Bracket Express Bubble Watch

Bracket Express Bubble Watch
Mar 14, 2008, 05:35 am
The following is a thorough and precise analysis of fifteen teams that are on the bubble.


-SOS = 2

-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

-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. It’s 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 don’t 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.


-win vs Connecticut

-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

-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. They’d 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 won’t hurt them too much. I also think the committee will give them some credit for their close loss at Georgetown. They certainly won’t penalize them for that.


-RPI = 35

-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 WKU’s home floor)
-7-4 on the road

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

Had this team just beaten Middle Tennessee in the conference tournament semifinals, they’d be fine. Losing that game on their home floor didn’t look all that good. It’s good that they won the regular season title because it means they’re 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.


-neutral floor win vs Notre Dame

-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)

-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 it’s a pretty good one. Had they beaten Colorado in the Big Twelve Opening Round they wouldn’t even be near the bubble.


-RPI = 33

-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

-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 isn’t going to look all that bad to the committee. There are obviously some holes in their credentials and they’ll definitely be sweating on Selection Sunday, but I think that for now they’re on the inside of the bubble.


-two wins vs Xavier

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

-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. They’re 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 aren’t solid NCAA Tournament teams. Most of them don’t even have a prayer. 11-7 in league play may not sound all that good, but the schedules in the Atlantic Ten aren’t balanced and Saint Joseph’s clearly played the toughest. The committee will recognize that.


-win vs Stanford

-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

-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 aren’t THAT bad. Nine of their losses were to the RPI top 50, so most of those won’t hurt them too much. It’s just that when you put all of them together, it tends to drag them down.


-SOS = 17
-win vs Purdue

-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

-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 wouldn’t even be on the bubble. The best news for them is that they’re still playing. They desperately need to win their quarterfinal game against Michigan State. They’ve 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 isn’t 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.


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

-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

-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 aren’t that bad. I can’t help but think that had they won their tournament game against Villanova they’d be in. Losing six out of nine to close the season is never good, though. They just don’t have any momentum and I believe that will work against them.


-wins vs Xavier and Stanford

-two wins vs Arizona (although Arizona wasn’t 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)

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

There really aren’t too many bad things. It’s 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. That’s not to say it can’t happen, but it doesn’t look good on their profile. They lost their quarterfinal game to USC on a controversial offensive goaltending call, but the real problem was they didn’t 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.



-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

-4 losses outside RPI top 100

The most impressive thing about Virginia Tech is that they finished fourth in the ACC standings. However, that’s 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 it’s 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.


-SOS = 23

-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

-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. They’ve beaten Clemson and Miami, both of whom are tournament teams, in that stretch. If they beat North Carolina in the quarterfinals I believe they’ll get in. If not, then chances are they’ll be out, but there are some things that should jump out at the committee.



-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

-losses to Northern Iowa, Saint Louis and Fordham

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


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

-6-6 on the road

-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 they’d be a virtual lock. The problem is that most of it came when the Flyers were at full strength. They aren’t going to be at full strength going into the postseason, and they haven’t 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 didn’t beat a single team that’s 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 it’s hard to argue that Dayton would be selected before UMass.



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

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

That’s really all that needs to be said. This team had a good season and I believe they’re 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 that’s what happened here. I believe they could have been a dangerous first round opponent, but unfortunately they probably won’t get that chance. Other than the win at Oklahoma, I just couldn’t make a case for them even if I tried.

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