Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Schmolik Bubble Watch (3/9/10)

Schmolik Bubble Watch

Hello, college basketball fans!

Updated: March 9, 2010 9pm ET

It's time for Schmolik's Bubble Watch. For many teams, this is a make or break week. Bubble Watch analyzes who is on the bubble and their chances of making the NCAA's.

First, teams that I feel are locks for the tournament. As always, I reserve the right to change my mind during the week. Automatic Bids not included.

ACC: Duke, Maryland, Clemson, Florida State, Wake Forest
A-10: Temple, Xavier, Richmond
Big East: Syracuse, West Virginia, Villanova, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Louisville
Big 10: Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan State, Wisconsin
Big 12: Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma State, Missouri
C-USA: Texas El Paso
Horizon: Butler
MWC: New Mexico, Brigham Young
Pac 10: California
SEC: Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee
WCC: Gonzaga

Total # Locks: 34
Minimum # Locks: 24

Stats courtesy of CBSSports.com. Rankings are as of March 9, 2010 morning.

RPI/ Conf or Non Conf RPI: Good RPI is 30's or higher, marginal is 40's, poor is 50's or below.
*Last 10 games: 7-3 or better is a strength, 5-5 or lower a weakness.
SOS/Non Conf SOS: Good is top 20, bad is below 100.
Top 25 games: Strength: Two or more, Weakness: Zero
Top 50 games: Strength: Four or more, Weakness: One or fewer
Bad losses: Weakness: Home losses to teams below 100 in RPI, Loss to teams below 200 in RPI

* CBSSports.com lists “Last 10” in their RPI data. Although the last 10 games or last 12 games has been removed as an official criteria, the official bracket procedures state “chronological results” are considered so a poor or strong finish may still matter.

Bubble Teams (In/Out as of Last Schmolik 64 Update)

ACC

Virginia Tech (In)

Strengths: Conference RPI (32), 7-3 in last 10, Bubble wins: at Georgia Tech
Weaknesses: Non Conf RPI (98), Non Conf SOS (340!), no Top 25 wins

Should Be In If: They win one ACC tournament game
Should Be On the Bubble If: They lose their first ACC game (although a loss to Wake Forest may not hurt that much, a loss to Miami would)

Outlook: Great ACC profile, horrible non conference profile. If the Selection Committee wishes to make a statement about non conference scheduling, look for the Hokies to get the shaft. A win in the ACC should remove all doubt.

Georgia Tech (In)

Strengths: Four Top 50 wins (including Duke), Overall SOS (19)

Weaknesses: 4-6 in last 10 games, Non Conf SOS (153), Bubble Losses (Home vs Virginia Tech, Neutral vs Dayton), Conference Record (7-9), although still in Top 50 in Conference RPI

Should Be In If: They beat Maryland, making the ACC SF.
Should Be On the Bubble If: They lose to Maryland in the ACC QF.

Outlook: RPI numbers are respectable, but sub .500 conference record could haunt them, especially if they lose their ACC opener to North Carolina.

Atlantic 10

Rhode Island (Out)

Strengths: Non Conf RPI (4!), Bubble Wins: at Dayton, Charlotte (if you consider them a bubble team)

Weaknesses: Conf RPI (102), 5-5 in last 10 games, no top 256 wins, only one top 50 win

Should Be In If: They make the A-10 final
Should Be On the Bubble If: They make the A-10 SF, maybe still alive if they lose to St. Louis in the A-10 QF.

Outlook: If the A-10 will get another at large bid, it will be Rhode Island. They have the highest RPI, a terrific non conference RPI, and wins over Dayton and Charlotte. Would have to beat St. Joe’s at home for consideration and may have to beat St. Louis to at least get into the discussion.

Dayton (Out)

Strengths: Non Conf RPI (14), Non Conf SOS (20)

Weaknesses: 5-5 in last 10 games, RPI (52), Conf RPI (90)
Should Be In If: They make the A-10 final
Should Be On the Bubble If: They make the A-10 SF, beating Xavier.

Outlook: Needs to beat Xavier to have any chance, still would have a hard time justifying a bid over Rhode Island (who beat Dayton at Dayton) unless Rhode Island loses to St. Joe’s.

Big East

Marquette (In)

Strengths: Conference RPI (35), 8-2 in last 10 games, two top 25 wins (vs Xavier, Georgetown), Bubble Win: at Seton Hall, South Florida

Weaknesses: RPI (58), Non Conf RPI (115), Non Conf SOS (203), Bubble Loss: Home vs Notre Dame, Bad Losses: Home vs NC State, at DePaul

Should Be In If: They beat St. John’s in next game.
Should Be On the Bubble If: They lose.

Outlook: The RPI is a big negative but their big wins, hot finish, and performance in conference (including win over Louisville) should be enough assuming they don’t blow it to St. John’s.

Notre Dame (In)

Strengths: Conference RPI (38), Three Top 25 wins (West Virginia, Pittsburgh, at Georgetown), Bubble Wins (at Marquette, Sweep of South Florida)

Weaknesses: RPI (59), Non Conf RPI (97), Non Conf SOS (225), Bubble Loss: at Seton Hall, Bad Loss: Home to Loyola Marymount

Should Be In If: They beat Seton Hall in next game.
Should Be On the Bubble If: They lose.

Outlook: Very similar to Marquette, a loss to Seton Hall would be their 2nd this year and would have Seton Hall pass Notre Dame in the pecking order. That being said, don’t be surprised to see nine from the Big East if Seton Hall wins.

Seton Hall (Out)

Strengths: Conference RPI (40), Bubble Win: Notre Dame

Weaknesses: RPI (54), Non Conf RPI (77), Non Conf SOS (200), Bubble Loss: at South Florida

Should Be In If: They make the Big East SF, beating Providence, Notre Dame, and Pittsburgh.
Should Be On the Bubble If: They beat Providence.

Outlook: They will get consideration if they beat Providence but will be near the bottom of the bubble unless they beat Notre Dame. Another problem is South Florida, who has a similar profile and beat Seton Hall earlier. It could be a race for the two in this tournament as to who gets farther.

South Florida (Out)

Strengths: Two Top 25 wins (Pitt, at Georgetown), Bubble Win: Seton Hall

Weaknesses: RPI (63), Non Conf RPI (80), Non Conf SOS (229), Bubble Losses: Swept by Notre Dame, Bad Loss: Home to Central Michigan

Should Be In If: They make the Big East final.
Should Be On the Bubble If: They beat Georgetown.

Outlook: A very hard sell, beating Syracuse in the Big East QF may not be enough. They should get consideration head to head vs Seton Hall if they are close (but Seton Hall would get head to head over Notre Dame in a potential three way logjam between SH, ND, and USF if the Pirates beat the Irish.

Big 10

Illinois (Out)

Strengths: Three Top 25 wins (Vanderbilt, Michigan State, at Wisconsin)
Weaknesses: RPI (74), Conf RPI (51), Non Conf RPI (120), 5-5 in last 10 games (including 5 of last 6)

Should Be In If: They make the Big 10 final
Should Be On the Bubble If: Beat Wisconsin, most likely can’t afford to lose to either Iowa or Northwestern should either beat Ohio State.

Outlook: Clearly have only one strength (quality wins), but it’s the one that the NCAA (at least according to almost everyone in the media) seems to like the most and teams have in the past gotten away with poor RPI numbers and poor finishes if they have a few quality wins. I can’t imagine Illinois gets in with an RPI in the 70’s. Let’s see how much the RPI goes up if they beat Wisconsin and lose to Ohio State. If it gets into the mid 60’s, they may get some consideration. The Illini should also root for Clemson to do well to get into the RPI Top 25 and give Illinois another top 25 win and for Michigan State to at least maintain a Top 25 RPI. If they beat Wisconsin, they could potentially have five top 25 wins.

Big 12
No Bubble Teams

Conf USA

Memphis (In)

Strengths: Conference RPI (36), 8-2 in last 10 games, Bubble Wins: Sweep of UAB

Weaknesses: Non Conference RPI (90), No Top 25 wins, Bad Loss: at SMU

Should Be In If: They Make Conf USA Final
Should Be On the Bubble If: They win one Conf USA game

Outlook: Memphis should not be passed over in favor of UAB even if UAB beats them in the Conf USA SF since Memphis has beaten them twice already. That would be the only scenario I can consider any other team (other than UTEP) passing them in the Conf USA pecking order. They probably want to at least make the SF though and losing to anyone below UAB would be pretty bad as well. Another nightmare is if someone other than themselves or UTEP wins the tournament as UTEP would get an at large and Memphis will have to hope C-USA gets three bids.

UAB (Out)

Strengths: RPI (40), Non Conf RPI (18)

Weaknesses: Conf RPI (59), 5-5 in last 10 games: Bubble Losses: Swept by Memphis, only one top 50 win (Butler)

Should Be In If: To feel safe, the only way would be to win it all
Should Be On the Bubble If: Makes the conference final

Outlook: Even a win over Memphis may not be enough to pass them in the pecking order (still 2-1 head to head) although making the final could add to the possibility of three bids in C-USA.

MWC

UNLV (In)

Strengths: 7-3 in last 10 games, Two Top 25 wins (at New Mexico, BYU), Four Top 50 wins

Weaknesses: Non Conference RPI (56), Non Conference SOS (191), Bad Loss: Home vs Utah

Should Be In If: Wins one MWC game.
Should Be On the Bubble If: They lose

Outlook: Pretty much avoid the bad loss and they should be OK. Surprising that their non conference profile is so bad (and that’s including a win vs Louisville). Do teams not want to go to Vegas anymore? They got swept by Utah this year, could a team outside the top 100 beat an NCAA contender three times in a year (UNLV opens the MWC vs Utah), especially on UNLV’s home court?

San Diego State (In)

Strengths: RPI (36), Non Conf RPI (35), 8-2 in last 10 games

Weaknesses: Non Conf SOS (105), Bubble Loss: at Arizona State

Should Be In If: Makes the MWC final
Should Be On the Bubble If: Wins one MWC game.

Outlook: A pretty good profile. I think a win and their chances are better than most people think. There isn’t much a reason to reject them and considering a weak bubble, they shouldn’t be rejected (assuming they win one MWC game). Many teams were hoping St. Mary’s would not beat Gonzaga. San Diego State was probably indifferent and probably are better off without another bubble team that beat them earlier this year.

Pac 10

Arizona State (In)

Strengths: 8-2 in last 10 games, Bubble Wins - San Diego State

Weaknesses: RPI (53), Conf RPI (54), Non Conf RPI (55), No Top 25 wins

Should Be In If: Probably can’t be sure unless they win it all.
Should Be On the Bubble If: They make the Pac 10 final.

Outlook: The Pac 10 is weak and teams from the Pac 10 are really going to have to impress to make it. They have little chance at quality wins outside of beating Cal in the final (and then they would be in automatically). I can’t guarantee the winner of the potential SF between them and Washington will be in, but I can guarantee the loser won’t be. And if Arizona State loses before the final to anyone else, I can’t imagine them getting in either.

Washington (In)

Strengths: Non Conf RPI (23), 8-2 in last 10 games, Two top 25 wins (Texas A&M, California)

Weaknesses: Conf RPI (67), Bad Loss: Home to Oregon

Should Be In If: Probably can’t be sure unless they win it all.
Should Be On the Bubble If: They make the Pac 10 final.

Outlook: See Arizona State. The potential SF match vs. Arizona State would be a rubber match between the two. Washington has a little better non conference profile and did beat Cal (ASU didn’t). But it pretty much comes down to them or ASU and the only way the Pac 10 gets three is if someone upsets Cal and either Washington or Arizona State in the final and the party crasher, Cal, and either Washington or ASU gets in.

SEC

Florida (In)

Strengths: Conference RPI (31), Bubble Wins (at Mississippi, Mississippi State), Two Top 25 wins (Michigan State, Tennessee)

Weaknesses: RPI (51), Non Conf RPI (71), 5-5 in last 10 games, Bad Loss: Home vs South Alabama

Should Be In If: Makes the SEC SF and loses to Vanderbilt or makes the SEC final
Should Be On the Bubble If: Wins 1st SEC game vs Auburn

Outlook: Losing to either of the Mississippi schools would hurt their chances as it gives either a chance to pass them in the SEC pecking order.

Mississippi State (Out)

Strengths: Bubble Wins: Sweep over Mississippi

Weaknesses: RPI (69), Conf RPI (61), Non Conf RPI (76), Non Conf SOS (222), 5-5 in last 10 games, Bubble loss: at Florida, Bad Loss: Home vs Rider

Should Be In If: Makes the SEC final
Should Be On the Bubble If: Beats Florida

Outlook: I am seeing a lot of Mississippi in many brackets even though Mississippi State swept them and they tied in conference. To me, Mississippi has to clearly show they are better than MSU to overcome the head to head sweep. That being said, it’s a moot point unless they at least beat Florida. They didn’t beat any of the top four SEC East schools. I think the SEC should get rid of the top two in each division get byes and have the best four teams get byes (like the Big 12). Tennessee and Florida (or at least Tennessee) should have byes instead of the Mississippi schools.

Mississippi (Out)

Strengths: Non Conf RPI (35)

Weaknesses: RPI (56), Conf RPI (65), Non Conf SOS (142), 5-5 in last 10 games, Bubble Losses: Home vs Florida, Sweep to Mississippi State, Bad Loss: Home to Arkansas

Should Be In If: Makes the SEC final
Should Be On the Bubble If: Beats Tennessee
Outlook: Honestly I don’t see anything good about Mississippi’s profile. Clearly the win over Tennessee would help but I’m still skeptical, otherwise I better not see their name on Sunday. Should both MSU and Ole Miss win their SF games, I still think you have to take MSU first before Ole Miss.

Other

Utah State (In)

Strengths: RPI (32), Conf RPI (33), 10-0 in last 10 games!, Bubble Win: Wichita State

Weaknesses: Non Conf RPI (57)

Should Be In If: Avoids a bad loss in the WAC tournament
Should Be On the Bubble If: Takes a bad loss in the WAC tournament.

Outlook: Pretty close to a lock but win one game in the WAC to be entirely sure. At least they won’t have to compete with St. Mary’s for an at large (see San Diego State).

Wichita State (Out)

Strengths: Conf RPI (37)
Weaknesses: Just one top 50 win (Northern Iowa), Non Conf RPI (85), SOS (101), Non Conf SOS (285!), Bad losses (at Evansville)

Tournament Result: Lost to Northern Iowa in MVC final

Outlook: Honestly only a really weak bubble is keeping them in the discussion. Finishing 2nd in the MVC and beating Northern Iowa is probably the only positive they have and that non conference SOS is terrible. They don’t even have “strong finish” in their basket. Should a lot of bubble teams win this week, I will likely take them off the bubble list.

Teams who I feel can play themselves into the tournament with a good week (list is not all inclusive). Teams previously listed that were eliminated have been removed.

Big East: Cincinnati
Big 10: Minnesota

Schmolik

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