Your Bubble Has Burst: 02.25.09

Posted by zhayes9 on February 25th, 2009

Zach Hayes is RTC’s resident bracketologist.  He’ll regularly be out-scooping, out-thinking and out-shining Lunardi over the next three months.


We kick off this week’s edition of Your Bubble Has Burst with a fitting segment: teams whose bubbles have successfully burst since last Thursday. These teams can begin making NIT/CBI reservations barring an unprecedented conference tournament run:

Note: all computer numbers prior to Tuesday’s games.

– The Hoyas had two great opportunities to get right back into the thick of the bubble race by at least splitting two home games against Marquette and Louisville. Instead, they hung around with Marquette and were dismantled by Louisville, dropping both games and sending the spiraling Hoyas to a 5-10 conference record. Their next game: @ Villanova, meaning the best case scenario is 7-11 in the Big East. They’ll have to reach the Big East Tournament final now. Good luck.

Baylor– The disappointing Baylor Bears finally broke a six-game losing streak at home against Texas A&M before falling to Oklahoma State and dropping to 4-8 in the Big 12. Even if they should win 3 out of their next 4, a 7-9 record in the #4 RPI conference won’t be enough to make the field. They’ll have to make a run in Oklahoma City, but how can anyone expect that the way this team plays defense?

Seton Hall– The Pirates had an outside chance to at least put themselves in a position to earn bubble consideration with a late-season run. That went up in flames with their close loss to St. John’s on Sunday night. They have some bad losses out-of-conference and now welcome Pittsburgh to the Prudential Center. The Pirates should be a threat in the NIT.

The schedule gods were not kind to poor Northwestern, who finishes their Big Ten campaign with four out of five on the road. They were thrashed at Minnesota and trips to Purdue and Ohio State still remain. At 5-9 in the conference, their bubble has officially burst.

Mississippi State– How can a team with a 7-5 record in conference make this list? 1) when you’ve lost your last two games to Auburn and Alabama (home win in the middle), 2) you play in this year’s SEC, 3) you have 1 win against the RPI top 50, 4) you have an 84 RPI. The Bulldogs needed to win at Alabama on Saturday and didn’t. There’s no way the committee considers a team with their resume.

– Their computer numbers are horrible and they saw their NCAA chances end last night with the home loss to Texas A&M. Simple as that.

On to the conferences:

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Your Bubble Has Burst: 02.19.09

Posted by zhayes9 on February 19th, 2009

Zach Hayes is RTC’s resident bracketologist.   He’ll be regularly out-scooping, out-thinking and out-shining Lunardi over the next three months.


Selection Sunday is sneaking up on us, folks. The conversations around college basketball are focused squarely on the bubble as we crawl closer and closer to March 15th and the unveiling of the new bracket. Whose schedule is looking favorable down the stretch? Which teams need to win out? Is the ACC approaching the Big East in terms of expected bids? Here’s your latest bubble update on Your Bubble Has Burst here at Rush the Court:

Note: all computer numbers prior to Wednesday’s games.

Atlantic Coast

Locks: North Carolina built a hefty lead in the ACC this week with their wins over Duke and Miami, while their rival Blue Devils have fallen in 4 out of 6 to drop 2.5 games behind the Tar Heels. Both Duke and Carolina, along with 7-4 Clemson and 7-4 Wake Forest, appear to be locks at this point. Despite Wake’s slip-ups to unranked ACC opposition, their home wins against Duke and North Carolina and road wins at BYU, Clemson and Boston College should be enough.

Comfortably in:
Sure, they laid an egg in Winston-Salem, but Florida State still sits in a nice position. A 21 RPI and 32 SOS with 2 wins against the RPI top 25 in the #1 RPI conference means Leonard Hamilton will finally lead his Seminoles to tournament action. The schedule down the stretch does provide room for a collapse, though, with a home-and-home against Virginia Tech, trips to BC and Duke and home contests vs. Clemson and Miami. No gimmes on that schedule.

Work left to do:
Those buzzer-beater losses to Xavier and Wisconsin would look very good as wins on Seth Greenberg’s resume right about now. Virginia Tech has done a nice job turning it around in ACC play to compile a 51 RPI, 49 SOS and wins at Wake and Miami. Still, the loss to Virginia hurts big and their non-conference wins are less than impressive. With @Clemson, Duke, North Carolina and two games vs. Florida State left on the slate, they are far from a sure thing. Boston College will probably hear their name called on Selection Sunday after the win against Duke on Sunday. They really only need to go 2-2 down the stretch and 9-7 should be enough. Their last three games are favorable: FSU, @NCST, GT. At 4-8 in the ACC, Miami needs to win out to get to 8-8. Period.

On the brink: Maryland’s throttling at the hands of halfway decent opponents in seemingly every game save Michigan State can’t impress the tournament committee. At 5-6, they’re still alive. They absolutely need to steal one of their three remaining home games with Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest while also knocking off NC State and Virginia on the road. It’s a tall task for coach Williams.

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Your Bubble Has Burst: 02.12.09

Posted by rtmsf on February 12th, 2009

Zach Hayes is RTC’s resident bracketologist.   He’ll be regularly out-scooping, out-thinking and out-shining Lunardi over the next three months.


Welcome to the first edition of Your Bubble Has Burst here on the new and improved RTC. I’m your resident bracketologist Zach Hayes here to give you a midweek update on the state of the all-important bubble, my favorite topic of conversation this time of year. I’ve classified every team in NCAA contention under four categories: locks (certainly in the field), comfortably in (they can pretty much depend on their name being called barring an epic collapse), work left to do (teams that need to win games to ensure their spot or risk being left out) and on the brink (teams not quite on the bubble that need to win and win often immediately). Let’s get right into it:

Note: all computer numbers prior to Thursday’s games.

Atlantic Coast

Locks: The three ACC locks- Duke, North Carolina and Clemson– are all likely top-four seeds in the NCAA Tournament. They boast RPIs in the top 15, with Duke landing at #4 and North Carolina at #5. The Tar Heels victory Wednesday in Durham drops Duke to a likely #2 seed with Clemson in the 3-4 range. These three teams should stay around this spot and are all Final Four threats in the top-heavy ACC.

Comfortably in: Wake Forest’s loss to their fourth unranked ACC team pushes them down a level. We’d still bet on them being a top-four seed on Selection Sunday, but you never know with this amount of youth, inexperience and inconsistency. Wins over Duke and Carolina help tremendously. Florida State has established themselves as a likely top-6 seed in the field by nearly defeating #1 seeds Pitt and North Carolina at home along with a huge comeback win at Clemson on Saturday. They also have excellent computer totals (20 RPI, 32 SOS) and 4 wins against the RPI top 50. The Seminoles need to stay focused due to a challenging schedule down the stretch, with vengeful Clemson and desperate-for-wins Miami and Virginia Tech visiting Tallahassee and trips to Wake, Duke, BC and Virginia Tech. There are no softies down the stretch.

Work left to do: Boston College could have used a win over Clemson Tuesday at home; instead, they risk going 0-4 (Duke and @ Miami) during a crucial ACC stretch. Luckily, they finish with Florida State and Georgia Tech at home with a visit to NC State, so they should be able to end strong and feel fairly good. Virginia Tech is aided by Duke and North Carolina visiting Blacksburg down the stretch, but let’s not forget those are games against Duke and North Carolina. They must take advantage of games at home vs. Georgia Tech and Florida State, along with a road contest at ACC punching bag Virginia. Miami is only 4-6 in the conference but seems to be improving with a beatdown of Wake Forest and near win at Cameron. They sit squarely on the bubble but end the campaign with BC, @Virginia, @Georgia Tech and NC State, four very winnable games. It could come down to the ACC Tournament for these four teams.

On the brink: Believe it or not, 15-8 (4-5) Maryland is still alive. They absolutely MUST beat Virginia Tech at home on Valentine’s Day to have a chance. Then they’d hope to win at NC State and Georgia Tech while stealing a home game against the top 3- Wake, Duke and North Carolina. This is a very high hill to climb for Gary Williams who I’m sure wishes he could have another shot at Miami and Florida State (two last second losses). They really hope to get to 8-8 and make an ACC Tournament run.

Big East

Locks: The Big East currently boasts two projected #1 seeds- RPI #1 Pittsburgh and #3 Connecticut. It’s extremely likely the Big East will garner two #1 seeds on Selection Sunday, and I’d be shocked if Pitt and Connecticut weren’t the two represented at the top of the bracket given their non-conference performance (as opposed to Louisville) and overall talent level. Louisville has rebounded nicely to a #2 seed in the projected field and have a favorable yet dangerous schedule down the stretch with road games against Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Georgetown and West Virginia (combined: 18-25). Villanova made tremendous progress towards moving to a 2-seed with their convincing win against Marquette last night. They hold a 10 RPI and 22 SOS down the stretch, while Marquette is trending the other way with a horrifying schedule (UConn, @Pittsburgh, @Louisville, Syracuse, @Georgetown remaining).

Comfortably in: Syracuse has hit a rough patch lately, but still should feel pretty good about where they stand. A 22 RPI and 21 SOS are solid numbers. They still have home games vs. Cincinnati, Rutgers and Georgetown with a visit to St. John’s on the slate.

Work left to do: West Virginia didn’t qualify for the comfortably in category because of their 5-6 conference record, but I’ll be shocked if they don’t make the field. They have a great chance in every single game the rest of the way with road contests at Rutgers, Cincinnati and South Florida and Louisville posing the toughest home threat. Their 15 RPI and 6 SOS are excellent totals. Bob Huggins’ former school, Cincinnati, still needs more wins to make up for a lacking non-conference resume. The win at Georgetown on Saturday was huge as are home games vs. West Virginia and Louisville near the end of February. Providence holds a 7-5 record in the conference with word before the season that 10-8 should be enough. Considering they have two games vs. Rutgers and Notre Dame at home, it may happen. Georgetown is also lurking as a team that probably needs to get to 9-9 and win twice in New York. They’ll have to sweep Marquette, Louisville and DePaul at home and steal a game on the road, a daunting task.

On the brink: Seton Hall has won five in a row to creep within bubble territory, fattening up against inferior competition. With their next three vs. Connecticut and at Marquette and pesky St. John’s, it could end soon. Much like Georgetown, the goal is to find a way to get to 9-9 and make a Big East Tournament run. Notre Dame is 3-7 and needs a miracle to find themselves in the field with a 79 RPI and weak non-conference SOS. They also play road games against Connecticut, West Virginia and Providence.

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