BUBBLE WATCH: TCU, St. John's earn big Wednesday wins


Desmond Bane’s clutch 3-pointer was a great thing for TCU’s NCAA Tournament aspirations.

Several mid-major programs trying to squeeze into the Big Dance probably aren’t as thrilled.

Bane’s corner 3-pointer in the closing seconds pushed TCU over Oklahoma State 73-70 in the Big 12 Tournament . The Horned Frogs (20-12) were one of a few bubble teams that improved their resume with much-needed wins on Wednesday.

TCU coach Jamie Dixon said the win put the Horned Frogs “in a good spot” when asked if he thought his program was going to the NCAA Tournament.

“Twenty wins in the Big 12, toughest conference in the country and we played a tough nonconference, so I would think so,” Dixon said. “But you never know what plays out in the other things.”

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Syracuse, St. John’s and NC State all helped their profile with wins in their respective conference tournaments. Syracuse beat Pittsburgh 73-59 for its 20th win of the season, St. John’s beat DePaul 82-74 and NC State knocked off another bubble team Clemson 59-58.

All those wins aren’t good news for several mid-majors that hope to earn at-large bids into the 68-team field. UNC Greensboro, Belmont and Lipscomb are among several teams that almost certainly would have rather seen Bane’s 3-pointer bounce off the iron.

TCU – which blew a 21-point lead in the second half against Oklahoma State before Bane’s heroics – will feel even better about its Big Dance chances if it can beat No. 15 Kansas State on Thursday.

Here’s a look at the rising and falling fortunes of some bubble teams, as well as upcoming big games:


NC State: The Wolfpack’s win over Clemson was much-needed for the resume, which now includes 22 wins. An upset over No. 2 Virginia on Thursday would be even better.

TCU: The Horned Frogs can add another marquee win by knocking off nationally-ranked Kansas State on Thursday.

St. John’s: The Red Storm (21-11) needed that win over DePaul after closing the regular season with three straight losses.


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Clemson: The loss to NC State hurts and now there’s no opportunity for the Tigers to improve their resume. Clemson (19-13) has a NET ranking that’s still hovering in the mid-30s so there’s a chance the Tigers get in the field.

Lipscomb: The Bisons (25-7) are among several mid-major programs that can’t improve their win total and are watching while programs like NC State and TCU rise.

Oklahoma: It’s a stretch to say the Sooners’ hopes are fading considering most mock brackets don’t have them in much trouble, but Wednesday’s 72-71 loss to West Virginia was not optimal. Oklahoma now has a 19-13 record, including a 7-12 mark against teams in the Big 12.


Indiana vs. Ohio State: Both the Hoosiers (17-14, 8-12 Big Ten) and the Buckeyes (18-13, 8-12) are in an equally desperate situation to win this game. Indiana’s got the recent momentum, winning four straight to end the regular season.

Arkansas vs. Florida: The Gators (17-14, 9-9 Southeastern Conference) lost three straight to end the regular season to fall squarely on the bubble. A win against Arkansas would certainly help. The Razorbacks (17-14, 8-10) have ultra-slim at-large hopes of their own, but it would likely take a deep run in the SEC Tournament and some bubble luck to end up in the bracket.

Creighton vs. Xavier: The Bluejays and Musketeers both appear to be on the bubble, even though Creighton (18-13, 9-9 Big East) might have a slightly stronger case at the moment. Regardless, neither team can afford to lose this one. Xavier (17-14, 9-9) has won six of its past seven games just to get into the conversation.

Alabama vs. Ole Miss: The Rebels (20-11, 10-8 SEC) are in pretty good shape to make the bracket no matter what happens this week. Alabama has much more to worry about. The Tide (17-14, 8-10) really need to beat Ole Miss and maybe win another game or two.

Texas vs. Kansas: Texas (16-15, 8-10 Big 12) have one of the bubble’s stranger profiles thanks to a win-loss record that’s just above .500. The Longhorns might be able to survive a loss to Kansas on Thursday and still get in the bracket, but it won’t be easy.


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