Marshall, N.C. State new bubble threats for USF
Here at JFK about to fly back to Tampa, but the afternoon's games have two new potential bubble hurdles for USF as the Bulls wait to learn their NCAA Tournament fate.
N.C. State and Marshall, two of the bubble teams we mentioned this morning, both pulled off wins in their conference tournaments -- the Wolfpack knocked off Virginia (RPI 42) and Marshall beat Southern Miss (RPI 15) for the second time in a week. How much does this impact USF? Much more if either team can win again on Saturday.
NCSU and Marshall were tied at 55 in the RPI before today's games, so it's conceivable that one or both could jump ahead of USF (47), though it's also possible that Virginia could drop below, at least in the RPI.
You could argue that N.C. State might now be ahead of USF -- Jerry Palm already had the Wolfpack ahead of the Bulls, while Joe Lunardi had them in the "first four out" before today. Marshall wasn't even in Lunardi's "first eight out" before today's win. They compare closely to USF -- Marshall has four top-50 wins (Southern Miss twice, plus 40 Iona and 50 UCF) and N.C. State has two (42 Virginia and 44 Texas, and they could add two more if Miami slides up from 52). USF has just Louisville, so the Bulls would do well to have Cincinnati win at least one more and slide up from 58 into the top 50. (This is the silliness of RPI metrics).
Anyway, these are now two teams USF fans should be pulling against -- the Bulls need Memphis to win tonight against UCF and then beat Marshall, leaving Conference USA as a two-bid league. Similarly, USF wants to see NCSU lose to North Carolina tomorrow at 1, convincingly if possible ...