Schmolik Bubble Watch
Hello, college basketball fans!
Updated: March 12, 2010
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, Marquette, Notre Dame
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
MWC: New Mexico, Brigham Young, UNLV
Pac 10: California
SEC: Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee
WAC: Utah State
Total # Locks: 35 (Big East and Big 12 Champs guaranteed from the “locks”)
Minimum # At Large Locks: 27
Automatic Bids: 31
Remaining Bids: 7
As of Now: 11 teams in contention. I may return some teams to consideration between now and Sunday.
Stats courtesy of CBSSports.com. Rankings are as of March 12, 2010 morning.
Thursday/Early Friday Update: Butler now automatic bid, Marquette, Notre Dame, Utah State, UNLV added to locks. Arizona State, Seton Hall, South Florida removed.
Friday Update: Mississippi removed from consideration. Kent State added to bubble list.
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)
Virginia Tech (In)
Strengths: Conference RPI (32), 6-4 in last 10 (after today’s loss), Bubble wins: at Georgia Tech
Weaknesses: RPI: 52, Non Conf RPI (98), Non Conf SOS (339!), no Top 25 wins
Tournament Result: Lost ACC 1st round game to Miami (seeded 12th in conference).
Outlook: As of Friday AM, Virginia Tech’s RPI was 52. Expect it to drop after losing to Miami. Great ACC profile (although loss to Miami hurts), 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. If Georgia Tech upsets Miami, don’t be surprised if Georgia Tech passes Virginia Tech in the ACC pecking order.
Georgia Tech (In)
Strengths: Four Top 50 wins (including Duke), Overall SOS (20)
Weaknesses: 4-6 in last 10 games, Non Conf SOS (148), 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. Then again, given the bad losses by Wake Forest and Clemson on Thursday, at least give Georgia Tech for winning a game (vs. North Carolina and I’d imagine a bunch of rowdy Tar Heel fans).
Rhode Island (Out)
Strengths: Non Conf RPI (5!), Bubble Wins: at Dayton, Charlotte (if you consider them a bubble team)
Weaknesses: Conf RPI (104), 5-5 in last 10 games, no top 25 wins, only one top 50 win
Should Be In If: They make the A-10 final, beating Temple
Should Be On the Bubble If: They lose to Temple
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. If a fourth at large comes from the A-10, you would expect the Rams to be that team.
Strengths: Non Conf RPI (14), Non Conf SOS (20)
Weaknesses: RPI (52), Conf RPI (89), 5-5 in last 10 games
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).
No Bubble Teams
Strengths: Four Top 25 wins (Vanderbilt, Michigan State, at Wisconsin, vs Wisconsin in Big 10 tournament)
Weaknesses: RPI (75), Non Conf RPI (124), Non Conf SOS (105), 5-5 in last 10 games (including 5 of last 7)
Should Be In If: They make the Big 10 final, beating Ohio State
Should Be On the Bubble If: They lose.
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 after beating Wisconsin and lose to Ohio State. If it gets into the mid 60’s, they may get some consideration.
No Bubble Teams
No Bubble Teams
San Diego State (In)
Strengths: RPI (32), Non Conf RPI (38), 8-2 in last 10 games
Weaknesses: Non Conf SOS (125), Bubble Loss: at Arizona State
Should Be In If: Makes the MWC final
Should Be On the Bubble If: Loses in the MWC SF
Outlook: With Arizona State, UAB, Memphis, and Kent State choking on Thursday, I find it ridiculous for anyone to say this is not a tournament team. I did say they would be comfortably in if they make the final but I’ll leave them on the bubble to be consistent with earlier this week. The loss by Arizona State in the Pac 10 tournament probably widens the gap between the two so the head to head loss shouldn’t be a factor anymore.
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: Well the path should be clearer for Washington to make the final (then again if Stanford beat ASU, they can certainly beat Washington). In some ways, Washington had a better profile than the Sun Devils anyway (Washington beat Cal and Texas A&M). It’s pretty clear if Washington makes the final they will be considered the 2nd best Pac 10 team and if more bubble teams trip on their feet this week, you have to say making the final and losing to Berkeley will be enough for the Huskies (no, not the U Conn Huskies).
Strengths: Conference RPI (31), Bubble Wins (Mississippi State), Two Top 25 wins (Michigan State, Tennessee)
Weaknesses: RPI (51), Non Conf RPI (77), Non Conf SOS (106), 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: Loses next game to Mississippi State or SF to Mississippi
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 (68), Conf RPI (58), Non Conf RPI (70), Non Conf SOS (211), 5-5 in last 10 games, no top 25 wins, 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’ll leave them in for now even though their only strength is their sweep over Ole Miss, which I feel removed themselves from consideration after losing to Tennessee because their profile probably improves if they beat Florida. If they lose to Florida, they will likely fall out.
Wichita State (Out)
Strengths: Conf RPI (37)
Weaknesses: Just one top 50 win (Northern Iowa), Non Conf RPI (86), Non Conf SOS (288!), 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. So far so good for the Shockers.
Kent State (In because of automatic bid)
Strengths: Non Conf SOS (26), 8-2 in last 10 games, regular season MAC champion, Bubble Win: UAB (if they are still a bubble team)
Weaknesses: Conf RPI (56), No top 25 wins, one top 50 win, Bad losses: Home vs Green Bay, Home vs Bowling Green
Tournament Road: Lost to Ohio in MAC QF’s (1st game played).
Outlook: I’m running out of teams here so I added them. They did win the regular season MAC title. The only team in the top 54 (as of Friday) that is not either in automatically, a lock, or a bubble team is UAB, who Kent State beat. I thought they suffered a bad loss. Ohio’s RPI was over 100 but just barely. It didn’t hurt their overall RPI as much as I thought. I think they are a long shot but a few more chokers and maybe they can still make it in.
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 10: Minnesota