Bracket Banter is our daily open thread to discuss all things bracket. Readers can post comments and questions during the night's games, and we will answer those questions as the night goes on.
There are few things better for a bubble team's resume than a late-season road win - regardless of who the opponent is - and that's the challenge facing several bubble dwellers tonight.
In power conference bubble action, Washington State plays at Arizona, Clemson plays at N.C. State, Minnesota plays at Penn State, and Alabama plays at LSU. Minnesota is the safest of those bubble because of their impressive OOC wins over North Carolina and West Virginia, but the Gophers have seen their seed slip in recent weeks because of what they've done - or haven't done - in Big Ten play. They only have one quality conference win (vs. Purdue) and they've lost four of their last five overall. They're going to need to finish 9-9 in conference to get a bid, and if they lose to the Nittany Lions tonight, they'll have to win three of their last four to get there.
Washington State is trying to climb back in the bracket after a home loss to Stanford knocked them out last week. The Cougars, who are just 2-4 in conference road games, play three straight on the road beginning with Arizona tonight. They need to win four of their last five games to stay alive in the at-large mix heading into the Pac-10 tourney. Clemson, meanwhile, begins a tricky week with a trip to Raleigh to take on the Wolfpack (the Tigers play at Miami on Saturday). If they want to be taken seriously as an at-large contender, a 2-0 week is a must.
The final important bubble battle of the night is in the A-10, where Richmond visits Temple. The Spiders are a half game out of first in conference, have won seven of eight, and have a nice OOC win over Purdue on their resume, yet they remain on the bubble because they still have not beaten a quality A-10 opponent. That's not entirely their fault - the schedule broke so that they only face Xavier and Temple once - but they didn't do themselves any favors by losing at home to the Musketeers back on Jan. 19. If the Spiders lose tonight, they can't afford any more losses until the A-10 tourney.
Also keep an eye on: UCLA at Stanford, Washington at Arizona State, Santa Clara at Gonzaga