Friday, March 9, 2012

East Coast Bubble Update

Now that the bubble picture is becoming clearer, here's a summary of the bubble teams in the (predominately) East Coast conferences:  the ACC, Big East, and Atlantic 10.


Despite Virginia losing today and having their RPI fall out of the Top 50, I think the signature win over Michigan keeps the Cavs in the field.  Their seed will probably be 10 or worse, but with this weak bubble I don't see any way Virginia is left out of the field entirely.

NC State (22-11, 9-7 ACC)

Computer profile:  RPI 48, SOS 31.  1-7 vs Top 50 (win over Texas).  6-9 vs Top 100.  2 sub-100 losses (Georgia Tech, Clemson).  9-5 road/neutral.

Bottom line:  The road/neutral record and sweep over Miami is nice, but other than that the resume is very barren.  Fact is, NC State had multiple opportunities to pick up a signature win with home games against Syracuse, UNC, Florida State, and Indiana.  It's really hard to justify giving an at-large bid to a team that went 0-4 in those home games.  Obviously, if they beat UNC tomorrow this is all moot and they're in the field.

NCAA chances:  50/50

Miami (FL) (19-12, 9-7 ACC)

Computer profile:  RPI 55, SOS 47.  2-8 vs Top 50 (wins over Duke, Florida State).  3-11 vs Top 100.  1 sub-100 loss (@Maryland).  6-8 road/neutral.

Bottom line:  The Hurricanes have signature wins over Duke and FSU, but the rest of their profile is just awful.  A team with a win percentage that bad vs the Top 100 getting an at-large is unheard of, plus they were swept by fellow bubble team NC State during the regular season.  Unless the committee decides to make signature wins the most important factor for bubble teams, it's nearly impossible to see Miami getting in at this point.

NCAA chances:  Slim

Big East

With Connecticut and Cincinnati having successful Big East tournaments, 3 teams are now left on the bubble.

West Virginia (19-13, 9-9 Big East)

Computer profile:  RPI 56, SOS 14.  5-8 vs Top 50 (wins over Georgetown, Akron, Kansas State, Marshall, Cincinnati), 9-11 vs Top 100.  2 sub-100 losses (Kent State, @St. John's).  8-8 road/neutral.

Bottom line:  The Mountaineers have really struggled down the stretch, only managing a 4-8 record in their last 12 games.  The committee says last 12 games is no longer a factor, but we'll see how true that is on Sunday.  If they're serious and it doesn't matter, then based on their overall profile, WVU will be in the field.  If it does matter, then WVU will be in the NIT.

NCAA Chances:  Good

South Florida (20-13, 12-6 Big East)

Computer profile:  RPI 54, SOS 26.  2-9 vs Top 50 (wins over Cincinnati and Louisville).  6-10 vs Top 100.  3 sub-100 losses (Old Dominion, Penn State, Auburn).  6-10 road/neutral. 

Bottom line:  USF blew a golden opportunity to lock up an NCAA bid last night against Notre Dame.  The bad losses will not carry much weight because all 3 came before December 15.  Just like West Virginia, the Bulls will be a good litmus test for what the committee finds important.  If the committee puts more weight on conference play than non-con, USF will be in the field.  If they don't, USF will be in the NIT.  The committee did leave out an Alabama team last year that went 12-4 in the SEC, but that team had an RPI in the 80s, while South Florida's RPI is much more normal for a bubble team.

NCAA chances:  50/50

Seton Hall (20-12, 8-10 Big East)

Computer profile:  RPI 65, SOS 51.  3-7 vs Top 50 (wins over Georgetown, Connecticut, VCU).  7-9 vs Top 100.  3 sub-100 losses (Villanova, Rutgers, Depaul). 

Bottom line:  Seton Hall has a signature win over Georgetown, but other than that their resume is very barren.  Fact is, from top to bottom the Big East is not as good as it's been the last few years.  An 8-10 record in this league will not hold much weight with the committee (UConn gets a pass because they played a tougher conference schedule and challenged themselves out of conference).  At the end of the day, I think South Florida has an edge over Seton Hall thanks to their head-to-head win against the Pirates.  Additionally, their bad losses all came in the last 2 months of the year.  I know committee says when the wins and losses occur doesn't matter, but I have a hard time believing the human element won't come into play and dissuade them from putting the Pirates in the field.

NCAA chances:  Below Average

Atlantic 10

Temple and St. Louis are locked into the tournament field, which leaves Xavier as the only bubble team in the league.  Dayton might have had a chance to get in, but not now after losing in the A-10 quarters.

Xavier (20-11, 10-6 A-10)

Computer profile:  RPI 57, SOS 47.  3-6 vs Top 50 (wins over Vanderbilt, Purdue, Cincinnati).  7-10 vs Top 100.  1 sub-100 loss (Hawaii).  6-8 road/neutral.

Bottom line:  It's a tale of 2 seasons for Xavier.  At the time of the Cincinnati brawl, the Musketeers had moved to 8-0 on the season with 3 top 50 wins.  Since then, Xavier has gone 12-11, with no Top 50 wins and an embarassing loss against sub-200 Hawaii.  Here's another case study for how much emphasis the committee puts on conference play.  The Musketeers need to beat St. Louis tomorrow to feel good about their chances.  If they don't, they'll be a very nervous group on Sunday. 

NCAA chances:  50/50

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