Bubble Watch: Crunch time for the bubble

Editor’s note: The NCAA tournament Bubble Watch has been updated through Wednesday, March 13.

Thursday of Champ Week is always lively, and in 2019 the day and evening in question additionally hold the promise of bringing some long-needed clarity to the bubble picture.

There are 26 teams listed under “should be in” or “work to do” at Bubble Watch, and fully 17 of those tournament aspirants will be playing Thursday. Single-elimination conference tournaments being what they are, this is the last time this season we’ll see so many teams trying to play their way to a bid.

Let’s go straight to the focal point of bubble drama and look at teams that are right on or very close to the projected cut line. Many of these teams are playing Thursday, and the stakes, plainly, are do-or-die.

Bubble vs. bubble in the Big Ten

Depending on your mock bracket of choice, Ohio State was either bounced out of the field of 68 when Saint Mary’s won the West Coast Conference automatic bid, or Chris Holtmann’s team is in line to have that happen to it the next time there’s a bid thief. This thing could go either way for OSU depending, in part, on what happens on Thursday against a certain equally motivated opponent named Indiana. The Hoosiers are also right on the line between “in” and “out.”

Longhorns playing to stay alive

A loss to Kansas in the Big 12 quarterfinals would leave Texas 16-16 for the season. Conversely, a win means a team with victories against North Carolina, Purdue, Iowa State and KU is still alive and possibly even dancing.

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