RTC Bubble Watch: March 16 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on March 16th, 2013


Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is RTC’s new resident bracketologist. According to Bracket Matrix, he ranks as one of the top several bracketologists among those who have produced brackets for more than three years, including two seasons with perfect bracket projections. He updates the field daily on his site, Bracketology Expert, and will be producing a weekly bracket update here at RTC on Fridays. RTC Bubble Watch will publish on Sunday nights and Thursday afternoons for the rest of the season.

TOTAL: 38 (minus eight for projected auto bid winners = 30)


  • ACC: Maryland
  • Atlantic 10: Massachusetts
  • Conference USA: Southern Miss
  • SEC: Vanderbilt

THIS UPDATE:  Charlotte is out after losing in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals. Iowa is now a long shot after losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten quarterfinals.

There are currently 19 teams fighting for 5 spots. If you believe (as I do) that Baylor, Louisiana Tech and Akron are long shots at best (very small chance, if any to make the field) you can bring the numbers down to 16 teams fighting for 5 spots.




  • Virginia (21-11, 11-7; RPI: 67): The Cavaliers have been a strange bubble case all season. They have some of the worst losses a bubble team can have, but they also have six impressive wins. One of those wins is against Duke, who might be the nation’s best team now that Ryan Kelly is back.  On Friday, a loss in the ACC quarterfinals to N. C. State might have left Virginia one win short of what they needed to get into the field.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%
  • Maryland (22-11, 8-10; RPI: 85): A second upset of Duke this season keeps Maryland’s faint at-large hopes alive. The Terps now can say they are the only team with a win over Ryan Kelly this year, but that may not be enough. This team’s fourth best RPI win is against Stony Brook.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 40%

Atlantic 10


  • Temple (23-9, 11-5; RPI: 37): Friday night’s loss to Massachusetts ended the Owls’ seven game winning streak, but in the end I think the Owls have done enough to snare an at-large bid.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 70%
  • La Salle (21-8, 11-5; RPI: 38): La Salle has five wins over the RPI top 100 including victories against Butler and VCU, two of the Atlantic 10’s best teams. The Explorers only have one bad loss, which came in mid-November against Central Connecticut State. On Friday, a second loss to Butler in a week pushed the Explorers closer to the at-large cut-line.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%
  • Massachusetts (20-10, 9-7; RPI: 57): The Minutemen upset Temple in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals Friday to pick up an eighth victory against the RPI top 100. This team has a shot to get in, but must make it to the Atlantic 10 finals. AT-LARGE ODDS: 40%



BIG 12


  • Oklahoma (20-10, 11-7; RPI: 35): Oklahoma’s computer numbers are decent and the Sooners do have a victory over Kansas. Unfortunately, the Sooners finished their season by losing to TCU in the regular season finale and to Iowa State in their first game of the Big 12 tournament. More than likely, this team will still be okay, but they’ll be sweating out Selection Sunday. AT-LARGE ODDS: 55%
  • Iowa State (22-10, 11-7; RPI: 47):  After a huge comeback win against Oklahoma, Iowa State appears to be in much better shape. The Cyclones lost all three games to Kansas this year, and the third one was not close. Iowa State appears to be in better shape Friday night than it was Thursday night, because most of the bubble teams behind them lost. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%
  • Baylor (18-14, 9-9; RPI: 62): A huge comeback against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 quarterfinals came up a little short in the end, which likely leaves the Bears on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble. Baylor did win its regular season finale against Kansas in impressive fashion, but the Bears profile probably lacks enough quality wins to get in. AT-LARGE ODDS: 40%



  • Iowa (20-12, 9-9, RPI: 71): Iowa had a big lead against Michigan State midway through the second half Friday, but could not sustain it and fell to the Spartans. More than likely, that loss leaves Iowa heading to the NIT.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 30%

PAC 12




  • Tennessee (20-12, 11-7; RPI: 55): Tennessee lost to Alabama in the SEC quarterfinals on Saturday, a loss that will be seen as the primary reason if the Volunteers are left out of the NCAA Tournament field on Sunday. This team does have the best overall profile out of the SEC bubble teams, but it is also 2-4 against Kentucky, Alabama, and Mississippi this season. AT-LARGE ODDS: 55%
  • Kentucky (21-11, 12-6 RPI: 51): The Wildcats were blown out by Vanderbilt on Saturday in the SEC quarterfinals and now must sweat things out until Selection Sunday. This team has been awful without Nerlens Noel on the road, but I feel like almost everyone forgets that Kentucky’s best two wins on the season (Florida, Missouri) came after Noel’s knee injury. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%
  • Ole Miss (23-8, 12-6; RPI: 57): The Rebels hit a late second floater to knock off Missouri and reach the SEC semifinals. There are two problems for the Rebels: 1. They play Vanderbilt. A win over the Commodores will move them to within one win of an automatic bid, but beating them is not going to do a thing to enhance their at-large profile. 2. Mississippi’s best two wins on the year are both against Missouri, who by the standings is the SEC’s sixth best team.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%
  • Alabama (21-11, 12-6; RPI: 61): Alabama upset Tennessee Friday to reach the SEC semifinals. Now, it is a one game season for Anthony Grant’s team. If they can knock off Florida, they will probably go dancing. If they fall to Florida, chances are they will be NIT bound. Alabama has some awful losses–Dayton, Tulane, Mercer, Auburn–to name a few. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%



  • Boise State (21-10, 9-7; RPI: 38): The Broncos knocked off San Diego State on Saturday but fell to the Aztecs in the first round of the MWC Tournament on Wednesday. Now the wait begins. Will this team, with four wins against the RPI top 50, get in? Usually 9-7 in the Mountain West is not good enough with a middling RPI, but the MWC is the nation’s No. 1 rated conference this season.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 55%




  • Saint Mary’s (26-6, 14-2; RPI: 30): The Gaels fell to Gonzaga for a third time in the WCC Final, meaning Saint Mary’s will have a long wait until Selection Sunday. Saint Mary’s has only one top 50 (Creighton) and only five top 100 wins, but sweeping BYU and Santa Clara won’t hold a lot of weight with the Selection Committee.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%
  • Middle Tennessee (28-5, 19-1; RPI: 25): Middle Tennessee lost to Florida International in the Sun Belt semifinals, leaving their NCAA Tournament hopes up the Selection Committee. For a team with only one true top 100 win against Ole Miss (I don’t count a win against No. 100 UCF), the Blue Raiders only hope is the RPI. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%
  • Southern Miss (24-8, 12-4; RPI: 35): Southern Miss mainly makes this list due to the Eagles’ high RPI. The Eagles lost both games to Memphis and do not have a single win against the RPI top 75. On Saturday, a third rematch with Memphis offers the chance to get an automatic bid and eliminate all the bubble talk. AT-LARGE ODDS: 25%
  • Akron (25-6, 14-1, RPI: 47): The Zips lost their first game without PG Alex Abreu, who was arrested earlier last week, against Kent State and have not looked the same without him. Akron almost assuredly needed to make the MAC final to get a bid but now that bid seems even more unlikely. AT-LARGE ODDS: 30%
  • Louisiana Tech (26-5, 16-2; RPI: 46): Back to back losses to end WAC play leaves Louisiana Tech in bad shape, but a loss in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament probably ended the Bulldogs at-large hopes. They are guaranteed a NIT bid though. AT-LARGE ODDS: 25%
Daniel Evans (60 Posts)

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