RTC Bubble Watch: March 16 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on March 16th, 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.

LOCKS: 38
“SHOULD BE INS”: 0
TOTAL: 38 (minus eight for projected auto bid winners = 30)
PROJECTED AT-LARGE SPOTS AVAILABLE: 7

BID STEALERS STILL ALIVE:

  • ACC: Maryland
  • Atlantic 10: Massachusetts
  • Conference USA: Southern Miss
  • SEC: Vanderbilt

THIS UPDATE:  Charlotte is out after losing in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals. Iowa is now a long shot after losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten quarterfinals.

There are currently 19 teams fighting for 5 spots. If you believe (as I do) that Baylor, Louisiana Tech and Akron 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.

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ACC

LOCKS:
duke50x50miami50x50UNC50X50ncstate50x50

  • Virginia (21-11, 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.  On Friday, a loss in the ACC quarterfinals to N. C. State might have left Virginia one win short of what they needed to get into the field.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%
  • Maryland (22-11, 8-10; RPI: 85): A second upset of Duke this season keeps Maryland’s faint at-large hopes alive. The Terps now can say they are the only team with a win over Ryan Kelly this year, but that may not be enough. This team’s fourth best RPI win is against Stony Brook.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 40%

Atlantic 10

LOCKS:
butler50x50stlouis50x50vcu50x50

  • Temple (23-9, 11-5; RPI: 37): Friday night’s loss to Massachusetts ended the Owls’ seven game winning streak, but in the end I think the Owls have done enough to snare an at-large bid.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 70%
  • La Salle (21-8, 11-5; 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. On Friday, a second loss to Butler in a week pushed the Explorers closer to the at-large cut-line.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%
  • Massachusetts (20-10, 9-7; RPI: 57): The Minutemen upset Temple in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals Friday to pick up an eighth victory against the RPI top 100. This team has a shot to get in, but must make it to the Atlantic 10 finals. AT-LARGE ODDS: 40%

BIG EAST

LOCKS:
georgetown50x50
louisville50x50syracuse100x100PITT50x50marquette50x50villanova50x50notredame100x100CIN50x50

BIG 12

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RTC Bubble Watch: March 15 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on March 15th, 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.

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.

LOCKS: 38
“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.

———————————————————————-

ACC

LOCKS:
duke50x50miami50x50UNC50X50ncstate50x50

  • 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%

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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 28 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on February 28th, 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” clinches 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 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 8 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: 26
“SHOULD BE INS”: 9
TOTAL: 35 (minus six for projected auto bid winners = 29)
PROJECTED AT-LARGE SPOTS AVAILABLE: 8

  • Odds Improving: Tennessee
  • Odds Decreasing: Mississippi, Cincinnati, Baylor
  • Locks That Are Trying My Patience: None

UPDATED THROUGH ALL GAMES OF FEBRUARY 28, 2013

ACC: Three Locks, Three Bubble Teams LOCKS:duke50x50ncstate50x50miami50x50
North Carolina (19-8, 9-5; RPI: 20): The Tar Heels have a second victory over the RPI top 25 after a win at home against N. C. State on Saturday. Although North Carolina still lacks for great wins, it still has a game against Duke to end the season. Plus, it would be crazy to imagine UNC missing the NCAA Tournament with a top 20 RPI. AT-LARGE ODDS: 65%

Maryland (19-9, 7-8; RPI: 73): 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 added a loss to Georgia Tech Wednesday. Maryland needs to win out. Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, and Virginia are left on the schedule. AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

Virginia (19-8, 9-5; RPI: 73): Virginia has six wins against the RPI top 100, but has three losses to the miserable CAA. When you consider both, it makes for one of the more confusing resumes to figure out in the country. Virginia’s RPI has finally risen to a mediocre level, but it needs to keep rising. A game against Duke on Thursday will probably decide the Cavaliers’ at-large fate. AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

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

Atlantic 10: Two Lock, Five Bubble Teams LOCKS:butler50x50stlouis50x50

Virginia Commonwealth (22-6, 10-3; RPI: 34): 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. Butler plays at VCU on March 2, a huge game for the Rams. A win there will lock them up. AT-LARGE ODDS: 70%

La Salle (19-7, 9-4; RPI: 35): 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. A loss to Temple on Thursday hurts but at least La Salle rebounded by winning at Rhode Island on Sunday. Duquesne and George Washington are next on the schedule before a monster game at red-hot Saint Louis. AT-LARGE ODDS: 55%

Temple (19-8, 8-5; 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. Wins over Massachusetts, La Salle, and Charlotte have Temple on the good side of the NCAA Tournament bubble for now. Losing any of the next three would be devastating. A finale against VCU may end up deciding the Owls’ fate heading into the Atlantic 10 Tournament. AT-LARGE ODDS: 55%

Charlotte (18-9, 6-7; RPI: 63): Five losses in six games have pushed the 49ers to the brink of at-large elimination. Wins over La Salle and Butler keep them here, but losses to George Washington and Dayton have shown that this team can lose to anyone. AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

Massachusetts (17-9, 7-6; RPI: 57): Three straight losses to VCU, Temple, and St. Bonaventure have left Massachusetts on the bad side of the bubble. The Minutemen have to beat Butler at home March 7 to have a good shot at an at-large. AT-LARGE ODDS: 30%

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

Big 12: Three Locks, Three Bubble Teams LOCKS:kansas50x50
kanasstate50x50oklahomastate50x50
Oklahoma (18-8, 9-5; RPI: 29): Oklahoma caught Kansas at the right time, becoming the third straight Big 12 team to knock off the Jayhawks a couple of weeks back. That victory, coupled with wins over Oklahoma State and Baylor, leave the Sooners in good shape for an at-large bid. A win against Baylor on Saturday gave Oklahoma a sweep of the Bears. Wednesday night, the Sooners blew a 22 point lead to Texas. The Longhorns are not a Big 12 contender, so that is a bad loss. Oklahoma doesn’t want to make things interesting down the stretch, because if they do they’ll be sweating Selection Sunday. AT-LARGE ODDS: 60%

Iowa State (19-9, 9-6; 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. This profile would be much more complete with that kind of win. Despite the heartbreaking loss, Iowa State is still on pace for an at-large with wins over Kansas State, Oklahoma, BYU, and a sweep of Baylor. The next now are at Oklahoma and versus Oklahoma State. AT-LARGE ODDS: 60%

Baylor (16-11, 7-7; RPI: 63): Oh boy, the Bears are in trouble now. Baylor has one win against a sure NCAA Tournament team (Oklahoma State) and seven losses against the RPI top 30. This looks like a season of lost opportunities. The good news is games against Kansas State and Kansas still remain on the schedule. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

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

Big East: Five Locks, Four Bubble Teams LOCKS:louisville50x50syracuse100x100

georgetown50x50PITT50x50marquette50x50

Notre Dame (22-6, 10-5; RPI: 43): It is hard to see Notre Dame missing the NCAA Tournament at this point. This team has five wins against the RPI top 50, including a 21-point victory over Cincinnati on Sunday. Marquette, St. John’s, and Louisville are the remaining games on the schedule. If they win against Marquette on Thursday, you can lock them up. AT-LARGE ODDS: 75%

Cincinnati (19-9, 7-8; RPI: 49): Typically, I do not take teams out of lock status, but Cincinnati is making things interesting. The Bearcats have lost four out of five games and still have games against Connecticut, Louisville, and Notre Dame remaining. Cincinnati only has three wins against top 50 teams and seven losses against the RPI top 50. In other words, this profile (like Baylor) is a resume of missing opportunities. AT-LARGE ODDS: 70%

Villanova (18-11, 9-7; RPI: 55): The Wildcats now have four top 50 wins because recent victories over Connecticut and Marquette have strengthened a resume that already has wins against Syracuse and Louisville. Blowing the game at Seton Hall earlier this week was a tough setback, considering Pittsburgh and Georgetown are the two teams remaining on the schedule. The ‘Cats better get at least a split of those and avoid an early exit in the Big East Tournament. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

St. John’s (16-11, 8-7; RPI: 61): St. John’s has three wins over the RPI top 50 but lost to UNC-Asheville, San Francisco, and Murray State in non-conference play. On Sunday, Syracuse blew St. John’s out. This team does not look like a NCAA Tournament team. AT-LARGE ODDS: 30%

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

Big Ten: Five Locks, Three Bubble Teams LOCKS:michigan50x50indiana50x50ohiostate100x100michiganstate50x50wisconsinbadgers50x50
Minnesota (19-9, 7-8; RPI: 13): Before Tuesday night’s big win over Indiana, Minnesota had been blown out by Ohio State and Iowa. Those losses do not matter much now. The Gophers should be safe, considering they have 13 wins against the RPI top 100. Let’s keep them out of the locks just to make sure they don’t go 0-3 against Penn State, Nebrasks, and Purdue but this team should be dancing. AT-LARGE ODDS: 80%

Illinois (20-9, 7-8; RPI: 32): Illinois has its bubble supporters and bubble doubters. The Illini have five top 50 wins, and there is not another non-lock with the wins that the Fighting Illini have. The doubters will point out that the Illini are under .500 in conference and still play road games against Iowa and Ohio State. AT-LARGE ODDS: 70%

Iowa (18-10, 7-8, RPI: 90): After a loss to Nebraska on Saturday, Iowa is probably done without winning out. The Hawkeyes have to find a way to win at Indiana on March 2 in order for that to happen. Good luck with that. AT-LARGE ODDS: 20%

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

Conference USA: Zero Locks, Two Bubble Teams LOCKS:
Memphis (24-4, 13-0; RPI: 19): Nobody knows how good Memphis is. This team has two RPI top 50 wins (both against RPI-inflated Southern Miss) but 12 total RPI top 100 wins. A loss to Xavier on Tuesday did not help the Tigers’ national perception, but I think they are still in good shape.. AT-LARGE ODDS: 75%

Southern Miss (21-7, 10-3; RPI: 37): Southern Miss mainly makes this list due to the Eagles’ high RPI. The Eagles lost both games to Memphis and do not have a single win against the RPI top 75. Things are looking bleak. AT-LARGE ODDS: 20%

Other Conference USA Teams with an at-large chance: None currently

Missouri Valley: Zero Locks, Three Bubble Teams LOCKS:
Wichita State (24-6, 12-5; RPI: 39): Wichita State’s resume is better than Creighton’s. The Shockers have wins over VCU, Southern Miss, and the Bluejays and eight total victories against the RPI top 100. Before a loss to Evansville on Wednesday, the Shockers had won five straight. AT-LARGE ODDS: 70%

Creighton (23-7, 12-5, RPI: 44): Creighton is scaring me a little bit. The Bluejays have gone 6-6 in their last twelve games, including a loss against Saint Mary’s in their Bracketbuster game Saturday night. Only two games remain, a road game at Bradley (Creighton is 6-5 on the road) and a home game against Wichita State. The Shockers already own a win over Creighton. This team also has great wins over Wisconsin, California, and Akron. AT-LARGE ODDS: 60%

Indiana State (17-12 9-8; RPI: 72): Indiana State might be the most up and down team in the country. This team has wins over Ole Miss, Miami (FL), Wichita State, and Creighton. It also has losses to Morehead State, Southern Illinois, Drake (twice), Missouri State, Bradley and Illinois State — all teams outside the RPI top 100. The Sycamores at-large hopes are probably over. AT-LARGE ODDS: 20%

Other Missouri Valley teams with an at-large chance: None

Mountain West: Three Locks, Two Bubble Teams LOCKS:newmexico50x50unlv50x50coloradostate50x50(1)
San Diego State (20-8, 8-6; RPI: 33): The Aztecs appeared to be second in the Mountain West pecking order three weeks ago, but losses to New Mexico, UNLV, and Colorado State have changed that.  This team still has wins over Colorado State, UCLA, New Mexico, and Boise State, meaning it is hard to see it missing the NCAA Tournament. AT-LARGE ODDS: 70%

Boise State (18-8, 6-6; RPI: 45): The Broncos have only top 50 wins against Creighton and UNLV. Seven of the eight losses Boise State has have been on the road. The good news is that only one of the final four games on Boise State’s schedule is on the road. Big chances against Colorado State and San Diego State at home remain on the schedule. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Other Mountain West teams with an at-large chance: Air Force (5%)

Pac-12: Three Locks, Four Bubble Teams LOCKS:oregonducks50x50ucla50x50
Colorado (19-8, 9-6; RPI: 22): The Buffaloes have four wins in the RPI top 50. The wins are against Colorado State, California, Oregon, and Arizona — three impressive Pac-12 wins and a victory against a Mountain West lock. Colorado is 5-6 on the road this year and 10-7 against the RPI top 100. None of the remaining four games are easy:at California, Oregon, and Oregon State. AT-LARGE ODDS: 65%

California (18-9, 10-5; RPI: 46): Despite doing relatively nothing outside of conference play, California has made the most of its Pac-12 opportunities. The Bears have wins against Arizona, UCLA, and a sweep of Oregon. California has won seven of eight and plays its remaining three games at home. AT-LARGE ODDS: 55%

Arizona State (20-9, 9-7; RPI: 88): The Sun Devils are trending the wrong way. Back to back losses to Washington and Arizona (in overtime), have left Arizona State with a lot of work to do. Next up is USC, who is playing arguably the best basketball in the Pac 12 right now, and then Arizona. Both are on the road. This team needs to win both and make noise in the Pac 12 tournament.  AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

Stanford (16-13, 7-9; RPI: 68): Things are not looking great for the Cardinal. A close loss to Colorado on Wednesday night pushed them two games below .500 in conference play. Winning the next two is very necessary for an at-large to even be a possibility going into the Pac 12 tournament. AT-LARGE ODDS: 15%

Other Pac 12 teams with an at-large chance: Stanford (15%)

SEC: One Lock, Six Bubble Teams LOCKS:
Missouri (19-8, 8-6; RPI: 42): Missouri knocked off Florida in a tremendous comeback on Tuesday night, but then fell on Saturday at Kentucky in overtime. This is a team with bad losses to LSU, Texas A&M, and Arkansas so it cannot afford to lose any of the final four games on its schedule, but the Tigers should end up being okay. AT-LARGE ODDS: 70%

Kentucky (20-8, 11-4; RPI: 50): Finally Kentucky showed some life with a huge victory against Missouri. The Wildcats still only have one victory against the RPI top 50 and six wins against the RPI top 100, so they are far from a lock. In a win against Mississippi State (who is terrible), Kentucky at least showed it is continuing to play better without Nerlens Noel in the lineup. AT-LARGE ODDS: 55%

Tennessee (17-10, 9-6; RPI: 51): This profile changed immensely following the Volunteers win over shorthanded Florida on Wednesday night. Tennessee has three top 50 wins, with victories over Wichita State and Kentucky to go with their big upset over the Gators. Tennessee was swept by Ole Miss, but that is probably the only argument to put the Rebels ahead of the Vols right now. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Ole Miss (21-7, 10-5; RPI: 56): Mississippi has one top 50 win and that win was against a Missouri team that was not at full strength. There are no other chances for top 50 wins on the schedule either, although a game against Alabama March 5 may serve as an elimination game for the loser. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Alabama (19-9, 1014; RPI: 62): The Crimson Tide put up a big fight against LSU before falling to the Tigers in triple overtime on Saturday. Unfortunately, the Selection Committee is not measuring close games or overtime losses. Alabama has one win against the RPI top 50, against a Kentucky team that still featured Nerlens Noel. Losses to Dayton, Tulane, and Mercer in Tuscaloosa have made this profile scream NIT. The Crimson Tide get their shot at the SEC’s big boys in March. They play at Florida March 2 and at Mississippi March 5. They’ll likely need to win one of them to have a real shot at the tournament. AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

Arkansas (17-10, 8-6, RPI: 77): Arkansas is on the Bubble Watch because it has wins against Missouri, Florida, and Oklahoma. However, the Razorbacks are also 1-8 on the road after a loss at LSU on Wednesday. Making the SEC final is now their only chance at an at-large. AT-LARGE ODDS: 15%

Other SEC teams with an at-large chance: Tennessee (10%)

Others: One Lock, Six Bubble Teams LOCKS:
Saint Mary’s (25-5, 13-2; RPI: 45): Saint Mary’s finally has a victory against the RPI top 50 thanks to a Bracketbuster win against Creighton. The Gaels have won 11 of 12 games. Unfortunately, Saint Mary’s lost both of its games to Gonzaga, but nobody in the WCC has beaten the Zags this year. How much can the eye test help a team like Saint Mary’s that has no resume? It’s hard to tell, but I think most observers would say this team looks like one of the best 37 at-large teams. AT-LARGE ODDS: 55%

Belmont (23-6, 13-2; RPI: 26): The only RPI top 50 win for Belmont is against Middle Tennessee, another team hoping to get an at-large bid from a mid-major conference. Winning the last two regular season games and a trip to the Ohio Valley final is a must to be in consideration. AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

Middle Tennessee (25-4, 17-1; RPI: 23): The Blue Raiders have clinched the Sun Belt crown, meaning they are at least going to the NIT. Middle Tennessee has a fantastic RPI but zero wins against the RPI top 50. What happens if the Blue Raiders win their last two and then make it to the Sun Belt final? Are 28 wins enough for a team with only one bad loss (Arkansas State)? AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

Akron (23-4, 13-0, RPI: 36): After a gigantic comeback against Ohio on Wednedsay night, it is time to seriously consider Akron for an at-large bid. The Zips swept the Bobcats and have a win against fellow mid-major at-large contender Middle Tennessee.. AT-LARGE ODDS: 40%

Louisiana Tech (24-3, 14-0; RPI: 52): A victory over Southern Miss is the only top 50 win on the Bulldogs’ resume. Teams that lose to Northwestern State and McNeese State usually do not get at-large bids, but you never know. Would an undefeated finish down the stretch and a trip to the WAC Tournament finals be enough for an at-large bid? I’d suggest the Bulldogs make it easy by earning the auto bid, especially considering at least four other mid majors are ahead of them for at-large bids. AT-LARGE ODDS: 35%

BYU (20-9, 9-5; RPI: 59): The Cougars have one final shot at an at-large: A game against Gonzaga on February 28. BYU was swept by Saint Mary’s and has also lost games to San Diego and San Francisco in the WCC. AT-LARGE ODDS: 25%

Bucknell (24-5, 11-2; RPI: 54):  The Bison have a win over La Salle that looks great after the Explorers dropped Butler and VCU. Bucknell is probably done after losing at Lafayette on February 16. Winning out would at least make things interesting though. AT-LARGE ODDS: 10%

 

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RTC Bubble Watch: February 24 Edition

Posted by Daniel Evans on February 24th, 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” clinches 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 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 10 total spots available for the teams you see below in my bubble watch.

LOCKS: 26
“SHOULD BE INS”: 7
TOTAL: 33 (minus six for projected auto bid winners = 27)
PROJECTED AT-LARGE SPOTS AVAILABLE: 10

  • Odds Improving: Saint Louis, UNLV
  • Odds Decreasing: Mississippi, Cincinnati, Baylor
  • Locks That Are Trying My Patience: None

UPDATED THROUGH ALL GAMES OF FEBRUARY 24, 2013

ACC: Three Locks, Three Bubble Teams LOCKS:duke50x50ncstate50x50miami50x50
North Carolina (19-8, 9-5; RPI: 20): The Tar Heels have a second victory over the RPI top 25 after a win at home against N. C. State on Saturday. Although North Carolina still lacks for great wins, it still has a game against Duke to end the season. Plus, it would be crazy to imagine UNC missing the NCAA Tournament with a top 20 RPI. AT-LARGE ODDS: 65%

Maryland (19-8, 7-7; RPI: 66): 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 but rebounded with a win against Clemson. Three of the last four are on the road, but they are all against some of the worst teams in the ACC (GT, WF, VIR). AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

Virginia (18-8, 8-5; RPI: 75): Virginia has six wins against the RPI top 100, but three losses to the miserable CAA. When you consider both, it makes for one of the more confusing resumes to figure out in the country. Virginia’s RPI has finally risen to a mediocre level, but it needs to keep rising. A game against Duke on Thursday will probably decide the Cavaliers’ at-large fate. AT-LARGE ODDS: 45%

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

Atlantic 10: Two Lock, Five Bubble Teams LOCKS:butler50x50stlouis50x50

Virginia Commonwealth (22-6, 10-3; RPI: 34): 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. Butler plays at VCU on March 2, a huge game for the Rams. A win there will lock them up. AT-LARGE ODDS: 70%

Temple (18-8, 7-5; RPI: 47): 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. Wins over Massachusetts, La Salle, and Charlotte have Temple on the good side of the NCAA Tournament bubble for now. Losing any of the next three would be devastating. A finale against VCU may end up deciding the Owls’ fate heading into the Atlantic 10 Tournament. AT-LARGE ODDS: 55%

La Salle (19-7, 9-4; RPI: 36): 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. A loss to Temple on Thursday hurts but at least La Salle rebounded by winning at Rhode Island on Sunday. Duquesne and George Washington are next on the schedule before a monster game at red-hot Saint Louis. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

Charlotte (18-7, 6-5; RPI: 54): It is never a good sign when as a bubble team you lose to two other teams from your same league by 17 and 20 in the same week. That’s what happened to Charlotte this week. First a 17-point defeat at Saint Louis (somewhat understandable considering how the Billikens are playing) followed by a whipping from Temple. Here’s the bad news: None of the remaining four games on this schedule will impress the committee with a win, but a loss in any of them will be very costly. 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 Minutemen have to beat Butler at home March 7 to have any shot at an at-large. AT-LARGE ODDS: 20%

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

Big 12: Three Locks, Three Bubble Teams LOCKS:kansas50x50
kanasstate50x50oklahomastate50x50
Oklahoma (18-8, 9-5; RPI: 21): Oklahoma caught Kansas at the right time, becoming the third straight Big 12 team to knock off the Jayhawks a couple of weeks back. That victory, coupled with wins over Oklahoma State and Baylor, leave the Sooners in good shape for an at-large bid. A win against Baylor on Saturday gave Oklahoma a sweep of the Bears. Three of the next four are against non-contenders so expect the Sooners to win 12 conference games and finish with a top 25 RPI. Those numbers would be enough, despite a lack of great wins. AT-LARGE ODDS: 65%

Iowa State (19-8, 9-5; RPI: 51): Iowa State is on pace for an at-large with wins over Kansas State, Oklahoma, BYU, and a sweep of Baylor. The Cyclones have a challenging schedule the rest of the season, so they are still far from the clear. The next three are Kansas, at Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. AT-LARGE ODDS: 60%

Baylor (16-11, 7-7; RPI: 63): Oh boy, the Bears are in trouble now. Baylor has one win against a sure NCAA Tournament team (Oklahoma State) and seven losses against the RPI top 30. This looks like a season of lost opportunities. The good news is games against Kansas State and Kansas still remain on the schedule. AT-LARGE ODDS: 50%

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

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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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