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Stanford Bubble Guide - 3/1

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Welcome to March

NCAA Basketball: Stanford at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in 6 years, Stanford enters March with non-trivial hopes of reaching the NCAA tournament. With Colorado in Maples this afternoon, they have a serious chance to bolster their resume.

Colorado Preview

The Buffs have lost two straight, including a shocker Thursday at Cal. But if they win their last two, they have a shot at sharing a conference title. Needless to say, they’ll be motivated.

Despite missing Bryce Wills and being mired with foul trouble, Stanford had them on the ropes in Boulder before Oscar da Silva’s head injury. Wills is questionable for this game. If he plays, expect to see him defending All-Conference Tyler Bey, which will allow Oscar to shift onto Evan Battey and Lukas Kisunas to come off the bench.

Stanford lost the last meeting because they didn’t have their full complement of defensive firepower. Even if Wills can’t go, having Oscar could be enough to change things. Their two worst defensive performances were that game (he played 12 minutes) and the ASU game he missed. Having him in the middle changes everything.

If they can win today, they’ll move to 5-5 in Quadrant 1 games. They currently sit in the field in roughly half of all bracket projections, and that might be enough to move them into most of the others for the time being. Stanford is a 1 point favorite.

Quadrant Straddlers

UCLA’s win last night moved them to 75th in the NET. They need to stay top 75 to count as Quad 1 for Stanford

Oklahoma jumped 7 spots to 42nd yesterday. They need to stay top 50 to count as Quad 1

Washington is 69th after their loss to WSU on Friday. They need to stay top 75 for the win in Seattle to be Quad 1

Oregon State is 72nd. Stanford will have a Quad 1 opportunity next week in Corvallis, if they can stay top 75

Cal is 138th, actually dropping a spot after beating Utah. If they move to 135th, Stanford’s lone Quad 3 loss becomes a Quad 2 loss

Bubble Competitors

In alphabetical order:

Alabama, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Georgetown, Indiana, Memphis, Minnesota, Mississippi State, NC State, Oklahoma, Purdue, Rhode Island, Richmond, Rutgers, South Carolina, Texas, UCLA, USC, Utah State, Wichita State, Xavier

There are roughly 9 spots for these 22 teams (including Stanford)

Bid Stealers

East Tennessee State is seen as a near lock now. They’re given a <40% chance of winning the SoCon tourney, which could mean a bid gets “stolen” by UNC Greensboro or Furman. Stanford fans should be ETSU fans.

Likewise, Northern Iowa has a strong chance to make it, even if they slip up in Arch Madness. They have roughly a 40% chance of getting the auto bid, which could see Loyola Chicago or someone else steal a bid.

Tulsa has taken the regular season lead in the AAC. Houston is the lone lock in the conference, and the preferred AAC tourney champ for bubble teams. Cincinnati and Wichita State are firmly on the bubble, while Tulsa has no chance without the auto bid. Their tournament will have major ripples felt on Selection Sunday.

There’s a 25% chance someone other than San Diego State or Utah State wins the MWC tourney, and thus steals a bid. It’s hard to say if it would be a three bid league in that case, of if USU would be left home. But either way, it’s best for Stanford if SDSU wins, and somewhat tolerable if the Aggies win.

2/29 Rooting Guide

Root for the bolded teams

Cincinnati vs Houston

Houston is safely in the field, but Cincinnati’s fighting for a spot alongside Stanford. A win at Houston would give them a strong Quad 1 win and bolster their hopes.

Xavier vs Georgetown

Xavier is currently on the right side of the bubble, while Georgetown has nearly had theirs burst. A win for Xavier would count as Quad 1, and make it difficult for Stanford to overtake them. It’s better if the Hoyas win this one

Wichita State vs SMU

The Shockers are right on the bubble, with this game nudging them slightly either way. SMU could conceivably move top 75 with a win which would help other AAC teams, but it’s obviously still better if Wichita State takes the direct hit.

Saint Louis vs Rhode Island

Rhode Island is teetering on the brink. They still play Dayton, which could push them in regardless of how this game goes. But if they lose here and lose on Wednesday to the Flyers, it’s hard to see a path for them and their single Quad 1 win.

Indiana vs Illinois

The Illini are a lock, and Indiana will be if they win today. But if they lose this one, they’ll still have to take care of some business to hear their name called.

Minnesota vs Wisconsin

The Golden Gophers are on the bubble, insomuch as they can still make it if they go on a serious winning streak. A loss today would probably burst their hail mary chances.

Northwestern vs Nebraska

These are the worst teams the Big 10 has to offer, and you’re better off not watching this game. Neither team will play much of a relevant part in anyone’s resume, at least in a way that will change based on this result. But the numbers say it’s ever so slightly favorable if Northwestern pulls this one out.

South Florida vs Temple

A South Florida loss today could move them from being a Quad 2 on the road to being a Quad 3. With multiple AAC teams on the bubble, that could make a difference.

Creighton vs St. John’s

If the Johnnies lose, a road win against them will no longer count as Quad 1, which matters for Xavier and Georgetown.

Western Kentucky vs North Texas

WKU has an overtime win over Arkansas and an overtime loss to Rhode Island. Having them drop a little is beneficial to Stanford.

Virginia Tech vs Louisville

This game doesn’t have any clear implications, but it’s a little better for Stanford if Louisville comes out on top.

Florida Atlantic vs Old Dominion

ODU has losses to Richmond and Northern Iowa (who could be on the bubble if they lose). They aren’t a major domino, but they make a sliver of a difference.

Marist vs Quinnipiac

I don’t know in what world you find yourself watching this game between sub-.500 Metro Atlantic teams. But if you appreciate every infinitesimal bit of NET help and you can pronounce their name, root for Quinnipiac.