Bracketology Bubble Watch: Xavier, Tulsa surging into consideration

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COLUMBUS, OHIO – FEBRUARY 01: Jackson-Davis of the Hoosiers heads. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Big Ten

Lead-Pipe Locks: Maryland, Michigan State, Iowa, Penn State, Illinois

Safely in the field: Illinois, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Michigan

Some perspiration: Indiana

Double the deodorant: Purdue, Minnesota

Illinois Fighting Illini (16-6, 8-3 B10)

NET: 30 | KPI: 35 | SOR: 22 | BPI: 29 | KP: 24 | Sag: 22

Q1: 4-4 | Q2: 3-1 | Q3: 2-1 | Q4: 6-0

Illinois is very close to joining the group of “locks” for the Big Ten. The Fighting Illini have a strong record, great metrics, and have been absolutely rolling as of late. It is possible that they lose enough games to fall closer to the cutline but I don’t see it happening. Current Bracketology Status: No. 7 seed

Ohio State Buckeyes (15-7, 5-6 B10)

NET: 20 | KPI: 34 | SOR: 36 | BPI: 12 | KP: 12 | Sag: 26

Q1: 4-5 | Q2: 3-2 | Q3: 2-0 | Q4: 6-0

It appears as though Ohio State is back on track and that puts the team close to becoming a lock. The Buckeyes have plenty of quality wins, no bad losses, and elite efficiency metrics. Similar to Illinois, the Big Ten is competitive enough that it’s possible that Ohio State drops enough games to become more bubblicious, but I doubt it. Current Bracketology Status: No. 7 seed

Wisconsin Badgers (13-9, 6-5 B10)

NET: 32 | KPI: 29 | SOR: 33 | BPI: 25 | KP: 30 | Sag: 33

Q1: 6-7 | Q2: 1-1 | Q3: 0-1 | Q4: 6-0

Wisconsin has six Q1 wins and that is the main reason why it is so highly regarded by bracketology standards. The committee tends to value quality wins more than most other factors and the Badgers are in great shape there. This team does have a bit more worrying to do than some of the others in the Big Ten, though, because of its high number of losses. Wisconsin is only four games over .500 at the moment with the remainder of the grueling Big Ten schedule ahead. This team should be safe but a couple of losses in a row could change that in a hurry. Current Bracketology Status: No. 7 seed

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (16-7, 7-5 B10)

NET: 28 | KPI: 32 | SOR: 32 | BPI: 37 | KP: 29 | Sag: 37

Q1: 2-6 | Q2: 4-0 | Q3: 2-1 | Q4: 7-0

Rutgers dropped back-to-back games during this past week and fell a little bit in bracketology fields as a result. The Scarlet Knights have now won just two of their last five games with one of those victories coming over Nebraska at home. I believe that this team is still in a strong position to make the NCAA Tournament but it is easy to go on a long slide of defeats in a conference as deep and competitive as the Big Ten. Rutgers needs to avoid that fate by getting back on track while playing three of their next four games at home.

Current Bracketology Status: No. 8 seed

Michigan Wolverines (13-9, 4-7 B10)

NET: 31 | KPI: 48 | SOR: 31 | BPI: 31 | KP: 26 | Sag: 24

Q1: 4-9 | Q2:  3-0 | Q3: 1-0 | Q4: 5-0

Michigan has been struggling quite a bit as of late but still deserves to be safely in bracketology projected fields at this moment. It is also important to mention that the Wolverines appear to be playing better basketball as of late. During this past week, Michigan split its meetings with Rutgers and Ohio State to remain as a projected single-digit seed. The Wolverines should safely dance but they have to avoid piling up too many losses. They have dropped six of their last nine games and are now only four games over .500. Every single one of their losses this season, though, has come in Q1. Current Bracketology Status: No. 8 seed

Indiana Hoosiers (15-7, 5-6 B10)

NET: 51 | KPI: 47 | SOR: 26 | BPI: 44 | KP: 41 | Sag: 46

Q1: 3-6 | Q2: 2-1 | Q3: 4-0 | Q4: 6-0

Indiana is currently in the midst of a three-game losing streak and that has caused a dip in its bracketology projections. With that said, though, the losses all came to teams ranked in the KenPom Top 15 and two of them were on the road. The Hoosiers are still in a pretty solid spot, in my opinion, but their approaching two-game homestand is extremely important considering the stretch of road games that follow. Taking down both Purdue and Iowa at home over the coming week and a half would be a huge momentum boost for this sliding squad. Current Bracketology Status: No. 9 seed

Purdue Boilermakers (12-10, 5-6 B10)

NET: 39 | KPI: 63 | SOR: 58 | BPI: 14 | KP: 28 | Sag: 29

Q1: 2-8 | Q2: 3-1 | Q3: 3-1 | Q4: 4-0

Purdue picked up a hard-fought but much-needed road win over Northwestern during this past week to simply remain above-.500. Yet, despite their 12-10 (5-6 B10) record, the Boilermakers remain in the majority of bracketology projected fields. Their efficiency rankings are still terrific and even resume metrics peg this squad as deserving of a spot on the bubble. The key moving forward will be simply finding ways to win games because that poor winning percentage will play a factor on Selection Sunday if not remedied. Purdue will face Iowa at home and Indiana on the road in its next two games. Winning both would be huge. Current Bracketology Status: No. 11 seed

Minnesota Golden Gophers (11-10, 5-6 B10)

NET: 44 | KPI: 56 | SOR: 52 | BPI: 43 | KP: 38 | Sag: 44

Q1: 3-8 | Q2: 2-2 | Q3: 2-0 | Q4: 4-0

Minnesota is in a similar situation as Purdue. The Golden Gophers, though, have one fewer win and slightly worse metric rankings. With three of their next four games coming at home, though, there are opportunities right in front of them to secure big wins. That starts on Feb. 5th when the Gophers will look to defend “The Barn” from Wisconsin. Minnesota will have a tough time making the tournament without stringing together a winning streak. The potential is there, though. Current Bracketology Status: OUT

Lots of work to do: None.

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