Quarter-Season Review: Other 26 Resumes

Posted by Adam Stillman on December 12th, 2013

The 2013-14 college basketball season is off to a great start. We’ve seen a good number of upsets, buzzer-beaters and down-to-the-wire games. Yet all this fun is just a prelude to those glorious three weeks in late March and early April. For a majority of the O26, reaching the NCAA Tournament is most of the battle. Those teams spend their seasons attempting to build a resume that will stand out when compared to other bubble teams on Selection Sunday. While it’s only about a month into the season, it’s never too early to start reviewing resumes from projected bubble teams. Let’s start with 10 of them.

Note: Since we’re limiting this to projected bubble teams, let’s leave off Gonzaga, VCU, New Mexico and Massachusetts for now. We can always revisit them later should they slide into bubble territory. UNLV is also out until the Runnin’ Rebels can climb above .500.

Belmont (8-2)

Belmont boosted its at-large resume with a shocking win at UNC. (Photo courtesy of chapelboro.com)

Belmont boosted its at-large resume with a shocking win at UNC. (chapelboro.com)

  • Good wins: UNC, Indiana State (for bubble purposes)
  • Bad losses: None
  • Thoughts: Belmont is the Ohio Valley Conference favorite, but should the Bruins falter they can always hang their hat on that great road win at North Carolina. The victory against Indiana State is nice too, considering both teams could find themselves on the bubble. The Bruins’ losses are to VCU and Richmond, with the latter hurting a little bit. Belmont gets a shot at Kentucky and another contest against Indiana State later this month to help boost  its resume. Belmont sits at #21 in the way-too-early RPI rankings, and that’s sure to drop once conference play rolls around. Is an undefeated run to the OVC title game enough to get the Bruins an at-large?
  • Projected seed for now: #12

Boise State (8-1)

  • Good wins: None
  • Bad losses: None
  • Thoughts: Boise State missed a chance at a resume-making win on Tuesday night at Kentucky, falling 70-55. Nobody can fault the Broncos for that loss, nor will be it hurt them at any point. Had Boise State won, the selection committee basically could have considered the Broncos in the field barring a disastrous MW campaign. A game against Saint Mary’s awaits Saturday before a rugged 18-game league slate.
  • Projected seed for now: #10

Charlotte (7-2)

  • Good wins: Michigan, Kansas State?
  • Bad losses: College of Charleston, Davidson
  • Thoughts: Charlotte came out of nowhere to win the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, downing Kansas State, Northeastern and Michigan along the way. That surprising run put the 49ers on the radar, then they followed it up with a loss at Davidson, which is way down by that program’s standards. If only Charlotte didn’t have to face teams from that pesky Southern Conference. Your guess is as good as mine in that Memphis-less Conference USA, and Charlotte can certainly keep its name in the at-large pool with a strong showing (read: regular-season title). However, that #133 RPI and #276 SOS looks abysmal right now.
  • Projected seed for now: #13/out

Dayton (7-2)

  • Good wins: Gonzaga
  • Bad losses: Illinois State
  • Thoughts: Well, that certainly was a Dayton thing to do. The Flyers nabbed a third-place finish in the Maui Invitational, complete with a shocking rally from 16 points down to defeat Gonzaga in the opening round. A one-point semifinal loss to Baylor doesn’t look bad at all either. Nor does the win over California. But then Dayton followed it up with a horrible loss to Illinois State. While running through the Atlantic 10 gauntlet should determine Dayton’s ultimate fate, that loss to the Redbirds may come back to bite them down the road. Although their #36 RPI looks pretty solid right now, and shouldn’t change much should the Flyers continue to pick up some quality wins during league play.
  • Projected seed for now: #12

George Washington (9-1)

George Washington has put its name in the early bubble discussion. (Photo courtesy of wjla.com)

George Washington has put its name in the early bubble discussion. (wjla.com)

  • Good wins: Creighton
  • Bad losses: None
  • Thoughts: This is probably a wait-and-see type of team. The win against Creighton looks fantastic, and the lone loss to Marquette is nothing to worry about. The Colonials get a shot at a decent win later this month at Kansas State, then it’s off to the Atlantic 10. George Washington gets a pair of home-and-homes with VCU and La Salle, as well as a road tilt at Saint Louis and home game against Massachusetts. Opportunity awaits. A #43 RPI looks OK right about now. Stealing a big win or two in the A-10 and avoiding more than one bad loss and GW will be squarely on the bubble.
  • Projected seed for now: #13/out

Harvard (9-1)

  • Good wins: Green Bay?
  • Bad losses: None
  • Thoughts: Let’s be honest. Harvard won’t need an at-large bid. The Crimson will win the Ivy League. But just for fun — should Princeton somehow steal Harvard’s automatic bid — can the Crimson sneak into the field of 68? The RPI (#27) and SOS (#99) look all fine and dandy now, but those numbers are sure to plummet in Ivy League play. Harvard’s real case will rest on its performance January 8 at UConn. Win that and the Crimson have an argument. Can a three-loss Ivy League squad (loss at Colorado, presumably at least two in league play for at-large purposes) garner an at-large bid? The conference has never earned one, but could this Harvard team — respected on the national level, witnessed by receiving five points in the latest Associated Press poll — pull off the feat? It’s likely we’ll never know.
  • Projected seed for now: #9

Indiana State (6-2)

  • Good wins: Notre Dame
  • Bad losses: Tulsa
  • Thoughts: Two wins against non-Division I opponents make that record look pretty weak. An 83-70 win against then-ranked Notre Dame last month should hold water all season, and the one-point loss at Belmont is understandable. But that loss to Tulsa? Yikes. That was the Golden Hurricane’s first win of the season, and they now sit at 2-6 on the year. The loss certainly hasn’t helped Indiana State’s RPI (#104) or SOS (#206) Additional non-league games against Saint Louis and Belmont could help things, as would a strong showing the Missouri Valley Conference. A win against Wichita State would do wonders for the Sycamores’ resume.
  • Projected seed for now: Out

Saint Louis (8-2)

  • Good wins: None
  • Bad losses: None
  • Thoughts: SLU missed out on its two big non-conference opportunities. The Billikens fell by six to Wisconsin in the Cancun Challenge and dropped a five-point decision at home to Wichita State. While certainly not bad losses by any stretch of the imagination, a win in either one of those games would have provided a tremendous boost to the Billikens’ NCAA Tournament prospects. Jim Crews’ team can pick up a solid win against Indiana State next week, but SLU’s at-large hopes are going to rest on a pair of home-and-homes with VCU and Dayton, as well as a season-ending road game at UMass. SLU’s RPI is still at #45, with a SOS at #75. The Billikens will need to take care of business at home, steal a road win or two from that top tier, and avoid any bad losses in order to go dancing.
  • Projected seed for now: Out

Saint Mary’s (7-0)

  • Good wins: None
  • Bad losses: None
  • Thoughts: None of Saint Mary’s wins carry any cache at this point. Victories against Akron, Louisiana Tech and Murray State might have looked pretty darn good last year, but they don’t move the needle this season. A huge non-conference test at Boise State on December 14 looms. A victory there provides a quality win and an argument over Boise State should the two teams be among those final squads on the bubble. The West Coast Conference seems pretty strong this season with Gonzaga, BYU and even San Diego and Pacific looking sharp early. St. Mary’s somehow is #9 in the RPI, but that should regress at some point.
  • Projected seed for now: Out

San Diego State (6-1)

  • Good wins: Creighton, Marquette
  • Bad losses: None
  • Thoughts: Not even sure San Diego State should be on this list after those two wins. The Aztecs even gave now-#1 Arizona all it could handle before falling. But the Mountain West conference slate is always grueling, meaning it wouldn’t be a surprise to see San Diego State on the bubble. The Aztecs’ numbers are dazzling right now, at #16 in the RPI with a #22-ranked SOS. San Diego State could really bolster its resume on January 5 at Kansas. While all 10 of these teams have their name in the discussion for now, it’s San Diego State that heads this pack.
  • Projected seed for now: #7

Drexel (6-2)

Others I’m keeping an eye on: BYU, Southern Miss, UAB, Toledo. Green Bay was on the list until a horrid loss against Eastern Michigan on Wednesday.

Adam Stillman (48 Posts)

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