It was a rough night Tuesday for a couple of blue bloods who are still hoping to make the NCAA Tournament.
Kentucky took the biggest loss of the evening, falling at home to fellow SEC bubbler Arkansas 88-73. The Wildcats are now just 1-7 against Quad 1 opposition with the two most recent of those losses coming at Rupp Arena. Not beating Kansas at home is a lost opportunity for a splashy win. Not beating Arkansas is simply not taking care of business.
The win is a big boost for Arkansas though, which now has two Quad 1 wins away from home. The Razorbacks need to continue to play well because their upcoming schedule gives them good chances to play their way into safety. That could be important because their final three games are at Alabama, at Tennessee and the rematch at home with Kentucky.
North Carolina was down 22 at the half at Wake Forest and while it made a run to get a respectable score late, it ended as a 92-85 win for the Demon Deacons. The Tar Heels drop to 1-8 against Quad 1 opposition and that win is against 11-12 Ohio State. Their only win over a likely at-large team came at home over NC State.
For Wake Forest, it means a season split with UNC and adds another Quad 2 win to the register. The Demon Deacons still need more Quad 1 wins and wins against better teams away from home. Their win at Wisconsin is the only one in either Quads 1 or 2 away from home.
In the Mountain West, Nevada completed a season sweep of New Mexico with a 77-76 win at The Pit. It moves the Wolfpack ahead of the Lobos in the MWC pecking order as we head to the final month of the season.
Wednesday schedules are always packed and this is no exception with 11 bubble teams in action.
NCAA Tournament locks
Locks based on resume: 5 | Bids secured: 0 | At-large spots remaining: 31
On the cut line
|Last Four In||Record||NET|
|First Four Out||Record||NET|
|Next Four Out||Record||NET|
Check out all the teams on Palm's Bubble Watch, the field of the 68 and the entire bracket on the Bracketology hub
Wednesday's 'Double Bubble' game
Wisconsin at Penn State
8:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network, fuboTV (Try for free)
|These two are among the First Four Out in the latest bracket, so at the very least, getting a leg up on the other is at stake for these two teams. The metrics hate the Badgers because they do not win big when they win. They only have three wins all season by more than ten points. Those came against Quad 4 opponents, but Wisconsin has five such games. That may not necessarily keep the Badgers out of the tournament, but they will need to show better against quality opposition. They are only 8-9 against the top three quadrants. They also have four home losses, three of which are against teams they are competing with for a spot in the bracket.|
|The problem for the Nittany Lions, like for so many teams on the bubble, is a general lack of quality wins and/or a poor record against better opposition. PSU has only five wins in 13 games against teams in the top two quadrants. However, Wisconsin will be considered a Quad 3 game if the Nittany Lions win.|
Other bubble teams in action Wednesday
|vs. Creighton, 6:30 p.m. | FS1, fuboTV (Try for free) – The Pirates have won seven of their last eight to put themselves in position to make a run at the field. Creighton demolished them in Omaha, Nebraska, before their hot streak. A win over the Bluejays would likely push them into Friday's bracket projection.|
|vs. Nebraska, 6:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network, fuboTV (Try for free) – Michigan is on the bubble because the Wolverines are just 2-8 against Quad 1 opposition, but also because of a home loss to Central Michigan, which is one of the worst losses any team in position to make the NCAA Tournament has. Their position is precarious enough that they may not recover from a home loss to Nebraska.|
|at USF, 7 p.m. | ESPN+ -- Memphis is the second banana to Houston in the AAC and may eventually have to beat the Cougars to get in the field. Tulane beating the Tigers in Memphis on Saturday really hurt and gave the Green Wave a season sweep. Memphis needs to beat the non-Houston teams home or away at this point. Their margin for error is getting pretty small.|
|vs. Boston College 7 p.m. | ACC Network, fuboTV (Try for free) – One of the big reasons the Hokies are on the bubble is that they are 0-7 on the road, including a loss earlier this season to the Eagles. When you are a home-court hero, you have to keep stacking the home wins until the road opportunities arise.|
|Iowa State, 7 p.m. | ESPN2, fuboTV (Try for free) – This is another great opportunity for the Mountaineers, who are 4-9 vs. Quad 1, but only 8-9 vs the top three quadrants. A record below .500 against that group usually means a trip to the NIT for a bubble team. The Cyclones have been a bit of a home-court hero this season. West Virginia needs to add to ISU's road woes.|
|vs. Texas Tech, 8 p.m. | ESPN+ -- At 14-9, the Cowboys are just hanging on to a spot in the field. They cannot afford to lose at home to the only team in the Big 12 that does not have a realistic shot of making the NCAA Tournament. That does not mean Texas Tech is bad though. OSU better show up ready to go.|
|vs. LSU, 9 p.m. | SEC Network, fuboTV (Try for free) – Mississippi State needs some higher quality wins to make a run at the NCAA Tournament bracket, but that is a problem for another day. Wednesday's game is about taking care of business against a team at home that the Bulldogs should be able to handle.|
|at Alabama, 9 p.m. | ESPN2, fuboTV (Try for free) – The Gators have played a pretty good schedule, but in general, they have not been up to the challenge. Florida is currently 2-8 against Quad 1 teams and 3-10 when you add the Quad 2 games. That is not going to get it done. The home win over Tennessee is great, but more quality is needed. There's no greater quality opportunity than vs. Alabama.|
|vs. San Diego State, 10 p.m. | CBS Sports Network (Channel finder | CBSSports.com | CBS Sports App) -- Utah State is 0-3 against Quad 1 opposition, but that is not the Aggies' biggest problem. It is the two Quad 4 losses dragging them down. They need some big wins to try to overcome that and this is the biggest game left on the regular-season schedule. Boise State in the season finale is the only other current Quad 1 opponent left for USU after Wednesday's game vs. the Aztecs.|
All references to NCAA Tournament selection records and trends refer to pre-pandemic tournaments. Due to shortened schedules and a relatively small number of nonconference games in 2021, those rankings were not reliable enough to be considered.