Busting Brackets

Bracketology 2024: Bubble Watch Updates of key teams in early March

Mar 2, 2024; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies forward Mylyjael Poteat (34) dunks the
Mar 2, 2024; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies forward Mylyjael Poteat (34) dunks the / Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
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Colorado State (19-9) (NET: 34)
5-6 (Q1), 3-2 (Q2), 6-1 (Q3), 5-0 (Q4)

Once considered firmly in the field, Colorado State has fallen back to the bubble with sour play in recent weeks. What felt really sour was losing at home to Nevada this past week on a buzzer beater, but at least they bounced back nicely by beating Wyoming.

This is a resume that still contains five Quad 1 wins, though it’s been nearly a month since any of them happened. Nonconference wins over Creighton and Colorado were fantastic, as was beating New Mexico, San Diego State, and Boise State in league play.

That bounce back win was extra nice because Colorado State’s Quad 3 loss came to Wyoming back at the end of January. That was probably their worst effort of the season, though they’d surely have preferred a few more conference wins against the MWC.

The only game left before the league tournament is at Air Force and clearly the Rams need to get the job done without issue. A Quad 4 loss would be deadly to their resume. Beat Air Force and look good in the MWC Tournament and the Rams are in the field.

Drake (24-6) (NET: 48)
3-1 (Q1), 2-3 (Q2), 11-2 (Q3), 8-0 (Q4)

Have these Bulldogs snuck their way into serious consideration? This past week finished a season sweep over Bradley a few days after the Bulldogs survived a triple overtime thriller at UIC.

Drake has a nice win over Nevada on the West Coast back before league play began and has picked up additional Quad 1 wins at home over Bradley and Indiana State. A Quad 2 win came at Southern Illinois much earlier during league play, with this weekend’s success against Bradley the other one.

What hurts this resume, aside from a lack of opportunities, is that pair of Quad 3 losses. Neither was very recent, but Drake lost to Stephen F. Austin in the Cayman Islands back in November and fell at Missouri State back in late January.

The NET is trending in a good direction and that 3-1 mark in Quad 1 games catches attention. Still, the Bulldogs likely have zero shot if they’re upset before reaching the finals of the MVC Tournament. Even then, it might take a loss to Indiana State to give them any shot at all; and a week of painful anticipation.