Home > Bubble Banter, Current Updates > Bubble Banter: Pittsburgh, California have work to do

Bubble Banter: Pittsburgh, California have work to do

dave1A month ago, Pittsburgh was a no-doubt NCAA Tournament team.  The Panthers had battled Cincinnati, Syracuse, and Virginia to the final seconds in close losses.  Their efficiency numbers suggested a team that could win in March.  All they needed was a couple of notable victories to validate their position.  The problem: those victories have yet to materialize.

Bubble Banter – Update

Instead, less than two weeks before Selection Sunday, we find a Pittsburgh resume with only one victory against a projected NCAA team: Stanford (in November).  Since then, the Panthers have managed four Top 100 RPI wins: Maryland (twice), Clemson, and NC State.  And Monday night, the Wolfpack returned the favor by beating Pitt on its home floor.  So where does this leave the Panthers?  As a team with some work to do between now and March 16.  The one thing helping Pitt beyond those close losses is the absence of any bad losses (to sub-100 RPI teams).  Will that hold up if the Panthers take an early exit from the ACC Tournament?

After handing Arizona its first loss, it appeared that California might reside safely above the cutline.  The victory over the Wildcats backed up road wins at Stanford and Oregon.  Since beating the Wildcats, however, the Bears have dropped four of seven games – including lopsided losses at Arizona and Arizona State this past week.  Their best wins in that stretch?  The Washington schools and USC (a team Cal lost to earlier).  The Bears also have a loss to UC-Santa Barbara.  Add it all up and Cal can’t feel secure – which leaves work to do.

Championship Week should be full of twists and turns.  If you’re into bubble watching, set your DVR for the Atlantic 10, Big East, SEC, and Big 10 tournaments.  It might also be a good idea to keep an eye on the Mountain West, West Coast, and Conference USA events.

Heading into action tonight (March 4), an estimated 17 at-large positions remain open.  That’s a high number this close to Selection Sunday.  While a few or those positions may disappear by the weekend, the bubble may not shrink that much.  There are still two or three teams trying to make a late push for consideration.  We’ll see how the week unfolds.

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