Bubble teams’ losses helping Boise State men’s basketball team’s NCAA hopes

The Boise State men’s basketball team’s quest for an NCAA Tournament at-large berth was helped Friday as nearly every fellow bubble team failed to pick up wins.

La Salle and Virginia, both on ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s “Last Four In” list Friday morning, lost by 11 and 19 points, respectively. Boise State was Lunardi’s first team out of the tournament field. After the Explorers and Cavaliers lost, he updated his “Last Four In” to include Kentucky, Tennessee, Boise State and La Salle. Tennessee then lost to Alabama. Lunardi’s latest update has his last four in as Kentucky, Boise State, La Salle and Middle Tennessee. CBSSports.com’s Jerry Palm has the Broncos firmly in the field, as an 11-seed against Notre Dame.

A key game for the Broncos is Kentucky’s game Friday night against Vanderbilt — which Vanderbilt won, 64-48. The Wildcats are also on the bubble, and their name recognition, along with 16 games against top 100 teams, posed a possible threat to grab one of the last at-large bids, but that took a big hit with the loss to the Commodores.

I wrote in today’s Statesman about how Boise State may be paying close attention to today’s games, while comparing the Broncos’ resume to others on the bubble. I focused on four other teams considered to be right in the mix with Boise State — three of them (Kentucky, La Salle and Virginia) lost, and the other (Saint Mary’s) finished its tournament play Monday.

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