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Thursday Afternoon Live Thread

Wednesday seemed like a good day for the bubble. Let’s cheer for additional good fortune.

NCAA Basketball: Florida at Vanderbilt Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt plays Texas A&M tonight at 6:00 PM CT, but this being March, there’s plenty of basketball on this afternoon.

First, there’s the afternoon session of the SEC Tournament: Georgia plays Tennessee for the right to lose to Kentucky on Friday, followed by Alabama facing Mississippi State in the second game. Neither game is particularly interested from a bubble perspective, and Alabama-Mississippi State likely won’t be aesthetically either.

So let’s get to the games of consequence for a bubble team. Early on, at 11 AM, Michigan plays Illinois and we’d rather this Illinois thing get put to bed right now. At 11:30, MTSU opens the C-USA Tournament against UTSA. While MTSU winning is probably good for us, in that C-USA doesn’t have anybody else who remotely belongs in the at-large pool... it’s MTSU, so I’ll give you a pass if you can’t bring yourself to actually root for them to win.

At 1:30, Marquette plays Seton Hall. That’s of minor interest as far as the bubble is concerned since Marquette’s probably in at this point, and anyway, Marquette winning helps our strength of schedule. Also, TCU plays Kansas — and, well, let’s just say we want the Jayhawks to keep the Horned Frogs from getting any ideas.

At 2:00, Nevada plays Utah State. Nevada, like MTSU, is in a situation where they might not actually be an at-large team, but we’d rather they just win the automatic bid than get thrown into the at-large pool. And at 4:30, Cal plays Utah in the Pac-12 tournament. Utah’s at-large case is somehow even fringier than Cal’s, so really we’re rooting for the Utes to win and then get whacked by Oregon on Friday.

There are, of course, some games of interest tonight as well: Indiana-Iowa at 5:30, Xavier-Butler at 6, Rutgers-Northwestern at 7:30, Kansas State-Baylor at 8 — but we’ve covered all the big games this afternoon.