Bubble Trouble: Volume I

Posted by Connor Pelton on February 4th, 2012

In this weekly piece we will be comparing blind tournament résumés. Each week we will take three Pac-12 teams that are on the bubble and compare them to three national teams that are facing the same fate. Since the Pac-12 is in such a down year, we realize that we are going to run out of NCAA Tournament bubble teams pretty quickly. That’s why in the coming weeks you will see some NIT and even CBI bubble predictions. We know that we aren’t the only Pac-12 basketball degenerates around here, and we understand that most of you could easily guess the Pac-12 team by seeing their good wins, record, etc. That’s why we’re putting a new twist to these résumés; You won’t see any records or team names, instead, those will be replaced by winning percentage and the RPI rank of their opponents. If you’re confused, read on anyway. We’ll give you all the answers after revealing to whom the résumés really belong to.

*All numbers and rankings as of February 3

Team 1 Team 2
 Winning Percentage: .727  Winning Percentage: .760
 RPI: 89  RPI: 38
 SOS: 152  SOS: 58
 Quality Wins (Opponents’ RPI Rank): 18, 59, 81  Quality Wins (Opponents’ RPI Rank): 20
 Bad Losses (Opponents’ RPI Rank): 127, 144  Bad Losses (Opponents’ RPI Rank): 141, 110


Take a quick glance at both résumés and it appears that team two is the logical choice here. Their winning percentage is only slightly better, but the key lies in the RPI and SOS numbers. Team two boasts an RPI ranking that is 47 spots ahead of their counterpart, and their SOS is 94 spots better. The lack of quality wins is the only thing I have reservations about. Click the jump to see whom the résumés really belong to.

Team One is Stanford. The quality wins came against Colorado State, NC State, and Colorado, while the bad losses were to Butler and Washington State. Team Two is BYU, who got their lone quality win against Gonzaga. Their bad losses are to Utah State and Loyola Marymount. Now that we know the teams, I don’t think much changes. However, it is amazing that BYU’s SOS is so far ahead of Stanford’s, even if the Pac-12 is in a down year.


Team 1 Team 2
Winning Percentage: .636 Winning Percentage: .681
RPI: 68 RPI: 64
SOS: 30 SOS: 64
Quality Wins (Opponents’ RPI Rank): 51, 36, 44, 37, 16, 72, 50 Quality Wins (Opponents’ RPI Rank): N/A
Bad Losses (Opponents’ RPI Rank): 250, 94, 88, 247, 82 Bad Losses (Opponents’ RPI Rank): 81


These teams look pretty even, but I’m going to go with team two because of the slightly better winning percentage and RPI. Team one’s quality wins are impressive, but two bad losses in the 200s of the RPI even them out. But seriously, this is just a toss up.

Team One is Dayton. The quality wins came against Minnesota, Alabama, Mississippi, Saint Louis, Temple, La Salle, and Xavier, while the bad losses were to Miami (Ohio), Buffalo, St. Bonaventure, Rhode Island, and Duquesne. Right away you can see the obvious reasons for all of these good wins and bad losses; in a conference like the Atlantic 10, where ten out of the 14 teams could beat you on any given night, you are going to rack up a lot of good wins. But of course, the bad losses will accumulate just as fast, which could leave you on the outside looking in come Selection Sunday. Team Two is Washington, and not only do they have no quality wins, but they barely have any “semi-quality” wins. You could make a good argument that Stanford was their best victory, which just doesn’t hold up with the likes of Minnesota, Alabama, and Mississippi. Of course, there is the other side of the coin, where the Huskies only “bad” loss was to an unbeatable-at-home Colorado squad. I still think both teams are even, but Washington’s reputation gives them the nod.


Team 1 Team 2
Winning Percentage: .590 Winning Percentage: .739
RPI: 67 RPI: 43
SOS: 13 SOS: 66
Quality Wins (Opponents’ RPI Rank): 16, 40 Quality Wins (Opponents’ RPI Rank): N/A
Bad Losses (Opponents’ RPI Rank): 130 Bad Losses (Opponents’ RPI Rank): 130, 144, 77


We have an interesting matchup here as both teams are pretty far apart from each other in each category. Team two has a near-.150 advantage in winning percentage and a 24 spot lead in RPI, but team one’s SOS is better by 53 spots. In the wins and losses categories, team one prevails with two wins to zero and only one bad loss to the three of team two. Because of that, I’m going with team one.

Team One is Texas, with their quality wins coming against Temple and Iowa State. Their only bad loss came way back in November to Oregon State. The case of the Longhorns is an interesting one, as normally a team with a Top 20 SOS and two wins over the RPI Top 50 would have a pretty good résumé. But a 3-6 conference record grouped with a .590 winning percentage really holds their case back. However, the final nine Big 12 games set up well for the Horns, and if they can find a way to get back to .500 then they would be under serious consideration for an at-large bid. Team Two is California, with their bad losses coming against Oregon State, Washington State, and Arizona. Like I said before, the winning percentage and RPI numbers are nice, but losses to middle-of-the-Pac-12 teams aren’t going to be looked at highly by the selection committee. Unless the Bears really turn it around down the stretch, I think they need to win the Pac-12 Tournament to get into the dance.

Connor Pelton (300 Posts)

I'm from Portland. College basketball and football is life.

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