Losing to your rival always sucks, but Auburn's loss to Alabama was a gut-punch. The Tigers had a 17-point lead in the second half, but let it slip away and lost 90-85 in overtime. That went from being the win that secures them a spot in the field to dropping closer to the bottom of the bracket instead. Auburn still has Tennessee left before next week's SEC Tournament.

Penn State picked up a big 68-65 win at Northwestern in overtime Wednesday night. That breathes new life into the Nittany Lions tournament hopes after they seemed dashed following a home loss to Rutgers last time out. They still have work to do though, starting with Maryland at home on Sunday.

It's a busy night on the bubble, especially in the Pac-12. Also, Wisconsin gets a shot at No. 1 seed Purdue..

NCAA Tournament locks

Locks based on résumé: 20 | Bids secured: 0 | At-large spots remaining: 36




Miami, Virginia

Big East


Marquette, UConn, Xavier

Big Ten



Big 12


BaylorKansas, Texas, Kansas State



Arizona, UCLA



Alabama, Tennessee, Texas A&M






Gonzaga, Saint Mary's, San Diego State

On the cutline

Last Four In Record NET
Mississippi State20-1043
West Virginia17-1324
First Four Out Record NET
Penn State18-1256
Oklahoma State16-1447
North Carolina19-1145
Arizona State20-963
Next Four Out Record NET
New Mexico21-948
Utah State23-722

Check out all the teams on Palm's Bubble Watch, the field of the 68 and the entire bracket on the Bracketology hub  

Bubble teams in action Thursday

At Illinois, 7 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) – Michigan is on a roll, having won six of its last eight. It's a good thing, too, because this week will be challenging beginning with Thursday's game at Illinois. The Wolverines are 3-10 against Quad 1, which is not a great record. However a loss vs. Illinois and at Indiana on Sunday would make that 3-12 and that becomes a problem.

At Minnesota, 7 p.m. | FS1, fuboTV (Try for free) –  The Scarlet Knights have done reasonably well against the top two quadrants, but they have three Quad 3 losses. This is an opportunity for a fourth. Rutgers will have a problem if they do not limit their bad losses to three.

At UCLA, 9 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) – It is a weekend of opportunity for Arizona State. Coming off the buzzer-beating win at Arizona, the Sun Devils now get a shot at league champ UCLA. A win over the Bruins would make them 5-2 against Quad 1, which they need because they are only 4-6 vs Quad 2. The Sun Devils are another Pac-12 team with an unusual resume.

At SMU, 9 p.m. | ESPN2, fuboTV (Try for free) –  The Tigers continue to try to avoid disaster until Houston shows up on the schedule again, which is this Sunday. Memphis is in no position to take a loss to SMU, which ranks No. 200 in the NET.

Vs. Purdue, 9 p.m. | FS1, fuboTV (Try for free) – This is a big opportunity for Wisconsin. The Badgers still do not have a great record against the better teams they have played, but it's not horrible either. They are 6-6 vs. Quad 1 and 4-5 vs. Quad 2. They may be getting Purdue at a good time. The Boilermakers have been near the top of the bracket all season and still are despite losing four of their last six games. They also have a history of playing poorly in the Kohl Center, where they have lost seven of their last 10.

Vs. Cal, 11 p.m. | FS1, fuboTV (Try for free) – Simply put, any loss to anyone but Arizona or UCLA would be fatal for Oregon's chances to make the NCAA Tournament. The Ducks have a chance to stack some wins, which is important since they are currently only 16-13. They will eventually need a chance to get some more substantive wins also.

Vs. Arizona, 11 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) –  USC gets a chance at another top win in the Pac-12. The Trojans have already defeated UCLA at home and can add Arizona to the list. That would be big for USC because the victory over the Bruins is the only one they have over a certain NCAA Tournament team.

All references to NCAA Tournament selection records and trends refer only to tournaments going back to 1994 with the exception of 2021. Due to shortened schedules and a relatively small number of nonconference games in 2021, those rankings were not reliable enough to be considered.