Sunday Bubble Watch

Saturday saw the continuation of what has been a disturbing tend for Florida since Tuesday - most of the teams they need to lose have been winning.

Bad news included Syracuse's win over Marquette, Georgia Southern losing a fourth straight to close their season, Jacksonville losing in the A-Sun final and Alabama's upset of Vanderbilt (which secured them a spot as UF's opponent on the first day of the SEC tourney instead of Auburn).

The day wasn't a complete letdown, as Houston and St. Joseph's suffered key losses and Temple won another game to continue to raise the value of that non conference UF win. Florida knows the most important thing they need to have happen today is a road win over Kentucky. Beyond that, here are other games which potentially affect the Gators NCAA chances.

Michigan State at Ohio State, noon - The Buckeyes already sprang one upset this week with a home win over Purdue in overtime. Another win here would secure a winning conference record and indicate they closed on a strong note, neither of which would be good news for Florida. The Gators are particularly vulnerable in comparison with Ohio State because of their head to head loss in the regular season, so UF fans should root for as many Buckeye losses as possible.

Virginia Tech at Clemson, 1:30 - The winner gets sole possession of the third place spot in the ACC. VT is 3-6 on the road this season but has closed on a four game winning streak that probably would have them in the NCAA field if the selections were made today. A Clemson win would put pressure on the Hokies to come up with at least one victory in the ACC tournament or potentially miss out on March Madness.

UNC Greensboro vs Davidson, 6 - Davidson is 20-0 in the Southern Conference and will almost certainly get an at large bid to the tournament should they fail to win their conference tournament. A four point loss to Duke and a six point loss to UNC drive home the point that this is a much higher quality small conference team than we're used to seeing. Florida would like them to roll through the Southern tournament to the championship and an automatic NCAA bid.

Maryland at Virginia, 7:30 - Maryland has lost four of six and is likely on the outside looking in at the NCAA field right now. A loss here would put them at .500 in conference play for the season and give them a third defeat to a team ranked in the 100s in the RPI. A win doesn't help Maryland all that much, but a loss would be a major negative for the Terps. UVA is not a factor for the tournament at all, so UF needs a win from them.

North Texas vs Western Kentucky in Mobile, AL, 10 - This is a Sun Belt tournament game. South Alabama is hosting the event and is expected to qualify as an at large should they lose. The Hilltoppers are 52 in the RPI, have 24 wins and their only two conference losses were to South Alabama. WKU has no wins against the RPI top 50, which may hold them back unless they win the Sun Belt. They beat North Texas by ten earlier in the season. For Florida's purposes, the quicker WKU is gone the happier they are.

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

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