RTC Bubble Watch: February 4 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on February 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 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

ACC: Three Locks, Four Bubble Teams LOCKS:duke50x50ncstate50x50miami50x50
ACC Overview: Miami continues to lead the ACC after a late basket pushed the Hurricanes over N. C. State on Saturday. Duke played its best game without Ryan Kelly in its blowout victory against Florida State. Both of those teams are clear locks for the NCAA Tournament. N. C. State remains in the lock column despite the loss.  This may end up being a four bid conference.

North Carolina (15-6, 5-3; 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 (15-5, 5-2; RPI: 95): 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 and losses like the one to the Yellow Jackets are not helping. Up next are winnable games against Clemson, at Maryland, and Virginia Tech. AT-LARGE ODDS: 35%

Florida State (12-9, 4-4; RPI: 66): 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). Duke demolished the ‘Noles on Saturday. Chances for big wins come down to hosting Miami on Feb. 13 and Florida State still has home and away contests left with North Carolina State. AT-LARGE ODDS: 30%

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RTC Bubble Watch: January 30 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on January 30th, 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 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 22 locks along the right column. That means if none of my “locks” wins an auto-bid, there are 15 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 nine at-large bids will be taken and I project that 28 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 28 “locks” and “should be ins”.  At the very least, that leaves nine 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 15 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. For example, I’ve already done it this season with Minnesota and Illinois.

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.

UPDATED THROUGH ALL GAMES OF JANUARY 29, 2013

ACC: Three Locks, Four Bubble Teams LOCKS:duke50x50ncstate50x50miami50x50
ACC Overview: On November 13, if anyone had told me that Miami would be 6-0 and leading the ACC in late January I probably would have laughed hysterically. November 13 is the day the ‘Canes lost by 12 to Florida Gulf Coast. Miami now has wins over Duke, North Carolina, Michigan State, La Salle, Maryland, and Charlotte. They are not only fighting for a top seed in the ACC Tournament, but a very high seed in the NCAA Tournament, It is safe to lock Miami into the field. Duke has the nation’s best wins, but the Blue Devils clearly are not the same team without Ryan Kelly. Coach K’s team is sliding down the seed line some, but it is still very much a lock for the field. N. C. State can also celebrate lock status. The Wolfpack’s victories do not scream “lock” but wins over shorthanded Duke, Connecticut, and North Carolina should be enough in a year where the bubble is looking weak. Virginia is the newest addition, moving onto the bubble after a big win against N. C. State on Tuesday.

North Carolina (14-6, 5-3; RPI: 35): 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 9-10 Longhorns by 18 points is inexplicable. The Heels still have not played Duke and a win over the Blue Devils might do it based off North Carolina’s history in the sport and what that rivalry usually does for NCAA Tournament chances. Of course, Roy Williams also takes his team to Miami on February 9, a scary proposition after what the Hurricanes did at home to a much more talented Duke squad. Before getting a chance to help its resume, North Carolina better make it through the next two without another blemish (VT, Wake). AT-LARGE ODDS: 65%

Maryland (15-5, 3-4; RPI: 60): Since my first Bubble Watch, Maryland has lost four of six games. The Terrapins’ best victory came over North Carolina State by one on January 16, but they followed that up by losing at fellow bubbler North Carolina by 10 on the road. Maryland also let a big opportunity go by the wayside when they let Duke romp on Saturday. Other than the victory over the Wolfpack, there is not a NCAA Tournament win on Maryland’s resume. The only upside here is that they still get Duke and North Carolina at home. Plus, unlike many other bubble teams, Maryland’s losses are not bad ones (Miami, North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, Florida State). AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Virginia (15-5, 5-2; RPI: 91): After back to back losses to Clemson and Wake Forest in early January, I thought the Cavaliers were done. Fast-forward 18 days and this profile looks entirely different. Since those losses, Virginia has held Florida State to 36 points, knocked off a N. C. State team coming off a win against North Carolina, and won four straight games. This team is worthy of at large consideration. The Cavaliers have wins over Wisconsin, North Carolina, and North Carolina State to offset bad losses against Delaware, Old Dominion, and George Mason. The RPI still has to improve for this team to be taken seriously as an at large candidate, but Virginia is at least in the conversation. AT-LARGE ODDS: 35%

Florida State (11-8, 3-3; RPI: 67): The Seminoles “Snaered” a win over Clemson last week on a last second three by Michael Snaer and basically kept their at-large hopes alive in the process. Florida State’s best two wins are against Charlotte and BYU, teams that are in the exact same spot as the ‘Noles. Beating them may help them move up the at-large consideration board on Selection Sunday, but it won’t get them into the top 37. This team also lost to South Alabama, Mercer, and at Auburn — teams that are all below 150 in the RPI. Losing to Miami on Sunday was a big blow because it was yet another chance for a big win blown. The good news is that Florida State still plays Duke, Miami, at N. C. State, North Carolina, and N. C. State (home) before the ACC Tournament. In other words: This is a high reward, low risk schedule. Winning a few of those games might put Florida State on the good side of the at-large bubble. AT-LARGE ODDS: 35%

Atlantic 10: One Lock, Eight Bubble Teams LOCKS:butler50x50
Atlantic 10 Overview: Right now the Atlantic 10 is Butler and then everyone else. VCU had a two-loss week to fall further towards the bubble cut line, while La Salle has jumped into the at-large conversation with wins against the Bulldogs and Rams this week. In the A-10, we need to some separation from the pack by the bubble teams. This is a good conference that will likely end up with three or four bids, although right now it is not easy to see who the bids will go to outside of Butler.

Virginia Commonwealth (16-5, 4-2; RPI: 40): 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. Plus, losing to Richmond and La Salle is inexcusable. Coming into the week most bracket makers had this team at about a six seed. How? There isn’t a great win here. VCU is not as far into the Tournament as you’d think. The chance for a resume-defining win really comes down to a home game with Butler on March 2. Before then, Charlotte, Saint Louis, and Xavier all get the Rams at home. VCU better turn into a great road team to avoid losing to other Atlantic 10 bubble teams, beat Butler, or advance far into the A-10 tournament to get an NCAA Tournament bid. AT-LARGE ODDS: 65%

Temple (13-6, 2-3; RPI: 57): Victories over Syracuse and Villanova look great for the Owls, but Temple is really only living off those wins at this point. Losses to Canisius and St. Bonaventure are bad and they are really bringing down Temple’s resume. If the Owls had been able to knock off Butler on the road Saturday, this resume would have a completely different feel to it. Instead it feels like Temple better be careful. On Wednesday night, a game against Richmond is a must win for both teams. AT-LARGE ODDS: 60%

La Salle (14-5, 4-2; RPI: 25): The last time I did a bubble watch, I only included the Explorers because of a strong RPI. Boy, have things changed since then. La Salle knocked off Butler and VCU in the same week and also owns a victory over a Villanova team that just knocked off top five teams in Syracuse and Louisville. There is one gigantic blemish on the resume — a loss to #211 RPI school, Central Connecticut State — but that might be forgiven based off the good wins here. The only bad news is that La Salle does not get another shot at Butler or VCU and instead has to keep its head above water against other Atlantic 10 bubble teams. Wednesday night the Explorers host Massachusetts. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Saint Louis (14-5, 3-2; RPI: 66): Other than a victory over New Mexico, the Billikens have little in the cupboard in the way of impressive victories. There are no other good wins on this resume. Saint Louis also lost to Rhode Island and Santa Clara, two teams that won’t be dancing without an automatic bid. Here’s the good news: They get Butler in their next game (January 31) at home. They also get the Bulldogs in late February. Right now Brad Stevens’ team has a huge bulls-eye on it, because the rest of the league knows a victory over Butler will be a season-defining win that will separate a team from the pack in the very competitive Atlantic 10. AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

Charlotte (16-4, 4-2; RPI: 51): The 49ers have been in the at-large conversation all along because of a great record and a mediocre RPI, but a 20-point loss to Richmond and a 28-point loss to George Washington in the last two weeks have really changed the complexion of this resume. The good news is that a win against La Salle is now looking better and better, but that win is Charlotte’s only win against the top 75 of the RPI. The 49ers play Massachusetts, at Temple, VCU, at Butler, at Saint Louis, and Temple in their next six games. AT-LARGE ODDS: 35%

Xavier (11-8, 4-2; RPI: 77): The Musketeers have been sneaking back into the conversation but a weak RPI is hindering their chances. Wins against Butler, La Salle, and Temple give Xavier some of the best wins among contenders in the A-10, but losses to Pacific, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, and Wofford are killing this resume. On March 9, Xavier gets a game against Butler that actually counts in conference play. They also still get VCU and Memphis down the stretch, so there is hope left for an at-large berth. AT-LARGE ODDS: 15%

Massachusetts (13-5, 3-2; RPI: 57): A win against Richmond on Sunday night really helps the Minutemen’s case for an-large bid. Now, a win over the Spiders is the best win on the resume, but Massachusetts still lacks a victory against the RPI top 50. In the Atlantic Ten (seemingly one gigantic bubble), things can change quickly. Trips to La Salle and Charlotte this week will tell us a lot about this resume. If Massachusetts loses both, look for the Minutemen to be off the next update. AT-LARGE ODDS: 15%

Richmond (13-8, 3-3, RPI: 72): The Spiders enter the conversation after a victory over VCU, but other than a win over Charlotte there is not much else here. Richmond is 2-6 in road/neutral games and has to play at VCU and at Temple down the stretch. Losing Sunday to Massachusetts really did not help Richmond’s chances. The Spiders have to find a way to win at Temple on Wednesday night or they’ll be off this list on my Sunday update. AT LARGE ODDS: 10%

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RTC Bubble Watch: January 27 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on January 27th, 2013

RTC Bubble Watch will publish on Sunday nights and Wednesday afternoons for the rest of the season.

My name is Daniel Evans and I have been doing bracketology for the last seven years. I’m new to RTC but very excited about the chance to write for one of the nation’s top college basketball websites. I have a journalism degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The Bracket Matrix ranks me as one of the nation’s top bracketologists. I’ve had two perfect years of bracketology — meaning I nailed every team in the field. On a daily basis, I update brackets on my website BracketologyExpert.com and I’m going to be doing a weekly bracket update on Fridays here along with a Bubble Watch column on Sundays and Wednesdays. I always enjoy answering any questions about my field of 68 or my bubble watch, so hit me up on my Twitter name (@bracketexpert) with any comments you may have.

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 22 locks along the right column. That means if none of my “locks” wins an auto-bid, there are 15 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 nine at-large bids will be taken and I project that 28 at-large bids will remain available to the NCAA Tournament.

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. For example, I’ve already done it this season with Minnesota and Illinois.

UPDATED THROUGH ALL GAMES OF JANUARY 27, 2013

ACC LOCKS:duke50x50ncstate50x50miami50x50
ACC Overview: On November 13, if anyone had told me that Miami would be 6-0 and leading the ACC in late January I probably would have laughed hysterically. November 13 is the day the ‘Canes lost by 12 to Florida Gulf Coast. Miami now has wins over Duke, North Carolina, Michigan State, La Salle, Maryland, and Charlotte. They are not only fighting for a top seed in the ACC Tournament, but a very high seed in the NCAA Tournament, It is safe to lock Miami into the field. Duke has the nation’s best wins, but the Blue Devils clearly are not the same team without Ryan Kelly. Coach K’s team is sliding down the seed line some, but it is still very much a lock for the field. N. C. State can also celebrate lock status. The Wolfpack’s victories do not scream “lock” but wins over shorthanded Duke, Connecticut, and North Carolina should be enough in a year where the bubble is looking weak. Virginia is on my watch list, but I can’t include a team with a RPI of 101.

Maryland (15-5, 3-4; RPI: 60): Since my last Bubble Watch, Maryland has lost four of six games. The Terrapins’ best victory came over North Carolina State by one on January 16, but they followed that up by losing at fellow bubbler North Carolina by 10 on the road. Maryland also let a big opportunity go by the wayside when they let Duke romp on Saturday. Other than the victory over the Wolfpack, there is not a NCAA Tournament win on Maryland’s resume. The only upside here is that they still get Duke and North Carolina at home. Plus, unlike many other bubble teams, Maryland’s losses are not bad ones (Miami, North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, Florida State).

North Carolina (12-6, 3-3; RPI: 35): 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 9-10 Longhorns by 18 points is inexplicable. The Heels still have not played Duke and a win over the Blue Devils might do it based off North Carolina’s history in the sport and what that rivalry usually does for NCAA Tournament chances. Of course, Roy Williams also takes his team to Miami, a scary proposition after what the Hurricanes did at home to a much more talented Duke squad. Before getting a chance to help its resume, North Carolina better make it through the next three without another blemish (@BC, VT, Wake).

Florida State (11-8, 3-3; RPI: 75): The Seminoles “Snaered” a win over Clemson on a last second three by Michael Snaer and basically kept their at-large hopes alive in the process. Florida State’s best two wins are against Charlotte and BYU, teams that are in the exact same spot as the ‘Noles. Beating them may help them move up the at-large consideration board on Selection Sunday, but it won’t get them into the top 37. This team also lost to South Alabama, Mercer, and at Auburn — teams that are all below 150 in the RPI. Losing to Miami on Sunday was a big blow because it was yet another chance for a big win blown. The good news is that Florida State still plays Duke, Miami, at N. C. State, North Carolina, and N. C. State (home) before the ACC Tournament. In other words: This is a high reward, low risk schedule. Winning a few of those games might put Florida State on the good side of the at-large bubble.

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Night Line: Seton Hall The Big Winner In a Huge ‘Bubble’ Night

Posted by EJacoby on February 22nd, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter. Night Line will run on weeknights during the season, highlighting a major storyline development from that day’s games.

The NCAA Tournament ‘bubble’ is in perpetual motion during this time of year, as it expands or shrinks based on small conference qualifiers and new teams move in and out seemingly every day. Tuesday night was no different, as 10 different teams on the Bubble Watch tracker were in action against quality opponents. Of those, a total of five teams had home games against Top 20 opponents — the kind of must-win games that can add a great victory to a resume and build confidence down the stretch. Seton Hall and Colorado State were the only two teams to come out victorious at home against their talented foes, and the circumstances surrounding the Pirates’ win against No. 9 Georgetown should seal the deal for the Hall as an NCAA Tournament team.

Jordan Theodore was Locked In for Seton Hall on Tuesday (Seton Hall Athletics)

The Pirates did on Tuesday what Northwestern, Mississippi State, and NC State couldn’t — beat a great team at home. Seton Hall dominated the Hoyas en route to a 73-55 win highlighted by senior Jordan Theodore’s massive night. The point guard had a career-high 29 points and five assists, including a perfect 5-5 night from behind the arc and 8-8 performance at the free-throw line. The Pirates have been up and down during Big East play, at one point losing six straight games and looking nothing like a postseason-worthy squad. But they’ve recovered to win four of their last five contests to improve to 19-9 overall and 8-8 in the Big East. Knocking off Georgetown was the team’s fourth top 50 win and propels them onto solid ground at the moment. With remaining games versus only Rutgers and at DePaul, the Hall is in great shape to simply take care of business against inferior opponents and lock up a bid.

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03.05.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on March 5th, 2009

Just another night of highly ranked teams playing as if they don’t want to be a high seed. However, I am always on top of my game and I bring 110% to the Fast Breaks everyday. So sit back, relax, and let me do the work for you.

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Make Your Case: Maryland Terrapins

Posted by rtmsf on March 5th, 2009

makecase

As part of our ongoing quest to provide you with the best college basketball coverage in the nation, we have enlisted the help of some of the finest team-specific bloggers on the planet to help us. With the NCAA Selection Show coming up on March 15th there are still several teams on the proverbial “bubble”. We figured it might be interesting to see what kind of nonpartisan arguments these bloggers could make for their team deserving a spot in the NCAA tournament. We welcome any discussion of their arguments and praise or criticism of their reasoning in the comment section. If your team is on the “bubble” and you would like to submit something, please contact us at rushthecourt@gmail.com.

Marylandsubmitted by “bbroman” at Testudo Times.

Maryland lost last night to Wake Forest in a game that very well could have clinched their NCAA tourney bid. But they’re not done yet, not at all. Our mantra as Maryland fans all year has been 8-8 in conference, plus one in the ACC tourney, and they’re in the NCAAs. Right now, Maryland stands at 7-8 with one game left. Luckily, it’s against Virginia, the worst team in the ACC.

Maryland should get to “8-8 + 1″. They’re better than Virginia and better than NC State, who they’d likely play in the first round of the ACC tourney. They’ve already played against both and won both games. If they close out the way they’re supposed to, I can’t envision them getting left out.

There’s plenty of blemishes on their resume, of course: a loss to lowly Morgan State, a mid-50s RPI, a 41-point drubbing to Duke, a bad road record. But for every negative, there’s a positive that’s just as big. Two huge wins over top 10 teams Michigan St. and UNC, one of which was out-of-conference; a mid-20s strength of schedule; a solid record down the stretch; and of course, the biggest one: a .500 record in the toughest conference in basketball (that’s right Big East, I went there).

In the conference they play in, with the big wins they have, and a good strength of schedule, I can’t see the committee turning them away, provided they get to “8-8 + 1″. If they end up 7-9 in the ACC, there’s almost no chance. If they get to 8-8 and don’t get the win in the tournament, I wouldn’t hold my breath. But with two more wins, it should be a happy Sunday for all the Maryland fans out there.

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Make Your Case: Providence Friars

Posted by nvr1983 on March 5th, 2009

makecase1

As part of our ongoing quest to provide you with the best college basketball coverage in the nation, we have enlisted the help of some of the finest team-specific bloggers on the planet to help us. With the NCAA Selection Show coming up on March 15th there are still several teams on the proverbial “bubble”. We figured it might be interesting to see what kind of nonpartisan arguments these bloggers could make for their team deserving a spot in the NCAA tournament. We welcome any discussion of their arguments and praise or criticism of their reasoning in the comment section. If your team is on the “bubble” and you would like to submit something, please contact us at rushthecourt@gmail.com.

Providencesubmitted by Dave at FriarBlog.com.

Right now, the Providence Friars deserve an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament. The big reason? 10 conference wins (possibly 11 if they can knock off Villanova on the road Thursday night) in arguably the “Greatest Conference in the History of the Universe” (or something like that). While it’s true the Friars have a few warts in their computer numbers, it can be argued that they have no bad losses. Providence has done a great job beating all the teams it should have, and have also picked up a few signature wins along the way.

Technically One Bad Loss
The one loss that is going to be consistently brought up come Selection Sunday is the Friars’ first game of the season against Northeastern. However, there is a perfectly cromulent reason for this loss. First off, this was the debut of the new Providence coach Keno Davis, who was bringing an entirely new system to a veteran team who mostly played 3 years under former coach Tim Welsh. Things obviously took some time to gel, and I have no doubt in my mind that PC would defeat Northeastern soundly if they came back to THE DUNK today. Another huge turnaround from how this team performed against Northeastern and early on in the season is a healthy Sharaud Curry.

Rust be Gone
Point guard Sharaud Curry missed all of last season due to a broken foot. In most of the non-conference schedule this year, Curry was clearly not himself. His quickness wasn’t quite there, and he had several poor shooting nights (averaged only 8 PPG shooting shot 30% including 1/8 FG and 2 points versus Northeastern). However in Big East conference play, Curry has arguably been Providence’s MVP. In 17 conference games, Curry is averaging 13.9 PPG, ranks #1 in FT% (87%), #2 in three-point FG% (44%), and #3 in assist/turnover ratio (2.5). A healthy Sharaud Curry clearly makes a difference on this team, which is why the early season non-conference losses should not be so heavily weighted.

The 10 Wins
For most of the Big East season, everyone was quick to point out how Providence had not beaten anyone of note in the conference. However, nobody seems to want to give them credit for what they have done on the road. The Friars are a solid 4-4 away from home in Big East games (with a chance to get to 5 Ws against Nova), beating Cincinnati, Seton Hall, USF, and Rutgers. While those teams aren’t the powerhouses of the conference, winning on the road in the Big East always tough — just ask Georgetown and Cincinnati after last night. Combine that with an amazing win versus #1 Pittsburgh and another big home win against #15 Syracuse, PC has performed very well in the BBBE (Big Bad Big East). They are guaranteed to finish in the top half of the standings, which should count for something.

The Biggest Blemish: RPI

  • As of Wednesday morning, Providence has an unsightly 69 RPI ranking. The team is hurt by a few things:
  • The aforementioned home loss to Northeastern. As BaseLineStats.com recently posted, “Don’t you dare lose at home: The story of the ‘new’ RPI”
  • Playing fellow Rhode Island teams Bryant (#304 in RPI) and Brown (#314) are just murder on PC’s RPI. Throw in another team over 300 (Dartmouth at #310), and the RPI is going to take a big hit.
  • I don’t trust RPI as far as I can throw it, but hopefully the committee doesn’t put too much stock into it.

The Friars could also be penalized by their 3-7 record versus teams in the RPI #26-100 (which could surely change in the last two weeks as teams move in and out). Four of those losses came early on during the non-conference schedule. However, a 7-5 record over the last 12 Big East games proves just how different this Friar team is than they were back in November/December.

I think it’s clear that this team belongs.

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ATB: Bubblicious

Posted by rtmsf on February 19th, 2009

afterbuzzer1

Story of the Night.  There weren’t any particularly compelling games tonight from a national must-see perspective, but there were a multitude with bubble implications.  Our bracketologist will be posting his Your Bubble Has Burst tomorrow morning, so we’ll just do a brief rundown of observations from tonight’s key games.

  • Florida St. 80, Miami (FL) 67.  FSU moved into a four-way tie for second place in the ACC with this win, and has seemingly positioned itself for its first NCAA bid in many a year (last app: 1998) heading into the final three weeks.  Miami, on the other hand, now at 4-8 in the league needs a minimum of three of its next four to remain alive.
  • Florida 83, Alabama 74. UF hit twenty wins for the 11th consecutive season behind Nick Calathes’ 22 pts.  There are now four teams (incl. Florida) tied at 7-4 at the top of the SEC East.
  • Georgetown 65, S. Florida 40.  Georgetown got the first of several it needs to make a run at 9-9 in the Big East behind Greg Monroe’s 12/10.
  • West Virginia 79, Notre Dame 68.  Both of these teams really needed this game, and WVU got it after getting behind early in the first half.  “Gody had 26/13 in the losing effort, and now ND absolutely must get four of its final five to get to 8-10 in the Big East.
  • Penn St. 38, Illinois 33.  We already talked about this abomination elsewhere.
  • Citadel 64, Davidson 46.  No Steph Curry meant Davidson shot only 25% and got run out of the gym at home tonight.  How will the NCAA Cmte. view this loss w/o Curry?
  • Louisville 94, Providence 76.  Louisville went on a second-half 22-3 run to put Providence’s hopes of getting a signature win to rest behind Earl Clark’s 13/10/7 assts.  Four Big East teams are tied in the loss column with two losses each.
  • Wake Forest 87, Georgia Tech 69.  Wake got payback for its most confounding loss of the season behind James Johnson’s 24/11 to get to 7-4 in the ACC.
  • Ole Miss 81, Tennessee 65.  There’s literally nothing that impresses us about this UT team, of course that’s true of the entire SEC.
  • UNC 89, NC State 80. Tyler Zeller made his second debut of the season, contributing eight minutes of depth in the frontcourt.  He didn’t help the UNC defense, though, who allowed NCSU to shoot 54% from the field for the game.
  • Memphis 90, SMU 47.  Memphis won its seventeenth game in a row in an absolute destruction of Matt Doherty’s team.  All five Tiger starters reached double figures.
  • Virginia 75, Virginia Tech 61.  Va Tech is flailing right now, having lost four of its last six games, while UVa won its second in a row after having started 1-8 in the league.
  • Wisconsin-Milwaukee 63, Butler 60.  Butler has now lost two in row, leaving UWGB only one game behind in the Horizon race.  There was some funny business going on with the game clock in this one – ah, such is the life of mid-major world.
  • Mississippi St. 75, South Carolina 70.  These middling SEC teams are starting to all look the same to us.
  • Kansas 72, Iowa St. 55.  KU is really good at avoiding letdowns in games like this despite their relative youth and inexperience.  Cole Aldrich had 22/11 in the win.
  • LSU 72, Arkansas 69. LSU moved to 10-1 in the SEC with a hard-fought road victory at Arkansas.  The Tigers erased an 18-pt deficit and used an 11-1 run in the final few minutes to pull out the win.
  • Northwestern 72, Ohio St. 69.  We really wish that NW had pulled out that Illinois game last week so that we could realistically put them on the bubble.
  • Wyoming 77, UNLV 68. Terrible loss for the Rebels, who are slipping out of any contention for an at-large bid.  Hard to believe this team won at Louisville two months ago.
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Weekly Bracketology – 02.09.09

Posted by zhayes9 on February 8th, 2009

A few notes:

  • As you’ll notice, I included a comment about each and every team in the bracket. I’ll be doing this in each of my final four brackets (2/16, 2/23, 3/2 and 3/7) as we head towards Selection Sunday.
  • Expect a Bubble Watch post from me on Thursday updating the current bubble picture, a feature that will run very similar to ESPN’s weekly bubble watch.
  • As always, any questions/comments/complaints about this week’s bracket, feel free to comment.

Automatic Bids: Boston University, Xavier, North Carolina, East Tennessee State, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Weber State, VMI, Michigan State, Long Beach State, Northeastern, Memphis, Butler, Princeton, Siena, Buffalo, Morgan State, Northern Iowa, San Diego State, Robert Morris, Morehead State, UCLA, Holy Cross, LSU, Davidson, Sam Houston State, Alabama State, North Dakota State, Western Kentucky, Gonzaga, Utah State

Last Four In: Arizona, Miami, Nebraska, Michigan
Last Four Out: Wisconsin, BYU, UNLV, Kansas State
Next Four Out: Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Providence, Penn State
Also Considered: Georgetown, Texas A&M, Baylor, Creighton, Maryland, Saint Mary’s, Northwestern, Tulsa

020809-bracketology

1 Seeds

  • Connecticut- The #1 overall seed and #1 team in the polls, Connecticut boasts 6 wins against the top 50 and still has two contests against Pittsburgh remaining on the schedule.
  • Oklahoma- The Sooners have the most wins vs. the top 100 (15) of any team, but only 1 of those victories has come vs. the top 25. They’re the #2 overall seed.
  • North Carolina- The projected ACC champion has continued to win while Duke and Wake Forest slipped up multiple times. The showdown with Duke on Wednesday is for a #1 seed.
  • Pittsburgh- Despite two conference losses, Pitt garners the final #1 seed due to their #2 RPI, 4 wins vs. the top 25 and a much stronger non-conference resume than Louisville.

2 Seeds

  • Duke- Despite the throttling by Clemson, Duke still owns the top overall RPI and have 7 wins against the RPI top 50. They can reclaim the ACC automatic bid this week.
  • Louisville- A sexy 9-1 Big East record and 4 wins vs. the RPI top 25 keep Louisville a comfortable 2. They should watch out for pesky Notre Dame this week.
  • Michigan State- The projected Big Ten champion has stayed the same all season- Michigan State. A 7 RPI, 6 SOS and comfortable lead over Ohio State and Illinois means they should stay there.
  • Marquette- The final #2 seed goes to the fourth Big East team in the field already- Marquette. They slipped in Tampa but still 9-1 and 20 wins overall is enough to grab the honor.

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