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Who’s in, who’s out, and what NCAA bubble teams need to do this weekend

We look through the NCAA Tournament bracket bubble on the last full regular season weekend and see who needs to do what to make the Big Dance

Providence Friars guard David Duke dunks and scores against the Marquette Golden Eagles during the second half at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

There are more teams than ever competing for dance cards to the NCAA Tournament in 2020, and we’re here to help sort out who’s in and who’s out from the bubble.

For some help, we scoured the Internet for a Final Four of bracketologists to help us predict who will be heading to a first-and-second round city, and who’s hosting an NIT game.

Arkansas

18-10, 6-9 SEC. NET 41, KenPom 43

Jerry Palm: Dayton as No. 11 seed
Joe Lunardi: Next four out

Saturday at Georgia, Wednesday vs. LSU

The Razorbacks are making a late charge for inclusion, picking up wins over Missouri and Tennessee after dropping five straight in the SEC. Picking up a Q1 over LSU would go a long way towards being marked safe from the NIT.

Richmond

21-7, 11-4 A-10. NET 52, KenPom 54

Jerry Palm: Dayton as No. 11 seed
Joe Lunardi: First four out

Saturday vs. UMass, Tuesday vs. Davidson

As with any A-10 team that isn’t Dayton, there’s about zero room for error for the Spiders. Davidson is 71 in the NET so it would be a Q2 win at home, but the lack of Q1’s is the issue for Richmond. And unless they get Dayton or Rhode Island (possibly) in Brooklyn at the tournament, they won’t get another one.

Rhode Island

20-7, 12-3 A-10. NET 40, KenPom 48

Jerry Palm: Dayton as #12 seed
Joe Lunardi: No. 11 seed

Sunday vs. St. Louis, Wednesday vs. Dayton

There’s one way to guarantee a ticket for the only Rams left in the A-10 that can make the tournament (sorry VCU!); beat Dayton on Wednesday night. Two losses this week wouldn’t be the death knell, but a split probably makes things more safe. It should be a tremendous atmosphere for Dayton vs. URI with a lot of eyes on it.

Providence

16-12, 9-6 Big East. NET 50, KenPom 49

Jerry Palm: Dayton as #12 seed
Joe Lunardi: Dayton as #12 seed

Saturday at Villanova, Wednesday vs. Xavier

The Friars are playing their way in late, starting with a huge win at Butler on February 1st. Then they added four more Q1’s this month vs. Creighton, Seton Hall, Marquette, and a road W at Georgetown. Certainly one of the more in-form teams on the bubble, they’ll need to keep winning to overcome some bad losses earlier in the year like Long Beach State (298 NET!!), Penn, and Charleston.

Mississippi State

18-10, 9-6 SEC. NET 54, KenPom 52

Jerry Palm: First four out
Joe Lunardi: First four out

Saturday at Missouri, Tuesday at South Carolina

The problem for the Bulldogs is they’re not really able to move up, but can eliminate themselves with some losses on the road. USCe would count as a Q1 on the road for now, but it’s a must game for MSU to get back in contention. They’ll also likely need a run in the SEC Tournament as well.

Cincinnati

18-9, 11-4 AAC. NET 53, KenPom 44

Jerry Palm: First four out
Joe Lunardi: No. 11 seed

Saturday at Houston, Tuesday at South Florida

A monster win on the road against the Cougars would likely eliminate much doubt for UC. They seemed comfortably in control of their destiny, but a home loss in double overtime at home to the Knights of Central Florida was potentially harmful to the league’s revenue distribution via tournament units. They’re not drawing dead if they can get to the AAC Final anyway even with a loss at Houston... but they might be in a coffin with a loss to lowly USF.

Rutgers

18-11, 9-9 B1G. NET 33, KenPom 31

Jerry Palm: First four out
Joe Lunardi: No. 10 seed

Tuesday at Maryland

How can a team that’s .500 in the toughest conference possibly in college basketball history be out? Because they’ve yet to win a non-Nebraska road game in the league, and have losses at Pitt and vs. St. Bonaventure. There’s for sure some nice wins (Wisconsin, Seton Hall, Purdue, Penn State, Illinois are all Q1 or close), but they’re all at the RAC in Piscataway.

They should... again, should... make it, but winning one of their final two regular season games wouldn’t hurt. It might even be better to beat Top 30 Purdue on the road next Saturday.

UCLA

18-11, 11-5 Pac-12. NET 76, KenPom 84

Jerry Palm: First four out
Joe Lunardi: No. 10 seed

Saturday vs. Arizona, next Saturday vs. USC

How did they even get here?? The Burins haven’t lost since February 8th, a huge win at Arizona. They’ve added Colorado as another Q1 during their active string of six-straight victories, and validating the previous Wildcats by sweeping them gets the Bruins back in the conversation. That loss to Cal. St. Fullerton at home really stings (267 NET), but that was almost three months, and the blue and gold are playing as well as anyone. But winning the last two still might be required.