11 March 2016

NCAA bubble thoughts

Most of the teams on the bubble this year, as usual, are pretty average to mediocre. I see no more than 2 teams on the actual bubble right now.

All of the A-10 and American conference teams that I see as likely or possible but not given (Temple, Tulsa, VCU, Connecticut, St Joe's, St Bonaventure; Dayton and Cincinnati are definitely in the field) are still active in their conference tournaments as of this. So it is likely one or two of them will end up getting automatic bids and remove the question mark anyway. Michigan is also still active.

I am using the bracket matrix bracket to assess whether a team is considered in safely or out.

Teams that aren't quite universally in but probably safe:
16) Wichita State - Lost in Arch Madness to Evansville. Doesn't have many quality wins (5-7-1 record). Almost certainly still makes the field at-large. Only one win in the top 50 (Utah).
29) Saint Marys - Gonzaga beat them to win the WCC tournament. Zags might have missed the field otherwise. Also hasn't played anyone. 3-3-2 record won't get it done. And two of those wins are against Gonzaga. But they also probably make the field.
38) VCU 4-7-2 Probably makes it. Most of their highest quality opponents were very competitive games. But all losses. *Could also win the A-10 tournament still.

Teams that have to win their conference tournament but are close to at large bids:
43) San Diego St 4-5-3. Beat Cal as the only notable win. Lost to San Diego.
59) UALR - 4-1-3 Was much higher until a late season loss to Appalachian St. Beat San Diego St and Tulsa.

Teams that are in the muddled bubble (only one of these teams probably gets in, possibly neither).

32) Connecticut 9-10 Probably makes it in, especially if they beat Cincinnati this evening. Win over Texas and SMU are about it though. No bad losses helps. Worst losses are being swept by Temple. *Pending result of today's game.
39) Syracuse 9-12-1 - Lots of high end wins. Duke, Texas AM, Connecticut, and Notre Dame. Loss in the conference tournament was very close. Loss to St John's (who is terrible), happened when Boeheim wasn't there as coach.

Teams that are outside looking in with some chance of appearing.
36) Valparaiso 5-1-5 - Win over Oregon State appears to be it (lost to Oregon by 6). They did crush Iona. For what that's worth. They did dominate a minor conference. Sometimes that helps.
37) Florida 11-14 - Win over West Virginia in January carries some weight. Also St Joe's. That's it though. LOTS of high end losses to teams in the top 50. Lots of wins over 50-100 ranked teams (mostly other SEC teams of middling rank).
52) Michigan 8-11 - Beat Purdue, Maryland, and Texas (and now Indiana as well). Worst loss was Ohio St, who is decent. So no bad losses.
54) Tulsa 7-9-1 - Win over Wichita, split with the other four good teams in their conference (Cincinnati, Connecticut, SMU, Temple, and also Houston). Lost by 2 to Oral Roberts as the lone bad loss. *Blow out loss to Memphis, will be heading to the NIT.
64) Monmouth 5-4-3 Notre Dame, a split with USC, and beat UCLA in OT. Lost to Iona twice (once in the conference final). Another minor conference dominating team. Earlier in the season they were much higher.

Teams not even on the bubble radar in my top 50
42) BYU 3-5-5 - Way too many bad losses (Harvard, Pacific). Wins against Gonzaga, St Marys, and Northern Iowa is all they have. Not a team that will get in.
45) Florida St 9-13 Wins over Virginia, Notre Dame, Florida, Syracuse, and VCU help here. Worst losses are a sweep by Virginia Tech. This is a team that ordinarily should get in, but doesn't appear likely to.
46) Creighton 5-12-2 - Xavier, Butler, Seton Hall as good wins. Loss to Loyola is pretty ugly. This is not a team that would get in.
47) Kansas St 6-16 - Oklahoma and Texas Tech is it as good wins. 6-16 teams don't make the tournament. They have had a brutal schedule, on account of the Big 12 being brutal this year, so they ended up in the top 50 in spite of this ugly record.
49) Clemson 7-12-2 - Louisville, Duke, Miami, Syracuse, Pitt, and split with Florida St. Blown out by Georgia and lost to Minnesota and Massachusetts as the worst losses. There are a lot of losses to teams in the 50-100 range however unlike Florida, which is less impressive.

Teams outside the top 50 probably or almost certainly getting in
50) St Joesphs 7-5-2 - Doesn't look that impressive. Beat Dayton is the best win. Swept by St Bonaventure. They probably should not get in. Probably will anyway. *A10
51) Providence 11-6-3 - Pretty solid record, beat Villanova on the road and Arizona at a neutral site. Losses to Marquette, twice, and DePaul as the bad ones. Definitely in.
53) Colorado 7-11 - Arizona, splits with Oregon, Oregon St, and Cal. Beat BYU. No bad losses. Probably gets in.
54) Dayton 10-5-1 Definitely in. Beat Iowa, Vanderbilt, VCU, and Monmouth. Lost to LaSalle? *A10
63) Oregon St 10-11-1 - Splits with Oregon, Cal, Utah, USC, and Colorado. Beat Tulsa. Worst loss was Stanford. Almost certainly gets in (very high RPI).
82) St Bonaventure 5-4-3 - Basically only in contention because they won a lot of games at the end of the year (one of which was Dayton) and because of the RPI placing them very high (in the top 30). Sweep of St Joes, and a split with Dayton is best they have. Another team that somehow lost to LaSalle. This is not a team that should get in, but probably will. *Lost to Davidson first round of A10 tournament. I really would not put this team in.
92) Temple 8-9-1 - SMU, swept Cincinnati and Connecticut. Bad loss to East Carolina. They're poorly rated largely because they have very, very few blowout wins, even against mediocre teams. *American

Update #1
Vanderbilt losing to Tennessee yesterday dropped them into the "not universal but probably okay" category. Tennessee has a losing record but I still have them ranked in the top 100 (barely). So it isn't as bad a loss as it appears. I have them at 9-13, with no bad losses, and some key wins down the stretch (Kentucky being the biggest).
Michigan winning over Indiana may have pushed them back up into the field. The team most in danger there should be Connecticut or Syracuse. Possibly Vandy or even St Marys, but less likely.

Update #2
Tulsa is done. Getting blown out by Memphis is not going to cut it.
St Bonaventure losing to Davidson did not reassure me they deserve a bid.
Connecticut's 4OT game probably clinched a bid.
St Mary's on reflection looks like they should be in the bubble or outside looking in section.
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