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SEC Bubble Watch: Vanderbilt Has Hope Yet

The SEC might get four bids after all.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators' bubble burst with their loss to Texas A&M yesterday, but the Vanderbilt Commodores had their hopes buoyed by some of the results nationally.

It's quicker to go over the bad news first. Michigan beat Indiana 72-69 to possibly punch its ticket to the Big Dance, and UConn outlasted Cincinnati 104-97 in four overtimes to give itself a boost. Vandy, for its part, was an 11-seed in last night's Bracket Matrix update and in a spot right behind the Huskies. Michigan was one of the first four out, so it will need to muscle someone out to get in.

There was plenty of good news for the Commodores, though. Florida is gone as a rival, of course, and we can probably say goodbye to George Washington after the Colonials lost 86-80 to St. Joseph's. Tulsa, like GW, was lurking outside the bracket and looking for a way to get in, but it lost 89-67 to Memphis. The Golden Hurricane is probably done now too. A couple of the, "if the committee is out of ideas and needs to dig deeper" teams lost with Ohio State getting obliterated 81-54 by Michigan State and Houston losing 72-69 to an awful Tulane team. Purdue blew out Illinois 89-58 and Maryland knocked off Nebraska 97-86 to eliminate a couple more potential bid thieves.

Among teams projected to be in, 11-seed Temple failed to fall out after winning 79-62 over a bad USF team. Projected 10-seed VCU did the same by beating UMass 85-70. St. Bonaventure was a few spots ahead of Vandy as a 10-seed, but it lost 90-86 to Davidson. And critically, San Diego State kept the one-bid dream alive in the Mountain West by knocking off Nevada 67-55.

That was a lot of stuff. Here is how the Bubble Big Board looks after all the carnage:

Conference Acceptable Champions Bubble Teams
A10 Dayton, St. Joe's VCU, St. Bonaventure, G. Washington
AAC Cinco, UConn, Temple UConn, Tulsa, Temple
ACC UVA, Miami, UNC, Duke, ND Pitt, Syracuse
Big 12 Baylor, Kansas, ISU, OU, Texas, TTU, WVU None
Big East Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence, Butler None
Big Ten MSU, UMD, Indiana, Purdue, Iowa, Wisconsin Michigan
Horizon Valparaiso Valparaiso
MAAC Monmouth Monmouth
Mountain West San Diego State San Diego State
MVC Wichita State Wichita State
Pac-12 Oregon, Utah, Cal, Arizona, Colorado, USC, Oregon State None
Sun Belt Arkansas-Little Rock Arkansas-Little Rock
WCC St. Mary's St. Mary's

Conferences in bold have only acceptable champions still remaining.

We're a Purdue win over Michigan away from putting the Big Ten's name in bold here, although as I said above, UM might have done enough to get in. We won't be able to get there in the American since one of the semifinal games is Memphis-Tulane. Because of that matchup, I put both Temple and UConn in the acceptable champions column even though neither is assured inclusion. Having one of them win is far preferable to Memphis or Tulane.

San Diego State will have a tougher test in the MW today as it goes up against a Fresno State team that beat the Aztecs in Fresno this year. UALR finally plays in the SBC Tournament as it goes up against UL-Lafayette. Anyone else but those two winning their tournaments is definite bid thief territory.

Over in the Atlantic 10, the game to keep an eye on is Davidson-VCU, where Steph Curry's alma mater is the preferable choice. It's too bad Dayton and St. Joe's are playing each other in the semis today.

And finally, Vandy should be rooting for chalk in its home city with Texas A&M taking on LSU and Kentucky going up against Georgia. The Tigers and Bulldogs are potential bid thieves too, after all.