The Complete USC Bubble Guide for the First Weekend of March

USC remains on the list after failing to punch a ticket to the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night. The Trojans would seal the bid with a win over Arizona, but were underdogs to the Wildcats. This was confirmed by 40 minutes of play in the Galen Center. It’s a bad game for USC, made worse by Kobe Johnson’s early foul trouble.

The Trojans simply need to get back in the saddle and beat Arizona State on Saturday night in Los Angeles. Sun devils i need this game more than USC, but USC badly needs the game, to be sure.

Before you look at the picture of the national bubble, you definitely want to read the inside of this game. Is there a winner? Is the loser out?

This is more of a “winner in” game than a “loser out” game, but if USC wins and Arizona State loses, ASU is in big trouble. USC would very likely be on the field. ASU would still have a chance with multiple wins in the Pac-12 Tournament, but the Sun Devils’ odds would definitely drop. USC, if it loses to ASU, would absolutely need one win in the Pac-12 tournament. It might take two.

In fact, this might as well be a winning bubble game and – no or; and — a loser’s bubble game. It’s big. There is no other way to say it.

Now that we’ve looked at the implications of the bubble for USC-ASU, let’s take a look at the rest of the bubble picture and the bubble teams and games to watch on Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5:


EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – MARCH 27: CBS broadcasters Jim Nantz and Billy Packer stand in front of the mascot St. Joseph’s Hawks and Oklahoma State Cowboys mascots before the Elite 8 game of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament at Continental Airlines Arena on March 27, 2004 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Cowboys advanced to the Final 4 with a 64-62 win. (Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Is this a winner’s game in the bubble or a loser’s game?

Answer: It’s more of a no-win game, but if Oklahoma State wins, the Cowboys would move closer to an at-large bid.

Ideal scenario for USC and other non-Big 12 bubble teams is for Texas Tech to win here, and for both teams to lose their first game in the Big 12 tournament. That could put both teams out of contention.

Texas Tech definitely needs to win at least one game in the Big 12 Tournament besides this one against OSU. The Red Raiders might need two wins in the Big 12 tournament. Oklahoma State probably needs this and one win in the Big 12 Tournament just to be safe, but the Cowboys could squeeze into the 68 with a win here.


February 22, 2023; Boise, Idaho, USA; New Mexico Lobos guard KJ Jenkins (0) drives during the first half against the Boise State Broncos at ExtraMile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Utah State needs this game and at least one game in the Mountain West tournament next week. USU could get in if it beats Boise State and loses its first game in the MWC tournament, but the Aggies likely need two wins. Bubble teams will be rooting hard for Boise State, which should be on the court after a win over San Diego State. The Broncos are almost certainly there, but they would completely seal the deal with a win here or next week in Las Vegas.


February 13, 2023; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Hubert Davis reacts during the second half at the Dean E. Smith Center. Obligatory credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

If North Carolina wins this game, they’re probably in the game, but they’d be in trouble if they won against Duke here and then lost their first game in the ACC Tournament. UNC would feel comfortable with two more wins. He would have a decent chance with a win over Duke and nothing else, but would be at the mercy of other bubble results. Stay tuned to the Tar Heels Wire for more on North Carolina.


Clemson forward Hunter Tyson (5) and Clemson sophomore forward PJ Hall (24) celebrate in the final second of the second half against Wake Forest at Littlejohn Coliseum on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022.

Clemson must win this game and at least two games in the ACC Tournament. Stay tuned to Clemson Wire for more information.


March 18, 2022; Greenville, SC, USA; Miami Hurricanes guard Charlie Moore (3) reacts against the Southern California Trojans during the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Obligatory credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh needs at least one more win to secure a bid. This game will be tough for the Panthers, so if they lose, they will need to get at least one win in the ACC tournament to feel more confident.

SATURDAY: Tennessee at Auburn

December 18, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans guard Boogie Ellis (5) controls the ball against Auburn Tigers guard KD Johnson (0) during the second half at the Galen Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn is a bubble team. In theory, USC should want all bubble teams to lose. However, USC beat Auburn. The Trojans would benefit from an Auburn win over Tennessee.

However: USC lost to Tennessee. The Trojans want that loss to mean more, not less.

Either way, Auburn needs one more win to be absolutely safe. The Tigers could be in trouble if they don’t get at least one more win, but they’re likely on the field. Stay tuned to Auburn Wire for more information.


February 21, 2023; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers guard Nick Honor (10) celebrates with his teammates against the Mississippi State Bulldogs after scoring a game-winning three-point shot at Mizzou Arena. Mandatory credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

If Mississippi State wins, it should be on the field. If MSU loses, it will need at least one and possibly two wins in the SEC Tournament. This is a very important bubble game.


February 26, 2022; Laramie, Wyoming, USA; The Wyoming Cowboys bench celebrates after shooting a three-pointer against the Nevada Wolf Pack during the second half at the Arena-Auditorium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Nevada should crush UNLV at home. However, if the wolf pack suffers a shocking loss, they will be in real trouble. Nevada is likely in the game with a win, but a loss would push the Wolf Pack down a few spots in the seedings.


Brooklyn Cardoza, 6, and her sister Lyla Cardoza, 3, chase bubbles as Central Valley Christian students begin the new school year Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022.

Bubble team Florida Atlantic is a contender for the free competition, but remember that a contender for the free competition does not win the conference tournament. Florida Atlantic, if they lose to Louisiana Tech, will take another blow in their streak. If FAU loses here and then loses again in the Conference USA tournament, it might not be enough to get an at-large bid. FAU needs to win here and then reach the C-USA Tournament Finals to secure an at-large bid if they don’t win the C-USA Tournament.


December 10, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Auburn Tigers guard Wendell Green Jr. (1) dribbles past Memphis Tigers guard Elijah McCadden (0) in the first half at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis is very likely in the field, but a win here locks up the bid. One more win for Memphis should be enough.


March 1, 2023; Evanston, Illinois, USA; The Penn State Nittany Lions celebrate the game-winning goal during overtime at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Obligatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State is probably in the ballpark with a win here. The Nittany Lions need to get at least one more win, maybe two. Stay tuned to the Nittany Lions Wire for more information.


November 25, 2022; Paradise Island, BAHAMAS; USC Trojans forward Kobe Johnson (0) reacts in front of Wisconsin Badgers guard Isaac Lindsey (10) during the second half at Imperial Arena. Obligatory credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin lost to Purdue after losing to Michigan. The badgers are going in the wrong direction. Beating a bad Minnesota team wouldn’t improve their profile, but a loss would be a disaster. Wisconsin would lose from the field and would need at least two wins in the Big Ten Tournament to get back into the field.

If Wisconsin wins here, it will need at least one more win in the Big Ten tournament to feel somewhat comfortable. If UW wins here, getting two wins in the Big Ten Tournament would lock up the bid. Stay tuned to Badgers Wire for more information.


March 2, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Matthew Mayer (24) looks to the basket as he moves around Michigan Wolverines guard Jett Howard (13) during the first half at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan really needs this game. If he wins, he’s on the good side of the bubble and could seal the bid with another win in the Big Ten Tournament. If Michigan wins two more games, they will have a good chance to get in.

If Michigan loses to Indiana on Sunday and gets just one game in the Big Ten tournament, it probably won’t be enough. This is a great opportunity for other bubble teams to step up. Stay tuned to Wolverines Wire for more information.

The story originally appeared on Trojans Wire

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