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Bubble Banter: Providence loses a heart breaker to Villanova

Feb 19, 2014, 12:35 AM EDT

Bryce Cotton AP

There are 25 days left until Selection Sunday. Every morning from now until the bracket comes out, we’ll help you get caught up on the happenings with impact on the bubble from the night before. 

You can see NBCSports.com’s latest bracket here.

If Providence (RPI: 58, KenPom: 56) ends up missing the NCAA tournament this season, they are going to really regret Tuesday’s loss to Villanova. The Friars had a nine-point first half lead, going blow-for-blow with the Wildcats as they took Jay Wright’s club to double-overtime. The Friars at a chance to win at the end of the first overtime and a chance to tie at the end of the second overtime.

Instead, Providence took the loss, and while they still might be in the tournament as of today — they’re right there on the cut line — they would be sitting a lot prettier with a win.

Providence has now lost four of their last five and five of their last seven. They beat Creighton, but their next best win is one of the three fellow Big East bubblers they’ve beaten — St. John’s, Xavier and Georgetown. Here’s the bigger issue: the Friars play three of their last four regular season games on the road, heading to Butler, Seton Hall and Creighton while hosting Marquette.

With the loss to Villanova, Providence probably needs to win at least four more games this season to feel comfortable. That’s not going to be an easy thing to do.

THE REST OF MONDAY’S BUBBLE ACTION:

Winners:

  • George Washington (RPI: 37, KenPom: 39) picked up a big win, knocking off Richmond (RPI: 39) on the road. They’re not 9-6 against the top 100 with wins over Creighton on a neutral court and VCU. They’re in the dance right now, and that won’t change as long as they beat George Mason and Fordham.
  • Tennessee (RPI: 54, KenPom: 44) picked up a surprisingly good win on Tuesday by knocking off Georgia. They’re now 7-9 against the top 100, but have just two top 50 wins, one of which is No. 50 Xavier. The Vols are right there on the cut line, meaning they can’t afford losses at Texas A&M, at Mississippi State, against Vanderbilt or at Auburn. Win those four, and they might be able to survive a loss to Missouri in the finale.
  • Clemson (RPI: 75, KenPom: 51) managed to stay in the conversation with a win over N.C. State on Tuesday, but the only reason they’re there is the win over Duke in January. They’ll have to win out and do some work in the ACC tournament in all likelihood.
  • St. John’s (RPI: 53, KenPom: 34) has played their way right onto the bubble by winning eight of their last nine games, but that doesn’t erase the losses to Penn State or DePaul. The Johnnies have just one top 50 win (Creighton) and are just 5-7 against the top 50. They’re at Villanova on Saturday, which is almost a must-win at this point.

Losers:

  • Ole Miss (RPI: 66, KenPom: 81) had a chance to play their way into the tournament this week, as they hosted Kentucky and Florida. On Tuesday, they got drubbed by Kentucky. If they don’t beat Florida on Saturday, they’re done. They may be anyone.
  • N.C. State (RPI: 51, KenPom: 77) lost at Clemson on Tuesday. With Tennessee’s recent struggled, the Wolfpack no longer had a top 50 win. They’re 4-9 against the top 100. With games left against Virginia Tech, Miami and Boston College, N.C. State may need to win out.
  • Richmond (RPI: 39, KenPom: 67) is missing a couple of key pieces, but Shawndre Jones has been terrific since Cedrick Lindsay went out. But his 25 points weren’t enough to get them a key home win over George Washington on Tuesday.