Bubble Watch - 3/7

If Florida doesn't get the job done today against Kentucky, this will be the last edition of bubble watch for this year because their fate will be sealed. A win keeps Florida in play for an NCAA bid, in large part because so many other teams on the edge of the NCAA field have also stumbled repeatedly in the past week.

Here are Saturday's most important games that could assist the Gators NCAA chances should they secure a victory against the Wildcats.

MICHIGAN AT MINNESOTA (noon) - The Gophers are one of three Big Ten teams (along with Ohio State and Penn State) who won important games this week. Michigan, on the other hand, did not. The Wolverines sit at 8-9 in conference play and are tied for eighth in the Big Ten standings. They're 2-8 in road games, with both those wins coming in overtime. Michigan shouldn't be a tournament team, but early season wins against Duke and UCLA are keeping them in contention. Minnesota is feeling good after a win earlier this week but could use another victory to be sure they're in. If the Gophers get it, Michigan will have to make a major conference tournament run or they're done.

MISSOURI AT TEXAS A&M (2 PM) - The Aggies have put themselves in the field on most NCAA projections heading into the weekend by going on a five-game winning streak. That sounds impressive, but only a home win against Texas was one that came against a potential NCAA team. Should they lose here, the Aggies would be just a .500 Big 12 team. A win against a likely high NCAA seed in Missouri would seal the deal that Texas A&M is tournament bound. Naturally, all the other bubble teams are hoping that won't happen.

NEW MEXICO AT WYOMING (3:30 PM) - New Mexico has been on a tear ever since February began. They've won seven of their last eight and are now tied for first in the Mountain West Conference standings. Earlier losses to teams like Drake and UCF have their RPI number still in the 60s, and they've just begun to make the NCAA field on most bracket projections. The Lobos are 5-6 on the road this season, and the only two road wins in their recent hot streak were against the worst two teams in the MWC. Laramie is a challenging place to play, and Wyoming has won four of five themselves. A Cowboys win here likely puts New Mexico in the position of needing to win some games at their conference tournament to get in the field of 65.

MARYLAND AT VIRGINIA (3:30 PM) - Virginia's not a very good team, but they could do Florida a huge favor here. Should they defeat Maryland, the Terrapins would end up the regular season as an 18 win team two games below .500 in the ACC and likely would be out of the NCAA field without success in the conference tournament. Maryland has just two road wins all season, and UVA has been competitive at home despite only winning three conference games. The Terrapins won the meeting in their arena by just six, so Virginia might be able to surprise them here.

STANFORD AT ARIZONA (7:30 PM) - Arizona has dropped four straight coming down the stretch, including Thursday night's defeat by Cal. Stanford had struggled as of late as well, but sprung a surprise on Arizona State the same evening. The Wildcats lost to the Cardinal by sixteen the first time they met, so there's definite hope that Stanford can prolong Arizona's recent misfortunes.


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