Monday, February 1, 2016

Bubble watch part 3: ACC/Big East



North Carolina (19-2) (8-0) RPI 8 SoS 50
Vital signs:  7-2 R/N, non-con SoS 52, 4-1 vs. Top 50, 11-1 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Maryland, @Syracuse?  @FSU?
Bad losses:  @UNI
This is a 1 seed, as well they should be, but there is a concern:  only one win over a surefire tournament team.  Now, it’s pretty tough to play 8 games in the ACC without playing a sure tournament team, so this problem is going to rectify itself shortly.  Schedule has some backloaded goodness, so they’ll either pile signature wins in a hurry or lose their #1 seed.  Just know that for now, their 1 seed is based largely on circumstance.

Virginia (17-4) (6-3) RPI 9 SoS 19
Vital signs:  7-4 R/N, non-con SoS 59, 8-1 vs. Top 50, 12-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Villanova, Miami, @Louisville, N-WVU
Bad losses:  @VT, @GT
Two things stick out.  First, an actual losing road record (the neutral record pads what you see above).  It’s tough to imagine a top 3 seed with that mark against it.  On the other end, a staggering 8 top 50 wins.  I can buy an argument anywhere from the 2 line to the 4 line right now, trending in the direction of the 2 line.   There’s some non-trivial road games coming up though that will give Virginia a legitimate chance at the 1 line.

Miami (16-4) (5-3) RPI 16 SoS 55
Vital signs: 6-3 R/N, non-con SoS 78, 5-1 vs. Top 50, 9-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Utah and Butler, Duke
Bad losses:  probably @NC State, Northeastern
An aggressive lock, but I’ll give it to them.  Generally solid vital signs across the board, no significant weaknesses, solid overall profile.  I can’t pick this nit, unless you want to overweight the Northeastern home loss.

Should be in:

Louisville (17-4) (6-2) RPI 26 SoS 81
Vital signs:  4-3 R/N, non-con SoS 200, 2-3 vs. Top 50, 5-4 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Pitt, FSU, Wake?
Bad losses:  I suppose @Clemson
I’m hesitant to call it a lock just because of the non-con.  Poor power numbers combined with a signature win of…Grand Canyon?  North Florida?  Too much stress put on delivering in the conference schedule to ensure a bid.  And they really haven’t hit the meat of that schedule yet.  This seed can wildly vary over the next month, so pay attention.

Duke (15-6) (4-4) RPI 27 SoS 18
Vital signs:  5-4 R/N, non-con SoS 10, 2-5 vs. Top 50, 9-6 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-VCU, Indiana, N-Georgetown?
Bad losses:  @Clemson perhaps, nothing else is bad at all
Now, it’s fair to panic just a little bit.  But there’s still a sterling SoS number, a few decent enough wins, and generally okay vital signs.  It’ll take losses in bulk to hurt them, really.  Although I might want a better signature win or two, just in case.


Pittsburgh (16-4) (6-3) RPI 31 SoS 69
Vital signs:  4-2 R/N, non-con SoS 155, 3-2 vs. Top 50, 7-4 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Davidson, @Notre Dame, Syracuse
Bad losses:  NC State at home
Am I being harsh putting them on the bubble?  Perhaps.  The difference between them and Duke?  The non-con SoS.  The committee will pay attention to that; so will I.  That plus one bad loss puts them here, although they should be fine without something egregious.

Notre Dame (15-6) (6-3) RPI 35 SoS 39
Vital signs:  4-5 R/N, non-con SoS 56, 2-5 vs. Top 50, 5-6 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Iowa, @Duke, um.
Bad losses:  N-Alabama is the worst by far
This is a big improvement over previous years by Notre Dame.  There’s actually a good SoS to work with!  That’s why even though they’re on the bubble, they’re in reasonably good shape for the time being.  Plenty to time to swing in either direction, though.

Clemson (13-8) (6-3) RPI 88 SoS 73
Vital signs:  2-6 R/N, non-con SoS 330, 6-4 vs. Top 50, 6-6 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Duke, Louisville, Miami, Pitt
Bad losses:  @Minnesota, N-UMass
Oh man, break out the wall of text on this one.  First things first:  that road record is untenable.  Must improve to get an at-large bid.  Home record is plenty fine; they can beat anyone there and already have.  So they don’t need more signature wins, what they need is to beat bad teams on the road.  And guess what’s coming up:  BC, NC State, GT, Wake.  All on the road.  Get 3 of those 4 and we’ve got a stew going, Clemson.  Meanwhile, the non-con was a disaster with that SoS weighted down by 4 sub-300 teams and losses to Georgia and South Carolina mixed in.  There’s a lot going on here.

Syracuse (15-8) (5-5) RPI 43 SoS 28
Vital signs:  5-5 R/N, non-con SoS 110, 3-4 vs. Top 50, 7-7 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-UConn, N-Texas A&M, @Duke
Bad losses:  @St John’s, Clemson?
There’s some good high-end wins which may save the resume.  I can’t find a specific vital sign with this resume that screams OUT to me.  There’s one bad losing streak in there, but if they prove that was an anomaly, they might actually be fine.

Florida St (14-7) (4-5) RPI 44 SoS 53
Vital signs:  7-5 R/N, non-con SoS 212, 3-5 vs. Top 50, 6-7 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-VCU, @Florida, Virginia
Bad losses:  N-Hofstra?
I’d feel so much better with a better SoS number than 212.  I think eventually there’s going to be no room for them at the table, but for the time being they’re right on the edge.  I wouldn’t put them in, but I wouldn’t stop anyone else from doing so.

NIT watch:
Virginia Tech (12-10) (4-5) RPI 125 SoS 65 – If they can hang on, the win over Virginia might carry them to the NIT.

No postseason:

Even though everyone but Boston College (7-14, 0-8) is around .500, there’s too many losses to spread around in the conference.  I expect Georgia Tech (12-9, 2-6), North Carolina St (12-10, 2-7), and Wake Forest (10-11, 1-8) to be casualties even though they’re all in the top 100 in the RPI.  I could pick one to survive, but I don’t feel like it.  They can all die.

Big East


Villanova (18-3) (8-1) RPI 2 SoS 7
Vital signs:  8-2 R/N, non-con SoS 27, 4-3 vs. Top 50, 9-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Xavier, @St Joe’s, swept Seton Hall
Bad losses:  none
If there is a nit to pick, only 4 top 50 wins, and two of them are Seton Hall.  Could use more beef, and the non-con SoS number is better than it looks.  Still, a pretty obvious 1 seed candidate at the moment.

Xavier (19-2) (7-2) RPI 4 SoS 25
Vital signs:  9-1 R/N, non-con SoS 28, 5-1 vs. Top 50, 9-2 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Dayton, N-USC, @Provi
Bad losses:  home to Georgetown ain’t great
Good work in the non-con, @Michigan and Cincy didn’t even get listed.  That one Georgetown loss is probably what keeps them from #1 overall.  In excellent shape for the 1 line at the moment.

Providence (18-4) (6-3) RPI 23 SoS 47
Vital signs:  8-1 R/N, non-con SoS 171, 2-3 vs. Top 50, 6-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Arizona, @Villanova, swept Butler
Bad losses:  Marquette
An aggressive promotion to the lockbox, given their non-con SoS, but winning at Villanova is worth a lot on the resume.  Very good R/N record which helps mute the bad home loss.  You’d like more bulk in quality wins, and they’ll need it for a protected seed, but that doesn’t harm the lock status.


Butler (14-7) (3-6) RPI 69 SoS 81
Vital signs:  5-5 R/N, non-con SoS 195, 1-5 vs. Top 50, 3-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Cincy, N-Purdue
Bad losses:  @Creighton and Marquette, probably
Hmm.  Nothing is a red flag here.  A couple nice wins…the losses are forgivable (N-Miami, swept by Provi, Nova, etc.).  A couple bad road losses swing the situation, though.  The non-con SoS is surprisingly poor, thanks to 4 sub-300 teams (I mean, when you have Puerto Rico, @Cincy, Purdue on there, you don’t expect 195).  Now they’ll be in a legitimate bubble fight and could swing either way.

Seton Hall (15-6) (5-4) RPI 46 SoS 74
Vital signs:  6-4 R/N, non-con SoS 239, 2-3 vs. Top 50, 3-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Wichita St, @Providence, uh.
Bad losses:  Creighton at home, I suppose N-LBSU
That non-con SoS could be a big issue that can’t be fixed without a couple more signature wins.  All the vital signs are okay, but not great.  This is a pretty boring bubble profile, you have to admit.  And when it’s boring, you look for outliers.  The outlier is non-con SoS 239.  Not good.

Georgetown (13-9) (6-3) RPI 76 SoS 31
Vital signs:  5-4 R/N, non-con SoS 53, 2-5 vs. Top 50, 4-6 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Syracuse, @Xavier, N-Wisky?
Bad losses:  UNC-Asheville, Radford
This is very generous listing them here, as the Xavier win just gets them on the board.  Much work to do.  It’s going to be tough to erase a few of these unnecessary losses.

NIT watch:
Creighton (14-8) (5-4) RPI 101 SoS 114 – I can buy a NIT bid for this team with some good Big East wins.  But I’m not optimistic they can hold this chance.
Marquette (15-7) (4-5) RPI 113 SoS 122 – This might be even more optimistic.  At least they beat LSU, Arizona St, and Wisky in the non-con.

No postseason:
No surprise DePaul (7-14, 1-8) and St John’s (6-15, 0-9) are down here.

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