Bubble Trouble

Florida has control of their own fate for the NCAA tournament. Should they win three of their final four regular season games, they're going to be in the field of 65 before they reach conference tournament play.

If they win fewer than that, they'll likely need some breaks. Here are half a dozen games you should keep track of over the 27th and 28th which could help make the difference between NCAA and NIT for the Gators.

Rhode Island at George Washington (Wed, 7:30) - After being considered a solid tournament team earlier in the season thanks to wins against teams like Syracuse and UAB and a strong Atlantic Ten start, Rhode Island is in a free fall. The Rams have lost five of six and have just one home game remaining. GW has been awful this year on the road but has a 7-3 record at home, so they might have a chance to prolong Rhody's misery. A win by the Colonials probably means RI is out unless they make a run in their conference tournament.

Western Kentucky at Florida International (Wed, 7:30) - The Hilltoppers are typically one of the top Sun Belt teams. What's never clear year to year is how much value that has to the selection committee - WKU won the regular season title two years ago, lost in the conference tournament final and was left out of the field. With a six point loss to Tennessee and wins against Nebraska and Michigan in their non conference games, WKU has shown it's at least competitive with the bigger leagues. The Hilltoppers have lost both games to conference leader South Alabama and won the rest on their way to a 22-6 record. A bad conference loss would mean they're out unless they win the Sun Belt tournament. FIU's won three of four, and while they're awful on the road they are 8-7 at home. FIU can do UF a favor with a win here.

Southern Miss at Houston (Wed, 8) - Houston has stumbled recently, dropping two of their past four games. They're currently tied for second in Conference USA, but that league's questionable strength makes any at large teams (besides Memphis should they fail to win the C-USA tourney) questionable to make it into the NCAAs. The Cougars have twenty wins, and the value of their non conference win against Kentucky continues to grow with the Wildcats SEC resurgence. Southern Miss is not an NCAA possibility but has won five of six and is playing their best basketball of the year right now. UF fans should hope they can carry that recent momentum to a road win against Houston.

Baylor at Colorado (Wed, 9:30) - Baylor has fallen apart recently in conference play after a stretch that saw them lose six of seven. A win over Kansas State in their last game got them back to 18-8 and 6-6 in the Big 12. Because of a quality non conference schedule they'd likely be in if the tournament was starting now. All four of Baylor's remaining games appear to be winnable, but a road loss here against a bad Buffaloes squad could send them spiraling out of the NCAA field. Boulder's altitude sometimes helps Colorado spring an upset like this - break out the John Denver records, Gator fans.

St. Louis at St. Joseph's (Thurs, 7) - The Hawks looked like a solid at large choice from the Atlantic Ten until they dropped three of four in a recent stretch. A win against Rhode Island on the road helped their numbers recover, but they're still in jeopardy with another bad loss. SLU is not in contention to be an NCAA team but has been competitive in the conference. Phil Martelli and Rick Majerus are two of the most quotable coaches in college basketball. Florida needs the big guy to get the win here.

UCLA at Arizona State (Thurs, 10:30) - The Sun Devils are on the fringe of the NCAAs now with a 17-9 record and a 7-7 mark in the Pac 10, but a win over UCLA would put them back in a good position. The Bruins have gone 7-1 on the road while ASU has lost three at home. If the favorite takes care of business here, that's good news for UF.

The Heath Cline Show airs daily on Gainesville's Star 99.5 FM

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