Monday, February 1, 2016

Bubble watch part 2: B1G/Pac-12

Big 10


Iowa (17-4) (8-1) RPI 7 SoS 8
Vital signs:  6-4 R/N, non-con SoS 68, 7-4 vs. Top 50, 7-4 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Michigan Stx2, Purduex2
Bad losses:  I suppose N-UND if you’re going for the 1 line
The non-con was pedestrian.  Decent, but pedestrian, with Wichita and FSU on the good ledger.  Plenty has been accomplished in the B1G, though, so February is all about maintaining their seed.

Maryland (19-3) (8-2) RPI 6 SoS 30
Vital signs:  7-3 R/N, non-con SoS 80, 1-3 vs. Top 50, 7-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Iowa, N-UConn, Georgetown?
Bad losses:  none
If there was one nitpick, it was that Maryland truly needed a signature win for a top 2 seed.  And they got it versus Iowa.  The next step is accumulation, as bulk quality wins are required for that really high seed.

Michigan St (19-4) (6-4) RPI 21 SoS 72
Vital signs:  9-2 R/N, non-con SoS 99, 5-2 vs. Top 50, 6-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Kansas, N-Provi, Louisville
Bad losses:  Nebraska
Losing stretch aside, they’ll be fine.  That stretch might cost MSU the 1 line, though.  Everything else in the resume gives them a shot at it.

Purdue (19-4) (7-3) RPI 25 SoS 84
Vital signs:  6-3 R/N, non-con SoS 120, 3-2 vs. Top 50, 6-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Florida, @Pitt, Michigan
Bad losses:  @Illinois
They’ll be fine.  Could or even should dock them a tier, but I’ll leave them in the lockbox.

Should be in:

Indiana (18-4) (8-1) RPI 49 SoS 143
Vital signs:  5-4 R/N, non-con SoS 198, 1-1 vs. Top 50, 4-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Notre Dame, Wisky and Ohio St?
Bad losses:  N-UNLV and Wake
So, the record is a bit of a mirage.  The B1G schedule is backloaded for them, so they’ll either acquire quality wins or fall out of the bracket.  This situation will take care of itself.  For now, they have to be in, though.

Michigan (16-5) (7-2) RPI 29 SoS 70
Vital signs:  6-4 R/N, non-con SoS 85, 2-4 vs. Top 50, 3-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Texas, Maryland, @NC State?
Bad losses:  none
All 5 losses are to good teams, N-UConn being by far the worst.  And the home loss was Xavier.  They’re fine right now.  Two quality wins are enough given the circumstances behind the losses.  The key is not slipping too far down and losing too any quality games.


Wisconsin (13-9) (5-4) RPI 65 SoS 13
Vital signs:  4-4 R/N, non-con SoS 41, 4-4 vs. Top 50, 6-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-VCU, @Syracuse, Michigan St
Bad losses:  @Northwestern, Milwaukee, WIU, on and on
There’s almost too many body blows absorbed, but I’ll give them a second look based on the quality wins.  In the end, the committee will pay attention to quality wins, so the dream isn’t dead.  But the degree of difficulty is very high here.  Gotta avoid anything that looks even questionable on the resume.

NIT watch:
Ohio St (14-9) (6-4) RPI 84 SoS 44 – Sure, Kentucky is a nice win.  It’s also their only top 100 win.
Northwestern (15-8) (3-7) RPI 106 SoS – Non-con SoS 327.  Nope.
Nebraska (12-10) (4-5) RPI 157 SoS 133 – Non-con SoS 311.  Nope.

No postseason:

The fodder is easy to identify in this conference:  Penn St (11-11, 2-7), Illinois (10-12, 2-7), Rutgers (5-16, 0-9), and Minnesota (6-16, 0-10).



Oregon (17-4) (7-2) RPI 3 SoS 5
Vital signs:  5-4 R/N, non-con SoS 21, 6-1 vs. Top 50, 12-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Baylor, USC, @Arizona, others
Bad losses:  N-UNLV
Everything is pretty well set, maybe minus one marginal loss or two.  1 line, nah.  2 line?  Sure, why not.

USC (17-5) (6-3) RPI 19 SoS 43
Vital signs:  4-5 R/N, non-con SoS 83, 4-4 vs. Top 50, 8-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Arizona, @UCLA, N-Wichita
Bad losses:  @Oregon St perhaps
They’re in good shape overall on the profile.  No red flags, they’ve got good win depth, no home losses, they’re in a good spot.

Should be in:

Arizona (17-5) (5-4) RPI 34 SoS 90
Vital signs:  5-4 R/N, non-con SoS 226, 1-4 vs. Top 50, 8-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Gonzaga, @Stanford, Washington?
Bad losses:  none
Pretty poor non-conference overall, as Boise and Gonzaga didn’t come through for them.  They’re safe for now but they haven’t built up a good buffer in case they go on a losing streak.  Uncommon territory for Arizona.

Utah (16-5) (6-3) RPI 14 SoS 25
Vital signs:  6-4 R/N, non-con SoS 53, 6-4 vs. Top 50, 11-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Duke, Colorado, Cal
Bad losses:  none
The worst loss is @Stanford.  The wins are good enough.  Solid vital signs up and down the board.  They are lockbox-adjacent.


Colorado (16-5) (6-3) RPI 20 SoS 32
Vital signs:  5-4 R/N, non-con SoS 88, 2-5 vs. Top 50, 6-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Oregon, Cal, swept Stanford
Bad losses:  none
One theme among these Pac-12 schools:  bad loss avoidance.  That leaves many of them in good situations, Colorado included.  Could stand to beat the good teams juuuuust a little more often, but that’s a nitpick.

Washington (14-7) (6-3) RPI 49 SoS 34
Vital signs:  5-4 R/N, non-con SoS 138, 3-4 vs. Top 50, 6-6 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Texas, USC, 2xUCLA
Bad losses:  Oakland, UCSB?
Ah, finally a marginal case in the Pac-12.  But the good is still pretty decent, all things considered.  The non-con has some issues but they’re fixable.  No need to make a final declaration on their hopes; the rest conference play will define that for us.

California (14-8) (4-5) RPI 39 SoS 23
Vital signs:  1-8 R/N, non-con SoS 114, 4-5 vs. Top 50, 7-7 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Colorado, Utah, Arizona
Bad losses:  @Oregon St? N-Richmond too
A pretty obvious flaw here.  That road record is brutal although their road schedule has been brutal.  6 road losses to RPI 9, 3, 64, 57, 15, 20 and neutral ones to 47 and 114.  Only 4 road games left: Washingtons and Arizonas.  Gotta get 2 and maybe 3.  It almost doesn’t matter who they beat at home (as long as they don’t lose to marginal teams). 

UCLA (13-9) (4-5) RPI 68 SoS 18
Vital signs:  3-6 R/N, non-con SoS 31, 2-7 vs. Top 50, 7-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Kentucky, @Gonzaga, Arizona
Bad losses:  @Wazzu, N-Wake?
If that 2-7 was 3-6, I’d feel better about this resume.  Much better.  The volume of losses might be the biggest issues here, along with perhaps the road record.  But for now, they’re a classic bubble team.

Stanford (10-9) (4-5) RPI 57 SoS 1
Vital signs:  2-5 R/N, non-con SoS 28, 2-9 vs. Top 50, 5-9 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Utah, Cal
Bad losses:  The worst might be Cal at home
Two things save them:  all losses inside the top 50 and SoS 1.  With Oregon, USC, and Arizona among others left, winning a couple of those suddenly balances out the brutal schedule.  Stay tuned.

Oregon St (11-8) (3-6) RPI 64 SoS 16
Vital signs:  2-5 R/N, non-con SoS 110, 3-5 vs. Top 50, 5-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Oregon, USC, Cal
Bad losses:  @Arizona St perhaps
Kinda a borderline case.

NIT watch:
Arizona St (12-10) (2-7) RPI 73 SoS 13 – Even they beat Texas A&M, but I mean, look at how crowded this conference is.

No postseason:
Washington St (8-12, 1-8) is the only one truly out at this point.

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