Tennessee Bubble Watch Day 5: Now or Never

NC State stayed alive yesterday, and is up first in bubble games today.

Yesterday was great for quantity, but now it's about quality. 38 games in 14 conference tournaments today as quarterfinal and semifinal action heats up. In New Orleans (all times eastern, all games SEC Network/ESPN3):

  • Kentucky vs LSU - 1:00 PM If the Cats have a loss in them, a pesky LSU team that plays good defense and can bang inside might be a trendy pick...if not for this play when the two met in Baton Rouge. Not something I think UK is going to forget, not a team I think UK is going to overlook.
  • Florida vs Alabama - 3:30 PM The most intriguing matchup on the board in New Orleans today. Florida won the first round 62-51 in Tuscaloosa, but Bama was still dealing with suspensions. Both teams are in, this one is about seeding and momentum.
  • Tennessee vs Ole Miss - 7:30 PM The main event. Ole Miss can certainly continue to entertain their own bubble hopes if they'd like, while ours remain very much alive. Win or go home.
  • Vanderbilt vs Georgia - 10:00 PM Georgia really dominated Mississippi State last night, and we'll see what they've got against the Commodores in round two. If the Vols are through to Saturday, there's no question a win against Vanderbilt would be worth more than a win against Georgia, but depending on the rest of the bubble the opponent may not matter.

Several bubble teams are still in action elsewhere, and for many of them the conversation has changed from survival to a chance to pickup another quality win, which means it's time to stop cheering for the underdog and start cheering for the favorites, especially in one-bid leagues. The 9:00 PM action is especially heavy, something for us to look forward to if we handle our own business at 7:30:

  • Virginia vs NC State - 2:00 PM - ESPN2 Beating Boston College did little more than help NC State survive another day. But beating Virginia today could possibly move them from outside the bubble to inside the tournament.
  • St. Bonaventure vs St. Joseph's - 2:30 PM - CBS College Sports The Bonnies are the higher seed, but St. Joe's has the more attractive resume right now.
  • Florida State vs Miami - 9:00 PM - ESPN2 The Canes survived Georgia Tech and continue to hover around Tennessee's range in the Last Four In/First Four Out conversation. A win over Florida State would certainly strengthen their cause.
  • Arizona vs Oregon State - 9:00 PM - Fox Sports Net Oregon State took out Washington yesterday, and can crush Arizona's tournament chances with another win today. With Oregon and Washington down you certainly want Cal to win the Pac 12 Tournament and make it a one-bid league, but an Oregon State win today couldn't hurt.
  • Xavier vs Dayton - 9:00 PM - CBS College Sports In the most recent Bracket Matrix, Xavier is the next to last team in, while Dayton is in the Next Four Out. Somebody has to win and lose here, not sure which outcome is best.
  • San Diego State vs Colorado State - 9:00 PM - The Mtn The Rams rolled over TCU yesterday, with their RPI holding at 21. They also should feel safer, and have a chance to score another quality win here.
  • Missouri vs Texas - 10:00 PM - ESPNU The Longhorns escaped Iowa State last night, and will get an RPI boost just by playing Mizzou. The Horns have to be feeling very good about their situation no matter what happens tonight.
We'll have a separate thread for the Vols and Rebels later this evening.

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