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Bracket Express Bubble Watch
by: Drew Barnette - Staff Writer
March 14, 2008
The following is a thorough and precise analysis of fifteen teams that are on the bubble.


ARIZONA

GOOD:
-SOS = 2

FAIR:
-two wins against Washington State
-win at UNLV
-win at USC
-RPI = 38
-7-7 on the road
-5-8 vs RPI top 50
-9-11 in Pac Ten play

BAD:
-4-8 in their last twelve games

None of their losses in that final stretch were against bad teams, but it was just that there were so many of them down the stretch. Itís rare that teams finish that strongly and still get in, but it does happen, especially when the rest of their credentials are up to par. I donít see them doing much in the NCAA Tournament, but as of now I think they will be in it. There is one good reason to take them out, but several other reasons to leave them in.


VILLANOVA

GOOD:
-win vs Connecticut

FAIR:
-wins vs Pittsburgh West Virginia
-road wins vs Syracuse and Temple
-close loss at Georgetown
-RPI = 51
-SOS = 48
-2-6 vs RPI top 25
-10-10 in Big East play (includes tournament)
-7-5 in last twelve games

BAD:
-loss at Rutgers (RPI = 211)
-loss to De Paul (RPI = 156)

At the end of January/beginning of February, Nova went through a streak where they lost five straight games and looked awful. They actually finished the regular season by going 6-2. Theyíd be in a lot more trouble had they not beaten Syracuse in the opening round of the Big East Tournament. They do have twelve losses on the season, but six were to RPI top 25 teams, so those wonít hurt them too much. I also think the committee will give them some credit for their close loss at Georgetown. They certainly wonít penalize them for that.


SOUTH ALABAMA

GOOD:
-RPI = 35

FAIR:
-finished first in Sun Belt regular season standings
-win vs Mississippi State
-close loss at Vanderbilt (who was undefeated at home)
-win at Western Kentucky (only team to win on WKUís home floor)
-7-4 on the road

BAD:
-two losses to Middle Tennessee
-loss to North Texas
-SOS = 125

Had this team just beaten Middle Tennessee in the conference tournament semifinals, theyíd be fine. Losing that game on their home floor didnít look all that good. Itís good that they won the regular season title because it means theyíre automatically submitted to the committee for consideration. That means nothing for schools like Robert Morris, but it does for a team that posts a resume like this. The win against Mississippi State and the near win against Vandy, along with a decent RPI should be enough to sway the committee toward selecting them.


BAYLOR

GOOD:
-neutral floor win vs Notre Dame

FAIR:
-RPI = 42
-overall SOS = 47
-9-8 in Big Twelve play (includes tournament)
-6-4 in true road games
-1-6 vs RPI top 25
-3-8 vs RPI top 50
-just one loss outside RPI top 100 (Colorado)

BAD:
-5-7 in last 12 games
-OOC SOS = 140

I believe the Bears are in if for no other reason than they look better than everyone else around them. Their OOC schedule was awful, but they did play in the Paradise Jam, which they won, and beat Notre Dame along the way. That is their signature win, and itís a pretty good one. Had they beaten Colorado in the Big Twelve Opening Round they wouldnít even be near the bubble.


ILLINOIS STATE

GOOD:
-RPI = 33

FAIR:
-win at Southern Illinois (Butler and Indiana were the only other schools who managed to beat them)
-win at Creighton (had just one other home loss)
-15-6 in Missouri Valley play (finished second)
-advanced to conference championship game
-7-5 on the road
-9-3 in last twelve games
-SOS = 74

BAD:
-loss to Eastern Michigan and Bradley

The Eastern Michigan loss looks really bad, but at least it was on the road. They also lost on the road to Indiana State, who has a sub100 RPI, but the thing about Indiana State is that Drake was the only other team who beat them at home, so that isnít going to look all that bad to the committee. There are obviously some holes in their credentials and theyíll definitely be sweating on Selection Sunday, but I think that for now theyíre on the inside of the bubble.


SAINT JOSEPHíS

GOOD:
-two wins vs Xavier

FAIR:
-11-7 in Atlantic Ten play (see below)
-win vs Villanova
-two wins against Massachusetts
-RPI = 45
-SOS = 53
-9-6 on the road

BAD:
-6-6 in last twelve games (see below)
-losses to Saint Louis, Duquesne, Holy Cross and La Salle

Beating Xavier in the semifinals of the conference tournament gave this team a much needed boost. Theyíre still sweating, but that win did give them a chance. 6-6 may not sound bad for the last twelve games, but it is when ten of the twelve games were against teams that arenít solid NCAA Tournament teams. Most of them donít even have a prayer. 11-7 in league play may not sound all that good, but the schedules in the Atlantic Ten arenít balanced and Saint Josephís clearly played the toughest. The committee will recognize that.


OREGON

GOOD:
-win vs Stanford

FAIR:
-SOS = 37
-went 9-10 in Pac Ten play (includes conference tournament)
-win at Kansas State
-two wins against Arizona
-6-6 in last twelve games
-1-6 vs RPI top 25
-4-9 vs RPI top 50
-5-8 in true road games

BAD:
-RPI = 56
-OOC SOS = 169
-loss vs Oakland

After looking at this again, I think the Ducks are in trouble. They could still end up getting in, but they are right on the bubble. An argument could certainly be made to leave them out. The one good thing is that the bad things arenít THAT bad. Nine of their losses were to the RPI top 50, so most of those wonít hurt them too much. Itís just that when you put all of them together, it tends to drag them down.


OHIO STATE

GOOD:
-SOS = 17
-win vs Purdue

FAIR:
-win vs Michigan State
-close loss at Tennessee
-RPI = 49
-2-9 vs RPI top 50
-6-6 in last twelve games
-10-8 in Big Ten play

BAD:
-4-8 in true road games
-losses to Minnesota, Michigan and Iowa


Had the Buckeyes not win their final two regular season games against Purdue and Michigan State, they wouldnít even be on the bubble. The best news for them is that theyíre still playing. They desperately need to win their quarterfinal game against Michigan State. Theyíve beaten the Spartans once already, but that was at home and as good as Michigan State is they have struggled on the road this season, so it isnít a great win all by itself. They Buckeyes definitely need some insurance, and they can get it with a strong showing in the conference tournament.


SYRACUSE

GOOD:
-SOS = 8
-win vs Georgetown
-win vs Marquette

FAIR:
-RPI = 52
-3-8 vs RPI top 50
-win at Villanova
-close loss at Georgetown
-9-10 in Big East play (includes conference tournament)
-6-6 in their last twelve games

BAD:
-3-6 in their last nine games
-4-6 on the road
-loss at South Florida

Many are writing Syracuse off entirely. They do have some things for the committee to look at and consider, though. Their SOS is good for a change and most of their losses arenít that bad. I canít help but think that had they won their tournament game against Villanova theyíd be in. Losing six out of nine to close the season is never good, though. They just donít have any momentum and I believe that will work against them.


ARIZONA STATE

GOOD:
-wins vs Xavier and Stanford

FAIR:
-two wins vs Arizona (although Arizona wasnít at full strength for one of them)
-win vs USC
-9-10 in Pac Ten play (includes conference tournament)
-2-5 vs RPI top 25
-5-7 vs RPI top 50
-SOS = 77
-just two losses outside RPI top 100 (Washington, Illinois)

BAD:
-RPI = 83
-OOC SOS = 299
-4-6 in true road games

There really arenít too many bad things. Itís just that what is bad is REALLY bad. An RPI of 82 would be hands down the worst RPI of any team to ever be selected. Thatís not to say it canít happen, but it doesnít look good on their profile. They lost their quarterfinal game to USC on a controversial offensive goaltending call, but the real problem was they didnít have a field goal for the final ten minutes of the game. Had they won yesterday their chances would be so much better. The committee might take into account that the loss was controversial and that would certainly help them out.


VIRGINIA TECH

GOOD:
-nothing

FAIR:
-finished 4th in ACC standings
-SOS = 38
-RPI = 53
-10-8 in ACC play (includes conference tournament)
-close loss to North Carolina in ACC semifinals

BAD:
-4 losses outside RPI top 100

The most impressive thing about Virginia Tech is that they finished fourth in the ACC standings. However, thatís misleading. They only played the top three teams in the conference (Duke, North Carolina, Clemson) once and they lost to all three. Their best win was against Miami in the conference quarterfinals, so there is some sort of a case that can be made for their inclusion, but itís a weak case. Four of their nine conference wins were against Virginia and Boston College, and they have losses to Old Dominion, Richmond and Penn State. That pretty much offsets a close loss to North Carolina and a win against Miami.


FLORIDA STATE

GOOD:
-SOS = 23

FAIR:
-8-9 vs ACC play (includes conference tournament)
-two wins vs Miami, FL
-win vs Clemson
-6-6 in last twelve games
-close loss to North Carolina
-3-5 vs RPI top 50
-4-6 on the road

BAD:
-loss to South Florida
-RPI = 62

Florida State has won five of their last six with the only loss being to North Carolina, so they do have some momentum built up and the committee will give them credit for that. Theyíve beaten Clemson and Miami, both of whom are tournament teams, in that stretch. If they beat North Carolina in the quarterfinals I believe theyíll get in. If not, then chances are theyíll be out, but there are some things that should jump out at the committee.


MASSACHUSETTS

GOOD:
-nothing

FAIR:
-RPI = 43
-SOS = 71
-10-7 in Atlantic Ten play (includes conference tournament)
-finished third in conference standings
-wins at Dayton and Syracuse
-8-4 in last twelve games

BAD:
-losses to Northern Iowa, Saint Louis and Fordham

UMass has not beaten a single team thatís solidly in the field and other than Syracuse and Dayton, they lost all their head-to-head games against other bubble teams. There isnít all that much thatís bad, but there is nothing thatís good. Their loss to Charlotte in the Atlantic Ten Quarterfinals will probably land them in the NIT.


DAYTON

GOOD:
-RPI = 32
-SOS = 35
-win at Louisville
-win vs Pittsburgh

FAIR:
-6-6 on the road

BAD:
-6-6 in last twelve games (see below)
-9-9 in Atlantic Ten play (includes conference tournament
-tied for 7th in Atlantic Ten standings
-losses to Richmond, Duquesne, La Salle and George Washington

If you look at the good on the resume, it would indicate that theyíd be a virtual lock. The problem is that most of it came when the Flyers were at full strength. They arenít going to be at full strength going into the postseason, and they havenít accomplished much of anything lately. At full strength they beat some good teams, but without Chris Wright they lost to some bad ones. In their last twelve games they didnít beat a single team thatís solidly in the field, and lost to some teams that are just plain awful. They also lost head to head to Massachusetts and finished lower in the standings. With that in mind itís hard to argue that Dayton would be selected before UMass.


STEPHEN F. AUSTIN

GOOD:
-Nothing

FAIR:
-win at Oklahoma
-win at San Diego
-finished first in Southland standings

BAD:
-RPI = 64
-SOS = 263
-Losses to Texas Arlington, Northwestern State and Nicholls State

Thatís really all that needs to be said. This team had a good season and I believe theyíre better than their credentials, but there inclusion here is more of an honorable mention than anything else. I believe there is more upside to conference tournaments than downside, but one of the definite downsides is that if none of the teams in the league are good enough to get an at-large the most deserving team may not get to go, and thatís what happened here. I believe they could have been a dangerous first round opponent, but unfortunately they probably wonít get that chance. Other than the win at Oklahoma, I just couldnít make a case for them even if I tried.
 


Feedback for this article may be sent to drew.barnette@draftexpress.com .

 

Chris Wright
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 210 lbs.
Birthday: 11/04/1989
24 Years Old
Teams:
High School: St. John College
Previous Team: Georgetown , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
8.2 Pts, 2.4 Rebs, 3.8 Asts


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