opportunities: @ SMU, vs. Baylor, vs. Kansas, @ West Virginia, @ Oklahoma State, @ Texas Tech, @ Kansas State

Up next: @ Baylor (2/11), vs. Oklahoma State (2/15)

Texas Tech Red Raiders, 16-8 (4-7): After a loss on the road against TCU, the Red Raiders split the season series with the Horned Frogs. Going 2-0 would have been a bubble boost, but Texas Tech remains firmly on the cut line. The West Virginia win is their crowning jewel, but I’m not sure they can afford to lose both of their next three games against Kansas, Baylor, and West Virginia. Taking one or two would be huge.

Quality wins: vs. West Virginia, vs. Kansas State, vs. TCU

Bad losses: vs. Auburn, @ Oklahoma, @ Texas

Missed opportunities: @ Baylor, @ Kansas, vs. Oklahoma State, @ Iowa State

Up next: vs. Kansas (2/11), vs. Baylor (2/13)

Oklahoma State Cowboys, 15-8 (4-6): In their only game this week, the Cowboys took advantage of a very tough game, knocking off West Virginia on the road. This added a signature win to their resume that already consists of several quality wins. They are currently sitting solidly on the bubble, but are in the tournament as of now. Oklahoma State has another big chance coming up on Wednesday against Baylor, who beat them by four points in their last meeting.

Quality wins: @ Wichita State, vs. Georgetown, vs. Arkansas, vs. TCU, @ West Virginia

Bad losses: @ Texas

Missed opportunities: vs. North Carolina, @ Maryland, @ Baylor, @ Kansas, vs. West Virginia, vs. Kansas State, vs. Iowa State

Up next: vs. Baylor (2/8), vs. Texas (2/11)

Feb 4, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Seton Hall Pirates forward Angel Delgado (31) looks to pass in front of Georgetown Hoyas forward Marcus Derrickson (24) at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 4, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Seton Hall Pirates forward Angel Delgado (31) looks to pass in front of Georgetown Hoyas forward Marcus Derrickson (24) at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

Big East

Lead-Pipe Lock: Villanova, Butler, Creighton
Some Perspiration: Xavier, Marquette
Better Double-Up on the Deodorant: Seton Hall, Georgetown

Xavier Musketeers, 17-6 (7-3): Now a three-game winning streak, including a win over Creighton, Xavier looks to be getting close to joining the group of locks. The Musketeers were a six seed in my most recent Bracketology, and that is in large part due to a solid collection of wins. With games against Butler and Villanova still left on the schedule, Xavier could add another major signature win to move them up the seed lists.

Quality wins: vs. Wake Forest, vs. Clemson, vs. Georgetown, @ Georgetown, vs. Utah, vs. Seton Hall, @ Creighton

Bad losses: @ Colorado

Missed opportunities: @ Baylor, @ Villanova, @ Butler, vs. Creighton, @ Cincinnati

Up next: vs. DePaul (2/8), vs. Villanova (2/11)

Marquette Golden Eagles, 15-9 (6-6): With Butler coming to town last week, Marquette had a great opportunity to add another signature win, but they were unable to pull it out at home. This marked their third loss in four games, with two of those coming in poor outings by the team. It seemed like MU got back on track against Butler, playing better team defense and working the ball inside in addition to their prolific outside scoring, but it was not enough. The Golden Eagles still look to be in fine shape for the NCAA Tournament, but their journey to the nation’s capital to face Georgetown has huge bubble implications. If MU is able to close the year 4-2, then they should be sitting in a good position at 19-11 entering the conference tournament.

Quality wins: vs. Villanova, @ Creighton, vs. Seton Hall, vs. Georgetown

Bad losses: vs. Providence, @ St. John’s

Missed opportunities: vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Wisconsin, vs. Michigan, @ Villanova, @ Butler, @ Seton Hall, vs. Butler

Up next: @ Georgetown (2/11), vs. Xavier (2/18)

Seton Hall Pirates, 14-8 (4-6): After falling to both Butler and Xavier, Seton Hall was able to bounce back in an overtime win over Georgetown, the next team on the list. The Pirates remain the sixth-to-last Big East team in the tournament, but they should be able to win the next two games before facing off against three straight ranked opponents in Creighton, Villanova, and Xavier. They also have to play Butler once more this season.

Quality wins: vs. South Carolina, vs. California, vs. Marquette, @ Georgetown

Bad losses: vs. Stanford, @ Providence

Missed opportunities: vs. Florida, @ Villanova, vs. Butler, @ Creighton, @ Marquette, @ Xavier

Up next: vs. Providence (2/8), @ St. John’s (2/11)

Georgetown Hoyas, 13-12 (4-8): It’s hard to believe that G’Town is still sitting on the bubble, but their three wins remain very, very impressive. Losing two in a row is not what Hoya fans wanted to see, but they have two more opportunities coming up in their next two match-ups that can greatly change their odds. 13-12 is a rough record, but they have a bubble-friendly schedule to close the year.

Quality wins: @ Butler, vs. Oregon, vs. Creighton

Bad losses: @ Providence, vs. Providence, Arkansas State

Missed opportunities: vs. Butler, vs. Xavier, @ Xavier, vs. Maryland, vs. Wisconsin, vs. Oklahoma State, vs. Seton Hall, @ Villanova

Up next: vs. Marquette (2/11), @ Creighton (2/19)

Jan 29, 2017; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans forward Nick Ward (44) reacts to a play during the first half of a game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 29, 2017; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans forward Nick Ward (44) reacts to a play during the first half of a game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten

Lead-Pipe Lock: Wisconsin, Maryland, Purdue
Some Perspiration: Northwestern, Minnesota
Better Double-Up on the Deodorant: Indiana, Michigan State, Michigan

Northwestern Wildcats, 18-6 (7-4): It still seems very likely that this will be Northwestern’s first trip to the Big Dance, but losing two in a row is not ideal, especially when one comes against Illinois at home. The Wildcats have a brutal couple games approaching in Wisconsin and Maryland, and splitting those two will be a very big deal. Going on a four-game losing skid at this time of the year can be very hard to recover from and the return of Scottie Lindsey is something that needs to happen soon.

Quality wins: vs. Wake Forest, vs. Dayton, @ Ohio State, vs. Indiana

Bad losses: vs. Illinois

Missed opportunities: @ Butler, vs. Notre Dame, vs. Minnesota, @ Michigan State, @ Purdue

Up next: @ Wisconsin (2/12), vs. Maryland (2/15)

Minnesota Golden Gophers, 16-7 (4-6): After five (!) straight losses, Minnesota was able to get back on track with a win over Illinois this week. It might not go down as the best win in program history, but it might help jump start what had been a rough stretch to the season. With games against Iowa, Rutgers, Indiana, and Michigan coming up, the Golden Gophers are looking at a potential winning streak at a vital time.

Quality wins: vs. Arkansas, @ Northwestern, @ Purdue

Bad losses: @ Penn State

Missed opportunities: @ Ohio State, @ Florida State, vs. Maryland, vs. Wisconsin, vs. Michigan State, @ Michigan State

Up next: vs. Iowa (2/8), @ Rutgers (2/11)

Indiana Hoosiers, 15-9 (5-6): Even though Indiana was once considered one of the best teams in the country this year, the Hoosiers have fallen dramatically, now to the last four teams in the tournament. Now losers of three of four, Indiana could really use a win against Purdue in their next battle. Both battles with Purdue still remain this season, and those will prove to be huge tests.

Quality wins: vs. Kansas, vs. North Carolina, vs. Michigan State, vs. Illinois

Bad losses: @ Fort Wayne, vs. Nebraska

Missed opportunities: vs. Butler, @ Michigan, vs. Louisville, @ Maryland, vs. Wisconsin, @ Northwestern, @ Wisconsin

Up next: vs. Purdue (2/9), vs. Michigan (2/12)

Michigan State Spartans, 14-10 (6-5): After getting destroyed by Michigan on Tuesday night, things aren’t looking so great for Tom Izzo’s team. They are still firmly on the bubble and could find themselves on the outside-looking-in for much of the rest of the year. The Spartans finish with a rather tough schedule that includes games against Purdue, Wisconsin, and Maryland, and they will likely need two of those wins to feel comfortable.  

Quality wins: vs. Wichita State, @ Minnesota, vs. Minnesota, vs. Northwestern, vs. Michigan

Bad losses: vs. Northeastern, @ Penn State

Missed opportunities: vs. Baylor, vs. Kentucky, @ Duke, vs. Arizona, @ Ohio State, @ Indiana, vs. Purdue, @ Michigan

Up next: vs. Iowa (2/11), vs. Ohio State (2/14)

Michigan Wolverines, 15-9 (5-6): It is hard to say that Michigan didn’t get the job done against their rivals in Michigan State. From what seemed like start to finish, the Wolverines played a great game and dominated the Spartans. Coming off of two losses, one to MSU and the other to Ohio State, this was a big bounce back performance. Wisconsin coming to play in Ann Arbor could prove to be just the win that Michigan is looking for near the end of the regular season.

Quality wins: vs. SMU, vs. Marquette, vs. Illinois, vs. Indiana, vs. Michigan State

Bad losses: @ Iowa, vs. Ohio State

Missed opportunities: @ UCLA, @ South Carolina, vs. Virginia Tech, vs. Maryland, @ Wisconsin, @ Michigan State, @ Illinois

Up next: @ Indiana (2/12), vs. Wisconsin (2/16)

Feb 4, 2017; Stanford, CA, USA; (l to r): Utah Runnin' Utes forward Jayce Johnson (34) , guard JoJo Zamora (1) , and forward David Collette (13) react in the closing minutes of the game against the Stanford Cardinal during the second half of the game at Maples Pavilion. The Stanford Cardinal defeated the Utah Runnin' Utes with a score of 81-75. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 4, 2017; Stanford, CA, USA; (l to r): Utah Runnin’ Utes forward Jayce Johnson (34) , guard JoJo Zamora (1) , and forward David Collette (13) react in the closing minutes of the game against the Stanford Cardinal during the second half of the game at Maples Pavilion. The Stanford Cardinal defeated the Utah Runnin’ Utes with a score of 81-75. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12

Lead-Pipe Lock: Arizona, Oregon, UCLA
Some Perspiration: USC
Better Double-Up on the Deodorant: California, Utah

USC Trojans, 20-4 (7-4): After falling to 3-4 in conference play at one point this year, USC has won four consecutive games, including back-to-back wins over the state of Washington (UW and Washington State). As a single digit seed (seven), USC is in a rather stable position in terms of making the Big Dance. If the Trojans just make sure to win the games they are supposed to, then they will be just fine.

Quality wins: vs. SMU, vs. UCLA

Bad losses: None.

Missed opportunities: vs. Arizona, @ Oregon, vs. California, @ Utah

Up next: vs. Oregon State (2/9), vs. Oregon (2/11)

California Golden Bears, 17-6 (8-3): After losing to Oregon a couple of weeks ago, Cal has won four straight games, including a double-OT win over Utah. California is currently the fourth-to-last team in the tournament, but with opportunities to play Arizona and Oregon down the stretch, things aren’t going to get much easier for the Golden Bears.

Quality wins: @ USC, vs. Utah

Bad losses: @ San Diego State

Missed opportunities: vs. Arizona, @ Oregon, vs. Virginia, @ UCLA, vs. Seton Hall

Up next: @ Arizona State (2/8), @ Arizona (2/11)

Utah Utes, 15-8 (6-5): Taking the double-OT loss to California was an absolute crusher, but it does not take the Utes completely out of contention — neither does their loss to Stanford. It was a very rough week for bubble teams, and that definitely included Utah. Their road game with Oregon coming up could easily be a must-win, but there are still two games separating Utah right now and that date with the Ducks.

Quality wins: vs. USC

Bad losses: vs. San Francisco, @ Stanford

Missed opportunities: vs. Butler, @ Xavier, @ Arizona, vs. Oregon, vs. UCLA, @ California

Up next: vs. Washington State (2/9), vs. Washington (2/11)

Feb 4, 2017; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks guard Sindarius Thornwell (0) drives around Georgia Bulldogs forward Yante Maten (1) in the second half at Colonial Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 4, 2017; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks guard Sindarius Thornwell (0) drives around Georgia Bulldogs forward Yante Maten (1) in the second half at Colonial Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

SEC

Lead-Pipe Lock: Kentucky, Florida, South Carolina
Some Perspiration: Arkansas
Better Double-Up on the Deodorant: Tennessee, Georgia, Vanderbilt

Arkansas Razorbacks, 17-7 (6-5): Over the past week, Arkansas went 0-2, with losses to Vanderbilt and Missouri. Neither of these are great losses and are resume killers.

Quality wins: @ Tennessee, vs. Houston

Bad losses: vs. Mississippi State, @ Missouri

Missed opportunities: @ Minnesota, @ Oklahoma State, vs. Florida, @ Kentucky, vs. Vanderbilt

Up next: @ LSU (2/11), @ South Carolina (2/15)

Tennessee Volunteers, 13-10 (5-5): Losing to Mississippi added another bad loss to Tennessee’s resume, but it does not take away from their total resume, which leaves them right on the bubble. The Volunteers are the fourth team out right now, which leaves room to improve, especially with games against Kentucky and South Carolina remaining.

Quality wins: vs. Kentucky, vs. Kansas State

Bad losses: @ Ole Miss, vs. Chattanooga, @ Mississippi State

Missed opportunities: @ North Carolina, @ Florida, vs. Oregon, vs. Gonzaga, vs. South Carolina, vs. Wisconsin, vs. Arkansas

Up next: vs. Ole Miss (2/8), vs. Georgia (2/11)

Georgia Bulldogs, 13-11 (4-7): Georgia had three straight games all against ranked opponents, and dropped all three. This is not exactly what a bubble team wants to do at this point in the year. Their only other opportunity for a signature win comes in a couple weeks when Kentucky comes to town, but for now, they are in desperate need of big time victories.

Quality wins: None.

Bad losses: @ Texas A&M, vs. Alabama, @ Oakland

Missed opportunities: vs. Marquette, vs. Kansas, @ Kentucky, @ Florida, vs. South Carolina, @ South Carolina, @ Clemson, vs. Florida

Up next: @ Tennessee (2/11), vs. Mississippi State (2/14)

Vanderbilt Commodores, 12-12 (5-6): Yeah, Vandy doesn’t seem like a tournament team, but their resume is better than most think, plus they have a very bubble-friendly finish to their schedule. It is easy to fall in love with their SOS, but they do have three very solid wins that could go a long way. With dates coming up against UK, UF, and South Carolina (with a relatively easy schedule outside of that), Vandy might be able to pop a few teams bubbles on their way towards an unlikely at-large bid.

Quality wins: @ Florida, vs. Iowa State, @ Arkansas

Bad losses: vs. Bucknell, @ Alabama, vs. Ole Miss

Missed opportunities: vs. Marquette, @ Georgia, vs. Kentucky, vs. Butler, vs. Minnesota, @ Dayton, vs. Arkansas, vs. Tennessee, @ Middle Tennessee

Up next: @ Missouri (2/11), vs. Texas A&M (2/16)

Jan 11, 2017; Wichita, KS, USA; Wichita State Shockers forward Markis McDuffie (32) runs down a loose ball against the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers during the second half at Charles Koch Arena. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 11, 2017; Wichita, KS, USA; Wichita State Shockers forward Markis McDuffie (32) runs down a loose ball against the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers during the second half at Charles Koch Arena. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Others

Lead-Pipe Lock: Gonzaga
Some Perspiration: Saint Mary’s
Better Double-Up on the Deodorant: Wichita State, Middle Tennessee

Saint Mary’s Gaels, 21-2 (11-1 WCC): Nothing new here. Saint Mary’s just keeps winning games and needs to keep doing that in order to secure their at-large bid. With a win over Gonzaga in the coming week, the Gaels could easily jump into the lock category, as they currently sit as a six seed.

Quality wins: @ Dayton, vs. Nevada

Bad losses: None.

Missed opportunities: vs. UT-Arlington, @ Gonzaga

Up next: vs. Portland (2/9), vs. Gonzaga (2/11)

Wichita State Shockers, 21-4 (11-1 MVC): Even though they lost to Illinois State in their first battle, the Shockers made sure to take care of business the second time around. Wichita State won by 41 points against the Redbirds in their second battle, and they have retaken control over the MVC. As an at-large, they would be right on the cutline as of today.

Quality wins: vs. Illinois State

Bad losses: None.

Missed opportunities: vs. Louisville, vs. Oklahoma State, vs. Michigan State, @ Illinois State

Up next: vs. Missouri State (2/9), @ Loyola-Chicago (2/12)

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, 20-4 (10-1 C-USA): Losing at UTEP was definitely a killer for an at-large resume, but the Blue Raiders are not quite out of contention yet. They are one of the best mid-majors in the country and it would be a shame if they couldn’t find a way into the Big Dance. Yet, they have four losses on the year and have no more opportunities for a quality win.

Quality wins: vs. UNC-Wilmington

Bad losses: vs. Georgia State, vs. Tennessee State, @ UTEP

Missed opportunities: @ VCU

Up next: vs. Old Dominion, vs. Charlotte

And that wraps up the Bubble Watch for how we stand a few games in conference play. For comments and questions regarding our bubble or bracketology, tweet @BustingBrackets or @hardwiredsports (that’s me!). 

This article originally appeared on