Hopefully we don’t jinx anything, but I’m switching up the flavor of these Bubble Watches, at least temporarily.
Instead of tracking schools that are within X spots from the cut-line, it’s time to keep an eye on schools that Seton Hall can move past in the S-curve if they continue to improve their resume (a bit of optimism despite the decade-long drought!).
Both ESPN and CBSSports have Seton Hall off the immediate bubble as well as the play-in game, but as we saw in 2004, being in the 8-9 game isn’t all that fun past the first round. A win against either Xavier or Butler plus some help elsewhere in the country should put the Pirates on their way toward more favorable regions of the bracket; a 6- or 7-seed is realistically obtainable.
As you may have guessed, this does include monitoring what a few of Seton Hall’s non-conference opponents are doing.
Ole Miss at Georgia (Noon, SECN) – Neither of these schools are on the bubble, but Seton Hall has beaten both. The Rebels are in better shape than Georgia and were defeated on a neutral court, so it’d be nice if they continue to boost their RPI of 82
Rhode Island at Dayton (Noon, ESPN2) – Dayton has slipped down to a 6-seed over the recent weeks and could fall further with a bad loss.
VCU at George Washington (12:30, NBCSN) – Little bit of everything going on here. Both schools are right on the bubble but outside of the field; it’s hard to root against VCU but that would be the play.
NC State at Syracuse (2pm, ESPN3) – Syracuse is also a 9-seed in CBSSports’ bracket and are also, well… Syracuse. Go Wolf Pack.
No. 23 Notre Dame at Florida State (4pm, ESPN2) – Hard to imagine we’re targeting a ranked team, but Notre Dame are a 7-seed and could slip down a few rungs with a loss to FSU, who are 6-10 in the ACC.
Houston at Connecticut (1pm, CBSSN) – Currently paired up with Seton Hall in the 8-9 pod in multiple brackets, (with a loss) Sterling Gibbs and UConn would probably drop behind SHU regardless of how the Pirates do against Xavier.
Saint Louis at Saint Joseph’s (1pm) – Another school that is hard to root against, St. Joe’s is currently an 8- or 9-seed and would probably slip to the bubble with a bad home loss.
No. 15 Duke at Pittsburgh (2pm, CBS) – An 8-seed, Pitt can’t really hurt their chances but can certainly help them.
Arizona State at Colorado (4:30, PAC12 Network) – Colorado are a few spots ahead of Seton Hall but like a lot of other schools on this list have a chance to take a bad home ‘L’.
Washington State at Oregon State (6:30, PAC12 Network) – Oregon State is amazingly an 8-seed with a record of 16-10 (7-8), that’s what a 6-7 record against the top-50 will do. Washington State (RPI 199) is closer to the bottom-50 than the top.
Michigan at Wisconsin (7pm, BTN) – The Wolverines are just behind SHU in the pecking order (10-seed) while Wisconsin is just ahead (8- or 9-seed). Pick your poison?
USC at California (8pm, FS1) – Another Sunday game airing from the west coast, Seton Hall is on the tail of both California-based schools. USC is an 8-seed and needs this game a lot more than CAL (6-seed).