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Roundup: Kentucky, Miami on right side of bubble

The Kentucky Wildcats advanced to the SEC Tournament quarterfinals and the Miami Hurricanes advanced to the ACC Tournament quarterfinals. Both are in ESPN’s “last four byes.”

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel
Nobody wants to face Rhyne Howard in the NCAA Tournament.
Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Here’s a roundup of Thursday’s NCAAW action:

Bubble watch

In Charlie Creme’s updated bracketology Friday morning, the Kentucky Wildcats and Miami Hurricanes are looking comfortable in the “last four byes” section. Kentucky comfortably defeated Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament second round to continue its turnaround and could be a dangerous team in the tournament with Rhyne Howard. The Hurricanes were able to just edge Duke in a key bubble battle, putting the Blue Devils in the “next four out.”

The Missouri State Lady Bears blew past Valparaiso in their second-to-last regular-season game. At 23-5 overall and with a win over No. 21 Virginia Tech on their resume, the Lady Bears may not need to win the MVC Tournament to get into the Big Dance, which is good because Southern Illinois may actually be the No. 1 seed over them. Missouri State is currently in the “last four byes.”

The Washington State Cougars are in the “last four byes” as well, despite their loss to Utah in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals.

The Missouri Tigers are also in the tournament projection (“last four in”), despite also losing (in overtime to Arkansas in the SEC Tournament second round). Missouri is of course the only team to have beaten No. 1 South Carolina this season and now has to hope that it can remain in the tournament field without playing any more games to help itself out.

The Florida State Seminoles and Boston College Eagles clashed in the ACC Tournament second round, potentially playing for a spot in the NCAA Tournament, and FSU won, putting it in Creme’s “last four in” and leaving BC as the first team out. The Northwestern Wildcats are the last team in after their win over Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament second round.

Lastly, the Alabama Crimson Tide and UCLA Bruins moved onto the bubble as part of the “next four out.” Alabama upset No. 24 Georgia on Thursday, while UCLA took care of business against USC on Wednesday to advance to the Pac-12 quarterfinals, where it barely lost to Oregon on Thursday. UCLA will need a lot of help to get into the NCAA Tournament and it may be out of reach, whereas Alabama fights on and can improve its status.

Mid-major action

4th-seeded Cleveland State Vikings over 5th-seeded Northern Kentucky Norse, 59-51 (Horizon League quarterfinals)

Could the Vikings go on to upset No. 3 seed Green Bay in the semis and No. 1 seed IUPUI, should it advance, in the final? Cleveland State (18-7 overall) finished the regular-season 14-6 in Horizon play, just a game and a half behind Green Bay and three games behind IUPUI. Northern Kentucky, also at 14-6 in the conference, was also hoping to make a championship run.

Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs over High Point Panthers, 55-53 (Big South quarterfinals)

Could the Runnin’ Bulldogs (13-5 Big South) go on to upset Campbell (15-3) in the semis and Longwood (15-3), should it advance, in the final? High Point, also at 13-5 in the conference, was also hoping to make a championship run.