Busting Brackets

Bracketology 2024: Bubble Watch of key teams in early February

Notre Dame v Virginia
Notre Dame v Virginia / Ryan M. Kelly/GettyImages
9 of 11

Villanova (12-10) (NET: 45)
3-5 (Q1), 3-2 (Q2), 2-3 (Q3), 4-0 (Q4)

The Wildcats won the Battle 4 Atlantis with Quad 1 wins over Texas Tech and North Carolina while also beating a Memphis team that played great basketball early in the season. The third Quad 1 win came at Creighton right before Christmas, while the Wildcats have since added some nice performances against the likes of Xavier and Providence.

Unfortunately, they got crucified in the Big 5 this season, with Quad 3 losses against Penn, Saint Joseph’s and Drexel in the first month of the season. Since then, the Wildcats have mostly avoided bad losses, though two double-digit losses to St. John’s weren’t exactly desirable.

Prior to Saturday’s win against Providence, Villanova had lost five straight games and have been trending in the wrong direction. They already have ten losses and several of them were in excusable early in the season. If a bounce back is coming, it’ll have to include nice performances against Xavier and Seton Hall this upcoming week.

Virginia (18-5) (NET: 42)
2-2 (Q1), 4-2 (Q2), 4-1 (Q3), 8-0 (Q4)

The Cavaliers started the season with a nice victory over Florida. Wins over Texas A&M, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech were nice, but all stand as Quad 2 wins. In fact, the Cavaliers only just got their second Quad 1 win of the season this past weekend with a clutch effort at Clemson.

The Quad 3 loss is pretty brutal: the Cavaliers lost by 22 points at Notre Dame right before New Year’s. In fact, all five of their losses have been by 16 points or more, including Quad 2 defeats at Memphis and NC State earlier in the season. That game against the Fighting Irish is the real head scratcher, while Virginia has averaged just 51 points in those losses.

Virginia has now won seven straight games and are building back into Tournament contention as a result. The big one was clearly this weekend against Clemson, though they also avenged earlier losses to NC State and Notre Dame in style and smashed Miami on Monday. Home matchups with Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, and North Carolina await in the coming weeks to help rebuild this resume.