Tourney Bubble

Breaking Down the 2013-2014 NCAA Tournament Bubble

Tourney Bubble - Breaking Down the 2013-2014 NCAA Tournament Bubble

Selection Sunday Special

Happy Selection Sunday, everyone. Its been a long, often bizarre season on the Bubble, but it all ends today.

Let’s get to the picks.

Locks (64)

Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Cincinnati, UConn, Memphis, SMU, Villanova, Creighton, Xavier, Providence (Big East), UMass, St. Louis, VCU, George Washington, Saint Joseph’s, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Wichita State (Missouri Valley), Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon, Colorado, Stanford, Florida, Kentucky, San Diego State, New Mexico, Gonzaga (WCC), Albany (America East), Cal Poly (Big West), Coastal Carolina (Big South), Tulsa (Conference USA), Western Michigan (Mid-American0, Milwaukee (Horizon), Delaware  (Colonial), Manhattan (MAAC), North Dakota State (Summit), Sun Belt, Harvard (Ivy), American (Patriot), New Mexico State (WAC), Mercer (Atlantic Sun), Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Valley), Mount St. Mary’s (Northeast), Weber State (Big Sky), Stephen F Austin (Southland), Wofford (Southern), NC Central (MEAC), Texas Southern (SWAC)

Last Four In

Tennessee – The Vols 35-point win over Virginia resonates enough to land them a bid.

BYU – The Cougars did just enough to Dance, thanks in large part to their non-conference scheduling.

Dayton – The Flyers late season push has earned them a bid to play at home in the First Four.

Nebraska - Another late-charger, the Huskers are going to their first tournament since 1998.

Last Four Out

Arkansas – Why did they have to go and lose to South Carolina?

California – A tough call, but the Bears late-season swoon will cost them a bid.

Minnesota – Despite the strong schedule, they simply did not have enough quality wins.

Florida State – We don’t see the Noles getting in, there really isnt anything that special on the resume.

 

Next Four Out

Southern Mississippi – This is being generous.  They don’t deserve a bid.

Green Bay – the Phoenix’s win over UVA helps only so much, as an early exit in the conference tournament will doom them to the NIT.

Missouri – A decent season, but not enough to warrant a bid.

St. John’s -The loss to Providence in the Biig East tournament leaves the Red Storm out of the picture.

Also Considered : Belmont, NC State, Georgetown

 

Bubble Watch 3-15-14 (UPDATE 6PM)

We will be updating throughout the day.

Locks (64)

Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Cincinnati, UConn, Memphis, SMU, Villanova, Creighton, Xavier, UMass, St. Louis, VCU, George Washington, Saint Joseph’s, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Wichita State (Missouri Valley), Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon, Colorado, Stanford, Florida, Kentucky, San Diego State, New Mexico, Gonzaga (WCC), BYU, Albany (America East), Big West, Coastal Carolina (Big South), Tulsa (Conference USA), Mid-American, Milwaukee (Horizon), Delaware  (Colonial), Manhattan (MAAC), North Dakota State (Summit), Sun Belt, Harvard (Ivy), America (Patriot), WAC, Mercer (Atlantic Sun), Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Valley), Mount St. Mary’s (Northeast), Big Sky, Southland, Wofford (Southern), MEAC, SWAC

Near Locks (2)


Dayton, Tennessee


Available Bids (2)

 

Bubble (14)

 

Near Locks

Dayton (23-10 : 11-7 RPI 43 SOS 64): The Flyers really only needed to avoid a bad loss in the A-10 tournament, and by falling to St. Jospeh’s, accomplished at least that much.  We are hesitant to lock up the Flyers with only their opening round A-10 win, since they are still in “can still be screwed by the committee” territory.  They beat Gonzaga and Cal in the non-conference, both on a neutral court, so beating St. Louis gave them three quality road/neutral wins.  Still, it would take a huge number of bid-stealers to cost them a bid.

Tennessee (20-12 : 12-8 RPI 41 SOS 30): A close loss to Florida definitely didnt hurt the cause, and as a result the Vols will likely Dance.  The Volunteers seem to always boast an impressive SOS, and this year is no different.  Wins over Virginia (by 35!) and Xavier continue to impress.  They have (barely) 3 top-50 wins, but they are playing great basketball and that Virginia win pushes them up the Bubble pecking order.

Bubble

Florida State (19-13 : 10-10 RPI 55 SOS 33): Alas, the deep ACC tournament run needed to get an at-large never materialized, as the Noles fell to Virginia in the quarterfinals.  They beat UMass and VCU in the non-conference but simply did not do enough to make the tournament.

NC State (21-13: 11-10 RPI 52 SOS 40)  The loss to Duke dooms the Pack to the NIT, which is unfortunate for those that haven’t seen TJ Warren play.

Georgetown (17-14 : 8-11 RPI 69 SOS 16):  The Hoyas did the unthinkable by losing to DePaul in the first round of the Big East tournament and in the process almost certainly doomed themselves to the NIT.  The Creighton, VCU, Michigan State and Kansas State wins carry weight, but they have just been too inconsistent to warrant an at-large.  All the big wins have officially gone to waste.

Providence (21-11 : 11-8 RPI 50 SOS 67):  The good news is that the Friars advanced to the Big East finals.  The bad news is that a win over Seton Hall doesn’t really help, and they still have some ground to make up.  An automatic bid is in reach, and now an at-large seems more likely due to the Cal and Arkansas losses.  A stretch of wins in early January over Georgetown, Creighton and at St. John’s showed the Friars’ potential.  Unfortunately that was the last time they beat anybody thats going to make the tournament.  This would be a toss-up at best if it comes down to it.

St. John’s (20-12 ; 10-9 RPI 65 SOS 52):  The loss to Providence in the Big East quarterfinals all but ends the at-large hopes of the Red Storm.  A win vs. Creighton is their only top-50 scalp, and their best non-conference win was against San Francisco.  6-9 against the top 100 isn’t going to get you an at-large.

Minnesota (19-13 : 9-11 RPI 48 SOS 6):  The Gophers are likely done after getting blown out by Wisconsin, capping a Big Ten tournament performance that did not help their cause at all. They have nice wins over the Ohio State, Iowa and Wisconsin, as well as non-conference wins over Richmond and Florida State, although neither are surefire tournament teams.  Will the committee concentrate on schedule strength?  If so, they have a chance.

Nebraska (19-12 : 11-8 RPI 47 SOS 22): The win against Wisconsin was huge to be sure, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves – the Huskers are not completely safe, especially after a loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten tournament. They have beaten Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State, but their best non-conference win is Georgia.  Three sub-100 losses are hurting the cause, despite having 4 top-50 wins.  They are 8-9 against the top-100.  Also troublesome is a paltry 4-11 road and neutral record.

California (19-13 : 11-9 RPI 63 SOS 29):   There is no sugarcoating this: the Bears are directly on the cutline and at the mercy of bid stealers and late chargers.  Sure, a loss to Colorado isn’t bad, but when you are at the cutline you need all the wins you can get.  They still have the home Arizona win, and  looking-better-all-the-times wins at Stanford, at Oregon, vs. Colorado and vs. Arkansas.  Losses at USC and against UCSB hurt a bit, so nothing is a given right now.

Arkansas (21-11: 10-9 RPI 75 SOS 94): Uh oh.  A loss to lowly South Carolina could very well cost the Hogs an NCAA bid.  The RPI has slid all the way into the 70′s and we are now in “historically low RPI for an at-large” territory.   They have 8 top-100 wins and that sweep of Kentucky, so they are still in the hunt for sure.  They will be either the last team in or the last team out.

Missouri (22-10 : 10-9 RPI 49 SOS 62):  Yeah, so – they’re probably done.  They needed a very strong SEC tournament run but lost a non-competitive game to Florida in the quarterfinals.  Despite 7 top-100 wins and few bad losses, the Tigers are pretty much “Next Four Out” fodder.

Southern Miss (24-6 : 14-4 CUSA RPI 33 SOS 129):  The Eagles are probably done after a loss in the CUSA semifinals. Their only hope is to pull off a UAB 2011, and have the committee give you a bid for no other reason besides an inflated RPI.

Wisconsin Green Bay (21-6 : 14-3 Horizon RPI 58 SOS 142):  Now there is trouble in Title Town. The loss in the Horizon semifinals throws them into a crowded at-large pool in which they do not stand out. The non-conference win over Virginia may turn out to be the ultimate trump card in the group, as the Cavs won ACC crown.  There is still half a chance at an at-large, so we will keep them on the page.

Belmont (22-9 : 13-3 Ohio Valley RPI 57 SOS 143): Now that the Bruins have lost in the OVC finals, an at-large seems like the longest of shots.  They do have a win at North Carolina, so you never know – the committee is a bunch of idiots, afterall.

Stephen F. Austin (28-2 : 19-0 Southland RPI 62 SOS 311): A great team with a resume full of wins against bad teams.  They need their RPI to creep up into the 50′s to have any shot at an at-large.  It doesn’t look like they will need it, as their win streak currently sits at 26 in a row.

Bubble Watch 3-14-14 (Update 5PM)

We locked up Pittsburgh and Xavier after their wins because both face surefire NCAA teams (North Carolina and Creighton, respectively) and can absorb another quality loss.

Despite bad losses, SMU and Iowa are fine since pollsters still hold them in high regard.  In fact, since the committee is already meeting, they were probably in before their latest losses.

We will update througout the day.

Locks (63)

Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Cincinnati, UConn, Memphis, SMU, Villanova, Creighton, Xavier, UMass, St. Louis, VCU, George Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Wichita State (Missouri Valley), Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon, Colorado, Stanford, Florida, Kentucky, San Diego State, New Mexico, Gonzaga (WCC), BYU, America East, Big West, Coastal Carolina (Big South), Conference USA, Mid-American, Milwaukee (Horizon), Delaware  (Colonial), Manhattan (MAAC), North Dakota State (Summit), Sun Belt, Harvard (Ivy), America (Patriot), WAC, Mercer (Atlantic Sun), Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Valley), Mount St. Mary’s (Northeast), Big Sky, Southland, Wofford (Southern), MEAC, SWAC

Near Locks (3)


Dayton, St. Joseph’s, Tennessee


Available Bids (2)

 

Bubble (14)

 

Near Locks

Dayton (23-10 : 11-7 RPI 39 SOS 65): The Flyers really only needed to avoid a bad loss in the A-10 tournament, and by falling to St. Jospeh’s, accomplished at least that much.  We are hesitant to lock up the Flyers with only their opening round A-10 win, since they are still in “can still be screwed by the committee” territory.  They beat Gonzaga and Cal in the non-conference, both on a neutral court, so beating St. Louis gave them three quality road/neutral wins.  Still, it would take a huge number of bid-stealers to cost them a bid.

St. Josephs (22-9 : 12-5 RPI 43 SOS 71):  The Hawks won a huge one against Dayton and have thus saved their at-large hopes.  A 7-8 mark against the top-100 wont turn many heads, and they did nothing out of conference.  Still, 5 top-50 victories are pretty impressive, with two coming away from home.  Luckily the VCU and UMass wins still sparkle, as does a threep of Dayton (that’s three wins against one team in a season).  We aren’t crazy about this profile, but the Hawks have probably done enough to dance.

Tennessee (20-11 : 12-7 RPI 44 SOS 22): Think of this as a reflection on the rest of the Bubble – the Vols are in good position to dance after ousting South Carolina.  A win over Florida would seal the deal, but in reality, how much would a loss really hurt?  The Volunteers seem to always boast an impressive SOS, and this year is no different.  Wins over Virginia (by 35!) and Xavier continue to impress.  They have (barely) 3 top-50 wins, but they are playing great basketball and that Virginia win pushes them up the Bubble pecking order.

Bubble

Florida State (19-13 : 10-10 RPI 52 SOS 38): Alas, the deep ACC tournament run needed to get an at-large never materialized, as the Noles fell to Virginia in the quarterfinals.  They beat UMass and VCU in the non-conference but simply did not do enough to make the tournament.

NC State (20-12: 10-9 RPI 62 SOS 49)  Wins at Pitt and vs. Boston College put the Pack back on the board, but a run to the finals in the ACC tournament is necessary for serious consideration.

Georgetown (17-14 : 8-11 RPI 68 SOS 12):  The Hoyas did the unthinkable by losing to DePaul in the first round of the Big East tournament and in the process almost certainly doomed themselves to the NIT.  The Creighton, VCU, Michigan State and Kansas State wins carry weight, but they have just been too inconsistent to warrant an at-large.  All the big wins have officially gone to waste.

Providence (20-11 : 10-8 RPI 51 SOS 62):  An elimination game win vs. St. John’s allows the Friars a golden opportunity to advance to the Big East finals – a semifinal matchup with Seton Hall.  An automatic bid is in reach, and now an at-large seems more likely due to the Cal and Arkansas losses.  A stretch of wins in early January over Georgetown, Creighton and at St. John’s showed the Friars’ potential.  Unfortunately that was the last time they beat anybody thats going to make the tournament.

St. John’s (20-12 ; 10-9 RPI 63 SOS 48):  The loss to Providence in the Big East quarterfinals all but ends the at-large hopes of the Red Storm.  A win vs. Creighton is their only top-50 scalp, and their best non-conference win was against San Francisco.  6-9 against the top 100 isn’t going to get you an at-large.

Minnesota (19-12 : 9-10 RPI 47 SOS 9):  The Gophers took care of Penn State (again) to stay right at the cutline, although probably one of the last four out.  They have nice wins over the Ohio State, Iowa and Wisconsin, as well as non-conference wins over Richmond and Florida State, although neither are surefire tournament teams.  Their hopes all rest on the matchup with Wisconsin.

Nebraska (19-12 : 11-8 RPI 41 SOS 28): The win against Wisconsin was huge to be sure, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves – the Huskers are not completely safe, especially after a loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten tournament. They have beaten Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State, but their best non-conference win is Georgia.  Three sub-100 losses are hurting the cause, despite having 4 top-50 wins.  They are 8-9 against the top-100.  Also troublesome is a paltry 4-11 road and neutral record.

California (19-13 : 11-9 RPI 58 SOS 26):   There is no sugarcoating this: the Bears are directly on the cutline and at the mercy of bid stealers and late chargers.  Sure, a loss to Colorado isn’t bad, but when you are at the cutline you need all the wins you can get.  They still have the home Arizona win, and  looking-better-all-the-times wins at Stanford, at Oregon, vs. Colorado and vs. Arkansas.  Losses at USC and against UCSB hurt a bit, so nothing is a given right now.

Arkansas (21-11: 10-9 RPI 73 SOS 87): Uh oh.  A loss to lowly South Carolina could very well cost the Hogs an NCAA bid.  The RPI has slid all the way into the 70′s and we are now in “historically low RPI for an at-large” territory.   They have 8 top-100 wins and that sweep of Kentucky, so they are still in the hunt for sure.  They will be either the last team in or the last team out.

Missouri (22-10 : 10-9 RPI 49 SOS 75):  Yeah, so – they’re probably done.  They needed a very strong SEC tournament run but lost a non-competitive game to Florida in the quarterfinals.  Despite 7 top-100 wins and few bad losses, the Tigers are pretty much “Next Four Out” fodder.

Southern Miss (24-5 : 13-3 CUSA RPI 29 SOS 140):  The Eagles have seemingly gamed the RPI, because this is way too high for a team whose best win is Louisiana Tech.  Get to the CUSA final and maybe we will take another look.

Wisconsin Green Bay (21-6 : 14-3 Horizon RPI 57 SOS 143):  Now there is trouble in Title Town. The loss in the Horizon semifinals throws them into a crowded at-large pool in which they do not stand out. The non-conference win over Virginia may turn out to be the ultimate trump card in the group, as the Cavs won ACC crown.  There is still half a chance at an at-large, so we will keep them on the page.

Belmont (22-9 : 13-3 Ohio Valley RPI 56 SOS 142): Now that the Bruins have lost in the OVC finals, an at-large seems like the longest of shots.  They do have a win at North Carolina, so you never know – the committee is a bunch of idiots, afterall.

Stephen F. Austin (27-2 : 18-0 Southland RPI 65 SOS 322): A great team with a resume full of wins against bad teams.  They need their RPI to creep up into the 50′s to have any shot at an at-large.  It doesn’t look like they will need it, as their win streak currently sits at 25 in a row.

Bubble Watch 3-13-14: The Two Biggest Days of the Year for Bubblers {EVENING UPDATE}

Conference tournaments may wrap up Saturday and Sunday, but today and tomorrow are where NCAA dreams are born – and often times killed.  Today’s St. John’s-Providence game is the ultimate in Bubble showdowns, as the loser is dead and the winner is barely helped since, after all, all they did was beat a Bubble team.

Thursday and Friday also mean we see the pinnacle of no-win games, as our Bubblers walk into last-place, 150+ RPI buzzsaws in the opening round of their conference tournaments.  Such is the case for Missouri, Xavier, Pittsburgh, Arkansas, Florida State, NC State, Minnesota, and Southern Mississippi.  If you win – who cares.  If you lose – you’re done.  No pressure.

As far as darkhorse, out-of-nowhere at-large candidates are concerned, we have Utah, Maryland and Illinois on our radar.  Stay tuned.

Let’s lock up Oklahoma State after their win over Texas Tech, and Stanford after their win over Washington State.

Locks (62)

Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Cincinnati, UConn, Memphis, SMU, Villanova, Creighton, UMass, St. Louis, VCU, George Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Wichita State (Missouri Valley), Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon, Colorado, Stanford, Florida, Kentucky, San Diego State, New Mexico, Gonzaga (WCC), BYU, America East, Big West, Coastal Carolina (Big South), Conference USA, Mid-American, Milwaukee (Horizon), Delaware  (Colonial), Manhattan (MAAC), North Dakota State (Summit), Sun Belt, Harvard (Ivy), America (Patriot), WAC, Mercer (Atlantic Sun), Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Valley), Mount St. Mary’s (Northeast), Big Sky, Southland, Wofford (Southern), MEAC, SWAC

Near Locks (2)

Xavier, Dayton

 

Available Bids (4)

 

Bubble (16)

 

Near Locks

Xavier (20-11 : 10-8 RPI 49 SOS 26): It’s fairly simple for the Musketeers – one win of any kind should send them to the tournament.  A win over Cincinnati is their best.  8 top-100 wins is a solid number for any bubbler.  The loss at Seton Hall certainly did not help the cause.

Dayton (23-9 : 11-6 RPI 39 SOS 57): We are hesitant to lock up the Flyers after their opening round A-10 win, since they are still in “can still be screwed by the committee” territory.  Let’s see what happens against St. Joseph’s.   They beat Gonzaga and Cal in the non-conference, both on a neutral court, so beating St. Louis gives them three quality road/neutral wins.

 

 

Bubble

Florida State (19-12 : 10-9 RPI 55 SOS 40): Even with a nice win over Maryland, the Noles still have an uphill battle to get an at-large.  Luckily, they see a very beatable UVA in the quarterfinals and a possible matchup with North Carolina in the semis.  Let’s see what else they do in the ACC tournament before completely giving up on them – they are still alive and beat VCU and UMass in the non-conference.

NC State (19-12: 9-9 RPI 65 SOS 50)  Wins at Pitt and vs. Boston College put the Pack back on the board, but a run to the finals in the ACC tournament is necessary for serious consideration.

Georgetown (17-14 : 8-11 RPI 64 SOS 11):  The Hoyas did the unthinkable by losing to DePaul in the first round of the Big East tournament and in the process almost certainly doomed themselves to the NIT.  The Creighton, VCU, Michigan State and Kansas State wins carry weight, but they have just been too inconsistent to warrant an at-large.  All the big wins have officially gone to waste.

Providence (20-11 : 10-8 RPI 54 SOS 64):  An elimination game win vs. St. John’s allows the Friars a golden opportunity to advance to the Big East finals – a semifinal matchup with Seton Hall.  An automatic bid is in reach, and now an at-large seems more likely due to the Cal and Arkansas losses.  A stretch of wins in early January over Georgetown, Creighton and at St. John’s showed the Friars’ potential.  Unfortunately that was the last time they beat anybody thats going to make the tournament.

St. John’s (20-12 ; 10-9 RPI 57 SOS 48):  The loss to Providence in the Big East quarterfinals all but ends the at-large hopes of the Red Storm.  A win vs. Creighton is their only top-50 scalp, and their best non-conference win was against San Francisco.  6-9 against the top 100 isn’t going to get you an at-large.

St. Josephs (21-9 : 11-5 RPI 42 SOS 69):  The Hawks lost a clunker at home to LaSalle, which is cause for some concern.  A 6-8 mark against the top-100 wont turn many heads, and they did nothing out of conference.  Luckily the VCU and UMass wins still sparkle, as does a sweep of Dayton.  Back to the bubble for the Hawks.

Minnesota (19-12 : 9-10 RPI 51 SOS 6):  The Gophers took care of Penn State (again) to stay right at the cutline, although probably one of the last four out.  They have nice wins over the Ohio State, Iowa and Wisconsin, as well as non-conference wins over Richmond and Florida State, although neither are surefire tournament teams.  Their hopes all rest on the matchup with Wisconsin.

Nebraska (19-11 : 11-7 RPI 41 SOS 27): The win against Wisconsin was huge to be sure, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves – the Huskers have some work to do in the Big Ten tournament, and they may get a chance in the quarterfinals against a quality team.  They have beaten Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State, but their best non-conference win is Georgia.  Three sub-100 losses are hurting the cause, despite having 4 top-50 wins.  They are 7-8 against the top-100.

California (19-13 : 11-9 RPI 53 SOS 29):   There is no sugar-coating this: the Bears are directly on the cutline and at the mercy of bid stealers and late chargers.  Sure, a loss to Colorado isn’t bad, but when you are at the cutline you need all the wins you can get.  They still have the home Arizona win, and a looking-better-all-the-times wins at Stanford, at Oregon, vs. Colorado and vs. Arkansas.  Losses at USC and against UCSB hurt a bit, so nothing is a given right now.

Arkansas (21-10: 10-8 RPI 59 SOS 82): Uh oh.  A loss to lowly South Carolina could very well cost the Hogs an NCAA bid.  The RPI has slid all the way into the 70′s and we are now in “historically low RPI for an at-large” territory.   They have 9 top-100 wins and that sweep of Kentucky, so they are still in the hunt for sure.  They will be either the last team in or the last team out.

Missouri (22-10 : 10-9 RPI 52 SOS 76):  The win over Texas A&M was necessary – and tough.  They are a lot closer to a bid than most believe.  They have no bad losses, and a solid 8 top-100 wins.  Let’s see how they do in the SEC tournament before writing them off.

Tennessee (19-11 : 11-7 RPI 43 SOS 22): While not an elimination game, the win over Missouri gave them a season sweep and a distinct advantage over the Tigers in the SEC bubble pecking order.  The Volunteers seem to always boast an impressive SOS, and this year is no different, but at some point you just have too many losses to deserve a bid.  Wins over Virginia (by 35!) and Xavier continue to impress.  They have a nice-sized top-100 win number of 8.

Southern Miss (24-5 : 13-3 CUSA RPI 34 SOS 148):  The Eagles have seemingly gamed the RPI, because this is way too high for a team whose best win is Louisiana Tech.  Get to the CUSA final and maybe we will take another look.

Wisconsin Green Bay (21-6 : 14-3 Horizon RPI 61 SOS 142):  Now there is trouble in Title Town. The loss in the Horizon semifinals throws them into a crowded at-large pool in which they do not stand out. The non-conference win over Virginia may turn out to be the ultimate trump card in the group, as the Cavs won ACC crown.  There is still half a chance at an at-large, so we will keep them on the page.

Belmont (22-9 : 13-3 Ohio Valley RPI 56 SOS 136): Now that the Bruins have lost in the OVC finals, an at-large seems like the longest of shots.  They do have a win at North Carolina, so you never know – the committee is a bunch of idiots, afterall.

Stephen F. Austin (27-2 : 18-0 Southland RPI 66 SOS 324): A great team with a resume full of wins against bad teams.  They need their RPI to creep up into the 50′s to have any shot at an at-large.  It doesn’t look like they will need it, as their win streak currently sits at 25 in a row.

Bubble Watch 3-12-14: No, You Didn’t Get 67 of 68 Correct

You hear many bracketologists (we aren’t one) claim that they got 67 of 68 (etc.) of tournament teams correct.  The only important figure is how many at-larges you got correct, since there are 31 automatic bids awarded.  Bracket predictions should be put in that context, but never are.

Rant over.

Locks (59)

Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Louisville, Cincinnati, UConn, Memphis, SMU, Villanova, Creighton, UMass, St. Louis, VCU, George Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor, Wichita State, Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, San Diego State, New Mexico, Gonzaga (WCC), BYU, America East, Big West, Coastal Carolina (Big South), Conference USA, Mid-American, Milwaukee (Horizon), Delaware  (Colonial), Manhattan (MAAC), North Dakota State (Summit), Sun Belt, Harvard (Ivy), Patriot, WAC, Mercer (Atlantic Sun), Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Valley), Mount St. Mary’s (Northeast), Big Sky, Southland, Wofford (Southern), MEAC, SWAC

Near Locks (6)

Pittsburgh, Xavier, St. Joseph’s, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Stanford

 

Available Bids (3)

 

Bubble (15)

 

Near Locks

Pittsburgh (23-8 : 11-7 RPI 45 SOS 73): A hard-fought overtime road win at Clemson might just propel the Panthers into the tournament. If close counted, the Panthers would be in for taking Syracuse to the wire twice.  But alas, close does not count and the Panthers have a fairly weak resume.  A win against Stanford is their only over a tournament team.  They are safe now, but let’s see them win one game in the ACC tournament before locking them up.

Xavier (20-11 : 10-8 RPI 48 SOS 26): It’s fairly simple for the Musketeers – one win of any kind should send them to the tournament.  A win over Cincinnati is their best.  8 top-100 wins is a solid number for any bubbler.  The loss at Seton Hall certainly did not help the cause.

Dayton (22-9 : 10-6 RPI 39 SOS 58): A huge win at St. Louis had the Flyers rocketing up the charts, and a beatdown of Richmond probably sealed an at-large bid.  They beat Gonzaga and Cal in the non-conference, both on a neutral court, so beating the Billikens gives them three quality road/neutral wins.

Oklahoma State (20-11 : 8-10 RPI 41 SOS 25): .The Cowboys have probably shown enough to warrant a bid since Marcus Smart returned, but the heartbreaking loss at Iowa State would have definitely sealed the deal. It’s still very tough to see them missing the tournament given the state of the bubble.

Arkansas (21-10: 10-8 RPI 60 SOS 85): We will keep them here despite the lopsided loss at Alabama.  Do they even need one more win?  The Kentucky sweep is something few Bubblers have.  They now have 9 top-100 wins.  The classic quality-win sleeper of 2014 (see USC, 2011).  As the rest of the bubble falters, it will be tough to ignore the Razorbacks above-average resume. The RPI is troublesome, though.

Stanford (19-11 : 10-8 RPI 44 SOS 18):  Three losses in a row – albeit to tournament teams – had started to make Cardinal fans worry but a home win against Utah calmed a lot of nerves.  They are 7-11 against the top-100, meaning they have no bad losses.  They are also 3-5 against the top-50 with a non-conference win at UConn.  Their spot in the tournament is all but assured now.

 

Bubble

Florida State (18-12 : 9-9 RPI 57 SOS 44): With a home loss, the Seminoles at-large chances are pretty much cooked.  Let’s see what they do in the ACC tournament before completely writing them off, though – they did beat VCU and UMass in the non-conference.

NC State (19-12: 9-9 RPI 66 SOS 51)  Wins at Pitt and vs. Boston College put the Pack back on the board, but a run to the finals in the ACC tournament is necessary for serious consideration.

Georgetown (17-13 : 8-10 RPI 55 SOS 11):  The Hoyas lost at Villanova in a rout, putting their tournament hopes in peril.  Dig a little deeper into the resume, and they have a pretty good case for making the tournament. The win over Creighton gave them an impressive 5 over the top-50.  They now have solidified their resume as having two high-quality non-conference wins and three in-conference top-50 scalps.  The Creighton, VCU, Michigan State and Kansas State wins continue to carry weight, but getting swept by Seton Hall has been dragging them down.  All of this adds up to a First Four appearance or being the last team chopped out of the tournament.  Beating DePaul is a necessity.  It’s going to be very close.

Providence (20-11 : 10-8 RPI 53 SOS 64):  A loss at Creighton shouldn’t hurt, but being a non-competitive game might sway the opinion of some in the committee.  We think they are just about at the cutline right now, meaning a Big East tournament run is their last chance to secure a bid.  A close – and important – win over Marquette kept the Friars at the cutline.  A stretch of wins in early January over Georgetown, Creighton and at St. John’s showed the Friars’ potential.  Unfortunately that was the last time they beat anybody thats going to make the tournament.

St. John’s (20-11 ; 10-8 RPI 58 SOS 50):  An exhausting, double overtime win at Marquette keeps hope alive, but they still need to do some damage in the tournament to jump back on top of the cutline.  A win vs. Creighton is their only top-50 scalp, and their best non-conference win was against San Francisco.  6-9 against the top 100 isn’t going to get you an at-large.

St. Josephs (21-9 : 11-5 RPI 42 SOS 68):  The Hawks lost a clunker at home to LaSalle, which is cause for some concern.  A 6-8 mark against the top-100 wont turn many heads, and they did nothing out of conference.  Luckily the VCU and UMass wins still sparkle, as does a sweep of Dayton.  Back to the bubble for the Hawks.

Minnesota (18-12 : 8-10 RPI 51 SOS 7):  The Gophers took care of Penn State to stay right at the cutline, although probably one of the last four out.  Even with that win, they can’t afford a first-round Big Ten tournament loss.  They have nice wins over the Buckeyes, Iowa and Wisconsin, as well as non-conference wins over Richmond and Florida State, although neither are surefire tournament teams. 

Nebraska (19-11 : 11-7 RPI 40 SOS 27): The win against Wisconsin was huge to be sure, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves – the Huskers have some work to do in the Big Ten tournament, and they may get a chance in the quarterfinals against a quality team.  They have beaten Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State, but their best non-conference win is Georgia.  Three sub-100 losses are hurting the cause, despite having 4 top-50 wins.  They are 7-8 against the top-100.

California (19-12 : 10-8 RPI 54 SOS 31):    Sneaking past Colorado in overtime keeps the Bears right at the cutline.  The RPI has suffered quite a bit in recent weeks.  They still have the home Arizona win, and a looking-better-all-the-times wins at Stanford, at Oregon, vs. Colorado and vs. Arkansas.  Losses at USC and against UCSB hurt a bit, so nothing is a given right now.

Missouri (21-10 : 9-9 RPI 52 SOS 76):  The loss to Tennessee hurts, but is not fatal. They are a lot closer to a bid than most believe.  They have no bad losses, and a solid 8 top-100 wins.  Let’s see how they do in the SEC tournament before writing them off.

Tennessee (19-11 : 11-7 RPI 43 SOS 24): While not an elimination game, the win over Missouri gave them a season sweep and a distinct advantage over the Tigers in the SEC bubble pecking order.  The Volunteers seem to always boast an impressive SOS, and this year is no different, but at some point you just have too many losses to deserve a bid.  Wins over Virginia (by 35!) and Xavier continue to impress.  They have a nice-sized top-100 win number of 8.

Southern Miss (24-5 : 13-3 CUSA RPI 36 SOS 150):  The Eagles have seemingly gamed the RPI, because this is way too high for a team whose best win is Louisiana Tech.  Get to the CUSA final and maybe we will take another look.

Wisconsin Green Bay (21-6 : 14-3 Horizon RPI 62 SOS 142):  Now there is trouble in Title Town. The loss in the Horizon semifinals throws them into a crowded at-large pool in which they do not stand out. The non-conference win over Virginia may turn out to be the ultimate trump card in the group, as the Cavs won ACC crown.  There is still half a chance at an at-large, so we will keep them on the page.

Belmont (22-9 : 13-3 Ohio Valley RPI 56 SOS 138): Now that the Bruins have lost in the OVC finals, an at-large seems like the longest of shots.  They do have a win at North Carolina, so you never know – the committee is a bunch of idiots, afterall.

Stephen F. Austin (27-2 : 18-0 Southland RPI 65 SOS 323): A great team with a resume full of wins against bad teams.  They need their RPI to creep up into the 50′s to have any shot at an at-large.  It doesn’t look like they will need it, as their win streak currently sits at 25 in a row.

Bubble Watch 3-11-14

Not much action on the bubble front last night – BYU and Gonzaga advanced to the WCC finals, erasing any lingering doubt about their at-large chances.  Both were set to Dance beforehand, so these wins only helped seeding-wise.  It also means that the WCC will keep one bid open for the rest of the bubblers, as there will officially be no bid-stealer.

Locks (59)

Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Louisville, Cincinnati, UConn, Memphis, SMU, Villanova, Creighton, UMass, St. Louis, VCU, George Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor, Wichita State, Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, San Diego State, New Mexico, Gonzaga, BYU, America East, Big West, Coastal Carolina (Big South), Conference USA, Mid-American, Horizon, Delaware  (Colonial), Manhattan (MAAC), Summit, Sun Belt, Harvard (Ivy), Patriot, WAC, Mercer (Atlantic Sun), Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Valley), Northeast, Big Sky, Southland, Wofford (Southern), MEAC, SWAC

Near Locks (6)

Pittsburgh, Xavier, St. Joseph’s, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Stanford

 

Available Bids (3)

 

Bubble (15)

 

Near Locks

Pittsburgh (23-8 : 11-7 RPI 46 SOS 75): A hard-fought overtime road win at Clemson might just propel the Panthers into the tournament. If close counted, the Panthers would be in for taking Syracuse to the wire twice.  But alas, close does not count and the Panthers have a fairly weak resume.  A win against Stanford is their only over a tournament team.  They are safe now, but let’s see them win one game in the ACC tournament before locking them up.

Xavier (20-11 : 10-8 RPI 51 SOS 43): It’s fairly simple for the Musketeers – one win of any kind should send them to the tournament.  A win over Cincinnati is their best.  8 top-100 wins is a solid number for any bubbler.  The loss at Seton Hall certainly did not help the cause.

Dayton (22-9 : 10-6 RPI 39 SOS 56): A huge win at St. Louis had the Flyers rocketing up the charts, and a beatdown of Richmond probably sealed an at-large bid.  They beat Gonzaga and Cal in the non-conference, both on a neutral court, so beating the Billikens gives them three quality road/neutral wins.

Oklahoma State (20-11 : 8-10 RPI 40 SOS 22): .The Cowboys have probably shown enough to warrant a bid since Marcus Smart returned, but the heartbreaking loss at Iowa State would have definitely sealed the deal. It’s still very tough to see them missing the tournament given the state of the bubble.

Arkansas (21-10: 10-8 RPI 59 SOS 81): We will keep them here despite the lopsided loss at Alabama.  Do they even need one more win?  The Kentucky sweep is something few Bubblers have.  They now have 9 top-100 wins.  The classic quality-win sleeper of 2014 (see USC, 2011).  As the rest of the bubble falters, it will be tough to ignore the Razorbacks above-average resume. The RPI is troublesome, though.

Stanford (19-11 : 10-8 RPI 43 SOS 17):  Three losses in a row – albeit to tournament teams – had started to make Cardinal fans worry but a home win against Utah calmed a lot of nerves.  They are 7-11 against the top-100, meaning they have no bad losses.  They are also 3-5 against the top-50 with a non-conference win at UConn.  Their spot in the tournament is all but assured now.

 

Bubble

Florida State (18-12 : 9-9 RPI 58 SOS 421): With a home loss, the Seminoles at-large chances are pretty much cooked.  Let’s see what they do in the ACC tournament before completely writing them off, though – they did beat VCU and UMass in the non-conference.

NC State (19-12: 9-9 RPI 67 SOS 51)  Wins at Pitt and vs. Boston College put the Pack back on the board, but a run to the finals in the ACC tournament is necessary for serious consideration.

Georgetown (17-13 : 8-10 RPI 52 SOS 10):  The Hoyas lost at Villanova in a rout, putting their tournament hopes in peril.  Dig a little deeper into the resume, and they have a pretty good case for making the tournament. The win over Creighton gave them an impressive 5 over the top-50.  They now have solidified their resume as having two high-quality non-conference wins and three in-conference top-50 scalps.  The Creighton, VCU, Michigan State and Kansas State wins continue to carry weight, but getting swept by Seton Hall has been dragging them down.  All of this adds up to a First Four appearance or being the last team chopped out of the tournament. It’s going to be very close.

Providence (20-11 : 10-8 RPI 54 SOS 62):  A loss at Creighton shouldn’t hurt, but being a non-competitive game might sway the opinion of some in the committee.  We think they are just about at the cutline right now, meaning a Big East tournament run is their last chance to secure a bid.  A close – and important – win over Marquette kept the Friars at the cutline.  A stretch of wins in early January over Georgetown, Creighton and at St. John’s showed the Friars’ potential.  Unfortunately that was the last time they beat anybody thats going to make the tournament.

St. John’s (20-11 ; 10-8 RPI 56 SOS 47):  An exhausting, double overtime win at Marquette keeps hope alive, but they still need to do some damage in the tournament to jump back on top of the cutline.  A win vs. Creighton is their only top-50 scalp, and their best non-conference win was against San Francisco.  6-9 against the top 100 isn’t going to get you an at-large.

St. Josephs (21-9 : 11-5 RPI 41 SOS 67):  The Hawks lost a clunker at home to LaSalle, which is cause for some concern.  A 6-8 mark against the top-100 wont turn many heads, and they did nothing out of conference.  Luckily the VCU and UMass wins still sparkle, as does a sweep of Dayton.  Back to the bubble for the Hawks.

Minnesota (18-12 : 8-10 RPI 49 SOS 7):  The Gophers took care of Penn State to stay right at the cutline, although probably one of the last four out.  Even with that win, they can’t afford a first-round Big Ten tournament loss.  They have nice wins over the Buckeyes, Iowa and Wisconsin, as well as non-conference wins over Richmond and Florida State, although neither are surefire tournament teams. 

Nebraska (19-11 : 11-7 RPI 42 SOS 26): The win against Wisconsin was huge to be sure, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves – the Huskers have some work to do in the Big Ten tournament, and they may get a chance in the quarterfinals against a quality team.  They have beaten Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State, but their best non-conference win is Georgia.  Three sub-100 losses are hurting the cause, despite having 4 top-50 wins.  They are 7-8 against the top-100.

California (19-12 : 10-8 RPI 55 SOS 30):    Sneaking past Colorado in overtime keeps the Bears right at the cutline.  The RPI has suffered quite a bit in recent weeks.  They still have the home Arizona win, and a looking-better-all-the-times wins at Stanford, at Oregon, vs. Colorado and vs. Arkansas.  Losses at USC and against UCSB hurt a bit, so nothing is a given right now.

Missouri (21-10 : 9-9 RPI 50 SOS 74):  The loss to Tennessee hurts, but is not fatal. They are a lot closer to a bid than most believe.  They have no bad losses, and a solid 8 top-100 wins.  Let’s see how they do in the SEC tournament before writing them off.

Tennessee (19-11 : 11-7 RPI 44 SOS 24): While not an elimination game, the win over Missouri gave them a season sweep and a distinct advantage over the Tigers in the SEC bubble pecking order.  The Volunteers seem to always boast an impressive SOS, and this year is no different, but at some point you just have too many losses to deserve a bid.  Wins over Virginia (by 35!) and Xavier continue to impress.  They have a nice-sized top-100 win number of 8.

Southern Miss (24-5 : 13-3 CUSA RPI 35 SOS 153):  The Eagles have seemingly gamed the RPI, because this is way too high for a team whose best win is Louisiana Tech.  Get to the CUSA final and maybe we will take another look.

Wisconsin Green Bay (21-6 : 14-3 Horizon RPI 62 SOS 143):  Now there is trouble in Title Town. The loss in the Horizon semifinals throws them into a crowded at-large pool in which they do not stand out. The non-conference win over Virginia may turn out to be the ultimate trump card in the group, as the Cavs won ACC crown.  There is still half a chance at an at-large, so we will keep them on the page.

Belmont (22-9 : 13-3 Ohio Valley RPI 57 SOS 141): Now that the Bruins have lost in the OVC finals, an at-large seems like the longest of shots.  They do have a win at North Carolina, so you never know – the committee is a bunch of idiots, afterall.

Stephen F. Austin (27-2 : 18-0 Southland RPI 65 SOS 320): A great team with a resume full of wins against bad teams.  They need their RPI to creep up into the 50′s to have any shot at an at-large.  It doesn’t look like they will need it, as their win streak currently sits at 25 in a row.

Bubble Watch 3-10-14

That’s right folks – only three at-large bids remain, making conference tournament week a real scramble for teams like Missouri, Minnesota, St. John’s and Providence.  It’s going to take more than one win for them to leapfrog into the tournament.

Right now Tennessee, Nebraska and California would nab the last three tournament bids.

Locks (59)

Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Louisville, Cincinnati, UConn, Memphis, SMU, Villanova, Creighton, UMass, St. Louis, VCU, George Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor, Wichita State, Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, San Diego State, New Mexico, Gonzaga, BYU, America East, Big West, Coastal Carolina (Big South), Conference USA, Mid-American, Horizon, Colonial, MAAC, Summit, Sun Belt, Harvard (Ivy), Patriot, WAC, Mercer (Atlantic Sun), Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Valley), Northeast, Big Sky, Southland, Southern, MEAC, SWAC


Near Locks (6)

Pittsburgh, Xavier, St. Joseph’s, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Stanford

 

Available Bids (3)

 

Bubble (15)

 

Near Locks

Pittsburgh (23-8 : 11-7 RPI 46 SOS 75): A hard-fought overtime road win at Clemson might just propel the Panthers into the tournament. If close counted, the Panthers would be in for taking Syracuse to the wire twice.  But alas, close does not count and the Panthers have a fairly weak resume.  A win against Stanford is their only over a tournament team.  They are safe now, but let’s see them win one game in the ACC tournament before locking them up.

Xavier (20-11 : 10-8 RPI 48 SOS 26): It’s fairly simple for the Musketeers – one win of any kind should send them to the tournament.  A win over Cincinnati is their best.  8 top-100 wins is a solid number for any bubbler.  The loss at Seton Hall certainly did not help the cause.

Dayton (22-9 : 10-6 RPI 39 SOS 56): A huge win at St. Louis had the Flyers rocketing up the charts, and a beatdown of Richmond probably sealed an at-large bid.  They beat Gonzaga and Cal in the non-conference, both on a neutral court, so beating the Billikens gives them three quality road/neutral wins.

Oklahoma State (20-11 : 8-10 RPI 40 SOS 24): .The Cowboys have probably shown enough to warrant a bid since Marcus Smart returned, but the heartbreaking loss at Iowa State would have definitely sealed the deal. It’s still very tough to see them missing the tournament given the state of the bubble.

Arkansas (21-10: 10-8 RPI 62 SOS 84): We will keep them here despite the lopsided loss at Alabama.  Do they even need one more win?  The Kentucky sweep is something few Bubblers have.  They now have 9 top-100 wins.  The classic quality-win sleeper of 2014 (see USC, 2011).  As the rest of the bubble falters, it will be tough to ignore the Razorbacks above-average resume. The RPI is troublesome, though.

Stanford (19-11 : 10-8 RPI 43 SOS 18):  Three losses in a row – albeit to tournament teams – had started to make Cardinal fans worry but a home win against Utah calmed a lot of nerves.  They are 7-11 against the top-100, meaning they have no bad losses.  They are also 3-5 against the top-50 with a non-conference win at UConn.  Their spot in the tournament is all but assured now.

 

Bubble


Florida State
(18-12 : 9-9 RPI 59 SOS 42): With a home loss, the Seminoles at-large chances are pretty much cooked.  Let’s see what they do in the ACC tournament before completely writing them off, though - they did beat VCU and UMass in the non-conference.

NC State (19-12: 9-9 RPI 66 SOS 52)  Wins at Pitt and vs. Boston College put the Pack back on the board, but a run to the finals in the ACC tournament is necessary for serious consideration.

Georgetown (17-13 : 8-10 RPI 53 SOS 10):  The Hoyas lost at Villanova in a rout, putting their tournament hopes in peril.  Dig a little deeper into the resume, and they have a pretty good case for making the tournament. The win over Creighton gave them an impressive 5 over the top-50.  They now have solidified their resume as having two high-quality non-conference wins and three in-conference top-50 scalps.  The Creighton, VCU, Michigan State and Kansas State wins continue to carry weight, but getting swept by Seton Hall has been dragging them down.  All of this adds up to a First Four appearance or being the last team chopped out of the tournament. It’s going to be very close.

Providence (20-11 : 10-8 RPI 54 SOS 63):  A loss at Creighton shouldn’t hurt, but being a non-competitive game might sway the opinion of some in the committee.  We think they are just about at the cutline right now, meaning a Big East tournament run is their last chance to secure a bid.  A close – and important – win over Marquette kept the Friars at the cutline.  A stretch of wins in early January over Georgetown, Creighton and at St. John’s showed the Friars’ potential.  Unfortunately that was the last time they beat anybody thats going to make the tournament.

St. John’s (20-11 ; 10-8 RPI 57 SOS 49):  An exhausting, double overtime win at Marquette keeps hope alive, but they still need to do some damage in the tournament to jump back on top of the cutline.  A win vs. Creighton is their only top-50 scalp, and their best non-conference win was against San Francisco.  6-9 against the top 100 isn’t going to get you an at-large.

St. Josephs (21-9 : 11-5 RPI 34 SOS 59):  The Hawks lost a clunker at home to LaSalle, which is cause for some concern.  A 6-8 mark against the top-100 wont turn many heads, and they did nothing out of conference.  Luckily the VCU and UMass wins still sparkle, as does a sweep of Dayton.  Back to the bubble for the Hawks.

Minnesota (18-12 : 8-10 RPI 51 SOS 7):  The Gophers took care of Penn State to stay right at the cutline, although probably one of the last four out.  Even with that win, they can’t afford a first-round Big Ten tournament loss.  They have nice wins over the Buckeyes, Iowa and Wisconsin, as well as non-conference wins over Richmond and Florida State, although neither are surefire tournament teams. 

Nebraska (19-11 : 11-7 RPI 41 SOS 27): The win against Wisconsin was huge to be sure, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves – the Huskers have some work to do in the Big Ten tournament, and they may get a chance in the quarterfinals against a quality team.  They have beaten Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State, but their best non-conference win is Georgia.  Three sub-100 losses are hurting the cause, despite having 4 top-50 wins.  They are 7-8 against the top-100.

California (19-12 : 10-8 RPI 55 SOS 30):    Sneaking past Colorado in overtime keeps the Bears right at the cutline.  The RPI has suffered quite a bit in recent weeks.  They still have the home Arizona win, and a looking-better-all-the-times wins at Stanford, at Oregon, vs. Colorado and vs. Arkansas.  Losses at USC and against UCSB hurt a bit, so nothing is a given right now.

Missouri (21-10 : 9-9 RPI 52 SOS 76):  The loss to Tennessee hurts, but is not fatal. They are a lot closer to a bid than most believe.  They have no bad losses, and a solid 8 top-100 wins.  Let’s see how they do in the SEC tournament before writing them off.

Tennessee (19-11 : 11-7 RPI 44 SOS 25): While not an elimination game, the win over Missouri gave them a season sweep and a distinct advantage over the Tigers in the SEC bubble pecking order.  The Volunteers seem to always boast an impressive SOS, and this year is no different, but at some point you just have too many losses to deserve a bid.  Wins over Virginia (by 35!) and Xavier continue to impress.  They have a nice-sized top-100 win number of 8.

Southern Miss (24-5 : 13-3 CUSA RPI 35 SOS 152):  The Eagles have seemingly gamed the RPI, because this is way too high for a team whose best win is Louisiana Tech.  Get to the CUSA final and maybe we will take another look.

Wisconsin Green Bay (21-6 : 14-3 Horizon RPI 63 SOS 145):  Now there is trouble in Title Town. The loss in the Horizon semifinals throws them into a crowded at-large pool in which they do not stand out. The non-conference win over Virginia may turn out to be the ultimate trump card in the group, as the Cavs won ACC crown.  There is still half a chance at an at-large, so we will keep them on the page.

Belmont (22-9 : 13-3 Ohio Valley RPI 56 SOS 139): Now that the Bruins have lost in the OVC finals, an at-large seems like the longest of shots.  They do have a win at North Carolina, so you never know – the committee is a bunch of idiots, afterall.

Stephen F. Austin (27-2 : 18-0 Southland RPI 67 SOS 324): A great team with a resume full of wins against bad teams.  They need their RPI to creep up into the 50′s to have any shot at an at-large.  It doesn’t look like they will need it, as their win streak currently sits at 24 in a row.

Bubble Watch 3-7-14

RPI’s accurate as of 3-6-14

ACC

Locks

Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, North Carolina

Near Locks

None

Bubble

Pittsburgh (22-8 : 10-7 RPI 56 SOS 86): Wins at Boston College and Notre Dame righted the ship, but a home loss to fellow bubbler NC State has really made things interesting. If close counted, the Panthers would be in for taking Syracuse to the wire twice.  But alas, close does not count and the Panthers have a weak resume.  A win against Stanford is their only over a tournament team.  I still think one win of any kind lands them in the tournament.

Florida State (18-11 : 9-8 RPI 57 SOS 54): Now comes the hard part – the Seminoles won at Boston College to set up a do-or-die home game with Syracuse.  Win that, and they will be sitting pretty.  They beat VCU and UMass in the non-conference.  If they can survive at Boston College, a win over Syracuse may send them dancing.

NC State (18-12: 8-9 RPI 68 SOS 35)  A win at Pitt puts the Pack back on the board, but a run in the ACC tournament is necessary for serious consideration.

 

American

Locks

Louisville, Cincinnati, UConn, Memphis, SMU

Near Locks

None

Bubble

None

 

Big East

Locks

Villanova, Creighton

Near Locks

Xavier (20-11 : 10-8 RPI 45 SOS 55): It’s fairly simple for the Musketeers – a win at home against Villanova will send them to the tournament.  A win over Cincinnati is their best.  8 top-100 wins is something few bubble peers have.  The loss at Seton Hall certainly did not help the cause.

Bubble

Georgetown (17-11 : 8-8 RPI 54 SOS 14):  The Hoyas did themselves an enormous favor by beating Creighton at home.  The win gave them an impressive 5 over the top-50.  They now have solidified their resume as having two high-quality non-conference wins and three in-conference top-50 scalps.  The VCU, Michigan State and Kansas State wins continue to carry weight, but getting swept by Seton Hall has been dragging them down.

Providence (20-10 : 10-7 RPI 52 SOS 59):  A close – and important – win over Marquette keeps the Friars at the cutline.  A stretch of wins in early January over Georgetown, Creighton and at St. John’s showed the Friars’ potential.  Unfortunately that was the last time they beat anybody thats going to make the tournament.  A win at Creighton isn’t easy, but it may be their last chance to impress the committee. Failing that, they would need a good win in the Big East tournament to have a chance at an at-large.

St. John’s (19-11 ; 9-8 RPI 61 SOS 45):  They need to survive at Marquette and then do some damage in the tournament to jump back on top of the cutline.  A win vs. Creighton is their only top-50 scalp, and their best non-conference win was against San Francisco.  5-9 against the top 100 isn’t going to get you an at-large.

 

Atlantic 10

Locks

UMass, St. Louis, VCU, George Washington

Near Locks

St. Josephs (21-8 : 11-4 RPI 34 SOS 58):  The Hawks took a loss at George Washington, which really doesn’t hurt much.  They are still set up nicely for an at-large.   The VCU and UMass wins still sparkle, but they did nothing in the non-conference.  A win against LaSalle would probably do the trick.

Bubble

Dayton (21-9 : 9-6 RPI 42 SOS 53): A huge win at St. Louis has the Flyers rocketing up the charts.  They beat Gonzaga and Cal in the non-conference, both on a neutral court, so beating the Billikens gives them three quality road/neutral wins.  Beating Richmond at home should keep them on the right side of the bubble for now.

 

Big Ten

Locks

Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa

Near Locks

None

Bubble

Minnesota (17-12 : 7-10 RPI 48 SOS 3):  A tough loss at Michigan means they have a must-win home game against frisky Penn State to keep themselves in the race.  Even with that win, they can’t afford a first-round Big Ten tournament loss.  They have nice wins over the Buckeyes, Iowa and Wisconsin, as well as non-conference wins over Richmond and Florida State, although neither are surefire tournament teams. 

Nebraska (18-11 : 10-7 RPI 50 SOS 42): While not exactly a bid-clinching victory, the Huskers win over Indiana on the road served to set up an actual bid-clinching chance against top-10 RPI Wisconsin.  But if they lose against the Bar at home and they will be cutting things very, very close.  They have beaten Michigan State and Ohio State, but their best non-conference win is Georgia.

Treading Water

None

Big 12

Locks

Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor

Near Locks

Oklahoma State (20-10 : 8-9 RPI 41 SOS 25): .The Cowboys are a tournament-quality team with Marcus Smart, which may be the ultimate trump card among bubblers.  They continued to prove that with another huge win over Kansas State.  How will the committee view their ugly three game slide without Smart?  If the committee really does care WHEN you play a team, then they will be OK. Realistically, one more win does it for sure.  Even losing out would only cause a slight discomfort on Selection Sunday.

Bubble

None

 

Missouri Valley

Locks

Wichita State

Near Locks

None

Bubble

None

 

Pac 12

Locks

Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon, Colorado

Near Locks

None

Bubble

California (18-12 : 9-8 RPI 59 SOS 39):  Yikes- a home loss to Utah puts the Bears chances in peril.  The RPI has suffered quite a bit in recent weeks.  They still have the home Arizona win, and a looking-better-all-the-times wins at Stanford, at Oregon and vs. Arkansas.  Losses at USC and against UCSB hurt a bit, so nothing is a given right now.

Stanford (18-11 : 9-8 RPI 46 SOS 15):  Three losses in a row – albeit to tournament teams – should start to make Cardinal fans worry.  They are 6-11 against the top-100, meaning they have no bad losses.  They are also 3-5 against the top-50 with a non-conference win at UConn.  A home win against Utah would calm a lot of nerves.

 

SEC

Locks

Florida, Kentucky

Near Locks

Arkansas (21-9: 10-7 RPI 55 SOS 79): Destroying Ole Miss at home puts the Razorbacks in a very good position.  Do they even need one more win?  The Kentucky sweep is something few Bubblers have.  They now have 9 top-100 wins.  The classic quality-win sleeper of 2014 (see USC, 2011).  As the rest of the bubble falters, it will be tough to ignore the Razorbacks above-average resume. The RPI is troublesome, though.

Bubble

Missouri (21-9 : 9-8 RPI 49 SOS 80):  Phew – a potentially fatal loss to Texas A&M on senior night was narrowly avoided and the Tigers dodged a trip to the cutline.  8 top-100 wins are better than most bubblers .  On top of that there are no bad losses and a fairly good non-conference performance.

Tennessee (18-11 : 10-7 RPI 47 SOS 20): Slaughtering Auburn on the road continued a recent positive trend.   The Volunteers seem to always boast an impressive SOS, and this year is no different, but at some point you just have too many losses to deserve a bid.  Wins over Virginia (by 35!) and Xavier won’t hold up if they keep losing.  They have a nice-sized top-100 win number of 7.  A home win over Missouri should be enough to send them to the Dance.

LSU (18-11 : 9-8 RPI 62 SOS 56): A win at Vanderbilt keeps the Tigers – barely – in the thick of the bubble race.  They have wins over Kentucky and St. Joseph’s, but are just 6-8 against the top-100.  They need to do some serious damage in the SEC tournament to have any chance.

 

Mountain West

Locks

San Diego State, New Mexico

Near Locks

None

Bubble

None

 

West Coast

A rare pre-note here – BYU and Gonzaga have only the WCC tournament left, meaning they can only loss one more game.  Neither will miss the tournament with one more loss.  Lock em up.

Locks

Gonzaga, BYU

Near Locks

None

Bubble

None

 

The Others

Locks

None

Near Locks

None

Bubble

Southern Miss (24-5 : 13-3 CUSA RPI 36 SOS 154):  The Eagles have seemingly gamed the RPI, because this is way too high for a team whose best win is Louisiana Tech.  Get to the CUSA final and maybe we will take another look.

Wisconsin Green Bay (21-5 : 14-2 Horizon RPI 51 SOS 146):  Phew – a huge comeback win at Oakland saved their at-large hopes.  Only a conference tournament played at home stands between them and a coveted automatic bid.  The Phoenix have quietly built their RPI into “At-Large Worthy” range.  The non-conference win over Virginia may turn out to be the ultimate trump card in the group,as the Cavs won ACC crown.  Survive up until the Horizon final, and they could end up as a surprise invite to the Dance.

Belmont (22-8 : 13-2 Ohio Valley RPI 58 SOS 157): The win at North Carolina keeps looking better and better, but four bad losses may cost the Bruins.  Win out until the OVC final and this could be an interesting case – its not as if they ducked anybody in the non-conference.  Can they survive another bad loss and still get in?  This is a longshot since the Bubble ahead of them has taken care of business later.

Stephen F. Austin (26-2 : 17-0 Southland RPI 66 SOS 313): A great team with a resume full of wins against bad teams.  They need their RPI to creep up into the 50′s to have any shot at an at-large.  It doesn’t look like they will need it, as their win streak currently sits at 24 in a row.

Bubble Watch 3-6-14

RPI’s accurate as of 3-5-14

ACC

Locks

Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, North Carolina

Near Locks

Pittsburgh (22-8 : 10-7 RPI 53 SOS 83): Wins at Boston College and Notre Dame righted the ship, but a home loss to fellow bubbler NC State has really made things interesting. If close counted, the Panthers would be in for taking Syracuse to the wire twice.  But alas, close does not count and the Panthers have a weak resume.  A win against Stanford is their only over a tournament team.  I still think one win of any kind lands them in the tournament.

Bubble

Florida State (18-11 : 9-8 RPI 58 SOS 55): Now comes the hard part – the Seminoles won at Boston College to set up a do-or-die home game with Syracuse.  Win that, and they will be sitting pretty.  They beat VCU and UMass in the non-conference.  If they can survive at Boston College, a win over Syracuse may send them dancing.

NC State (18-12: 7-9 RPI 69 SOS 35)  A win at Pitt puts the Pack back on the board, but a run in the ACC tournament is necessary for serious consideration.

 

American

Locks

Louisville, Cincinnati, UConn, Memphis, SMU

Near Locks

None

Bubble

None

 

Big East

Locks

Villanova, Creighton

Near Locks

Xavier (20-10 : 10-7 RPI 46 SOS 60): It’s fairly simple for the Musketeers – a win at home against Villanova will send them to the tournament.  A win over Cincinnati is their best.  8 top-100 wins is something few bubble peers have.  The loss at Seton Hall certainly did not help the cause.

Bubble

Georgetown (17-11 : 8-8 RPI 54 SOS 14):  The Hoyas did themselves an enormous favor by beating Creighton at home.  The win gave them an impressive 5 over the top-50.  They now have solidified their resume as having two high-quality non-conference wins and three in-conference top-50 scalps.  The VCU, Michigan State and Kansas State wins continue to carry weight, but getting swept by Seton Hall has been dragging them down.

Providence (20-10 : 10-7 RPI 59 SOS 63):  A close – and important – win over Marquette keeps the Friars at the cutline.  A stretch of wins in early January over Georgetown, Creighton and at St. John’s showed the Friars’ potential.  Unfortunately that was the last time they beat anybody thats going to make the tournament.  A win at Creighton isn’t easy, but it may be their last chance to impress the committee. Failing that, they would need a good win in the Big East tournament to have a chance at an at-large.

St. John’s (19-11 ; 9-8 RPI 61 SOS 45):  They need to survive at Marquette and then do some damage in the tournament to jump back on top of the cutline.  A win vs. Creighton is their only top-50 scalp, and their best non-conference win was against San Francisco.  5-9 against the top 100 isn’t going to get you an at-large.

 

Atlantic 10

Locks

UMass, St. Louis, VCU, George Washington

Near Locks

St. Josephs (21-8 : 11-4 RPI 34 SOS 69):  The Hawks took a loss at George Washington, which really doesn’t hurt much.  They are still set up nicely for an at-large.   The VCU and UMass wins still sparkle, but they did nothing in the non-conference.  A win against LaSalle would probably do the trick.

Bubble

Dayton (21-9 : 9-6 RPI 47 SOS 66): A huge win at St. Louis has the Flyers rocketing up the charts.  They beat Gonzaga and Cal in the non-conference, both on a neutral court, so beating the Billikens gives them three quality road/neutral wins.  Beating Richmond at home should keep them on the right side of the bubble for now.

 

Big Ten

Locks

Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa

Near Locks

None

Bubble

Minnesota (17-12 : 7-10 RPI 45 SOS 3):  A tough loss at Michigan means they have a must-win home game against frisky Penn State to keep themselves in the race.  Even with that win, they can’t afford a first-round Big Ten tournament loss.  They have nice wins over the Buckeyes, Iowa and Wisconsin, as well as non-conference wins over Richmond and Florida State, although neither are surefire tournament teams. 

Nebraska (18-11 : 10-7 RPI 59 SOS 43): While not exactly a bid-clinching victory, the Huskers win over Indiana on the road served to set up an actual bid-clinching chance against top-10 RPI Wisconsin.  But if they lose against the Bar at home and they will be cutting things very, very close.  They have beaten Michigan State and Ohio State, but their best non-conference win is Georgia.

Treading Water

None

Big 12

Locks

Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor

Near Locks

Oklahoma State (20-10 : 8-9 RPI 41 SOS 25): .The Cowboys are a tournament-quality team with Marcus Smart, which may be the ultimate trump card among bubblers.  They continued to prove that with another huge win over Kansas State.  How will the committee view their ugly three game slide without Smart?  If the committee really does care WHEN you play a team, then they will be OK. Realistically, one more win does it for sure.  Even losing out would only cause a slight discomfort on Selection Sunday.

Bubble

None

 

Missouri Valley

Locks

Wichita State

Near Locks

None

Bubble

None

 

Pac 12

Locks

Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon, Colorado

Near Locks

None

Bubble

California (18-12 : 9-8 RPI 55 SOS 41):  Yikes- a home loss to Utah puts the Bears chances in peril.  The RPI has suffered quite a bit in recent weeks.  They still have the home Arizona win, and a looking-better-all-the-times wins at Stanford, at Oregon and vs. Arkansas.  Losses at USC and against UCSB hurt a bit, so nothing is a given right now.

Stanford (18-11 : 9-8 RPI 43 SOS 20):  Three losses in a row – albeit to tournament teams – should start to make Cardinal fans worry.  They are 6-11 against the top-100, meaning they have no bad losses.  They are also 3-5 against the top-50 with a non-conference win at UConn.  A home win against Utah would calm a lot of nerves.

 

SEC

Locks

Florida, Kentucky

Near Locks

Arkansas (21-9: 10-7 RPI 56 SOS 76): Destroying Ole Miss at home puts the Razorbacks in a very good position.  Do they even need one more win?  The Kentucky sweep is something few Bubblers have.  They now have 9 top-100 wins.  The classic quality-win sleeper of 2014 (see USC, 2011).  As the rest of the bubble falters, it will be tough to ignore the Razorbacks above-average resume. The RPI is troublesome, though.

Bubble

Missouri (21-9 : 9-8 RPI 50 SOS 81):  Phew – a potentially fatal loss to Texas A&M on senior night was narrowly avoided and the Tigers dodged a trip to the cutline.  For now they are OK.  8 top-100 wins has them in pretty good shape and safely ahead of many Bubblers.  On top of that there are no bad losses and a fairly good non-conference performance.

Tennessee (18-11 : 10-7 RPI 48 SOS 18): Slaughtering Auburn on the road continued a recent positive trend.   The Volunteers seem to always boast an impressive SOS, and this year is no different, but at some point you just have too many losses to deserve a bid.  Wins over Virginia (by 35!) and Xavier won’t hold up if they keep losing.  They have a nice-sized top-100 win number of 7.  A home win over Missouri should be enough to send them to the Dance.

LSU (17-11 : 8-8 RPI 63 SOS 53): They have wins over Kentucky and St. Joseph’s, but are just 5-8 against the top-100.  A win at Florida was a tall order, but it was pretty much a necessity.  They need to do some serious damage in the SEC tournament to have any chance.

 

Mountain West

Locks

San Diego State, New Mexico

Near Locks

None

Bubble

None

 

West Coast

A rare pre-note here – BYU and Gonzaga have only the WCC tournament left, meaning they can only loss one more game.  Neither will miss the tournament with one more loss.  Lock em up.

Locks

Gonzaga, BYU

Near Locks

None

Bubble

None

 

The Others

Locks

None

Near Locks

None

Bubble

Southern Miss (23-5 : 12-3 CUSA RPI 37 SOS 154):  The Eagles have seemingly gamed the RPI, because this is way too high for a team whose best win is Louisiana Tech.  Get to the CUSA final and maybe we will take another look.

Wisconsin Green Bay (21-5 : 14-2 Horizon RPI 49 SOS 144):  Phew – a huge comeback win at Oakland saved their at-large hopes.  Only a conference tournament played at home stands between them and a coveted automatic bid.  The Phoenix have quietly built their RPI into “At-Large Worthy” range.  The non-conference win over Virginia may turn out to be the ultimate trump card in the group,as the Cavs won ACC crown.  Survive up until the Horizon final, and they could end up as a surprise invite to the Dance.

Belmont (22-8 : 13-2 Ohio Valley RPI 60 SOS 159): The win at North Carolina keeps looking better and better, but four bad losses may cost the Bruins.  Win out until the OVC final and this could be an interesting case – its not as if they ducked anybody in the non-conference.  Can they survive another bad loss and still get in?  This is a longshot since the Bubble ahead of them has taken care of business later.

Stephen F. Austin (25-2 : 11-0 Southland RPI 67 SOS 314): A great team with a resume full of wins against bad teams.  They need their RPI to creep up into the 50′s to have any shot at an at-large.  It doesn’t look like they will need it, as their win streak currently sits at 23 in a row.

Bubble Watch 3-5-14

Daily starting today.

ACC

Locks

Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, North Carolina

Near Locks

Pittsburgh (22-8 : 10-7 RPI 53 SOS 83): Wins at Boston College and Notre Dame righted the ship, but a home loss to fellow bubbler NC State has really made things interesting. If close counted, the Panthers would be in for taking Syracuse to the wire twice.  But alas, close does not count and the Panthers have a weak resume.  A win against Stanford is their only over a tournament team.  I still think one win of any kind lands them in the tournament.

Bubble

Florida State (18-11 : 9-8 RPI 58 SOS 55): Now comes the hard part – the Seminoles won at Boston College to set up a do-or-die home game with Syracuse.  Win that, and they will be sitting pretty.  They beat VCU and UMass in the non-conference.  If they can survive at Boston College, a win over Syracuse may send them dancing. 

NC State (18-12: 7-9 RPI 69 SOS 35)  A win at Pitt puts the Pack back on the board, but a run in the ACC tournament is necessary for serious consideration.

 

American

Locks

Louisville, Cincinnati, UConn, Memphis, SMU

Near Locks

None

Bubble

None

 

Big East

Locks

Villanova, Creighton

Near Locks

Xavier (20-10 : 10-7 RPI 46 SOS 60): It’s fairly simple for the Musketeers – a win at home against Villanova will send them to the tournament.  A win over Cincinnati is their best.  8 top-100 wins is something few bubble peers have.  The loss at Seton Hall certainly did not help the cause.

Bubble

Georgetown (17-11 : 8-8 RPI 54 SOS 14):  The Hoyas did themselves an enormous favor by beating Creighton at home.  The win gave them an impressive 5 over the top-50.  They now have solidified their resume as having two high-quality non-conference wins and three in-conference top-50 scalps.  The VCU, Michigan State and Kansas State wins continue to carry weight, but getting swept by Seton Hall has been dragging them down.

Providence (20-10 : 10-7 RPI 59 SOS 63):  A close – and important – win over Marquette keeps the Friars at the cutline.  A stretch of wins in early January over Georgetown, Creighton and at St. John’s showed the Friars’ potential.  Unfortunately that was the last time they beat anybody thats going to make the tournament.  A win at Creighton isn’t easy, but it may be their last chance to impress the committee.  Failing that, they would need a good win in the Big East tournament to have a chance at an at-large.

St. John’s (19-11 ; 9-8 RPI 61 SOS 45):  They need to survive at Marquette and then do some damage in the tournament to jump back on top of the cutline.  A win vs. Creighton is their only top-50 scalp, and their best non-conference win was against San Francisco.  5-9 against the top 100 isn’t going to get you an at-large.

 

Atlantic 10

Locks

UMass, St. Louis, VCU, George Washington

Near Locks

St. Josephs (21-7 : 11-3 RPI 34 SOS 69):  The Hawks took care of business against Dayton and St. Bonaventure, setting them up nicely in position for an at-large.   The VCU and UMass wins still sparkle, but they did nothing in the non-conference.  A win at George Washington would lock things up, even a win against LaSalle would probably do the trick. 

Bubble

Dayton (20-9 : 8-6 RPI 47 SOS 66): The closing stretch of the season is a slate of at St. Louis and vs. Richmond, so opportunities are certainly available.  Since Richmond has fallen, the Flyers may have to win at St. Louis (Duquesne showed that its possible for anybody), at home against Richmond, and get to the A-10 final to feel good about their chances.

 

Big Ten

Locks

Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa

Near Locks

None

Bubble

Minnesota (17-12 : 7-10 RPI 45 SOS 3):  A tough loss at Michigan means they have a must-win home game against frisky Penn State to keep themselves in the race.  Even with that win, they can’t afford a first-round Big Ten tournament loss.  They have nice wins over the Buckeyes, Iowa and Wisconsin, as well as non-conference wins over Richmond and Florida State, although neither are surefire tournament teams.  

Nebraska (17-11 : 9-7 RPI 59 SOS 43): Tricky games remain – at Indiana and vs. Wisconsin.  Win both, and they would be in decent position.  Lose one, and they will be cutting things very, very close.  They have beaten Michigan State and Ohio State, but their best non-conference win is Georgia.

Treading Water

None

Big 12

Locks

Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State, Baylor

Near Locks

Oklahoma State (20-10 : 8-9 RPI 41 SOS 25): .The Cowboys are a tournament-quality team with Marcus Smart, which may be the ultimate trump card among bubblers.  They continued to prove that with another huge win over Kansas State.  How will the committee view their ugly three game slide without Smart?  If the committee really does care WHEN you play a team, then they will be OK. Realistically, one more win does it for sure.  Even losing out would only cause a slight discomfort on Selection Sunday.

Bubble

None

 

Missouri Valley

Locks

Wichita State

Near Locks

None

Bubble

None

 

Pac 12

Locks

Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon

Near Locks

Colorado (20-9 : 9-7 RPI 32 SOS 12): Nervous times in Buffalo-land with games at California and at Stanford lying in wait.  Still, the SOS and quality wins are there, and its not like two losses to good teams on the road would be fatal.  Win one game of any kind, and this thing is locked up.

Bubble

California (18-11 : 9-7 RPI 55 SOS 41):  You can’t fault a team for a loss at Arizona State, but these losses are starting to pile up.   Home dates with Colorado and Utah await.  They still have the home Arizona win, and a looking-better-all-the-times wins at Stanford and vs. Arkansas.  Losses at USC and against UCSB hurt a bit, so nothing is a given right now.

Stanford (18-10 : 9-7 RPI 43 SOS 20):  A loss at Arizona is a no-lose situation, and their spot in the field is not in serious jeopardy.  Still no bad losses, and the home win over UCLA has pushed the Cardinal into a comfortable position.  Taking the next two vs. Colorado and vs. Utah would make a bid academic.  One might even do the trick.

 

SEC

Locks

Florida, Kentucky

Near Locks

None

Bubble

Missouri (20-9 : 8-8 RPI 50 SOS 81):  8 top-100 wins has them in pretty good shape and safely ahead of many Bubblers.  On top of that there are no bad losses and a quality non-conference performance.

Tennessee (17-11 : 9-7 RPI 48 SOS 18): A win at Mississippi State doesn’t help the cause much, but it was important in keeping them in a decent position.  The Volunteers seem to always boast an impressive SOS, and this year is no different, but at some point you just have too many losses to deserve a bid.  Wins over Virginia (by 35!) and Xavier won’t hold up if they keep losing.  They have a nice-sized top-100 win number of 7.

LSU (17-11 : 8-8 RPI 63 SOS 53): They have wins over Kentucky and St. Joseph’s, but are just 5-8 against the top-100.  A win at Florida was a tall order, but it was pretty much a necessity.  They need to do some serious damage in the SEC tournament to have any chance. 

Arkansas (20-9: 9-7 RPI 56 SOS 76): A huge win at Kentucky and a home win against Georgia have the Hogs trending up – way up.  One win in their last two will probably sew things up.  The classic quality-win sleeper of 2014 (see USC, 2011).  As the rest of the bubble falters, it will be tough to ignore the Razorbacks above-average resume. The RPI is troublesome, though.

 

Mountain West

Locks

San Diego State, New Mexico

Near Locks

None

Bubble

None

 

West Coast

A rare pre-note here – BYU and Gonzaga have only the WCC tournament left, meaning they can only loss one more game.  Neither will miss the tournament with one more loss.  Lock em up.

Locks

Gonzaga, BYU

Near Locks

None

Bubble

None

 

The Others

Locks

None

Near Locks

None

Bubble

Southern Miss (23-5 : 12-3 CUSA RPI 37 SOS 154):  The Eagles have seemingly gamed the RPI, because this is way too high for a team whose best win is Louisiana Tech.  Get to the CUSA final and maybe we will take another look.

Wisconsin Green Bay (21-5 : 14-2 Horizon RPI 49 SOS 144):  Phew – a huge comeback win at Oakland saved their at-large hopes.  Only a conference tournament played at home stands between them and a coveted automatic bid.  The Phoenix have quietly built their RPI into “At-Large Worthy” range.  The non-conference win over Virginia may turn out to be the ultimate trump card in the group,as the Cavs won ACC crown.  Survive up until the Horizon final, and they could end up as a surprise invite to the Dance.

Belmont (22-8 : 13-2 Ohio Valley RPI 60 SOS 159): The win at North Carolina keeps looking better and better, but four bad losses may cost the Bruins.  Win out until the OVC final and this could be an interesting case – its not as if they ducked anybody in the non-conference.  Can they survive another bad loss and still get in?  This is a longshot since the Bubble ahead of them has taken care of business later. 

Stephen F. Austin (25-2 : 11-0 Southland RPI 67 SOS 314): A great team with a resume full of wins against bad teams.  They need their RPI to creep up into the 50′s to have any shot at an at-large.  It doesn’t look like they will need it, as their win streak currently sits at 23 in a row.