Bubble Watch -- 3/3-4

Florida knew again yesterday that a win would seal the deal for them with the NCAA tournament. As has been the perpetual late season storyline of the past three years, they failed to get it. Much as I wish it was not necessary to do so, the Bubble Watch continues. Here are the next two days worth of games to keep an eye on which can help the Gators chances since they refuse to do so themselves.


An NC State win here would help Florida in two ways. The Wolfpack is still hovering just outside the RPI Top 100. A road win here would boost their value as one of UF's road wins, and if it got them into the top 100 that would be even better. Beyond that, Virgnia Tech is the definition of a fringe tournament team right now. Their non ACC schedule was dreadful, and they've lost three in a row. A win here won't clinch the Hokies a tournament spot, but a home loss could be the thing that keeps them out without an impressive showing at the conference tournament.


Both of these teams are on the bubble, but Notre Dame winning is the better option for Florida's hopes. The Fighting Irish began the week twenty spots back of the Gators in the RPI, while UConn was two spots ahead. A road win would help the Huskies much more than a home win will help Notre Dame. The only good thing that could come for the Gators out of a UConn win is that ND would be totally finished off, but they're unlikely to pass UF in the tournament pecking order regardless of what they do.


Like the previous game, this one features a pair of teams still potentially in the running for the tournament. Unlike that one, the road team would be the preferred winner here. Rhode Island looked to be on their way into the NCAA field before losing four of their last five games, including their most recent one to a St. Bonaventure squad outside the RPI Top 150. A Charlotte win would almost certainly knock the Rams out of the RPI Top 40 and would keep it from being a sure thing that they'd even finish at .500 in the Atlantic 10. Even with a win, Charlotte's still would be clearly on the outside looking in at the NCAA field with a lot more work to do.


Dayton doesn't have enough on their resume to be an NCAA team right now, but a road win over a top 25 RPI team could be enough to get them into the mix. With Richmond having beaten Florida earlier this season on a neutral court, it would be a potential comparison point in the Flyers favor if they were able to beat the Spiders on the road.

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