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Stanford Bubble Guide, 2-29

What to cheer for on a big Saturday slate

NCAA Basketball: Arizona at Stanford Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Entering Friday, Stanford was in the first four out of a number of bracket projections, including being the first team out in Lunardi’s. It was a fairly sparse schedule of games on Friday, so that more than likely didn’t change.

Stanford Wins Necessary: 3

As I’ve said before, the magic number for Stanford is 3 more wins, including Vegas. If they do that, they’ll have a strong chance at being in the field. But bid stealers are always a thing, so any help they can get could go a long way.

Quadrant Straddlers

UCLA is 76th in the NET. If they move to 75th, Stanford picks up another Quad 1 win

Oklahoma is 49th. They need to stay top 50 to be a Quad 1 win

Washington is 68th after their loss to WSU last night. They need to stay top 75 for the win in Seattle to be Quad 1

Oregon State is 71st. Stanford will have a Quad 1 opportunity next week in Corvallis, if they can stay top 75.

Cal is 137th. If they move to 135th, Stanford’s lone Quad 3 loss becomes a Quad 2 loss

Bubble Competitors

In alphabetic order:

Alabama, Arkansas, Cincinnati, East Tennessee State, Georgetown, Indiana, Liberty, Memphis, Mississippi State, NC State, Northern Iowa, Oklahoma, Providence, Purdue, Rhode Island, Richmond, Rutgers, South Carolina, UCLA, USC, Utah State, Wichita State, Xavier

There is room for roughly 10-12 of these 24 (including Stanford)

2/29 Rooting Guide

Root for the bolded teams

Providence vs Villanova

Providence has had a late surge to put themselves on the bubble. They’re in a similar position to Stanford, where every game is enormous.

Arizona State vs USC

At this point, ASU would have to nosedive to miss the field of 68. USC, on the other hand, is very vulnerable. A USC loss and a Stanford win would likely see the two teams flip flop in bracket projections.

Arizona vs UCLA

This one is confusing. UCLA is direct bubble competition for Stanford, so them winning could take a spot. But the numbers give a slight edge to a Bruin win, presumably because it would give Stanford an additional Q1 victory.

Oklahoma vs West Virginia

This is similarly confusing. Oklahoma losing could drop them below Stanford, but them winning would preserve one of the Cardinal’s Q1 wins. The numbers say this is roughly a tossup, but Oklahoma winning helps slightly more.

Texas A&M vs LSU

LSU is probably safely in, but their NET sits at 33, so what they do the rest of the way has a major bearing on the resumes of other teams. If they make the top 30, Alabama and others would have an extra Q1 win

Utah State vs New Mexico

The Aggies don’t have much margin for error. A loss here might move them to the wrong side of the bubble, and if not, certainly a second one would.

Drake vs Northern Iowa

Northern Iowa doesn’t show up on the bubble because they’re expected to win the Missouri Valley. But if they don’t win their tourney, the MVC could suddenly become a two bid league, which steals a spot from the bubble. Another UNI loss or two could change that, and turn it into a one-bid league regardless of who wins Arch Madness.

Western Carolina vs East Tennessee State

ETSU isn’t on the bubble, since they’re the presumed SoCon champ. Just like UNI, they need to lose a game or two to prevent the SoCon from having a shot at a bid stealer come tourney time

The Citadel vs Furman

This seems out there, but Furman is the second best team in the SoCon, and a road loss against them counts as a Quad 1 for bubble team ETSU. A loss to 338th ranked The Citadel might change that.

Lipscomb vs Liberty

Liberty has slim bubble hopes, but their gaudy record makes it possible. A loss to Lipscomb would end all that.

South Carolina vs Alabama

Both teams are bubble teams, but a road win would help South Carolina more than a home win would help Alabama (Q1 vs Q2).

Lamar vs Stephen F Austin

The Lumberjacks of SFA likely have no bubble hopes, but they’ve only lost 3 games this year and have a win at Cameron Indoor. A regular season loss to Lamar would destroy that sliver of slivers.

UMass vs Richmond

The Spiders are hanging on by a thread, so to speak. They’re a fellow member of the First Four Out

Pittsburgh vs NC State

NC State leapfrogged Stanford after they beat Duke, but a loss to Pitt would drop them back behind the Cardinal

Florida vs Tennessee

Florida might move to NET top 30 with a win, which would make a home game against them Q1. With multiple SEC teams on the bubble, a Vols win is better for Stanford

Utah vs Cal

If Cal wins today, they’ll likely convert Stanford’s lone Q3 loss into a Q2 loss, which would optically be huge.

Elon vs William & Mary

Marcus Sheffield plays for Elon, but Stanford would rather the Tribe win. W&M is 162nd, which puts them 2 spots away from jumping from a Q4 win to a Q3 win for Stanford.

San Francisco vs Loyola Marymount

This would help Stanford’s NET ever so slightly

Kansas vs Kansas State

Likewise, this has little bearing, but a KU win is slightly preferable

Saint Mary’s vs Gonzaga

SMC isn’t 100% safely in yet, but a win over Gonzaga would change that.

Memphis vs Tulane

The bubble may have already burst for the Tigers, but this would end it once and for all

Kentucky vs Auburn

Auburn sits at 27th in the NET, which makes a home game against them Q1. If they drop 4 spots, the SEC bubble teams take a hit

San Diego State vs Nevada

A Nevada win has a chance to move them into the top 75, which would be beneficial for teams who played them in Reno, including USC.

UNC Greensboro vs Chattanooga

A loss by UNCG would erase one of the two East Tennessee State Quad 1 wins