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 Wednesday afternoons for the rest of the season.
What is a “Bubble Watch?” Below is my bubble watch. If you are not familiar with my work, this is basically a current look at how things are shaping up for the NCAA Tournament. Each conference is broken down and the teams I am currently considering on the bubble are listed. This makes it easy to figure out how many at-large berths are left for the NCAA Tournament. Remember, 31 automatic NCAA Tournament bids go to the conference tournament winners (and the Ivy champion). The other 37 bids are at-large bids, or bids that the selection committee gives to the best remaining teams that fail to win an automatic bid.
Bracket Math: Below there are 25 locks along the right column. That means if none of my “locks” wins an auto-bid, there are 12 at-large spots available for the NCAA Tournament. It is usually safe to say that an average of six of my locks will win automatic bids, so that means 19 at-large bids will be taken and I project that 18 at-large bids remain available to the NCAA Tournament. For those wondering, if you take all the teams I have at 70% or higher (six) and include them in my projection there are 31 “locks” and “should be ins”. At the very least, that leaves six at-large spots available for the NCAA Tournament. If you figure that at least six of my locks/should be ins win automatic bids, there are 12 spots available.
What Does Being a “Lock” Mean? It means that at this point, I see no way that team could miss the NCAA Tournament. Every year I end up having to move at least one team I have locked in back into the at-large pool.
Understanding “At-Large Odds” Percentages: In an attempt to help clarify the bubble picture even more, I have added “at-large odds” to each team below. All of the teams I have “locked” in have a 90% chance of playing in the NCAA Tournament or higher. Basically, teams with a percentage higher than 50% are probably on the good side of the bubble picture right now. Teams below 50% are probably on the wrong side of the bubble picture right now. Teams with a 50% chance of being in the Tournament basically have a coin-flip chance of getting in. You might see me refer to teams with a percentage of 70% or higher as “should be ins,” referring to teams that should make the field.
- Odds Improving This Week: Georgetown (now a lock), North Carolina, Kansas State (now a lock), Minnesota (now a lock), Colorado State, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Air Force
- Odds Decreasing This Week: Florida State, Villanova, Temple, Arizona State, Colorado, Illinois
UPDATED THROUGH ALL GAMES OF FEBRUARY 3, 2013