College Hoops

Bubble Watch 2023: Oregon, Florida among teams with work to do

Andy Katz

With the calendar turning to February this week, we can officially use the word “bubble.”

Ha! There are no rules. Still, this early in the season the roster of teams straddling the cut line is long and varied across the country.

Last week, we looked at the full bubble list.

[Michigan, Creighton, USC among teams on NCAA Tournament bubble]

But this past week provided some results to expand the list.ย 

Here are five new teams that have to be considered as teams to watch going forward.

College of Charleston (21-2): The Cougars just had their 20-game win streak snapped by Hofstra. Thatโ€™s the second loss of the season for Charleston and first in the CAA. The only other defeat was to North Carolina.

The assumption a week ago was that Charleston would win the CAA. But thatโ€™s no longer a given with Hofstra and Towson just a game back. Still, if Charleston wins the regular-season league title โ€” and the Cougars should do so by at least a game โ€” but then lose to either Hofstra or Towson in the tournament title game, it would be extremely difficult to keep them out of the field with only three total losses.ย 

A four-loss Charleston wouldnโ€™t be a slam dunk to make the field. That would mean one more CAA loss on the record. The Towson game on Feb. 23 is at home, and if Charleston were to lose that one, then that would be two home losses to its nearest contenders. That would not be a good look for the committee.

Saint Louis (15-6): The case for the Billikens begins with the wins over Providence on a neutral court (at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut) in November, and over Memphis at home. Both came in November, but they count the same.

Saint Louis did play a strong non-conference schedule, losing at Auburn and to Maryland in that same event at the Mohegan Sun. A loss to Boise State would also count on the “good loss” page. SLU is 7-1 in the A-10 after winning at Davidson and is 15-6 overall.

If SLU can win the A-10 and then lose in the conference tournament to one of the other contenders like VCU, then SLU will be in the conversation for a bid. The problem for the Billikens is the remaining schedule. Itโ€™s not going to be easy, yet the opportunities are available with a road game at Dayton and home-and-away contests vs. VCU. Beating Fordham in the Bronx isnโ€™t going to be a walk, either. But if SLU can win the league by a game, at least, then the argument will be strong for the Billikens to be included in…

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