03 March 2015

NCAA rankings March edition

1) Kentucky 18-0
Remains pretty well ahead. The lead has shrunk slightly, mostly because of a game they gave up almost 80 points (they scored over 100).

2) Arizona 11-2-1
3) Virginia 15-1
4) Wisconsin 15-2-1
5) Villanova 16-2
6) Gonzaga 12-2
7) Duke 18-3
8) Utah  8-6

9) Oklahoma 12-8-1
10) Baylor 15-8
11) Kansas 17-6
12) North Carolina 11-9
13) Wichita St 8-3
14) Ohio St 7-8
15) Louisville 11-6
16) Iowa St 14-7

17) Notre Dame 10-5
18) Butler 9-8
19) Michigan St 7-8-2
20) Northern Iowa 7-2-1
21) Texas 7-12
22) West Virginia 11-7
23) Xavier 10-9-3
24) Georgetown 8-9
25) BYU 4-8

Ranked Teams
27) Arkansas 10-6
28) SMU 7-6
30) Maryland 12-5
75) Murray St 1-2-2

Bubble discourse
I count 10 spots that are "bubbles", that could shift and are not totally certain and locked up going into the conference tournaments this week and next, and I see 15 teams that are in bubble discussion (plus two that I ranked lower than 48th that appear to be comfortably in, Dayton and Oregon). Syracuse would be right on the cutline also except they took themselves out of post-season play for the year.

Teams
21) Texas - Big win tonight put them back in the conversation officially. Their biggest issue: they were swept by all the Big 12 bigs (Oklahoma, Iowa St, Kansas, plus Oklahoma State), the split with Baylor and West Virginia helps. Wins over Iowa and Connecticut aren't bad, but don't help enough. The big help: no losses outside of the top 50. I would say they should be in comfortably but they'll be floating on the cut line all week and will need another win at least to be safe.

25) BYU - The win over Gonzaga might put them in. Being swept by Pepperdine doesn't help (barely top 100 team). Losses to Utah and Purdue and a win over Stanford is about it on the resume otherwise. They're highly ranked because they have crushed weaker teams they were supposed to crush and didn't lose any of those games.

33) North Carolina St 11-10-2 - Win over North Carolina on the road probably puts them in but the loss to BC following it up didn't help. They've beaten Duke and Louisville in conference as well so I'd think they're perfectly safe. Losses to BC and Wake Forest hurt. They've also played a ton of quality opponents. Out of conference they've got wins over Richmond, Boise St, and Louisiana Tech and losses to Wofford, Cincinnati, and Purdue. None of these are teams that are outrageously strong, but all are quality top 100 games. They should be in easily without discussion. I'm guessing RPI is the only reason they are not. I haven't checked that wacky thing yet.

37) Davidson 6-4-2 - Not many quality wins. Win over Dayton is it. Lost to St Bonaventure and St Joe's. Probably one of the last teams out.

39) Stanford 5-7-3 - Not many quality wins here. Beat Texas in OT. Lost to DePaul (by 15?), Washington St, and Colorado, all bad losses. I don't think they qualify without at least two good wins as that's too many bad losses to overcome a win over Texas as the only good win.

43) Purdue 9-8-2 - Beat OSU, BYU, NC State, Iowa, swept Indiana, and got blown out by Notre Dame, and lost to North Florida and, somehow, Gardner Webb (both at home). I think they're safe but they could use another good win to secure it. 

45) Boise St 7-3-4 - Swept San Diego State and split with Colorado State. Losses to Utah St, Loyola, Fresno St and Wyoming. Probably in, but that's a lot of bad losses.

46) Illinois 6-10-1 - Beat Baylor, Maryland, and also Michigan St (on the road), and then Purdue also. Loss to Nebraska on the road hurts the most. This seems like it should be enough given some of the other resumes are pretty barren, but they look to be out right now.
47) Minnesota 5-10-2 - Beat Michigan St, Iowa (both on the road), and then also Georgia, Purdue, and Illinois. Lost to Northwestern at home, and Nebraska. Also probably out. In both of these two cases, the RPI is probably at issue.

48) Cincinnati 6-6-3 - Swept SMU, Beat NC State and San Diego State. Losses to Nebraska, Tulane, and East Carolina hurt. Probably in though. 

50) Miami 7-9-2 - Beat Duke (at Duke, by 16), swept by Louisville. Lots of "good" losses, such as that is. Wins over Illinois and NC State help. Got blown out by Eastern Kentucky at home as the biggest red flag. I think they should be in based on the eyeball test on the resume, but again, RPI is probably killing them.

66) Colorado St 6-2-3 - Splits with San Diego St and Boise is basically it here. Got swept by Wyoming and lost to New Mexico. Seems thin. They probably get in by having a gaudy overall record, but most of those wins were against mediocre teams. Georgia St is the best team out of conference they have played.

69) Pittsburgh 7-8-3 - Beat North Carolina and Notre Dame, swept by Louisville. Got blown out by San Diego St and NC State. Swept Syracuse. Losses to Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, and Hawaii hurt. Probably out without another win. 

72) Tulsa 6-5-1 - Zero meaningful wins. Crushed by every good team they played basically. Swept Temple. Somehow lost to Oral Roberts. Should not be in. Texas win over Baylor this evening might have moved them out. Their schedule out of the top 100 does not include any teams from the top 150, and few of those. Mostly chewing up very bad teams. If they weren't being mentioned as a bubble team I wouldn't even be tracking this team at all.

73) Temple 6-8-1 - Big win over Kansas early in the season seems to be it. They got blown out by Duke and Villanova and Cincinnati. Swept by Tulsa. What helps is the only bad loss was to St Joe's (by 2). They appear to be likely to get in.

Team that would make it based on rank but have no shot.
42) Florida 6-14-1 - Just too many losses racked up and no big wins. The loss to Missouri is baffling.

Most interesting "bubble" question that won't come up
Valparaiso vs Green Bay. Basically whoever wins the Horizon League gets in and the other is out. They're right next to each other on my rankings at 67 and 68 and I'd rather take one or both of these teams if they don't win the conference tournament than a couple of those listed above. 
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