Bubble Watch - 3/4

Tonight's Mississippi State game is the most critical of Florida's season to date. The Bulldogs sit at 91st in the latest RPI, so it wouldn't be an ultra high value win, but it would be a top 100 win away from the O'Connell Center. With a 3-6 road record this season, Florida needs to pick up another win away from home.

A victory would also secure a winning SEC season and set up this weekend's game with Kentucky as a likely bid sealing opportunity. Meanwhile, the teams Florida is competing with for the final spaces in the NCAA tournament are in action as well. Here are tonight's key games to keep an eye on.

BOSTON COLLEGE AT NC STATE (7 PM) - BC opened the week at 48 in the RPI, and needs one more victory to secure a winning record in ACC play for the season. They head to Raleigh for their final road game of the season, and with a home game against conference doormat Georgia Tech next a win here probably seals the NCAA deal for BC. NC State may have a chance here, as they're 13-4 at home so far this year and have been competitive in all their games in the past month. Florida needs the Wolfpack to win as much as possible to help the value of their anemic non-conference schedule, and anything which keeps a team from securing a tournament spot is definitely in the Gators interest.

NORTH CAROLINA AT VIRGINIA TECH (7 PM) - The Hokies are at 59 in the RPI and have lost four of their past five games. They desperately need a big win to get back into serious NCAA contention, and knocking off the Tar Heels would certainly qualify. This is VT's final home game, and should they lose it would guarantee them no better than a .500 record in conference play. It's the first time these two teams have seen each other this season, but with UNC one game ahead of Duke and holding hopes of being a one seed in the NCAA tournament motivation should not be a problem for them.

MIAMI AT GEORGIA TECH (7:30 PM) - Miami's recent two game winning streak has gotten them to number 44 in the RPI, but with a 6-8 conference mark they can't afford to trip up against either of their final two ACC opponents. GT's been awful of late, losing their past seven in a row, but they've played much better teams competitively at the Thrillerdome. This is their final home game of the season, which may provide some measure of inspiration for the Yellow Jackets as well.

WISCONSIN AT MINNESOTA (8:30 PM) - Minnesota opened 16-1 and seemed like a sure thing for the NCAA tournament, but they have faltered big time down the stretch to put their chances in question. The Gophers are still at 36 in the RPI, but have won just two games against a team other than 6-22 Indiana since January 15. They are 15-2 at home, making tonight's game with Wisconsin extremely important for them. Should Minnesota come up short, they won't be able to reach a winning record in regular season Big Ten play this year. The Badgers are NCAA bound and playing well right now, having won six of their last seven as they head into Williams Arena.

AIR FORCE AT UNLV (10 PM) - UNLV is at 51 in the latest RPI and missed their chance to boost that number against Utah over the weekend. This game against a bad Air Force squad who has yet to win in Mountain West play can't help the Rebels, but it could finish off their chances. UNLV's dropped four of their past seven, so they aren't playing at a particularly high level right now. It's also a possible look ahead situation, as UNLV's season ending conference game at RPI No. 46 San Diego State may determine which of those two teams gets an NCAA bid.


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