NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch: 3/5

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Since Wake's tournament hopes aren't exactly in doubt (it's just about seeding now) and the Deacs do not play until Sunday, I thought it'd be good to take a look at some of the bubble teams and see who has helped/hurt their chances recently. Even though we use Pomeroy primarily, I used RPI numbers since this is what the committee will be using to determine the field. So, who's in and who's out as of today?

Georgetown: OUT 15-13 (6-11) RPI: 45 The RPI is still "decent," but there is no way to let in a team that has won three of its last 13 games. The Villinova win gave the Hoyas new life, but the loss to St. John's took that last gasp away.

Notre Dame: OUT 16-13 (7-10) RPI: 73 Just because for some reason commentators and analysts were still saying Notre Dame had a shot to get in doesn't mean that they actually did. This is not a good basketball team. A little better than Georgetown, they have won four of their last 14 games including beating Louisville, but Notre Dame is flat out awful.

Providence: OUT 18-11 (10-8) RPI: 69 Hey, you say, they have a winning record in the Big East! Yeah, good for them, but let's look at where those wins are coming from. Of course the upset win over Pitt looks good, and the Syracuse win helps too, but this is a team with just two top 50 wins (almost three--URI is on the cusp). Breaking down their 10 conference wins: six are to Depaul, St. Johns, Rutgers, Seton Hall and South Florida, plus two wins over other bubble contender Cincinnati and the two previously mentioned wins over Syracuse and Pitt. There are no good non-conference wins outside of the URI game, and they have losses to other bubble teams BC and St. Mary's. Sorry Providence, unless you make noise in the conference tourney, you are on the outside looking in.

Cincinnati: OUT 18-12 (8-9) RPI: 61 They have decent non-conference wins over bubble teams UAB and UNLV. This helps their case, but their conference season was rough. They swept Georgetown and beat West Virginia, but they never had that marquee win over a top-tier team like Marquette, Nova, UConn or Pitt. They had a shot, but they really needed to beat South Florida on Tuesday and they didn't. That loss will knock them out.

Miami (FL) OUT 17-11 (6-9) RPI: 44 Miami has had a rough go of it. This team is really one or two wins away from being easily in the tournament and they had the chances to make their case, playing a really tough schedule with OOC games against UConn, Kentucky and Ohio State. Miami needed to do a better job in conference, plain and simple. They have good wins over BC (twice), Florida State and Wake Forest, which is keeping them in the conversation, but they blew it against Georgia Tech yesterday.  The SOS and computer numbers are good, but they don't have enough good wins.

Maryland OUT 18-11 (7-8) RPI: 57 Maryland has two amazing wins: Michigan State and UNC, so they've shown they can beat top teams. They also have that glaring loss to Morgan State. So which Maryland team are we talking about when we decide their tournament chances? The one that got blown out by Gonzaga, Georgetown and Duke, or the one that beat Vermont, Michigan, Miami and Virginia Tech? Maryland certainly has some good wins (seven in the top-100), but they need to win their last game and at least a game in the ACC Tournament, and even then they may be pushed out on Selection Sunday.

Virginia Tech OUT 17-13 (7-9) RPI: 59 Poor Virginia Tech. This team has heartbreak written all over it again. They lost right at the end to Xavier (on an absurd shot) and Wisconsin. They didn't quite have enough to finish at home against both Duke and UNC. This is just a sad team that is one or two wins away from being in. If they had won any of those four games, Virginia Tech is in with a bullet. Now, they're a road win against Florida State and a win in the ACC Tournament away from still being in the conversation. Beating BC, Miami, Wake and Clemson is great. Losing to Georgia and Seton Hall hurts almost as much as those wins help. Sorry Hokies.

Boston College IN 20-10 (8-7) RPI: 55 Someone's got to get in, right? Well BC has been the most consistent among the ACC teams in the conversation. They are actually above .500 in ACC play and have sparkling wins over both Duke and UNC (the only ACC team to do that aside from Wake Forest). They also have good non-conference wins against bubble teams UAB and Providence, which helps their case to the selection committee. Seven top-100 wins and the two big-time wins over the top two teams in the ACC keeps them in, despite bad losses to Harvard and St. Louis (as well as the most recent loss to NC State).

Wisconsin IN 17-11 (9-8) RPI: 31 The computers love you, Wisconsin. You're in because of that. You had a chance to knock bubble contender Minnesota right out, but since they beat you, they are going to push one of the above teams out. Nine top-100 wins and only one bad loss (Iowa). Bo Ryan's team is in.

Minnesota IN 20-8 (9-8) RPI: 32 Almost a mirror image of Wisconsin, with their win yesterday, they keep themselves in the tournament. A win over Louisville is big, but so are eight top-100 wins, including wins over Ohio State and Illinois. Tubby's dancing.

Ohio State IN 19-9 (9-8) RPI: 40 It seems like the Big Ten is the conference that is the biggest beneficiary of both the Big East and the ACC's bubble teams' inability to win down the stretch. Ohio State has only won two of its last six games, but the non-conference wins over Notre Dame, Miami and Butler are big enough to keep them in.

Michigan OUT 17-13 (8-10) RPI: 47 They have a great SOS (9) and big wins (UCLA, Duke, Illinois, Purdue), but a losing record in the Big Ten and 13 losses is just too much. They needed to beat Wisconsin before playing Minnesota this weekend and they couldn't do it. Unless they make a deep run in the Big Ten tourney, they're out.

Penn State IN 21-9 (10-7) RPI: 66 They didn't beat anybody non-conference. And I mean anybody. The two best teams they played--URI and Temple--they lost. Their best non-conference win is against Mount St. Mary's (RPI: 122). That hurts them the most. EDIT: After March 5th's last second win over Illinois, Penn State played their way in. They swept Illinois and beat Michigan State and will finish in the upper half of the Big Ten. They're in now.

Northwestern OUT 17-11 (8-9) RPI: 70 I want Northwestern to dance for the first time as much as anybody, but it just isn't going to happen. Aside from the win against Florida State (I'm still scratching my head about that one), they have solid wins over MSU, Ohio State and Purdue (who didn't Purdue this year in the Big Ten?). When it comes down to it though, this team needed about two or three more wins, but they have one more chance to push Ohio State off the bubble and themselves back on in a game in Columbus on March 8.

Texas IN 20-9 (9-6) RPI: 36 This team almost lost it. And what a shame that would have been to see Abrams left out in the cold in March. But, the fact remains, Texas beat UCLA, Nova and Wisconsin and they have wins over Ok State and Oklahoma. They righted the ship, winning five of their last seven, and they're back in good shape.

Texas A&M IN 21-8 (8-7) RPI: 35 Here's the case of another team who is very happy to see all the Big East and ACC bubble teams fall. A&M has won five in a row at the right time and they'll be dancing in March. Non-conference wins over LSU and Arizona look good too.

Oklahoma State IN 20-9 (9-6) RPI: 25 Another team the computers absolutely love. Ok State has good but not sparkling non-conference wins against Tulsa, Siena and URI, plus they've won six in a row. They're in.

Kansas State OUT 19-10 (8-7) RPI: 76 K-State needed to beat Oklahoma State on Tuesday to stay on the bubble. They didn't and they have a bad strength of schedule and bad losses (Iowa and Oregon). They're on the outside looking in.

California OUT 21-8 (10-6) RPI: 38 I think Cal is the odd team out. Wins over Utah, Washington St. and USC and a sweep of Washington are very good, but this team is a perfect example of a bubble team that did just enough to make their case--but is left out on Selection Sunday. If they beat Arizona tonight though, they are in and might bump Zona off the bubble.

Arizona IN 18-11 (8-8) RPI: 45 Arizona is shaky, but right now, they're in. They beat Gonzaga, San Diego State and Kansas out of conference. Those wins look so good right now it's easy to overlook the 8-8 conference record. Plus they beat Washington and UCLA, so it's not as if they're just beating up on the weaker teams in the Pac-10. This is a dangerous team and they're still alive in March. They need to beat Cal tonight.

Tennessee IN 18-10 (9-5) RPI: 21 Tennessee sure tried their hardest not to make the tournament. They've been bi-polar all year, but they have wins over Siena, Georgetown and Marquette and the computers love the Vols third-ranked SOS.

South Carolina OUT 20-7 (9-5) RPI: 41 I just don't think USC did enough. The SEC is weak, and the Gamecocks' SOS is 85. They have no top-50 wins and no good non-conference wins. That really hurts their chances.

Florida OUT 21-9 (8-7) RPI: 53 Florida beat Washington, so that helps. But, that and their win against South Carolina are their only two top-50 wins. There are better teams than Florida that aren't making the tournament and Billy Donovan's club are headed for the NIT.

Kentucky OUT 19-11 (8-7) RPI: 78 Wow did any team choke more than Kentucky? Four losses in their last five games and a loss to Georgia yesterday? Ouch. It's painful to watch this team with Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson continue to flounder, but even a win against Florida on Saturday cannot save the Wildcats.

BYU IN 22-6 (11-4) RPI: 18 It's really amazing I even have to include BYU, but for some reason people think they're a bubble team. This is a great basketball team. They have nine road wins and ten top-100 wins. People seem to think that playing in the Mountain West will keep them out, but the Mountain West may be better than the SEC this year, so I don't see how that is a problem. Their SOS is 45, which is much better than bubble teams like Florida, South Carolina and Kansas State. BYU is in and poised to do some serious damage.

UNLV IN 21-8 (9-6) RPI: 50 I could take a SEC team over the Runnin' Rebs, but why would I? UNLV is a better team. They beat UTEP, Arizona, Nevada and Louisville. They swept BYU and have a win over Utah. They're in.

New Mexico OUT 20-10 (11-4) RPI: 63 Not quite enough. If they don't lose to UCF, Drake and Texas Tech, they might be in right now, but those are three bad losses. They beat Ole Miss, Utah and BYU, but the Lobos are out of luck.

Dayton IN 24-5 (10-4) RPI: 27 The Flyers are fine. They beat Marquette, George Mason and Miami (OH) OOC and won that ever important game against Xavier. And they have only five losses. They're a much better team than most of the other bubble teams and have been good all year.

Utah State OUT 25-4 (13-2) RPI: 29 Great RPI, but not great wins. They beat Utah, and...that's about it. Sorry Aggies, you're going to have to win your conference tournament.

Siena IN 23-7 (16-2) RPI: 28 I love Siena and I think the Saints are good to go. They won their bracketbuster against Northern Iowa and I think that is what sets them over the top. It's just a hunch, but if it comes down to Siena or Utah State, I think Siena makes it over the Aggies. The committee loves teams that go out and play people and the Saints played Tennessee, Ok St., Pitt and Kansas.

Creighton IN 25-6 (14-4) RPI: 39 Here's what it comes down to for the Jays: would you rather take a team that won three or four of their last ten games, or a team that won 10 straight? Exactly. Creighton's best wins are New Mexico, Dayton and George Mason, but that's enough to be honest. They are one of the hottest teams in basketball and they deserve to dance.

Temple OUT 17-11 (9-5) RPI: 42 That Tennessee win and a decent win over Penn State is really the only reason Temple's RPI is so high. This is a good team, not a great one, and they don't have enough marquee wins to keep them in.

URI OUT 22-8 (11-4) RPI: 48 With the bursting bubbles of Kentucky, Florida, Georgetown, Notre Dame and Cincinnati comes a little space for the Rams. They went out and played teams too, keeping it close with Duke, Nova, Providence and Ok State and they're won their last six including a win over Dayton. But I just don't think they're in.

St. Mary's IN 22-5 (10-4) RPI: 49 The injury to Patty Mills helps St. Mary's case. This is a good basketball team that lost games without their star. St. Mary's deserves to play in March.

Davidson OUT 24-6 (18-2) RPI: 67 It pains me to say this, but if Davidson doesn't win the SoCon, they're out. They beat West Virginia (and NC State), but that's it. Not a lot of meat to this team's resume. and the losses to C of C and the Citadel which hurt the RPI. They needed one more big win out of their other four losses--Oklahoma, Duke, Butler. In fact, the Butler game may be the one that keeps them out.

UAB OUT 20-10 (10-5) RPI: 43 UAB needed a win over Memphis this year and they didn't get one. Their only top-50 win is against Arizona. They have "good" losses against Oklahoma, Cincinnati, Boston College, Louisville and Butler, but they absolutely needed to win at least one of those games for their case to be stronger. This team just did not earn a bid.

As always, comment below. Anyone you think should be included on the list? Agree/Disagree?

 

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