17 March 2013

Last bubble watching post

Since none of the major games today have any real bubble implications (that is, none of the teams that could win would be taking a spot necessarily away, usually there's one or two of those). Some thoughts.
Here's the list of teams I'd have in that have no shot.
29) Iowa. 6-10-2. Will be the highest team I've rated to miss the field since Georgetown went 16-14 against a brutal schedule in 2009. They were 7-13 against the top 100. Iowa is only 6-10, but both have similar top 50 records (4-9 for G'Town and 3-9 for Iowa). My guess is the holdout factor for Iowa is non-conference play and a lack of big wins (1, Wisconsin at home). Georgetown by contrast had 4 top 25 wins that year. Really could have used that Michigan State game.

36) Virginia. 7-3-8. Played their way out by losing a ton of games against mediocre teams, the worst of which was Old Dominion. Injuries can be blamed on some of these, but that one is unforgivably bad. Loss to NC State is forgivable, but they lost by a lot when they needed to compete most.

38) Baylor. 5-11-3. Mysterious big win over Kansas wasn't enough. They needed that game against Oklahoma State in the conference tournament.

44) Denver 3-8-1. Loss to Texas State in WAC tournament? Good news for them, I guess, is Louisiana Tech won't make the field either.

48) Stanford. 6-12-2. Much like Iowa, has no big wins to point to in a tough schedule (1-9 against top 50).  They're slotted in my second to last at large spot anyway (Colorado is the last).

Teams that are rated low that should get in anyway (instead of the teams above).
50) Villanova 8-11-2 . Decent enough record and 3 top 25 wins helps here.
52) Boise State 6-7-3. Probably should be closer to on the bubble than appears to be the case.
53) Butler 14-7-1. The 14 top 100 wins is pretty much all that's needed here. That's a lot.
60) California 6-10-1. Their loss to Utah puts them in a very uncomfortable spot, but considering the other teams on this list, I think they're safe enough. Win over Arizona and splits with UCLA and Colorado is about it (Denver too). Sweep of Oregon now that Oregon won the automatic bid helps too.
65) Temple. 8-6-3. Wins over Syracuse, VCU, and St Louis are probably the fodder here (last two at home). Loss to Duquesne hurt a lot.

Of these, I'm comfortable with 3 of them (Villanova, Butler, and Temple) and Boise is acceptable with some good wins down the stretch in a tough (but overrated) conference. Cal is pretty ugly though.

Teams that are very fringe contenders for a spot.
55) Maryland 4-8-4. Two wins over Duke is very nice. Only two other wins is not.

58) Southern Miss. 1-7-2. Only win is over Denver. Win over Memphis in conference final would have been a big one too, but also wouldn't have mattered with the automatic qualifier that came with it. They do have an impressive looking RPI for such a mediocre resume is basically their only reason for inclusion.

63) Alabama 8-8-4. Win over Tennessee put a heartbeat back in their consistently fringe position from earlier in the year, but they didn't follow up in the game against Florida. It did weaken the case for Tennessee however.

Actual bubble (3 of these will get in, 2 won't).
31) Middle Tennessee State. 1-3-2. Lots of blowout wins over mediocre to terrible teams. Only win is over Mississippi. Which helps with Mississippi playing today. Assuming they are not blown out (which is possible, they're playing Florida). Right now they look to be in, but it's very close.

39) Mississippi. 8-6-2. Speaking of which. Basically two wins over Missouri is all they have to go on. The win over Vanderbilt didn't really help much. Probably needs to win anyway to get in. If they're stealing a bid, it would be from another SEC team most likely.

42) Kentucky 8-10-1. Loss to Vandy did not help at all after the big win over Florida. They seem to be prototypically like the other bubble teams that missed out (win one big one, lose a bad one). Probably out with the injury factors.

59) LaSalle 7-7-2. I've been waiting for this team to start falling out of favor but the rest of the bubble never really caught up to them. They've basically just beaten up on the lesser A-10 teams (the ones that look better on RPI, like Charlotte or UMass, beat them. Charlotte is probably the most overrated RPI team I've ever seen). They've got a road win over VCU, barely beat Butler at home, and beat Villanova in OT. Losing to Central Connecticut State may be what keeps them out if anything does.

64) Tennessee 10-10-2. Loss to Alabama didn't help, but didn't hurt that much either. Wins over Florida, Wichita State, Missouri, and 1 point loss to Georgetown help. But they piled up a lot of other losses. Memphis, Virginia, swept by Mississippi, split with Kentucky, lost twice to Alabama (won once), Arkansas, and the big hurt here, swept by Georgia. Other than a pair of wins over middling A-10 teams (Xavier and UMass), there's not much here. They didn't even have the toughest SEC schedule. If I had to guess, they miss out.

Minor conference watch
Conferences with decent teams that lost
Sun Belt: Middle Tennessee State might get in anyway, but Western Kentucky is going to be in a play-in game (rate around 180). MTSU would likely have been a 12 as an upset watch (at the time of their upset they looked like Memphis but does with fewer decent wins).

WAC: Denver. New Mexico State isn't bad (80), but Denver would have been a 12-13 seed with some higher potential. Both are rated better than Louisiana Tech was.

American East: 61) Stony Brook. Basically only major factor is being one of Maryland's decent wins. But they could have garnered a 13 or 14 seed while Albany is around 140 and will be a 15.


Summit. 74) North Dakota State lost on the road in the conference final. South Dakota State does have a win over New Mexico however and is still top 100 (90).


Southland: 75) Stephen F Austin really just had a win over Oklahoma to point to but could have been an upset spoiler for a 3 seed. As it is, Northwestern State makes a decent 15 seed, but they're not nearly as good (~120)

Big Sky: 85) Weber State has nothing on their resume to point to, basically played one of the weakest schedules in the country. But they also blew out most of those teams. Montana has a similar record, but just wasn't as impressive. It's probable this won't change seeding (probably a 14 either way), but Montana is more like a 15 (~130) and unlikely to consider much where Weber would have been an interesting team to look at.
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