Bubble Watch -- 3/7

Florida gets another chance to end the Bubble Watch in Lexington today. The odds don't seem very good that they get the job done, but considering some of yesterday's surprises, anything is possible. Should the Gators not win, they'll continue to need other teams they're fighting with for the final spots in the NCAA tournament to falter.

There were some unexpected breaks for the Gators yesterday, including Rhode Island losing to an 11-19 UMass. Here are today's games to keep an eye on that could bolster Florida's shot at the field.


The Illini have lost four of their last five heading into this one, and six of their ten Big Ten victories are against the ninth through 11th teams in the conference standings. The best win they have all season may well be their road victory over Wisconsin, as it's one of just four over they have over sure tourney teams. Should they complete a sweep of the Badgers it would definitely help their resume. The Gators clearly want a Wisconsin win here.


In the midst of one of the more mediocre ACC hoops seasons in memory, there have still been steady projections of seven teams making the field. Inevitably some were going to stumble and fall out of contention, and Wake Forest has done their best to do just that. The Demon Deacons have dropped four in a row, including a stunning home loss to North Carolina. Should Clemson triumph here, Wake heads into the ACC tournament at .500 in the conference and just 18-10 overall. Some nice early season wins against Gonzaga, Xavier and Richmond will keep their resume in play, but a loss here followed by another in the ACC tournament would likely mean they're done. With Clemson already securely in, they're in position to help UF a lot with a win.


Minnesota is clearly on the wrong side of the NCAA line right now, but they're close enough to it that a nice run in the Big Ten tournament might get them a look. If they win this one, Tubby Smith's team would wrap up the regular season at .500 in conference play and 18-12 overall. Losing at home to an awful Iowa team would push them so far back that nothing short of winning the Big Ten tournament and getting the conference's automatic spot would put the Gophers in. It's not likely, but if it happens it helps UF.


This is a semifinal game in the WCC tournament. The winner is almost certain to face Gonzaga in the final, which they will be expected to lose (The Zags swept both in conference play). Portland has no chance of getting an NCAA bid unless they win that game, but St. Mary's is currently being projected as one of the last teams in by several bracket gurus. Losing to Portland for the second time this season might be enough to put them on the outside of the field looking in, which makes it what Florida would like to see happen.

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