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
9 of 15

New Mexico (20-7) (NET: 26)
4-3 (Q1), 1-2 (Q2), 6-1 (Q3), 9-1 (Q4)

There was nothing of note in New Mexico’s nonconference schedule, but they’ve taken advantage of opportunities in the MWC. They’ve already swept Nevada and have Quad 1 wins over San Diego State, Colorado State, and Utah State all at home.

Getting swept by UNLV (the home loss is Quad 3) was not ideal, but what this team did last Saturday was just abysmal. The Lobos were upset at home by an Air Force team that’s been the worst in the MWC, saddling New Mexico with a dreadful Quad 4 loss at the worst time of the year.

The metrics look mostly to be in New Mexico’s favor. There’s nothing they can do about that stinker against Air Force except play better ball in the weeks to come. The Lobos still have a pair of Quad 1 chances at Boise State and Utah State, and completing sweeps over either of those teams would be quite impressive this season.

Northwestern (19-8) (NET: 53)
4-5 (Q1), 5-2 (Q2), 3-0 (Q3), 7-1 (Q4)

Northwestern has found their way to some solid wins across the season. They got Quad 1 wins over Dayton in November, Purdue in December, and beat both Illinois and Michigan State at home in January. They’ve mostly stayed afloat in a tough Big Ten, winning all of their games at home.

They certainly aren’t perfect at home this season, as the Wildcats dropped a shocker to Chicago State more than two months ago. That Quad 4 loss certainly sunk Northwestern’s resume and hurts their metrics, but at least that’s the only terrible performance in sight.

We keep wondering each week what that loss means for Northwestern. It probably balances out the gain from their upset of Purdue, though the Wildcats have a few other nice wins as well. The bottom line is that Northwestern is still fighting for their Tournament lives but have great odds at the moment. Failing to win some tricky games in the next two weeks would change that.