Sunday Bubble Watch

With Florida failing to help itself against Mississippi State Saturday, it becomes more important than ever for other teams who are competing with them for the last NCAA spots to lose. Some, like Syracuse, Ohio State and Kent State, helped out yesterday. Here are six more games for Florida fans to keep an eye on Sunday.

Kentucky at Tennessee, noon - Patrick Patterson's injury takes this game from one Kentucky would have been an underdog in to one they'll be expected to get thrashed in. The NCAA selection committee takes key injuries into account, meaning UK's record without Patterson will outweigh all the rest of their SEC success to this point if they cool off now. This is your last chance to see Bruce Pearl's orange jacket in the regular season. If you're a Gator fan, you want it to be a winning occasion for him.

Villanova at Louisville, 4 p.m. - This is a huge game for Villanova. A win gives them a great shot at a winning Big East record, while a loss ensures they can do no better than break even in conference play. Heading into the weekend, the Wildcats were at 61 in the RPI. A win over number 12 would move them either past Florida or very close to them and would also be their fifth against top 50 competition (UF has just one so far). Villanova's had a week to get ready for this game. Rick Pitino can really help out his protege Billy Donovan with a win here.

UCLA at Arizona, 4 p.m. - Arizona's lost five of their past seven and lost to UCLA by 22 earlier this season. If Ben Howland's team can do that again it would ensure no winning Pac 10 record or twenty win regular season for Arizona. Questions have begun to surface about the Wildcats long term coaching situation and whether Kevin O'Neill is the right guy to take over should Lute Olson not return. Those may be a distraction for the team, plus this is their last home game of the season. Unlike the last two Final Fours, Gator fans are big believers in UCLA today.

Temple at St. Joseph's, 7 p.m. - This might be Florida's biggest opportunity game of the day. St. Joseph's entered the weekend at 54 in the RPI. A loss would be their fifth in seven games. It would also increase the value of Temple, who sit at 79 in the RPI as Florida's best non-conference win this season. There's no scenario where the Owls reach the tournament, despite the two teams being tied for second in the Atlantic Ten. Break out the Cosby Show DVDs for the next couple of weeks, because UF loves Temple right now.

Clemson at Maryland, 8 p.m. - One year after going 17-0 and then melting away down the stretch, Clemson should be in the NCAA tournament field this year. With an RPI of 59 and losses in three of their last five games, Maryland has considerably more to worry about. This is their last home game, but they've lost five there already. As long as the Clemson team that sleepwalked though their game at FSU two weeks ago doesn't show up, the Tigers should be able to give UF some assistance here.

Oregon at Oregon State, 10 p.m. - Florida's opponent from the Elite Eight last year has surprisingly struggled this season. Despite having the core of that team (as well as their gorgeous dance team) back for another season, the Ducks have struggled to a 6-9 record in conference play and are 3-8 in their last eleven. One of those wins was over Oregon State, which is still winless in Pac 10 play. There's almost no scenario where Oregon could lose this, but it would serve UF's interests if they could.

The Heath Cline Show airs daily from 11-1 on Gainesville's Star 99.5 FM


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