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.
F0r the last few days of the regular season, here is a whole new look bubble watch:
Bracket Math: Below there are 37 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 zero at-large spots available. In most years, an average of around six “locks” win automatic bids, meaning there are six un-clinched spots for the NCAA Tournament. Right now, there aren’t any teams in the “should be in” category, or teams that I give a 70% chance or greater of making the Tournament. That means that of the teams below listed in the Bubble Watch, only five can get bids. Remember that bid stealers will potentially shrink that number.
“SHOULD BE INS”: 0
TOTAL: 38 (minus six for projected auto bid winners = 32)
PROJECTED AT-LARGE SPOTS AVAILABLE: 5
BID STEALERS REMAINING:
- ACC (quarterfinals): Boston College (vs. Miami), Maryland (vs. Duke), Florida State (vs. North Carolina)
- Atlantic 10 (quarterfinals): Charlotte (vs. Saint Louis), Saint Joseph’s (vs. VCU), Massachusetts (vs. Temple)
- Big Ten (quarterfinals): Nebraska (vs. Ohio State), Iowa (vs. Michigan State )
- Conference USA (semifinals): Southern Miss/UTEP winner, Tulsa (vs. Memphis)
- Pac-12 (semifinals): Utah (vs. Oregon)
- SEC (quarterfinals): LSU (vs. Florida), Vanderbilt (vs. Kentucky)
THIS UPDATE: I moved Minnesota to lock status, even with the Gophers’ last second loss to Illinois Thursday. At this point, it is almost impossible to see a team with the Gophers’ victories not getting into the field.
There are currently 20 teams fighting for 5 spots. If you believe (as I do) that Baylor, Louisiana Tech, Akron, and Charlotte are long shots at best (very small chance, if any, to make the field) you can bring the numbers down to 16 teams fighting for 5 spots.
- Virginia (21-10, 11-7; RPI: 67): The Cavaliers have been a strange bubble case all season. They have some of the worst losses a bubble team can have, but they also have six impressive wins. One of those wins is against Duke, who might be the nation’s best team now that Ryan Kelly is back. A win over Sunday against Maryland left the Cavs in position to play their way into the field in the ACC Tournament. They get dangerous North Carolina State on Friday in the ACC quarterfinals. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%
- Maryland (21-11, 8-10; RPI: 85): Maryland has two great wins (Duke, NC State) and absolutely nothing behind them. Thursday’s win against Wake Forest keeps the Terps alive, but they’ll have to replicate their February win against Duke to get serious at-large love.. AT-LARGE ODDS: 40%