Bracketology Bubble Watch: Michigan State, Gonzaga win big; Oregon, Utah lost at home

Sunday’s schedule is lighter and will be done before the Super Bowl so everyone has a chance to see it.

But first, let’s recap a busy Saturday. There were 20 bubble games, some of which had very impressive results. Here are some of Saturday’s biggest winners and losers.

winners

Gonzaga: The Zags picked up their first Quad 1 win of the season in an 89-85 win at Kentucky. That gives Gonzaga hope, but he’s not done in terms of earning an at-large berth. The Bulldogs have to win to advance to the West Coast Conference tournament, which means winning at St. Mary’s as well. Their record against better teams still isn’t good enough and that’s the only potential tournament team left off their schedule.

Michigan State: MSU beat Illinois 88-80 for its second win of the season against a team near the top of the bracket. The Spartans still have some holes on their resume, especially their 2-7 record away from home, but will have opportunities ahead to fix that. They are at Penn State and Michigan next week. Those will be the two lowest-rated teams they have ever played away from the Breslin Center.

Nevada: The Wolf Pack had a great week with two of their best wins of the season. Saturday’s win over San Diego State was followed by a win at Utah State on Wednesday. There are still some challenges ahead in the Mountain West, with a banner season underway, but Nevada is in better shape than it was a week ago.

Florida: Florida beat Auburn at home for its second Quad 1 win this season. The Gators are now 2-7 against Quad 1 teams, but have been the only team at-large in the Quad era (since 2018) with a poor record against the top tier. It was Notre Dame (2-8) in 2022, the last team in the field. So, there is still work to be done.

losers

New Mexico: If you’re going to be a home court hero, you really have to win your home games. The Lobos, who don’t have a Quad 1 or 2 win away from home, lost their second straight home game, this time to UNLV. That’s a quad 3 loss, making it the worst loss of the season so far. Now they hit the road at Nevada and San Diego State. Those are great opportunities to fix some issues with their tournament profile.

Utah: Arizona State moved to the Huntsman Center and completed a season sweep of Utah. The loss to the Sun Devils is the Utes’ two worst losses of the season and Saturday’s home loss is their first Quad 3 loss. Utah is headed in the wrong direction, losing four of its last five. The Utes have a road trip to LA next week to try to turn things around.

Oregon: The Ducks lost at home to Washington State, missing out on a season sweep of the Cougars. They have to settle for road-road separation. A win would be a nice springboard into the next part of their schedule, which includes four road games in their next five. Unfortunately for Oregon, those are winnable games now, with the possible exception of March 2 at Arizona.

Check out all the teams on Palms Bubble Watch, the field of 68 and the entire bracket on the Bracketology Hub

Bubble teams in action on Sunday

All the time Eastern

NCAA Tournament locks

Locks based on resume: 3 | Bids Secured: 0 | Major Places Remaining: 29

Acc

0

Big East

1

Yukon

The big ten

1

Purdue

Big 12

1

Houston

Pac-12

0

SEC

0

American

0

other

0

Close to the cut line

Note – All references to NCAA tournament selection records and trends based on NET rankings exclude the 2021 tournament. Due to the short schedule and relatively small number of non-conference games, those rankings are not reliable enough to consider.

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