Busting Brackets

Bracketology 2024: Bubble Watch Updates of key teams in late February

Feb 24, 2024; Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA;  Wake Forest Demon Deacons forward Efton Reid III
Feb 24, 2024; Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons forward Efton Reid III / Cory Knowlton-USA TODAY Sports
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Mississippi (19-8) (NET: 75)
3-6 (Q1), 1-2 (Q2), 8-0 (Q3), 7-0 (Q4)

Even with a few nice wins, time may be running out for Ole Miss. The Quad 1 wins are road games against Texas A&M and UCF that haven’t aged spectacularly, while also beating rival Mississippi State at the end of January. Having only four Quad 1 or 2 wins isn’t ideal, especially in a strong SEC.

Doomed by an easy nonconference slate where they went unbeaten, the Rebels have picked up a myriad of losses against their conference rivals. A road loss at LSU was the first Quad 2 defeat and they added to that total by losing by double-digits at home to South Carolina this past weekend. That cements a recent stretch where they’ve lost five of six.

Frankly, the Rebels need a really strong statement these last three weeks and that might include a deep run at the SEC Tournament. Wednesday’s home date against Alabama is their last major opportunity before then and they cannot waste another chance against a top-tier SEC team. It’s not looking great, especially with a NET that has sunk down to 75.

Mississippi State (19-8) (NET: 28)
3-6 (Q1), 5-0 (Q2), 6-1 (Q3), 5-1 (Q4)

Earlier wins over Tennessee and Auburn put these Bulldogs in solid position, while an earlier win over Washington State has worked its way up to Quad 1. What’s really helped their cause has been their current 5-game winning streak, though most of those games have been Quad 2 or 3 chances.

Obviously, there are two very notable blemishes on this resume that took place in the same week several months back. A tough loss at Georgia Tech remains Quad 3 and was followed up by an inexcusable defeat at home by Southern; the Quad 4 loss. Thankfully, it’s been just Quad 1 losses since SEC play began.

The combination of those nice wins and their recent streak has Mississippi State looking more comfortable than ever, but they haven’t punched their ticket quite yet. This next week will b very important with games against Kentucky and Auburn. They got easy wins over weaker SEC foes, but how will they fare with four tougher games to finish the regular season?