As the great Freddie Mercury once sung— “another one bites the dust.”
Queen Lyrics aside, last weekend helped the A-10 conference teams’ chances of potentially securing bids to the NCAA Tournament. The Washington Huskies “bit the dust” after a dismantling loss to the top-10 Oregon Ducks. The Tulsa Golden Hurricanes also hurt their chances losing to the Memphis Tigers at Memphis. However, all good news comes with bad news. The Vanderbilt Commodores upset the Kentucky Wildcats, likely locking up a bid for the team. And of course the George Washington Colonials now most likely have to win the A-10 conference tournament, after a loss to the VCU Rams. However, the bubble teams remaining (St. Joseph’s, VCU, St. Bonaventure) still need to pay attention to this week’s matchups.
With that, let’s take a look at three matchups this week that could affect the bubble teams in the A-10.
1. Grand Canyon at St. Mary’s: 10:00PM EST N/A
The St. Mary’s Gaels made quick work of the San Francisco Dons 84-72 last Saturday. However, the Gaels now face off with a team that may be able to pose a challenge in the Grand Canyon Antelopes. Ineligible for an NCAA bid due to being in the four-year transition period to division one, the Antelopes have only lost five games thus far this season. With wins over the Hampton Pirates, and San Diego State Aztecs in San Diego, the Antelopes could present a challenge to a Gaels team that has only dropped one home game this season. The loss in question being to a mediocre Pepperdine Waves squad 67-64. If the Gaels drop their season-finale at home, it could give the selection committee pause, increasing the chances of an A-10 bubble team to get in.
2. Seton Hall at Butler: 8:30PM EST FS1
The Butler Bulldogs barely-escaped defeat at the hands of the Georgetown Hoyas after scraping a win over the Hoyas 90-87 in overtime. However, the Bulldogs get a tough test in a Seton Hall Pirates squad that’s coming off a huge upset over top-10, Xavier Musketeers. The Pirates enter the contest with a solid resume, boasting wins over Wichita State, Providence twice and the aforementioned Musketeers. However, the Bulldogs bested the Pirates at Seton Hall 81-75. A loss in this situation likely wouldn’t drop the Bulldogs off the bubble— but a win could potentially lock up an At-Large bid for the Bulldogs.
3. Memphis at Temple: 7:00PM EST ESPNU
The Temple Owls needed a game-winning jumper by senior guard Quenton DeCosey to beat the UCF Knights 63-61. The Owls remain tied with the SMU Mustangs for the conference-lead at 12-4 in the conference, and 18-10 overall. However, the Owls face a challenge this week when the Memphis Tigers, fresh off a win over fellow bubble team Tulsa, come to town. The Owls NCAA Tournament hopes have been saved by their conference play. After going 5-5 with losses to the North Carolina Tar Heels, Butler Bulldogs, Utah Utes, Wisconsin Badgers and the A-10’s own, St. Joseph’s Hawks, the Owls have only dropped four games in conference play. Those losses include the East Carolina Pirates, Houston Cougars, Tulsa Golden Hurricanes and Memphis Tigers. If the Tigers can get it done in Philadelphia, the Owls chances of securing an At-Large bid decrease tremendously. A loss here, and the Owls won’t win their regular-season conference — the main argument experts use to put them in the field.
Other games to keep an eye on: (Bubble team in bold)
Kentucky at Florida
Arkansas at Alabama
Oregon State at USC
Cincinnati at Houston