Bubble Watch: Gophers will have to sweat it out

BY foxsports • March 15, 2009

With all the action lately, we figured we'd give you a quick rundown of which bubble teams improved themselves — and which ones hurt themselves on an action-packed Friday.

  • The Top 25 and Top 50 records are reflective of the current RPI.



    One step back



    MARYLAND — Beat Wake Forest, 75-64, in the ACC quarterfinals

    Record: 20-12, 7-9 ACC

    RPI: 52

    SOS: 22

    Record vs. Top 25: 3-5

    Record vs. Top 50: 4-7

    The Terps have played their way back into the mix — and maybe even on the right side of the bubble — with a victory against Wake in the quarterfinals. While Gary Williams' team has bad losses against Virginia and Morgan State, the Terps also have quality wins against North Carolina, Michigan State and now Wake.

    Remaining: Duke on Saturday in the ACC semifinals

    TEMPLE — Beat Xavier, 55-53, in the A-10 semifinals

    Record: 21-11, 11-5 A-10

    RPI: 32
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    SOS: 40

    Record vs. Top 25: 2-4

    Record vs. Top 50: 2-5

    The Owls are a tough one to figure, but now they are in the A-10 title game. If they don't win, it'll be interesting. Fran Dunphy's team has wins against Xavier and Tennessee but plenty of poor losses to Miami (Ohio), La Salle, Long Beach and UMass.

    Remaining: Duquesne on Saturday in the A-10 title game

    One win away



    USC — Beat UCLA, 65-55, in the Pac-10 semifinals

    Record: 20-12, 9-9 Pac-10

    RPI: 45

    SOS: 23

    Record vs. Top 25: 1-5

    Record vs. Top 50: 4-8

    The Trojans are one game away from punching their ticket if they can get a win against Arizona State in the Pac-10 championship game. This is a dangerous team — proven by their win against UCLA on Friday.

    Remaining: Saturday vs. Arizona State in the Pac-10 tournament title game

    BAYLOR — Beat Texas, 76-70, in the Big 12 semifinals

    Record: 20-13, 5-11 Big 12

    RPI: 55

    SOS: 16

    Record vs. Top 25: 2-6

    Record vs. Top 50: 3-3

    The Bears still need one more to win the Big 12 title and get an automatic berth. It's that simple after a 5-11 campaign in the league.

    Remaining: Missouri on Saturday in the Big 12 title game

    Still in good shape



    MICHIGAN — Lost to Illinois, 60-50, in the Big Ten quarterfinals

    Record: 20-13, 9-9 Big Ten

    RPI: 42

    SOS: 9

    Record vs. Top 25: 2-5

    Record vs. Top 50: 6-10

    The Wolverines couldn't get the win against Illinois, but John Beilein's team appears to have done enough, especially after the non-conference victories early in the season against Duke and UCLA.



    Sweating out Sunday



    MINNESOTA — Lost to Michigan State, 64-56, in the Big Ten quarterfinals

    Record: 22-10, 9-9 Big Ten (7th)

    RPI: 38

    SOS: 30

    Record vs. Top 25: 2-4

    Record vs. Top 50: 5-8

    The Golden Gophers have lost two of their last three following a setback to Michigan State in the Big Ten quarterfinals. They will be sweating it out on Sunday — and we'll see how much the win against Louisville and the sweep over Wisconsin account for.

    One step back



    PENN STATE — Lost to Purdue, 79-65, in the Big Ten quarterfinals

    Record: 22-11, 10-8 Big Ten

    RPI: 68

    SOS: 86

    Record vs. Top 25: 3-1

    Record vs. Top 50: 6-9

    The Nittany Lions needed this one — mainly due to a poor non-conference schedule in which the most impressive victory may have been one against Mount St. Mary's.

    SOUTH CAROLINA — Lost to Mississippi State, 82-68, in the SEC quarterfinals

    Record: 21-9, 10-6 SEC

    RPI: 57

    SOS: 91

    Record vs. Top 25: 0-2

    Record vs. Top 50: 1-5

    The Gamecocks have lost three of their last four, including the quarterfinal loss to Mississippi State. Darrin Horn's team is right on the bubble, especially since it has just one win against a Top 50 RPI team in Florida.

    WISCONSIN — Lost to Ohio State, 61-57, in the Big Ten quarterfinals

    Record: 19-12, 10-8 Big Ten

    RPI: 43

    SOS: 11

    Record vs. Top 25: 1-3

    Record vs. Top 50: 4-10

    The Badgers swept Michigan and also posted wins against Illinois and Ohio State, but Bo Ryan's team has struggled a bit down the stretch and that could make things interesting.

    One step forward



    AUBURN — Beat Florida, 61-58, in the SEC quarterfinals

    Record: 22-10, 10-6 SEC

    RPI: 58

    SOS: 67

    Record vs. Top 25: 1-1

    Record vs. Top 50: 2-3

    The Tigers have steadily moved into the equation after winning five straight and nine of the last 10. Jeff Lebo's team will have a chance to earn the automatic bid with a win in the SEC title game.

    Remaining: Tennessee on Saturday in the SEC title game

    SAINT MARY'S — Beat Eastern Washington, 85-65

    Record: 26-6, 10-4 WCC

    RPI: 47

    SOS: 148

    Record vs. Top 25: 1-0

    Record vs. Top 50: 2-3

    This was a game scheduled by coach Randy Bennett in an effort to get Patty Mills another game. The Gaels have won six of their last seven and are 2-1 since Mills returned from a broken wrist. Mills finished with 19 points and was 4-of-9 from long distance — a performance which should help.

    UTAH STATE — beat New Mexico State, 71-70, in the WAC semifinals

    Record: 29-4, 14-2 WAC

    RPI: 25

    SOS: 142

    Record vs. Top 25: 1-0

    Record vs. Top 50: 1-2

    The Aggies advanced to the WAC championship game, and they may need a win because of a lack of resume wins in order to get an at-large berth.
    Remaining: Nevada on Saturday in the WAC title game

    On the verge



    SAN DIEGO STATE — Beat BYU, 64-62, in the Mountain West semifinals

    Record: 23-8, 11-5 Mountain West

    RPI: 31

    SOS: 52

    Record vs. Top 25: 1-2

    Record vs. Top 50: 2-5

    The Aztecs continue to roll. They have won five straight and have a resume that includes three wins against UNLV. It's looking good for Steve Fisher & Co.

    Remaining: Utah on Saturday in the Mountain West title game

    In trouble



    FLORIDA — Lost to Auburn, 61-58, in the SEC quarterfinals

    Record: 23-10, 9-7 SEC

    RPI: 52

    SOS: 83

    Record vs. Top 25: 1-4

    Record vs. Top 50: 1-5

    The Gators are in some serious trouble of becoming the first national champion to miss out on the NCAA tournament for the next two seasons. Billy Donovan's team, which has just one victory against the RPI's Top 50, lost to Auburn in the SEC quarterfinals.

    KENTUCKY — Lost to LSU, 67-58, in the SEC quarterfinals

    Record: 20-13, 8-8 SEC (4th in the East)

    RPI: 77

    SOS: 58

    Record vs. Top 25: 3-2

    Record vs. Top 50: 4-5

    The Wildcats are likely NIT-bound after coming up short against LSU in the quarterfinals. Billy Gillispie's team has dropped five of its last six.

    UAB — Lost to Tulsa, 70-67, in the C-USA semifinals

    Record: 22-11, 11-5 C-USA

    RPI: 44

    SOS: 70

    Record vs. Top 25: 0-5

    Record vs. Top 50: 0-5

    The only way the Blazers could have gotten an at-large berth was to get to the title game and take Memphis to the wire. Instead, they lost to Tulsa in the semis and finished the year without a win against a Top 50 team.

    VIRGINIA TECH — Lost to North Carolina, 79-76, in the ACC quarterfinals

    Record: 18-14, 7-9 ACC (8th)

    RPI: 56

    SOS: 17

    Record vs. Top 25: 1-7

    Record vs. Top 50: 2-9

    The Hokies lost to a Ty Lawson-less North Carolina team in the ACC quarterfinals, and that'll likely seal their fate. Well, that and losing four of their last five and seven of their last nine games.

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