NCAA Tournament bubble watch: Missouri helps USC, beats Mississippi State

Part of life on the middle of the NCAA Tournament bubble — in the cauldron which includes the last four teams in the projected field, or the first four teams out — involves rooting against the other bubble inhabitants.

The short list of teams competing with USC for the final few NCAA Tournament berths includes Nevada and Utah State, which won on Tuesday night, but also Mississippi State, a team which started 1-7 in the SEC but then got on a hot streak. MSU defeated Utah, another bubble team, in nonconference play, and is ahead of both the Utes and Arizona State on the bubble. What ultimately matters for USC is that the Bulldogs don’t rise above the Trojans.

Tuesday night, the Missouri Tigers gave USC a big lift by beating Mississippi State 66-64 in overtime on a 3-pointer in the final 10 seconds. Mizzou missed a layup in the final three seconds of regulation which would have won the game. The Tigers regrouped in the extra period and put the squeeze on Mississippi State.

MSU has a game against Texas A&M this coming Saturday. After that, the Bulldogs face South Carolina — the SEC equivalent of Oregon State (LSU is the equivalent of Cal, in case you were wondering) — and then Vanderbilt. Mississippi State needs that A&M win to move up the ladder. If the Bulldogs don’t get it, there’s a good chance USC can remain ahead of the Bulldogs entering the conference tournaments.

The Trojans will root very hard for Texas A&M on Saturday.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire