Pac-12 Bubble Watch Heading Into the Final Weekend

Posted by Andrew Murawa on March 6th, 2014

There are 10 days until Selection Sunday and no fewer than nine Pac-12 teams have designs on crashing March Madness over the next couple of weeks. Let’s take a look at where each stands heading into the final weekend of regular season play.

Locks

  • Arizona – Right now they’re an obvious #1 seed. A loss at Oregon and a loss in their opening round Pac-12 Tournament game (to Utah or another team like Cal, Stanford, Utah or Washington) and they drop to a #2 seed; otherwise, the Wildcats have earned the #1 seed in the West, with a San Diego/Anaheim route to Dallas. Heck, even if they do find a way to drop to a #2 seed, they’re still in all likelihood bound for San Diego and Anaheim.
Arizona Looks Locked Into A San Diego -> Anaheim Path To The Final Four (Casey Sapio, USA Today)

Arizona Looks Locked Into A San Diego -> Anaheim Path To The Final Four (Casey Sapio, USA Today)

  • UCLA – Let’s not pretend the Bruins have finished strongly, with two losses in their last three games. They finish up with two on the road (tonight at Washington and Saturday at Washington State), but the Bruins are in the NCAA Tournament. Finish with a good run and they wind up around a #5 seed (a #4 isn’t out of the question, but unlikely); finish with a 1-1 trip to Washington and an early exit in the Pac-12 Tourney and they’re more apt to be in the #8/#9 game.

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O26 Game of the Week: SDSU at The Pit, Gonzaga-BYU, Others…

Posted by Tommy Lemoine on February 19th, 2014

Each week the O26 microsite will run down the biggest upcoming game of the week as well as a handful of others to keep an eye on.

San Diego State (22-2) at New Mexico (19-5) – 10:00 PM ET, ESPN2, Saturday

This game — this week — is a huge one for New Mexico. If it can avenge an early loss to UNLV tonight in Las Vegas, Craig Neal’s team will return home on Saturday with a chance to pull even with San Diego State atop the Mountain West standings and solidify itself as an NCAA Tournament lock. Up to this point, the only major feather in the Lobos’ cap is a win over Cincinnati back in early December, so beating the Aztecs this weekend would not only shake up the conference race, it would also carry serious resume-boosting implications. Not to mention bragging rights in a match-up that features two of the best fan bases west of the Mississippi.

Kendall Williams and the Lobos  welcome San Diego State to the Pit on Saturday. (Eric Draper The Associated Press)

Kendall Williams and the Lobos welcome San Diego State to the Pit on Saturday. (Eric Draper The Associated Press)

In fact, considering how closely matched the game is on paper, New Mexico’s 15,000-plus screaming fans might very well become a deciding factor when it’s all said and done. According to KenPom, the Lobos are pegged as the slight favorites with a win probability of 54 percent, a figure that will dip considerably when they head to San Diego in early March. But first they get to host the Aztecs in The Pit, their menacing, subterranean arena in which they boast an all-time winning mark well over 80 percent. Not many visiting teams escape unscathed. For San Diego State fans, the silver lining is this: Steve Fisher units have gone an admirable 6-8 in the daunting stadium since he took over in 1999.

Of course, the outcome will ultimately be decided on the court, and there, each team will have distinct advantages. For New Mexico, the ability to get interior scoring from its imposing frontcourt duo of Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow will be critical. The big men combined to average 36 points and 15 rebounds in the Lobos’ two victories over the Aztecs last year; in the one loss, they mustered just two points and nine boards total. Paint production will be especially important considering that opposing guards Xavier Thames and Winston Shepard are stingy perimeter defenders, capable of minimizing Kendall Williams’ usually-considerable offensive production. San Diego State, meanwhile, hopes to continue playing the excellent team defense that has limited opponents to around 0.94 points per possession this season, good for 17th in the country. They are long, fast, physical and will suffocate teams that are ill-prepared. On the other end, the Aztecs are led by the gifted Thames — who’s likely to win Mountain West Player of the Year — and the team-wide ability to garner second-chance looks by crashing the offensive glass. Forwards Josh Davis and J.J. O’Brien must out-bang the sizable New Mexico frontcourt if San Diego State hopes to generate enough offense to survive Albuquerque. The game will be high-stakes and high-energy, so flip to The Deuce and check it out when Saturday night rolls around.

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RTC Bubble Watch: March 11 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on March 11th, 2013

bubble

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.

Bracket Math: Below there are  34 locks along the right column. Basically, that number means that if none of my “locks” clinches an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, there are only four at-large spots available. In most years, an average of around six “locks” win automatic bids, meaning there are 10 unclinched spots for the NCAA Tournament. I also have one team in the “should be in” category, meaning I project their odds of getting an at-large bid at 70% or higher. If that team ultimately gets in, there are eight total spots available for the teams you see below in my bubble watch. Remember that bid stealers will potentially shrink that number.

LOCKS: 34
“SHOULD BE INS”: 1
TOTAL: 35 (minus six for projected auto bid winners = 29)
PROJECTED AT-LARGE SPOTS AVAILABLE: 8

  • Odds Improving: Memphis (now a lock), Wichita State (lock), Creighton (auto bid), Belmont (auto bid), Tennessee, Kentucky, Baylor
  • Odds Decreasing: Louisiana Tech, Maryland, Minnesota, Oklahoma

In the upcoming days, I can start doing a better job at pinpointing exactly how many auto bids will be taken by teams I currently have in lock status.

UPDATED THROUGH ALL GAMES OF MARCH 10, 2013

ACC: Four Locks, Two Bubble Teams LOCKS:duke50x50ncstate50x50miami50x50UNC50X50
Virginia (21-10, 11-7; RPI: 64): 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. A win over Sunday against Maryland left the Cavs in position to play their way into the field in the ACC Tournament. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50% 

Maryland (20-11, 8-10; RPI: 84): Maryland has two great wins (Duke, NC State) and absolutely nothing behind them. After a loss to Virginia on Sunday, I think the Terps’ at-large hopes are gone without a big run to the ACC Tournament final. AT-LARGE ODDS: 40%

Atlantic 10: Three Locks, Four Bubble Teams LOCKS:butler50x50stlouis50x50vcu50x50
Temple (23-8, 11-5; RPI: 44): A win on Sunday over VCU was very big for the Owls’ at-large hopes. This is team that has now won seven straight games and defeated Syracuse outside of conference. The Owls are in good shape right now. Temple will play the winner of Massachusetts and George Washington in round two of the Atlantic 10 tournament. AT-LARGE ODDS: 60% 

La Salle (21-8, 11-5; RPI: 40): 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 Saturday, the Explorers lost their season finale to Butler. Unfortunately for La Salle, they might see Butler again really soon. The Bulldogs play Dayton in round one with the winner set to take on La Salle. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Massachusetts (19-10, 9-7; RPI: 57): The Minutemen only have one win against the RPI top 50, but seven against the RPI top 100. Thursday night’s loss to Butler may have sealed this team’s fate though. Massachusetts has some decent wins (as I noted) but nothing that really catches attention. AT-LARGE ODDS: 40%

Charlotte (20-10, 8-8; RPI: 70): Wins over La Salle and Butler keep the 49ers here, but they have to make the Atlantic 10 final to have any real bubble case.. AT-LARGE ODDS: 35%

Big 12: Three Locks, Three Bubble Teams LOCKS:kansas50x50kanasstate50x50oklahomastate50x50
Oklahoma (20-10, 11-7; RPI: 33): Welcome to March. Just when a team appears to be in good shape, they screw it up. That’s the case for the Sooners who somehow lost to TCU on Saturday. Now, a first round Big 12 tournament game against Iowa State may decide the Sooners’ fate. This team went from a high percentage last week to one of the last teams in with their bad loss. AT-LARGE ODDS: 55% 

Iowa State (21-10, 11-7; RPI: 46): It’s really too bad that the Cyclones could not finish off either of their upset bids against Kansas. A win against West Virginia in the season finale kept their at-large hopes alive, with a huge Big 12 tournament quarterfinal against Oklahoma coming up. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Baylor (18-13, 9-9; RPI: 61): Saturday was a one-game season for Baylor and the Bears destroyed Kansas to pick up a signature win to highlight their profile. Baylor also has a victory against Oklahoma State. A first round Big 12 tournament game against Oklahoma State will be huge for this team’s at-large hopes. AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

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RTC Bubble Watch: March 9 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on March 9th, 2013

bubble

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.

Bracket Math: Below there are 33 locks along the right column. Basically, that number means that if none of my “locks” clinches an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, there are only four at-large spots available. In most years, an average of around six “locks” win automatic bids, meaning there are 10 unclinched spots for the NCAA Tournament. I also have five teams in the “should be in” category, meaning I project their odds of getting an at-large bid at 70% or higher. If those teams ultimately get in, there are five total spots available for the teams you see below in my bubble watch. Remember that bid stealers will potentially shrink that number.

LOCKS: 33
“SHOULD BE INS”: 5
TOTAL: 38 (minus six for projected auto bid winners = 32)
PROJECTED AT-LARGE SPOTS AVAILABLE: 5

  • Odds Improving: North Carolina (now a lock), Illinois (lock), Memphis
  • Odds Decreasing: Baylor, Louisiana Tech

belmont100x100

BELMONT CAN MAKE THINGS EASIER ON BUBBLE TEAMS SATURDAY

If Belmont wins on Saturday against Murray State, bubble teams can sleep a little better on Saturday night. The Bruins are in position to potentially steal an at-large bid if they need one. If they win the OVC, we can take them off the bubble, leaving a spot that may or may not be there depending on how the committee evaluates Belmont. The Bruins have six wins against the top 100, so they’d probably be right on the cut line.

UPDATED THROUGH ALL GAMES OF MARCH 8, 2013

ACC: Four Locks, Two Bubble Teams LOCKS:duke50x50ncstate50x50miami50x50UNC50X50
Virginia (20-10, 10-7; RPI: 64): 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 had six impressive wins.  One of those wins is against Duke. Virginia’s lost to Florida State on Thursday night once again showed how up and down this team can be. The finale against Maryland is now a must win and a few wins in the ACC Tournament are needed as well. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%Maryland (20-10, 8-9; RPI: 84): Maryland has two great wins (Duke, N. C. State) and absolutely nothing behind them. I have a hard team seeing this team getting an at-large bid without a win at Virginia on Saturday and a deep run in the ACC Tournament. AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

Atlantic 10: Three Locks, Four Bubble Teams LOCKS:butler50x50stlouis50x50vcu50x50
La Salle (21-7, 11-4; 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. The season finale against Butler is gigantic for their at-large hopes. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Temple (22-8, 10-5; RPI: 41): The Owls are the kind of team that makes a bracketologist’s job very difficult. A win over Syracuse looks fantastic, but losses to Canisius, St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph’s, and Xavier cannot be ignored. Six straight wins, including a comeback victory against Detroit, has the Owls on the good side of the bubble right now. The season finale against VCU on Saturday could make or break the Owls’ season. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Massachusetts (18-10, 8-7; RPI: 54): Massachusetts lost three straight games before back to back wins against Xavier and Dayton. The Minutemen only have one win against the RPI top 50, but seven against the RPI top 100. Thursday night’s loss to Butler may have sealed this team’s fate though. Massachusetts has some decent wins (as I noted) but nothing that really catches attention. AT-LARGE ODDS: 40%

Charlotte (18-10, 6-8; RPI: 70): Six losses in sevens games a few weeks ago pushed the 49ers to the brink of at-large elimination. Wins over La Salle and Butler keep them here, but they have to win their season finale versus Saint Joseph’s and make the Atlantic Ten final. AT-LARGE ODDS: 35%

Big 12: Three Locks, Three Bubble Teams LOCKS:kansas50x50
kanasstate50x50oklahomastate50x50
Oklahoma (20-9, 11-6; RPI: 25): The Sooners have great wins against Oklahoma and Kansas to go along with six other top 100 victories. If Oklahoma can take of business against TCU in their season finale, they appear to be in great shape. It is hard to see this team missing the tournament at this juncture. AT-LARGE ODDS: 75%

Iowa State (20-10, 10-7; RPI: 51): It’s really too bad that the Cyclones could not finish off what would have been a huge upset over Kansas last Tuesday. At least Iowa State did rebound by winning against Oklahoma State on Wednesday inight. There is still work to be done. A must win game at West Virginia ends the season. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Baylor (17-13, 8-9; RPI: 61): After a buzzer beating loss to Kansas State on Saturday, Baylor is left with only win against a sure NCAA Tournament team (Oklahoma State) and eight losses against the RPI top 30. This looks like a season of lost opportunities. The good news is a game against Kansas remains on the schedule. Beating the Jayawks on March 9 might be a must win for the Bears to get into the field as an at-large. AT-LARGE ODDS: 40%

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RTC Bubble Watch: March 8 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on March 8th, 2013

bubble

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.

Bracket Math: Below there are 33 locks along the right column. Basically, that number means that if none of my “locks” clinches an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, there are only four at-large spots available. In most years, an average of around six “locks” win automatic bids, meaning there are 10 unclinched spots for the NCAA Tournament. I also have five teams in the “should be in” category, meaning I project their odds of getting an at-large bid at 70% or higher. If those teams ultimately get in, there are five total spots available for the teams you see below in my bubble watch. Remember that bid stealers will potentially shrink that number.

LOCKS: 33
“SHOULD BE INS”: 5
TOTAL: 38 (minus six for projected auto bid winners = 32)
PROJECTED AT-LARGE SPOTS AVAILABLE: 5

  • Odds Improving: North Carolina (now a lock), Illinois (lock), Memphis
  • Odds Decreasing: Baylor, Louisiana Tech

UPDATED THROUGH ALL GAMES OF MARCH 7, 2013

ACC: Four Locks, Two Bubble Teams LOCKS:duke50x50ncstate50x50miami50x50UNC50X50
Virginia (20-10, 10-7; RPI: 64): 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 had six impressive wins.  One of those wins is against Duke. Virginia’s lost to Florida State on Thursday night once again showed how up and down this team can be. The finale against Maryland is now a must win and a few wins in the ACC Tournament are needed as well. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%Maryland (20-10, 8-9; RPI: 84): Maryland has two great wins (Duke, N. C. State) and absolutely nothing behind them. I have a hard team seeing this team getting an at-large bid without a win at Virginia on Saturday and a deep run in the ACC Tournament. AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

Atlantic 10: Three Locks, Four Bubble Teams LOCKS:butler50x50stlouis50x50vcu50x50
La Salle (21-7, 11-4; 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. The season finale against Butler is gigantic for their at-large hopes. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%Temple (22-8, 10-5; RPI: 41): The Owls are the kind of team that makes a bracketologist’s job very difficult. A win over Syracuse looks fantastic, but losses to Canisius, St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph’s, and Xavier cannot be ignored. Six straight wins, including a comeback victory against Detroit, has the Owls on the good side of the bubble right now. The season finale against VCU on Saturday could make or break the Owls’ season. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Massachusetts (18-10, 8-7; RPI: 54): Massachusetts lost three straight games before back to back wins against Xavier and Dayton. The Minutemen only have one win against the RPI top 50, but seven against the RPI top 100. Thursday night’s loss to Butler may have sealed this team’s fate though. Massachusetts has some decent wins (as I noted) but nothing that really catches attention. AT-LARGE ODDS: 40%

Charlotte (18-10, 6-8; RPI: 70): Six losses in sevens games a few weeks ago pushed the 49ers to the brink of at-large elimination. Wins over La Salle and Butler keep them here, but they have to win their season finale versus Saint Joseph’s and make the Atlantic Ten final. AT-LARGE ODDS: 35%

Big 12: Three Locks, Three Bubble Teams LOCKS:kansas50x50
kanasstate50x50oklahomastate50x50
Oklahoma (20-9, 11-6; RPI: 25): The Sooners have great wins against Oklahoma and Kansas to go along with six other top 100 victories. If Oklahoma can take of business against TCU in their season finale, they appear to be in great shape. It is hard to see this team missing the tournament at this juncture. AT-LARGE ODDS: 75%Iowa State (20-10, 10-7; RPI: 51): It’s really too bad that the Cyclones could not finish off what would have been a huge upset over Kansas last Tuesday. At least Iowa State did rebound by winning against Oklahoma State on Wednesday inight. There is still work to be done. A must win game at West Virginia ends the season. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Baylor (17-13, 8-9; RPI: 61): After a buzzer beating loss to Kansas State on Saturday, Baylor is left with only win against a sure NCAA Tournament team (Oklahoma State) and eight losses against the RPI top 30. This looks like a season of lost opportunities. The good news is a game against Kansas remains on the schedule. Beating the Jayawks on March 9 might be a must win for the Bears to get into the field as an at-large. AT-LARGE ODDS: 40%

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RTC Bubble Watch: Three Teams Needing Wins Tonight

Posted by Daniel Evans on March 6th, 2013

bubble

Daniel Evans (@bracketexpert) is RTC’s new resident bracketologist. According to Bracket Matrix, he ranks as one of the top 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.

Now that we are within two weeks of Selection Sunday, I will be posting a little more frequently to show how certain games can/will affect the NCAA Tournament field. As usual, Wednesday night is loaded with some gigantic games. Let’s look at three teams that need big wins tonight:

Hoiberg's Team Would Do Well to Win Tonight

Hoiberg’s Team Would Do Well to Win Tonight

  • Villanova (vs. Georgetown): If the Wildcats can get past the Hoyas, a team that seems destined for a top two seed, Villanova will be in pretty good shape. A win tonight would push them to 10-8 in the Big East and give them a nice W to pair with earlier wins over Louisville and Syracuse. Coming off two straight losses, Villanova cannot afford another setback.
  • Iowa State (vs. Oklahoma State): If Iowa State loses tonight, the Cyclones could miss the NCAA Tournament. If a call or two had gone differently in one of the losses to Kansas, I probably would not have Iowa State on this list. The Cyclones only have two wins against the RPI top 50 and their best two wins (Kansas State, Oklahoma) probably are not enough alone to get them into the field.  Like Villanova, Iowa State cannot afford a three-game losing streak at this point of the season.
  • Maryland (vs. North Carolina): Outside of wins against Duke and North Carolina State, Maryland’s profile is very weak. The Terrapins need this game at home against North Carolina to realistically stay in the hunt for a bid heading into the ACC Tournament. North Carolina is practically locked in right now, but a win over the Terps would sew that up. The Tar Heels won the first meeting in Chapel Hill by 10 points.

No. 1 Seeds in Conference Tournaments in Action Tonight:

  • Atlantic Sun: Mercer (vs. Lipscomb)
  • Patriot League: Bucknell (vs. Navy)
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RTC Bubble Watch: March 4 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on March 4th, 2013

bubble

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.

Bracket Math: Below there are 30 locks along the right column. Basically, that number means that if none of my “locks” clinches an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, there are only 7 at-large spots available. In most years, an average of around six “locks” win automatic bids, meaning there are 13 unclinched spots for the NCAA Tournament. I also have seven teams in the “should be in” category, meaning I project their odds of getting an at-large bid at 70% or higher. If those teams ultimately get in, there are seven total spots available for the teams you see below in my bubble watch.

Remember that bid stealers will shrink that number when conference tournament teams.

LOCKS: 30
“SHOULD BE INS”: 7
TOTAL: 37 (minus six for projected auto bid winners = 30)
PROJECTED AT-LARGE SPOTS AVAILABLE: 7

  • Odds Improving: North Carolina
  • Odds Decreasing: Baylor, Iowa State

UPDATED THROUGH ALL GAMES OF FEBRUARY 28, 2013

ACC: Three Locks, Three Bubble Teams LOCKS:duke50x50ncstate50x50miami50x50
North Carolina (21-8, 11-5; RPI: 18): The Tar Heels are in pretty good shape with a top 20 RPI and wins over N. C. State and UNLV. North Carolina ends the season against Duke and a win there would push them to lock status. AT-LARGE ODDS: 75%Maryland (20-9, 8-8; RPI: 68): Every time Maryland seems to take a step forward, the Terps quickly take a step back. Remember the upset win against Duke? Maryland followed that by losing to Boston College and Georgia Tech. Next up are two games against the other bubble teams from the ACC–Virginia and North Carolina. If the Terps win both of those, they’ll be in better shape. The sad news is that they might have to win both.. AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

Virginia (20-9, 10-6; RPI: 57): 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 had six impressive wins. On Thursday, all of that appeared to change with a victory against Duke. On Sunday, it changed right back after a one point loss at Boston College. No matter how you spin it, this team has seven losses against teams below 100 in the RPI. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Atlantic 10: Three Locks, Four Bubble Teams LOCKS:butler50x50

stlouis50x50vcu50x50

La Salle (20-7, 10-4; RPI: 39): 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. If La Salle can handle George Washington, a road game at Saint Louis on March 9 will be gigantic. AT-LARGE ODDS: 55%Temple (21-8, 9-5; RPI: 42): The Owls are the kind of team that makes a bracketologist’s job very difficult. A win over Syracuse looks fantastic, but losses to Canisius, St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph’s, and Xavier cannot be ignored. Five straight wins, including a comeback victory against Detroit, has the Owls on the good side of the bubble right now. A road game at Fordham looms large before a finale against VCU. AT-LARGE ODDS: 55%

Charlotte (18-10, 6-8; RPI: 70): Six losses in sevens games have pushed the 49ers to the brink of at-large elimination. Wins over La Salle and Butler keep them here, but they have to win the last two and make the Atlantic Ten final. AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

Massachusetts (18-9, 8-6; RPI: 54): Massachusetts lost three straight games before back to back wins against Xavier and Dayton. The Minutemen only have one win against the RPI top 50, but seven against the RPI top 100. This seems to be real simple for Massachusetts: Beat Butler at home March 7 and they have a shot at an at-large bid. AT-LARGE ODDS: 30%

Big 12: Three Locks, Three Bubble Teams LOCKS:kansas50x50
kanasstate50x50oklahomastate50x50
Oklahoma (18-8, 9-5; RPI: 29): The Sooners have to great wins against Oklahoma and Kansas State to go along with six other top 100 victories. A loss at Texas last week was a big blow because Oklahoma blew a gigantic lead and suffered its worst loss of the season as a result. Next up are West Virginia and TCU, the worst two teams in the Big 12. If Oklahoma wraps up the regular season by winning both of these games, the Sooners are basically a lock. AT-LARGE ODDS: 60%

Iowa State (19-10, 9-7; RPI: 53): It’s really too bad that the Cyclones could not finish off what would have been a huge upset over Kansas on Tuesday. Throw in a loss to Oklahoma on Saturday and the Cyclones are right on the edge of the tournament cutline. Wins over Oklahoma and Kansas State are nice, but this team has only five total top 100 wins.. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Baylor (16-12, 8-8; RPI: 61): After a buzzer beating loss to Kansas State on Saturday, Baylor is left with only win against a sure NCAA Tournament team (Oklahoma State) and eight losses against the RPI top 30. This looks like a season of lost opportunities. The good news is a game against Kansas remains on the schedule. Beating the Jayawks on March 9 might be a must win for the Bears to get into the field as an at-large. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

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RTC Bubble Watch: February 21 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on February 21st, 2013

bubble

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. 

Bracket Math: Below there are 24 locks along the right column. Basically, that number means that if none of my “locks” clinch an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, there are only 13 at-large spots available. In most years, an average of around six “locks” win automatic bids, meaning there are 19 unclinched spots for the NCAA Tournament.  I also have nine teams in the “should be in” category, meaning I project their odds of getting an at-large bid at 70% or higher. If those teams ultimately get in, there are 10 total spots available for the teams you see below in my bubble watch.

LOCKS: 24
“SHOULD BE INS”: 9
TOTAL: 33 (minus six for projected auto bid winners = 27)
PROJECTED AT-LARGE SPOTS AVAILABLE: 10

  • Odds Improving: UNLV, Missouri
  • Odds Decreasing: Mississippi, Baylor, Minnesota
  • Locks That Are Trying My Patience: None

UPDATED THROUGH ALL GAMES OF FEBRUARY 20, 2013

ACC: Three Locks, Three Bubble Teams LOCKS:duke50x50ncstate50x50miami50x50
North Carolina (18-8, 8-5; RPI: 24): North Carolina has only four wins over the RPI top 100 and only one against the top 50. Six of North Carolina’s eight losses are to teams in the top 20 of the RPI, but the other two (Virginia, Texas) might end up dooming Roy Williams’ squad on Selection Sunday. Getting a revenge win over the Cavaliers on Saturday kept the Heels above Virginia in the ACC pecking order. Games against N. C. State and Maryland remain on the schedule before hosting Duke in the finale. AT-LARGE ODDS: 60%

Maryland (18-8, 6-7; RPI: 66): The Terps upset Duke on Saturday night, but followed that up by losing on Sunday to Boston College. The next three against Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Wake Forest provide great chances for wins before a crucial bubble game with North Carolina on March 6. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Virginia (18-8, 8-5; RPI: 75): .The Cavaliers have six wins against the RPI top 100 and six losses to teams below the top 100. The Cavs are really banking on wins over Wisconsin, North Carolina, and North Carolina State. On Saturday, Virginia missed a chance for a bubble win over North Carolina and then lost to Miami in the closing seconds Tuesday. Duke comes to town February 28, following a must win home game against Georgia Tech. AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

Other ACC teams with an at-large chance: None currently

Atlantic 10: One Lock, Six Bubble Teams LOCKS:butler50x50
Saint Louis (20-5, 9-2; RPI: 42): Saint Louis is getting hot at the right time. The Billikens are 10-2 in their last 12 games and have victories over Butler and New Mexico on their resume. They also just beat VCU by double digits. Plus, there is only one bad loss here (Rhode Island). This is looking more and more like a NCAA Tournament team.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 75%

Virginia Commonwealth (21-6, 9-3; RPI: 36): The Rams’ best victories are over Belmont and Memphis, and neither of those teams are locks to get at-large bids. VCU has five losses, all against the nation’s top 100. Saturday’s win over Charlotte gave the Rams a third top 50 victory (barely, Charlotte is No. 49) and kept the 49ers well behind the Rams in the at-large order in the Atlantic Ten, but I think it is clear that Saint Louis has passed the Rams. The Billikens dominated VCU on Tuesday night. AT-LARGE ODDS: 70%

Temple (17-8, 6-5; RPI: 48): The Owls are the kind of team that makes a bracketologist’s job very difficult. A win over Syracuse looks fantastic, but losses to Canisius, St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph’s, and Xavier cannot be ignored. A one point win over Massachusetts was big on Saturday. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

La Salle (18-6, 8-3; RPI: 33): La Salle has five wins over the RPI top 100 including victories against Butler and VCU, the Atlantic 10′s best teams. The Explorers only have one bad loss, which came in mid-November against Central Connecticut State. Next up is a huge bubble game against Temple on Thursday night. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Charlotte (18-7, 6-5; RPI: 49): Charlotte officially entered the bubble conversation on Wednesday night after a win against Butler. Unfortunately, the 49ers followed that up by losing to VCU. Next up is Temple on Saturday. AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

Massachusetts (16-9, 6-6; RPI: 59): Three straight losses to VCU, Temple, and St. Bonaventure have left Massachusetts on the bad side of the bubble. The next one against Dayton is huge or the Minutemen are off the Bubble Watch. AT-LARGE ODDS: 20%

Other Atlantic 10 teams with an at-large chance: Richmond (5%), Xavier (5%), Saint Joseph’s (5%)

Big 12: Three Locks, Three Bubble Teams LOCKS:kansas50x50
kanasstate50x50oklahomastate50x50
Oklahoma (17-8, 8-5; RPI: 18): Oklahoma caught Kansas at the right time, becoming the third straight Big 12 team to knock off the Jayhawks. That victory, coupled with wins over Oklahoma State and Baylor leave the Sooners in good shape for an at-large bid. An overtime loss to Oklahoma State stings, but doesn’t do a ton of damage. Next up is Baylor. AT-LARGE ODDS: 65%

Iowa State (18-8, 8-5; RPI: 44): The Cyclones lost at Texas on Wednesday night, which pushes Iowa State to 2-7 on the road this year. Despite that awful loss, the sky isn’t falling here (yet). Iowa State has two wins against the RPI top 25 (Oklahoma, Kansas State) and six victories against the RPI top 100. Two bad losses — the one to the ‘Horns and one at Texas Tech earlier this year — will still be taken into consideration by the selection committee. Wednesday’s win over Baylor finished a sweep of the Bears. AT-LARGE ODDS: 60%

Baylor (16-10, 7-6; RPI: 60): Baylor is in pretty bad shape right now. The Bears were swept by Iowa State and have lost to Kansas State, Kansas, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma. The only win over one of the other Big 12 NCAA competitors is a victory over Oklahoma State. Next up is a game at Oklahoma. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Other Big 12 teams with an at-large chance: None currently

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RTC Bubble Watch: February 18 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on February 18th, 2013

bubble

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. 

Bracket Math: Below there are 24 locks along the right column. Basically, that number means that if none of my “locks” clinch an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, there are only 13 at-large spots available. In most years, an average of around six “locks” win automatic bids, meaning there are 19 unclinched spots for the NCAA Tournament.  I also have seven teams in the “should be in” category, meaning I project their odds of getting an at-large bid at 70% or higher. If those teams ultimately get in, there are 12 total spots available for the teams you see below in my bubble watch.

LOCKS: 24
“SHOULD BE INS”: 7
TOTAL: 31 (minus six for projected auto bid winners = 25)
PROJECTED AT-LARGE SPOTS AVAILABLE: 12

  • Odds Improving: Oklahoma State (now a lock), Illinois, Iowa (now on the BW), Maryland
  • Odds Decreasing: Virginia, Missouri (now on the BW), Kentucky
  • Locks That Are Trying My Patience: None (removed two locks this week — Missouri, Minnesota)

UPDATED THROUGH ALL GAMES OF FEBRUARY 17, 2013

ACC: Three Locks, Three Bubble Teams LOCKS:duke50x50ncstate50x50miami50x50
North Carolina (17-8, 7-6; RPI: 30): North Carolina has only four wins over the RPI top 100 and only one against the top 50. Six of North Carolina’s eight losses are to teams in the top 20 of the RPI, but the other two (Virginia, Texas) might end up dooming Roy Williams’ squad on Selection Sunday. Getting a revenge win over the Cavaliers on Saturday kept the Heels above Virginia in the ACC pecking order. AT-LARGE ODDS: 60%Maryland (18-7, 7-6; RPI: 62): Finally, some good news for Maryland fans. The Terps upset Duke on Saturday night and have moved right onto the bubble. The next four provide chances for wins with games against Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Wake Forest in that stretch. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%Virginia (18-7, 8-4; RPI: 80): .The Cavaliers have six wins against the RPI top 100 and six losses to teams below the top 100. The Cavs are really banking on wins over Wisconsin, North Carolina, and North Carolina State. A loss on Saturday to North Carolina was big because it puts more pressure on Virginia to upset Miami, who remains undefeated in conference play, when the Cavaliers visit Miami (Fla.) on Tuesday night. AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

Other ACC teams with an at-large chance: None currently

Atlantic 10: One Lock, Six Bubble Teams LOCKS:butler50x50
Virginia Commonwealth (21-5, 9-2; RPI: 35): The Rams’ best victories are over Belmont and Memphis, and neither of those teams are locks to get at-large bids. VCU has five losses, all against the nation’s top 100. Saturday’s win over Charlotte gave the Rams a third top 50 victory (barely, Charlotte is No. 49) and kept the 49ers well behind the Rams in the at-large order in the Atlantic Ten.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 65%Saint Louis (19-5, 8-2; RPI: 55): Saint Louis is getting hot at the right time. The Billikens are 10-2 in their last 12 games and have victories over Butler and New Mexico on their resume. Plus, there is only one bad loss here (Rhode Island). This is looking more and more like a NCAA Tournament team.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 60%Temple (17-8, 6-5; RPI: 51): The Owls are the kind of team that makes a bracketologist’s job very difficult. A win over Syracuse looks fantastic, but losses to Canisius, St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph’s, and Xavier cannot be ignored. A one point win over Massachusetts was big on Saturday. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

La Salle (18-6, 8-3; RPI: 34): La Salle has five wins over the RPI top 100 including victories against Butler and VCU, the Atlantic 10′s best teams. The Explorers only have one bad loss, which came in mid-November against Central Connecticut State. Next up is a huge bubble game against Temple on Thursday night. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Charlotte (18-6, 6-4; RPI: 60): Charlotte officially entered the bubble conversation on Wednesday night after a win against Butler. Unfortunately, the 49ers followed that up by losing to VCU. Next up is Temple on Saturday. AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

Massachusetts (16-8, 6-5; RPI: 54): Back to back losses to VCU and Temple have left the Minutemen on the bad side of the bubble. The next two are must wins (St. Bonvatenture, Dayton) but they won’t help Massachusetts’ overall profile. AT-LARGE HOPES: 25%

Other Atlantic 10 teams with an at-large chance: Richmond (5%), Xavier (5%), Saint Joseph’s (5%)

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RTC Bubble Watch: February 14 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on February 14th, 2013

bubble

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. 

Bracket Math: Below there are 26 locks along the right column. Basically, that number means that if none of my “locks” clinch an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, there are only 11 at-large spots available. In most years, an average of around six “locks” win automatic bids, meaning there are 17 unclinched spots for the NCAA Tournament.  I also have six teams in the “should be in” category, meaning I project their odds of getting an at-large bid at 70% or higher. If those teams ultimately get in, there are 11 total spots available for the teams you see below in my bubble watch.

LOCKS: 26
“SHOULD BE INS”: 6
TOTAL: 32 (minus six for projected auto bid winners = 26)
PROJECTED AT-LARGE SPOTS AVAILABLE: 11

  • Odds Improving: Oklahoma State, Memphis, Illinois, Colorado State
  • Odds Decreasing: Florida State, North Carolina, Butler, Creighton, Wichita State, Mississippi, Kentucky
  • Locks That Are Trying My Patience: None (removed two locks this week — Creighton, Wichita State)

Just to show that this year’s bubble is not that weak, look at this chart denoting top 50 wins for last season’s final teams into the NCAA Tournament:

rpi50wins20112012

As you can see, we might not be giving some of the bubble teams enough credit this year. Consider for instance that I just moved Wichita State out of lock status. The Shockers have three top 50 wins, more than all but one of the teams listed in the chart above. Remember, all of the teams in the chart were actually in the NCAA Tournament last season and one of them (NC State) made the Sweet Sixteen.  This is one of the reasons why you’ll see some of my bubble watch list teams as a lock that other bubble watches do not.

UPDATED THROUGH ALL GAMES OF FEBRUARY 13, 2013

ACC: Three Locks, Three Bubble Teams LOCKS:duke50x50ncstate50x50miami50x50
North Carolina (16-8, 6-6; RPI: 36): The Tar Heels’ resume is looking weaker and weaker. North Carolina has only three wins over the RPI top 100 and only one against the top 50. Six of North Carolina’s eight losses are to teams in the top 17 of the RPI, but the other two (Virginia, Texas) might end up dooming Roy Williams’ squad on Selection Sunday. It also doesn’t help that the Heels were not competitive against Miami this week. AT-LARGE ODDS: 55%Virginia (18-6, 8-3; RPI: 78): All of a sudden, Virginia’s RPI has risen almost 20 spots in the last week. The Cavaliers have six wins against the RPI top 100 and six losses to teams below the top 100. The Cavs are really banking on wins over Wisconsin, North Carolina, and North Carolina State and chances in their next two at the Tar Heels and at Miami. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Maryland (17-7, 5-6; RPI: 76): Maryland has been awful against good teams. The Terps have seven losses, but none of them have come against teams ranked outside the RPI top 100. Here’s the problem: Maryland’s RPI is sinking at rapid speed.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Other ACC teams with an at-large chance: None currently

Atlantic 10: One Lock, Seven Bubble Teams LOCKS:butler50x50
Virginia Commonwealth (19-5, 7-2; RPI: 39): The Rams’ best victories are over Belmont and Memphis, and neither of those teams are locks to get at large bids. VCU has five losses, all against the nation’s top 100. The next two games are must wins, because losses to Massachusetts or George Washington would weigh down this resume.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 65%Saint Louis (18-5, 7-2; RPI: 55): Saint Louis is getting hot at the right time. The Billikens are 10-2 in their last 12 games and have victories over Butler and New Mexico on their resume. Plus, there is only one bad loss here (Rhode Island). This is looking more and more like a NCAA Tournament team.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 60%

Temple (16-7, 5-4; RPI: 53): The Owls are the kind of team that makes a bracketologist’s job very difficult. A win over Syracuse looks fantastic, but losses to Canisius, St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph’s, and Xavier cannot be ignored. A big comeback at Dayton on Saturday was gigantic in the large scheme of things. The Owls’ remaining Atlantic 10 schedule is pretty weak.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

La Salle (17-6, 7-3; RPI: 34): La Salle has five wins over the RPI top 100 including victories against Butler and VCU, the Atlantic 10′s best teams. The Explorers only have one bad loss, which came in mid-November against Central Connecticut State. The next two games on the schedule are very winnable — at St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph’s — before a huge bubble game at Temple on February 21. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Charlotte (18-6, 6-4; RPI: 60): Charlotte officially entered the bubble conversation on Wednesday night after a win against Butler. The 49ers now have two wins against the RPI top 50, against the Bulldogs and over La Salle. Still, the 49ers have lost three of five, including a 28-point loss to George Washington. Next up is a big road game at St. Louis.   AT-LARGE ODDS: 40%

Massachusetts (16-6, 6-3; RPI: 52): It was an up and down week for the Minutemen, who followed a one-point win against La Salle with a one-point loss to Charlotte. Massachusetts has done its part by winning of four of five games to set up a monster game with VCU on Thursday night. AT-LARGE HOPES: 30%

Other Atlantic Ten teams with an at-large chance: Richmond (10%), Xavier (10%), Saint Joseph’s (5%)

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RTC Bubble Watch: February 10 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on February 10th, 2013

bubble

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. 

Bracket Math: Below there are 27 locks along the right column. Basically, that number means that if none of my “locks” clinch an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, there are only 10 at-large spots available. In most years, an average of around six “locks” win automatic bids, meaning there are 16 un-clinched spots for the NCAA Tournament.  I also have three teams in the “should be in” category, meaning I projected their odds of getting an at-large bid at 70% of higher. If those three teams do get in, there are 13 total spots available for the teams you see below in my bubble watch.

LOCKS: 27
“SHOULD BE INS”: 3
TOTAL: 30 (minus six for projected auto bid winners = 24)
PROJECTED AT-LARGE SPOTS AVAILABLE: 13

  • Odds Improving: Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, UNLV, Pittsburgh
  • Odds Decreasing: Mississippi, Wyoming, BYU
  • Locks That Are Trying My Patience: N. C. State, Cincinnati

UPDATED THROUGH ALL GAMES OF FEBRUARY 10, 2013

ACC: Three Locks, Four Bubble Teams LOCKS:duke50x50ncstate50x50miami50x50
North Carolina (16-7, 6-5; RPI: 41): North Carolina has one great win (over UNLV) and two mediocre ones (Florida State, Maryland), but bad losses against Texas and Virginia are not helping the Tar Heels’ resume. On Saturday. Miami blew the Tar Heels out. If North Carolina loses both of its games against Duke, Roy Williams team may be sweating on Selection Sunday.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 60%

Maryland (17-6, 5-6; RPI: 65): Maryland has been awful against good teams. The only good win for the Terps is over N. C. State, one of the worst road teams in the country. A loss Sunday to Virginia hurt their cause even more. AT-LARGE ODDS: 35%

Virginia (16-6, 7-3; RPI: 95): A week after losing to Georgia Tech, the Cavaliers have righted the ship. A win against Maryland on Sunday added a sixth win against the RPI top 100 to this resume. Here’s the problem: Virginia is not getting into the field with a RPI near 100. Plus, Virginia has six inexcusable losses to teams ranked lower than 100 in the RPI.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 30%

Florida State (13-9, 5-4; RPI: 58): Florida State’s at-large hopes are nearly over after a loss at Wake Forest on Saturday. This team has zero wins against the RPI top 50. A win over Miami on Wednesday would at least make things interesting, while a loss puts the ‘Noles out of their misery. AT-LARGE HOPES: 15%

Other ACC teams with an at-large chance: None currently

Atlantic 10: One Lock, Seven Bubble Teams LOCKS:butler50x50
Virginia Commonwealth (19-5, 7-2; RPI: 39): I don’t have anything against VCU, but I am convinced more and more every day that 80% of the nation’s bracketologists are overrating the Rams’ resume. This team’s best victory is against Belmont and the second best win is over Memphis. Both of those teams are fringe at-large teams and both had better win their conference tournaments if they want to snag an a NCAA Tournament bid. A win over Charlotte on Saturday gave VCU a seventh win over the RPI top 100. AT-LARGE ODDS: 65%

Saint Louis (18-5, 7-2; RPI: 56): Saint Louis is getting hot at the right time. The Billikens are 10-2 in their last twelve games and have victories over Butler and New Mexico on their resume. Plus, there is only one bad loss here (Rhode Island). This is looking more and more like a NCAA Tournament team.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 60%

Temple (16-7, 5-4; RPI: 53): The Owls are the kind of team that makes a bracketologists’ job very difficult. A win over Syracuse looks fantastic, but losses to Canisius, St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph’s, and Xavier cannot be ignored. A big comeback at Dayton on Saturday was gigantic in the large scheme of things. The Owls’ remaining Atlantic Ten schedule is pretty weak.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

La Salle (16-6, 6-3; RPI: 35): La Salle has five wins over the RPI top 100 including victories against Butler and VCU, the Atlantic Ten’s best teams. The Explorers only have one bad loss, which came in mid-November against Central Connecticut State. The next two games on the schedule are very winnable– at St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph’s–before a huge bubble game at Temple on February 21. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Charlotte (17-6, 5-4; RPI: 51): The 49ers have been in the at-large conversation all along because of a great record and a mediocre RPI, but Charlotte only has two top 50 wins. Wins against La Salle and Massachusetts are average but games against Temple, Butler, VCU, and Saint Louis still remain on the schedule. Charlotte has the kind of record you look for in an at-large candidate, but the 49ers need big wins. The upcoming schedule provides plenty of chances for those.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 35%

Massachusetts (16-6, 6-3; RPI: 52): It was an up and down week for the Minutemen, who followed a one point win against La Salle with a one point loss to Charlotte. Massachusetts has done its part by winning of four of five games to set up a monster game with VCU on Thursday night. AT-LARGE HOPES: 30%

Other Atlantic Ten teams with an at-large chance: Richmond (10%), Xavier (10%), Saint Joseph’s (5%)

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RTC Bubble Watch: February 7 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on February 7th, 2013

bubble

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. 

Bracket Math: Below there are 25 locks along the right column. Basically, that number means that if none of my “locks” clinch an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, there are only 12 at-large spots available. In most years, an average of around six “locks” win automatic bids, meaning there are 18 un-clinched spots for the NCAA Tournament.  I also have five teams in the “should be in” category, meaning I projected their odds of getting an at-large bid at 70% of higher. If those five teams do get in, there are 13 total spots available for the teams you see below in my bubble watch.

LOCKS: 25
“SHOULD BE INS”5
TOTAL: 30 (minus 6 for projected auto bid winners=24)
PROJECTED AT-LARGE SPOTS AVAILABLE: 13

  • Odds Improving: Iowa State, Indiana State, Oklahoma State, Arkansas (but still not on the “Watch”)
  • Odds Decreasing: UNLV, Boise State, Air Force, Alabama, Iowa (not on the “Watch”)
  • Locks That Are Trying My Patience: Missouri, Cincinnati, UCLA

atlargebidprojection2

UPDATED THROUGH ALL GAMES OF FEBRUARY 6, 2013

ACC: Three Locks, Four Bubble Teams LOCKS:duke50x50ncstate50x50miami50x50
North Carolina (16-6, 6-3; RPI: 31): North Carolina has one great win (over UNLV) and two mediocre ones (Florida State, Maryland), but bad losses against Texas and Virginia are not helping the Tar Heels’ resume. Losing to the under .500 Longhorns by 18 points is inexplicable. The next four games are going to decide the Tar Heels’ fate. First, a game against Wake Forest that would be a big blow to North Carolina’s at-large hopes. Then, back to back trips to Miami on February 9 and Duke on February 13.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 75%Maryland (16-6, 4-5; RPI: 60): Maryland has not played well in ACC play and it might end up costing the Terps an at-large bid. Maryland was swept by Florida State, another ACC bubble team. The Terps have also lost at Miami, at North Carolina, at Duke, and at Florida State. Maryland can’t win on the road and it cannot beat good teams, which typically means NIT. AT-LARGE ODDS: 40%

Virginia (15-6, 5-3; RPI: 100): After wins against Florida State and N. C. State moved the Cavaliers into at-large consideration, Virginia fell to Georgia Tech on Sunday. Virginia needs its RPI to rise quickly (by at least 40 spots) and losses like the one to the Yellow Jackets are not helping. Up next are winnable games against Clemson, at Maryland, and Virginia Tech. They better win all three. AT-LARGE ODDS: 30%

Florida State (13-9, 5-4; RPI: 58): Florida State knocked off Maryland on Wednesday to pick up  a fifth win against the RPI top 50 and its second win over the Terrapins. Florida State’s resume makes it look more like a mid major than a major though. The five wins over the RPI top 100 are: BYU, Charlotte, Saint Joseph’s, Maryland (twice). Michael Snaer saved the ‘Noles again on Tuesday night with another buzzer beater against Georgia Tech. Florida State needs to make sure they defeat Wake Forest Saturday because a loss would be a severe blow to their at large hopes. AT-LARGE HOPES: 25%

Other ACC teams with an at-large chance: None currently

Atlantic 10: One Lock, Seven Bubble Teams LOCKS:butler50x50
Virginia Commonwealth (18-5, 6-2; RPI: 49): I don’t have anything against VCU, but I am convinced more and more every day that 80% of the nation’s bracketologists are overrating the Rams’ resume. This team’s best victory is against Belmont and the second best win is over Memphis. Both of those teams are fringe at-large teams and both had better win their conference tournaments if they want to snag an a NCAA Tournament bid. This week the Rams stopped the bleeding a little bit with wins at Rhode Island and over Fordham. On Saturday, a trip to Charlotte looms large. AT-LARGE ODDS: 65%Temple (15-7, 4-4; RPI: 53): The Owls are the kind of team that makes a bracketologists’ job very difficult. A win over Syracuse looks fantastic, but losses to Canisius, St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph’s, and Xavier cannot be ignored. Overall, the Owls are 4-4 on the road. A win over Charlotte on Wednesday night gives the Owls another top 100 victory.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

La Salle (15-6, 5-3; RPI: 27): La Salle has five wins over the RPI top 100 including victories against Butler and VCU, the Atlantic Ten’s best teams. The Explorers only have one bad loss, which came in mid-November against Central Connecticut State. The next three games on the schedule are all very winnable–Fordham, at St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph’s–before a huge bubble game at Temple on February 21. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Saint Louis (17-5, 6-2; RPI: 57): The Billikens have made a strong push for an at-large bid over the last week. An upset victory over Butler and a win against Dayton give Saint Louis five straight wins, but now we get to find out how good this team is. Saint Louis will be expected to win at Richmond this weekend games before three straight tough games against Charlotte, VCU, and Butler.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Charlotte (17-5, 5-3; RPI: 51): The 49ers have been in the at-large conversation all along because of a great record and a mediocre RPI, but Charlotte only has two top 50 wins. Wins against La Salle and Massachusetts keep looking better and better and games against Temple, Butler, VCU, and Saint Louis still remain on the schedule. Charlotte has the kind of record you look for in an at-large candidate, but the 49ers need big wins. The upcoming schedule provides plenty of chances for those.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 35%

Massachusetts (15-6, 5-3; RPI: 46): It was an up and down week for the Minutemen, who followed a one point win against La Salle with a one point loss to Charlotte. Games against Rhode Island and Saint Joseph’s are up next. If Massachusetts wins both, a game at VCU on February 14 could be huge for both team’s at-large hopes. AT-LARGE HOPES: 30%

Richmond (14-9, 4-4, RPI: 74): The Spiders entered the conversation after a victory over VCU, but a loss at Temple on Wednesday night was a big shot to the Spiders at-large hopes. A win against Air Force continues to look better and a win against Charlotte might end up being important, depending on how the 17-4 49ers finish the season. On Saturday, a game against Saint Louis could be the season for Richmond. All of the Atlantic Ten at-large teams have to begin separating themselves. AT-LARGE ODDS: 15%

Other Atlantic Ten teams with an at-large chance: Xavier (10%), Saint Joseph’s (5%)

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