Friday, March 12, 2010

Schmolik Bubble Watch (Update 3/12/10 Early Morning)

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
WCC: Gonzaga

Total # Locks: 37
Minimum # At Large Locks: 27
Automatic Bids: 31
Remaining Bids: 7
As of Now: 11 teams in contention

Stats courtesy of Rankings are as of March 11, 2010 morning.

Thursday Update: Butler now automatic bid, Marquette, Notre Dame, Utah State added to locks. Arizona State, Seton Hall, South Florida removed.

Early morning Friday Update: UNLV added to locks

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

* 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), 7-3 in last 10, Bubble wins: at Georgia Tech
Weaknesses: Non Conf RPI (98), Non Conf SOS (339!), 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 (losing to Miami would hurt)

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. 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).

Atlantic 10

Rhode Island (Out)

Strengths: Non Conf RPI (5!), Bubble Wins: at Dayton, Charlotte (if you consider them a bubble team)

Weaknesses: Conf RPI (101), 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
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. I think they should at least be in the discussion now but beating Rhode Island will clearly establish them as the #4 team in the A-10.

Dayton (Out)

Strengths: Non Conf RPI (15), Non Conf SOS (20)

Weaknesses: 5-5 in last 10 games, RPI (51), Conf RPI (89)

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).

Big East

No Bubble Teams

Big 10

Illinois (Out)

Strengths: Three Top 25 wins (Vanderbilt, Michigan State, at Wisconsin)
Weaknesses: RPI (73), Conf RPI (50), Non Conf RPI (123), 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

No Bubble Teams


San Diego State (In)

Strengths: RPI (34), Non Conf RPI (34), 8-2 in last 10 games

Weaknesses: Non Conf SOS (113), 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.

Pac 10

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: 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).


Florida (In)

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

Weaknesses: RPI (54), Non Conf RPI (75), 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 (67), Conf RPI (60), Non Conf RPI (73), Non Conf SOS (214), 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 (31)

Weaknesses: RPI (57), Conf RPI (64), Non Conf SOS (138), 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.


Wichita State (Out)

Strengths: Conf RPI (38)
Weaknesses: Just one top 50 win (Northern Iowa), Non Conf RPI (82), Non Conf SOS (286!), 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.

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


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