Bubbling up: Feb. 23 risers and decliners

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Just 17 days until Selection Sunday …

RISERS

* Alabama. Suspensions or no, the Crimson Tide seems to have righted itself. Back-to-back double-digit victories over Tennessee and Arkansas have stabilized Alabama’s at-large hopes, which could be cemented with wins in looming home games against Mississippi State and Auburn. At 18-9 overall and 7-6 in the SEC, Alabama doesn’t have a perfect resume – but it still looks a lot better than much of what populates the bubble.

* Cincinnati. The Bearcats need to provide a clear delineation between themselves and the edge of the bubble because of their feeble nonconference schedule. Beating Louisville last night helps.  Cincinnati’s now 20-8 and has a significant game against South Florida coming up this weekend.

TREADING WATER

* Pac-12 contenders. Arizona (over Southern California) and California (over Utah) handled some of their struggling conference’s bottom two teams to avoid an ugly setback.

DECLINERS

* Arkansas. The Razorbacks haven’t been able to win outside Fayetteville all season. Now, they can’t win at home, either. Arkansas dropped its fifth in six games and is effectively down to one path to the field of 68 – winning the SEC tournament.

* Brigham Young. Losing at Gonzaga doesn’t hurt the Cougars’ profile enormously, but it does mean they won’t get one of the West Coast Conference’s two direct tickets to the league semifinals. A sweep of Gonzaga also would have looked good for seeding purposes.

Patrick Stevens

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