“On The Bubble”
1) Villanova Wildcats (18-12, 9-8, 8th Big East)
Just like I said last week, the 2013 Villanova Wildcats are definitely not your dad’s Villanova team and they would be a shoe-in for March Madness in the past. The Wildcats took another step back this past week. First, they took their (arguably) “first” bad loss of the season at Seton Hall, 65-66. Then, they lose another road game at Pittsburgh, 64-73. These were two games that the Wildcats NEEDED to win, more so, than their upcoming game against Georgetown.
Villanova will have one more home game against the Hoyas and a win could be their “saving grace.” However, they will most likely need to look to the Big East conference tournament to make their case.
2) Kentucky Wildcats (20-9, 11-5, 2nd SEC)
Kentucky has only lost two games since Nerlens Noel went down with an ACL injury on February 12th against Florida. However, it is how and who they have lost to. This week, the Wildcats added another “bad loss” to their tournament resume. That bad loss came against the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday. Be assured that the selection committee will judge Kentucky’s tournament chances based off of their play post-Noel.
The Kentucky Wildcats will be living life on the bubble all the way until Selection Sunday. Yes, a win against the Gators on Senior Day would definitely help the Wildcats, but they are very unlikely to win unless Noel makes a miracle recovery.
3) Virginia Cavaliers (20-9, 10-6, 4th ACC )
The Virginia Cavaliers made a big case for their tournament chances this week against the Duke Blue Devils. However, they shock the Blue Devils, then lose to Boston College on the road in their next game. Virginia has nice wins against Duke (home) and Wisconsin (road), but also has SIX bad losses this season. To show this, look at their records. Virginia is a pretty good 7-2 against the Top 100, but are 13-7 against teams outside the Top 100.
Virginia showed that they can be a tournament team with their win over Duke. Now, they need to keep showing us that they BELONG in the NCAA Tournament. They have two games against Florida State and Maryland. The Cavaliers already need to do some work in the ACC conference tournament and, because of that, these last two regular season games are must win games.
4) North Carolina Tar Heels (21-8, 11-5, 3rd ACC)
North Carolina was able to pick up two wins this past week, but neither of them could get the Tar Heels off the bubble. The biggest issue with them is that they do not have enough road wins. Yes, they won on the road this week against Clemson, but come on. It’s Clemson. Enough said, right? UNC might need to wait until the ACC Conference Tournament for more quality wins away from Chapel Hill. Overall, they are 16-2 against teams outside the Top 50 compared to 2-6 against teams in the Top 50. Since their last loss to the Duke Blue Devils, the Tar Heels have won five straight games including a win over N.C. State.
The Tar Heels will play Duke again on March 9th. A win against Duke would do nothing, but help their tournament resume.