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Bracketology Bubble Watch: Saturday morning's last four in, first four out

While Tennessee and Providence improved their positions on Friday, Nebraska fell thanks to a loss, while Iowa and SMU dropped due to circumstances beyond their control. BYU, meanwhile, hangs in for similar reasons. Note that none of the eight teams analyzed in this post have upcoming games. Their fate is truly out of their hands at this point.

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

For more, check out today's full edition of Bracketology.

Note: All RPI/SOS data is courtesy of Basketball State ($) and reflects only games played against Division I opponents through Friday, March 14, 2014.

Just Avoiding Dayton: Tennessee Volunteers, Kansas St. Wildcats, Providence Friars, Iowa Hawkeyes

Last Four IN

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Vitals: 19-12, 11-7 Big Ten; RPI rank: 46; SOS rank: 19; Non-conf. SOS rank: 103

Next game: None

Pluses: The Cornhuskers finished strongly, picking up two of their four Top 50 wins and five of their eight Top 100 wins in their final 12 games. Home wins over Wisconsin, Ohio State and Minnesota are impressive, as is a nine-point victory at Michigan State. An 8-9 record against the Top 100 compares favorably to other bubble teams, particularly since three of those victories came against teams in the Top 25.

Minuses: Nebraska did very little outside of Big Ten play, with its best win coming over Georgia in the seventh-place game of the Charleston Classic. Additionally, the Huskers have three losses to teams from outside of the Top 100, though only a defeat at the hands of UAB, also in South Carolina, came against a team ranked 150th or worse. A 4-11 record outside of Lincoln also won't impress the Committee much.

SMU Mustangs

Vitals: 23-9, 12-6 AAC; RPI rank: 54; SOS rank: 115; Non-conf. SOS rank: 294

Next game: None

Pluses: The Mustangs own a 4-6 record against the Top 100, with all four victories coming against Top 50 opposition in American Athletic play. SMU looked impressive in sweeping a pair of games with UConn and in defeating Cincinnati and Memphis in Dallas.

Minuses: Larry Brown's team's schedule doesn't help it much, as SMU played a whopping 22 games against teams from outside of the Top 100, losing three of those, capped by Thursday's AAC quarterfinal loss to Houston. Making matters worse, the Mustangs didn't win any of their early season marquee games, meaning its best non-conference wins came against Wyoming, Texas A&M and Sam Houston State. An 8-8 record away from home also won't tip the scales in the Ponies' favor.

Dayton Flyers

Vitals: 23-10, 10-6 A 10; RPI rank: 44; SOS rank: 70; Non-conf. SOS rank: 102

Next game: None

Pluses: The Flyers have an impressive 10-7 record against the Top 100, with four victories over the Top 50 and three over the Top 25 (UMass at home, Saint Louis away, Gonzaga at Maui). Dayton also boasts a 10-6 mark in games away from UD Arena. Another victory in the Maui Invitational, over California, might also serve as an important tiebreaker.

Minuses: On Friday, the Flyers lost to St. Joseph's for the third time, a result that pushed the Hawks closer to safety. Plus, Dayton has three losses to teams from outside of the Top 100, with a December 22nd defeat to woeful USC standing out in particular.

BYU Cougars

Vitals: 23-11, 13-5 WCC; RPI rank: 32; SOS rank: 35; Non-conf. SOS rank: 8

Next game: None

Pluses: Based on their computer numbers alone, the Cougars should be in. A trio of Top 50 wins, with two coming away from Provo out of conference (Texas in Kansas City and Stanford in Palo Alto) certainly help. An 8-7 record against the Top 100 also stacks up nicely against the bubble competition.

Minuses: For starters, guard Kyle Collinsworth is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL suffered in the Cougars' WCC final loss to Gonzaga. Since the Selection Committee is evaluating teams based on the rosters that will appear in the tournament, that doesn't bode well for BYU's hopes, particularly since the squad didn't look so great with Collinsworth absent. Also, the Cougars lost four conference road games to teams ranked 140th or worse in the RPI. That would be an unusually high number of bad losses for an at-large team.

First Four OUT

Arkansas Razorbacks

Vitals: 21-11, 10-8 SEC: RPI rank: 72; SOS rank: 91; Non-conf. SOS rank: 202

Next game: None

Pluses: The Razorbacks swept Kentucky during SEC play and defeated Minnesota in Maui (a nice potential tiebreaker win) to secure a 3-5 record against the Top 50. Arkansas' Top 100 mark expands to 8-8, though the games against teams ranked between 51st and 100th are a mixed bag. Yes, the Hogs defeated fellow bubble teams SMU and Clemson, but they also split with LSU and Georgia and fell to Cal in Hawaii.

Minuses: Try as it might, Arkansas could not shake its reputation as a poor team away from Fayetteville, racking up a 4-9 record in road and neutral games. Most damaging for the Razorbacks' case are back-to-back losses to end the season, the first at Alabama, the second in Atlanta to a poor South Carolina team. Those are two of Arkansas three losses against teams from outside of the Top 100.

Florida State Seminoles

Vitals: 19-13, 9-9 ACC; RPI rank: 51; SOS rank: 29; Non-conf. SOS rank: 87

Next game: None

Pluses: The Seminoles' three Top 50 wins are impressive as a group, since each one came away from Tallahassee. FSU defeated VCU in Puerto Rico, UMass in South Florida in front of a slightly pro-Florida crowd (as the game was part of a doubleheader involving the two archrivals), and Pitt at the Petersen Events Center. Plus, Leonard Hamilton's squad lost just one game to a team from outside the Top 100, a four-point decision at rival Miami. Florida State's road/neutral record of 10-8 is quite respectable, particularly among this group.

Minuses: Florida State missed plenty of chances to improve its lot, as indicated by their 3-9 record against the Top 50 and 6-12 mark against the Top 100. Most damaging was a loss in FSU's only meeting with fellow bubble team N.C. State and a split with Clemson. Again, a loss at Minnesota could serve as a tiebreaker with the Golden Gophers.

California Golden Bears

Vitals: 19-13, 10-8 Pac-12; RPI rank: 60; SOS rank: 33; Non-conf. SOS rank: 99

Next game: None

Pluses: Not many teams can boast a victory over the No. 1 team in the RPI table, but Cal can, having defeated Arizona in Berkeley on February 1st, the night the Wildcats happened to lose Brandon Ashley to injury. Cal also defeated Oregon and Stanford on the road and Colorado at home. From the tiebreaker perspective, the Bears managed to knock off Arkansas back in November on Maui.

Minuses: Unfortunately, the Golden Bears couldn't sweep Arizona, a result that helps contribute to an underwhelming 4-10 record against the Top 50, which again indicates that Cal could not take advantage of the many opportunities it was offered. (The Bears also missed sweep opportunities against Stanford and Colorado.) Additionally, Mike Montgomery's team dropped games at UC Santa Barbara, now out of the Big West Tournament, and USC, one of the Trojans' two Pac-12 wins on the season. Plus, California won just six times in 15 games away from Haas Pavilion. Among those nine losses are defeats at the hands of Syracuse and Dayton in Maui.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Vitals: 19-13, 8-10 Big Ten; RPI rank: 45; SOS rank: 4; Non-conf. SOS rank: 54

Next game: None

Pluses: Minnesota's impressive strength of schedule ranking bolsters the team's RPI position significantly, so much so that it hides an unimpressive record against the Top 50 (2-8) and Top 100 (6-11). The Top 50 wins both came at home (Wisconsin and Ohio State), as did three of the wins over teams ranked between 51 and 100 (Iowa, Florida State, Indiana), with a victory over Richmond coming at the Robins Center. The victory over the Seminoles might end up serving as a tiebreaker.

Minuses: The Golden Gophers lost to both Northwestern and Purdue, with the loss to the Wildcats coming at Williams Arena. However, Andre Hollins missed both of those games (and a loss at Nebraska) with an ankle injury, so perhaps the Committee will consider that. From a potential tiebreaking perspective, Minnesota lost to Arkansas in Maui. Additionally, a 5-10 record away from Minneapolis is not all that helpful, especially since the victory over Richmond, a team well outside of the bubble picture, is the best of that group.

Next Four Out: N.C. State Wolfpack, Wis.-Green Bay Phoenix, Missouri Tigers, Clemson Tigers