Monday, February 1, 2016

Bubble watch part 4: Upper majors


Should be in:

Dayton (18-3) (8-1) RPI 13 SoS 36
Vital signs:  6-2 R/N, non-con SoS 2, 3-2 vs. Top 50, 10-2 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Iowa, N-Monmouth, GWU
Bad losses:  @LaSalle
It may be harsh keeping them from the lockbox for now, but caution is necessary.  Those 10 top 100 wins are a shining beacon, but they include the likes of Alabama, William & Mary, Arkansas, Davidson, St Bonaventure, etc etc.  Still, they’re computer profile monsters and aren’t going to miss without a big collapse.


VCU (16-5) (8-0) RPI 33 SoS 64
Vital signs:  5-4 R/N, non-con SoS 88, 1-2 vs. Top 50, 6-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @St Joe’s, @Davidson?  @MTSU?
Bad losses:  @Georgia Tech, probably
Whiffed on their best chances at a win OOC (Duke, WIsky, FSU, Cincy, et al).  So evaluating this resume is tricky.  Now, if they stay undefeated in the A-10, it won’t matter.  But the marginal loss is coming, and trying to figure out where the resume stands when there’s little signature material is tough.  Nothing great, but nothing bad on the computer profile so far.

George Washington (16-5) (5-3) RPI 52 SoS 121
Vital signs:  5-4 R/N, non-con SoS 185, 2-1 vs. Top 50, 3-2 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Virginia, Seton Hall
Bad losses:  @DePaul, @St Louis
On the whole, the signature win erases the couple bad road losses, but it leaves a marginal situation where there’s not a lot on the meat of this bone.  Marginal non-con leads to limited signature win chances, and they’re done with Dayton for the year.  Where you put them is probably directly correlated with how highly you regard Virginia.

St Joseph’s (18-3) (7-1) RPI 30 SoS 98
Vital signs:  9-1 R/N, non-con SoS 93, 0-3 vs. Top 50, 3-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Temple?  Seriously, this is the best
Bad losses:  actually, none
The quintessential good bad team:  no good wins anywhere, nothing even remotely close to even a marginal loss.  The W-L is shiny, the SoS is pretty solid, the road-neutral record is great.  But they just need one quality win, somewhere, anywhere.  If they get it, it’s tough to ignore the road wins here.

NIT watch:
Davidson (11-7) (4-4) RPI 57 SoS 40 – When your signature win is Charleston, I can’t get on board.  Their SoS numbers are better than they should be.
St Bonaventure (13-6) (5-3) RPI 61 SoS 89 – The same signature win problem that so many A-10 schools have crops up here too.  Not unsalvageable if they can get it, though.

EIEIO/Vegas watch:
Duquesne (14-7) (5-4) RPI 93 SoS 138
Rhode Island (12-9) (4-4) RPI 105 SoS 68
Richmond (11-9) (3-5) RPI 113 SoS 82
Fordham (11-8) (3-6) RPI 171 SoS 172 – The one thing the A-10 always seems to do:  produce a ridiculous number of teams that won’t make the NIT but are perfect candidates for the CBI.  It’s uncanny how they do it.

No postseason:

Congrats for Fordham for possibly graduating from this group.  The four poor teams this year:  St Louis (8-13, 3-6), UMass (8-12, 1-7), George Mason (7-14, 1-7), and LaSalle (4-14, 1-7).



Cincinnati (16-6) (6-3) RPI 58 SoS 90
Vital signs:  6-3 R/N, non-con SoS 179, 1-3 vs. Top 50, 4-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-GWU, @VCU, @UConn
Bad losses:  swept by Temple
The conference as a whole has been in poor form, and it hurts Cincy by depriving them of quality win chances.  The non-con SoS was anchored by some terrible teams, as Cincy won 2 of their 5 games of consequence.  There’s little this team can do but hold serve and hope to get one against SMU to fortify the resume.  This position is marginal at best.

UConn (15-6) (5-3) RPI 55 SoS 73
Vital signs:  5-4 R/N, non-con SoS 69, 2-2 vs. Top 50, 4-6 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Michigan, @Texas, Ohio St?
Bad losses:  Temple at home is the worst one
The good news is there’s really a lack of catastrophic losses, and there’s a couple wins that you can actually point and be proud at.  Still, sub-.500 against the top 100 is going to be untenable in March.  Not much chance for self-correction in conference play, but that’s the only path forward now.  Expect this resume to go down to the wire.

Tulsa (14-7) (6-3) RPI 64 SoS 66
Vital signs:  6-4 R/N, non-con SoS 77, 1-2 vs. Top 50, 3-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Wichita St, UConn, and buh
Bad losses:  ORU at home, @Houston perhaps
Barely on this page thanks to Wichita St, and workable vital signs.  Not a great chance, but a chance, to stay relevant in the bubble picture.

NIT watch:
Temple (12-8) (6-3) RPI 76 SoS 67 – Yeah, they beat SMU and @UConn and Cincy…and also lost to Houston and @ECU and several other more tolerable ones.  I could be persuaded to go the other way on this and at least list them on the bubble.  But I’m just not feeling it.

EIEIO/Vegas watch:
Houston (15-6) (5-4) RPI 131 SoS 210 – Oh yeah, beat Tulsa and Temple and LSU and…has a non-con SoS of 337.  Nope.
Memphis (13-8) (4-4) RPI 124 SoS 97
Central Florida (10-9) (4-4) RPI 194 SoS 209

No postseason:
Well played, SMU (19-1, 8-1).  You’re the only surefire tournament team in the conference and you’re not even eligible.  They’re vacuuming all the in-conference wins and keeping everyone else from getting a signature win.  This can lead to the catastrophic one-bid scenario, which is very much in play.  I doubt it comes to pass, just because Cincy and UConn are too good of teams to mess it up.  But still, this is closer than this conference ever should’ve been to 1 bid.  At the bottom, we’ve got East Carolina (10-12, 2-7), South Florida (5-18, 2-8), and Tulane (8-15, 1-9).  At least their RPIs trend towards the low 200s instead of the high 200s.



Valparaiso (17-4) (9-1) RPI 38 SoS 156
Vital signs:  8-4 R/N, non-con SoS 51, 0-1 vs. Top 50, 3-2 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Oregon St, @URI?  IPFW?
Bad losses:  @Wright St and @Ball St aren’t great
I want to give this profile a chance.  A good road record mark, a good strong non-con SoS (a loss to Oregon is mixed in there), not awful vital signs.  But the Oregon St win is not as great, and there is no chance of another signature win anywhere.  The margin of error is beyond thin for them.  It’s paper-thin.  I’m just not sure where this profile goes with another loss.

EIEIO/Vegas watch:
Wright St (11-10) (7-3) RPI 170 SoS 189
Milwaukee (13-7) (6-3) RPI 151 SoS 248
Oakland (14-8) (6-3) RPI 142 SoS 212
Green Bay (11-9) (5-4) RPI 162 SoS 236 – There’s not much difference in teams 2-5 in this conference.  They’re all kinda the same as far as bracketology purposes go, and all of them will have a landing spot in an EIEIO tournament.

No postseason:
At least the conference had the foresight to separate into an upper class and lower class.  Detroit (8-11, 4-6), Youngstown St (7-14, 4-6), Cleveland St (5-16, 2-8), and UIC (1-18, 1-9) are a pretty clear lower tier.  Northern Kentucky (6-12, 4-5), meanwhile, is still reclassifying.



Monmouth (17-5) (9-2) RPI 37 SoS 127
Vital signs:  11-5 R/N, non-con SoS 16, 2-2 vs. Top 50, 5-2 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @UCLA, N-Notre Dame, N-USC
Bad losses:  @Canisius, @Army, @Manhattan
So there’s plenty going on here.  A whopping 16 road/neutral games already, and the committee has shown they’ll reward teams that do that.  3 bad road losses are somewhat masked by many signature road wins (toss Georgetown in there as well).  Great non-con SoS.  All and all, this is an at-large team, plain and simple.  The issue?  The conference is filled with landmines yet to come.

EIEIO/Vegas watch:
Siena (15-7) (8-3) RPI 86 SoS 174 – Is Siena within NIT range?  Probably not given the lack of true signature win that most teams like them need for the at-large.
Iona (11-9) (8-3) RPI 179 SoS 207
Fairfield (12-9) (6-5) RPI 153 SoS 170

No postseason:
St Peter’s (8-11, 6-4) isn’t even above .500 despite leading the conference for a little bit.  This is a clue towards the overall disappointment of the conference, lower than they usually are in the CRPI.  The failures:  Manhattan (8-11, 5-5), Rider (9-13, 5-6), Canisius (10-13, 5-7), Niagara (6-17, 4-8), Quinnipiac (6-13, 3-7), and Marist (4-16, 1-10).

Mountain West


San Diego St (14-6) (9-0) RPI 47 SoS 58
Vital signs:  7-3 R/N, non-con SoS 15, 1-3 vs. Top 50, 3-4 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Cal, @Boise, @LBSU?
Bad losses:  Grand Canyon
The situation has become untenable for the MWC, and SDSU is their only hope now.  It’s not that great a resume, either.  The strong non-con (with very few tangible results from them) will help the cause, and the road/neutral record is solid too.  However, they are in desperate need of a couple more quality wins, and aren’t going to get them because of the rest of the conference.  Not a good position to be in, because they can’t gain ground quickly on the bubble.

NIT watch:
Boise St (13-7) (6-3) RPI 87 SoS 103 – I can’t even make the case, even with a win over Oregon.  Back to back losses to UNLV and New Mexico have killed the value of the resume, and nothing is overwhelming in the vital signs to make me change my mind.  However, nothing is fatal either, so we’ll revisit in a couple weeks if we have to.

EIEIO/Vegas watch:
New Mexico (13-8) (6-2) RPI 123 SoS 131
Fresno St (12-7) (5-3) RPI 114 SoS 139
Nevada (11-8) (5-4) RPI 120 SoS 153
Colorado St (10-9) (4-4) RPI 197 SoS 215
UNLV (11-9) (4-5) RPI 121 SoS 93 – Man, what a random hodgepodge of teams.  Or, more accurately, a mess.  They all feel the same.  UNLV beat Oregon and Indiana and couldn’t back it up.  Everyone else in this list combined for 0 Top 75 wins.  Good job good effort, conference.

No postseason:
The conference is a catastrophic 12th in the RPI right now.  There’s really only one really bad link:  San Jose St (4-15, 2-8).  No one else is awful.  The real problem is no one is high at all, and everyone else is below average.  Wyoming (9-12, 4-6), Utah St (9-9, 3-6), and Air Force (8-12, 1-8) are all moderately disappointing.  Everyone is moderately disappointing, which makes the whole conference massively disappointing.


Should be in:
Wichita St (15-5) (10-0) RPI 31 SoS 86
Vital signs:  6-5 R/N, non-con SoS 5, 1-3 vs. Top 50, 3-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Utah, aaaand we might be done here.  Swept Evansville?
Bad losses:  they’re all inside the top 65
Well, there’s a distinct lack of signature wins given the opportunity (losing to USC, Iowa, among others).  But there’s injury reasons for that.  The committee loves teams that scheduled up, and they’re likely to give Wichita a break because of that.  They’re fine barring any bad losses (which is the one thing they’ve avoided so far).

NIT watch:
Evansville (17-5) (7-3) RPI 78 SoS 177 – The non-con SoS approaching 250 makes their case a non-starter.  N-Irvine is a fine win, but it can’t be the pillar that supports your at-large campaign.

EIEIO/Vegas watch:
Southern Illinois (18-5) (7-3) RPI 130 SoS 278 – Non-con SoS of 335.  That’s not optimal.
Indiana St (11-10) (6-4) RPI 122 SoS 95
Illinois St (11-11) (6-4) RPI 147 SoS 109 – They’ve got a top 10 non-con SoS.  Hey now.
Northern Iowa (11-11) (4-6) RPI 143 SoS 119 – Yep, beat UNC and Iowa St and this is where they’re at.

No postseason:
The conference itself is 13th in RPI.  A disaster this year.  Everyone has been a failure in one respect or another, because of injury (WSU), poor scheduling (UE, SIU), poor inexplicable form (UNI), or otherwise.  Loyola(Chi) (9-12, 3-7) is underperforming.  Also out:  Drake (5-16, 1-9) and Bradley (2-20, 1-9).



Chattanooga (16-3) (7-1) RPI 44 SoS 187
Vital signs:  10-3 R/N, non-con SoS 187, 1-1 vs. Top 50, 2-1 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Georgia, @Dayton, Illinois?
Bad losses:  @ULR, @Furman
Whoa, Chattanooga makes the bubble list?  For now, yes.  Two of these losses are legit problems (the other was Iowa St), and they did win at Dayton and have 10 road wins.  The committee will forgive bad road losses if you go on the road a bunch and win many other ones.  This is that case.  Of issue is that the non-con SoS is very poor for a mid-major candidate, but still.  That signature win over Dayton is very valuable right now and at least gets them in the door.

EIEIO/Vegas watch:
Furman (11-10) (7-3) RPI 185 SoS 230
Mercer (14-6) (6-3) RPI 132 SoS 299
East Tennessee St (11-9) (6-3) RPI 134 SoS 167 – A pretty uninspiring group chasing Chattanooga here.  Not even sure all deserve the postseason, but they’ll get a couple or all three in.

No postseason:
I have nothing much to say here.  Wofford (8-12, 6-3) and Samford (9-11, 2-7) aren’t complete zeroes, but it seems like UNC-Greensboro (5-14, 4-5), Citadel (7-12, 3-6), Western Carolina (5-14, 3-6), and VMI (3-14, 1-8) are going to actively harm Chattanooga’s profile simply by taking the court alongside them.

Sun Belt


Arkansas-Little Rock (17-2) (9-1) RPI 51 SoS 251
Vital signs:  10-2 R/N, non-con SoS 267, 1-1 vs. Top 50, 2-1 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @SDSU, @Tulsa
Bad losses:  @Arkansas St
The bad is the non-con SoS.  If you’re a mid-major, you have to schedule up to have a chance.  On the other hand, that road-neutral record is a shining beacon.  It’s going to be right on the edge, but they have no choice but to run the table or come close.  No margin of error when that SoS number is that poor.

NIT watch:
Texas-Arlington (13-6) (5-4) RPI 111 SoS 227 – A big downturn has buried UTA after they won at Ohio St and Memphis early.

EIEIO/Vegas watch:
Louisiana-Lafayette (9-8) (7-3) RPI 138 SoS 167 – Nothing notable in the resume, but second in this conference will be worth a postseason bid.
Georgia St (10-7) (5-5) RPI 127 SoS 165 – This one is less sure.

No postseason:
Louisiana-Monroe (8-11, 6-4) and Arkansas St (8-11, 6-4) could certainly get to .500 and get eligible.  The bottom five have no hope:  South Alabama (7-12, 4-6), Georgia Southern (6-12, 4-6), Appalachian St (6-15, 4-6), Texas St (7-9, 3-6), and Troy (4-15, 1-9).



St Mary’s (17-2) (9-1) RPI 39 SoS 188
Vital signs:  3-2 R/N, non-con SoS 212, 0-1 vs. Top 50, 4-2 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Gonzaga, Stanford, Irvine?
Bad losses:  none, do you want to count @Pepperdine?
The flaws are noticeable:  They played only one road game, and THEY STILL HAVEN’T LEFT THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA THIS ENTIRE SEASON.  The committee loves to bash this type of resume.  They can’t drop a road game against a bad team (Pepperdine doesn’t count as bad).  I’m scared to say this team is safe, and I’ll continue to say it the entire season no matter what.

Gonzaga (16-5) (9-2) RPI 73 SoS 115
Vital signs:  6-2 R/N, non-con SoS 44, 1-3 vs. Top 50, 3-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-UConn, N-Washington, and um.
Bad losses:  BYU at home
There’s good and there’s bad.  No bad losses to kill them, and a good road/neutral record.  Against them, a lack of big wins.  The losses are kinda manageable (UCLA and BYU and Arizona, all at home).  At some point you have to bink one, and they didn’t.  I just don’t feel very good about this resume, but the solid non-con SoS might be the difference.

NIT watch:
BYU (15-7) (7-3) RPI 59 SoS 117 – I just can’t quite make the case.  Good group of wins on paper (N-UNM, N-UNI, Gonzaga, Belmont, Utah St) but they all look worse based on how those teams are doing.  A loss at Portland is the dagger right now.

EIEIO/Vegas watch:
Pepperdine (13-8) (7-4) RPI 98 SoS 147
San Francisco (11-10) (5-6) RPI 225 SoS 277

No postseason:
The conference is 13th in the RPI.  That probably won’t end up hurting St Mary’s or Gonzaga, but it definitely could have.  That’s a big problem, and you can blame the bottom six teams for that.  San Fran might stay above .500, but the others are sub-200 in the RPI and hopeless:  Pacific (4-14, 4-6) is ineligible anyways, and there’s also Santa Clara (7-15, 4-7), Loyola Marymount (9-12, 3-8), Portland (8-15, 3-8), and San Diego (6-14, 2-8).

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