Saturday, February 28, 2015

3/1 preview

Michigan St at Wisconsin - obviously this won't hurt MSU, but they're in a position where they sure can use the help
Oregon at Stanford - a deluxe bubble game
Purdue at Ohio St - another deluxe bubble game.  And OSU might need it more

Among those who need to hold:  SMU at UConn and Providence vs. Marquette, for seeding purposes.  Pitt's at Wake, UCLA hosts Washington St

2/28 recap

Signature wins!  Signature wins everywhere!

Big 12:
@Oklahoma 67, TCU 60
@Kansas St 70, Iowa St 69 - K-State's on the bubble, I guess.  I mean...what would YOU do with them?  There's too many signature wins to ignore.  I have no idea what to do with them...or Iowa St for that matter, who will bleed a seed line, and maybe more, with this
@Baylor 78, West Virginia 66
@Texas Tech 63, Oklahoma St 62 - OSU, you're still a lock, but I'd prefer you make my life easier
@Kansas 69, Texas 64

Louisville 81, @Florida St 59
@Boston College 79, NC State 63 - what?!?!?!?!  Well I guess they're picking the right games to win, but this is an absolutely horrific loss
@Clemson 70, Georgia Tech 63 (OT)
North Carolina 73, @Miami 64 - this won't hurt Miami, but they're in the position where they need to help themselves
@Virginia 69, Virginia Tech 57
@Duke 73, Syracuse 54

Big 10:
@Maryland 66, Michigan 56
Iowa 81, @Penn St 77 (OT) - jesus, Iowa
@Illinois 86, Northwestern 60

Big East:
@St John's 81, Georgetown 70 - GU is in a tight battle on the 4-6 lines, can't afford losses like these; St John's is about to visit the lockbox
Villanova 78, @Xavier 66 - this won't hurt X
Butler 67, @DePaul 53
@Seton Hall 67, Creighton 66

Arizona 63, @Utah 57- Zona, welcome back to the discussion for a 1 seed
@USC 70, Washington 55

@Georgia 68, Missouri 44
@LSU 73, Ole Miss 63 - not the greatest week for Ole Miss.  Still in the field, but gave away some margin for error.  However, by losing to Georgia and LSU, they're really helping the rest of the conference out
@Kentucky 84, Arkansas 67
@Vanderbilt 73, Alabama 66
@South Carolina 81, Mississippi St 68
@Florida 66, Tennessee 49
@Texas A&M 80, Auburn 55

Cincinnati 63, @Tulane 47
Tulsa 74, @Memphis 72 (OT) - Tulsa really insists on being as borderline a bubble team as possible, huh?

Rhode Island 59, @LaSalle 56
Dayton 59, @VCU 55 - VCU bleeding significant seed lines; Dayton very close to the lockbox
@St Bonaventure 92, Duquesne 75
@UMass 82, Fordham 74
@Davidson 77, George Washington 66 - at some point, I just might put Davidson in my field
Richmond 63, @St Joseph's 57

@Wichita St 74, Northern Iowa 60
Indiana St 60, @Bradley 52
Illinois St 69, @Evansville 67 (OT)

Utah St 74, @Air Force 60
Boise St 56, @San Diego St 46 - signature win!
@UNLV 69, Wyoming 57
@Fresno St 59, New Mexico 55

@Santa Clara 71, St Mary's 70 - bye, St Mary's
BYU 73, @Gonzaga 70 - and hellooooooooooooooooooooo BYU!
@Pepperdine 65, Loyola Marymount 49

Small conferences:
- Stephen F Austin 102, @Houston Baptist 87.  And perhaps just as big, Sam Houston St finally messed up and lost on the road at TAMU-CC...SFA's finally got solo possession of the Southland lead
- MAC:  Central Michigan loses, so we're back to a 3-way CMU/BGU/Toledo tie.  2 to play
- Bucknell wins, clinches the Patriot League
- North Florida wins and is your A-Sun champ (FGCU loses again anyways)
- Texas Southern beats Alabama St to get control of the SWAC
- Green Bay wins over Oakland, which is important because they won't have an auto-bid to the NIT
- UC-Irvine loses, and UC-Davis leads by 2 with 2 to play in the Big West
- It was the final day in CAA play, and things got sideways.  UNC-Wilmington and William & Mary tied for the lead...and both lost.  Northeastern and James Madison were one back...and both won.  The result?  4-way tie!  Bill & Mary get the 1 seed and the NIT bid.
- Harvard and Yale win again in the Ivy
- Big Sky:  Montana beats EWU on the road; Sac State back in the lead there, but it's a 3-team race
- Final day in the greatest conference race ever, the Big South.  Charleston Southern beats High Point in 3OT..both finish 13-5 at the top, CSU gets the tiebreaker and NIT bid.  3 teams finish 12-6, one back
- CUSA:  Old Dominion 70, @North Texas 57 in bubble news.  In conference race news, LaTech wins again, and just about has the hammer on this conference race
- SoCon:  Wofford wins again
- The Sun Belt is eventful again - your co-leaders Louisiana-Monroe and Georgia Southern lost, and that means Georgia St pulled even with both.
- Conference undefeateds Murray St and NCCU win
- South Dakota St lost to end up sharing the Summit title with NDSU.  SDSU has the 1 seed though

Missouri Valley conference tournament preview

This is part 1 of a 33-part series in this blog, designed to give you all the information you need to know about every conference's tournament, and the postseason prospects of every single team in the conference.

Final standings:
Wichita St 17-1
Northern Iowa 16-2
Indiana St 11-7
Illinois St 11-7
Evansville 9-9
Loyola(Chi) 8-10
Drake 6-12
Missouri St 5-13
Southern Illinois 4-14
Bradley 3-15

Conference tournament format:  All 10 are heading to a neutral court in St Louis.  Traditional setup.  Played from Thursday March 5 to Sunday March 8.

1) Wichita St vs. 8/9) Missouri St/Southern Illinois
4) Illinois St vs. 5) Evansville
2) Northern Iowa vs. 7/10) Drake/Bradly
3) Indiana St vs. 6) Loyola(Chi)

The stakes:
Not a lot, frankly.  Well, some for UNI and Wichita, who are playing for seeding.  Right now, they could go anywhere from 4 to 7 based on your resume preferences.  Absorbing a loss before the title game would probably be worth two seeding lines.  If they meet in the finals, assume the winner will get a higher seed, and pencil them into the 4-7 range.

Everyone else is beyond reach of the NIT.  Your 3 seed, Indiana St, is under .500 against D-1 teams, at 14-15.  They need to reach the finals just to be NIT-eligible, and even then, they are way too far off the pace.  So is Illinois St, with the caveat that an upset win over Wichita might blip the NIT's radar.  The problem is such a win would only be their second top 100 win.

So pencil Illinois St, Evansville in for a CBI/CIT, if they want to play.  Indiana St would likely have the same option, although the CIT requires a .500 record.  Loyola is over .500 for the season, and should probably receive an invite as well.  The bottom 4 have been truly well and awful this year.

Friday, February 27, 2015

2/28 preview

Impact games.  Impact games everywhere!

Georgetown at St John's - G'town is playing for seeding, St John's isn't safe yet
Northern Iowa at Wichita St - this will help sort out the 4 line
North Carolina at Miami - signature win chance for a team in a conference that is bleeding signature wins right now to bubble teams
Villanova at Xavier - while X isn't safe, this is still a house money chance for them
Dayton at VCU - chance for Dayton to visit the lockbox, VCU is down to a 7 seed and could easily lose more seeding lines
Ole Miss at LSU - Ole Miss is still probably okay with a loss, but it removes most of their remaining margin of error.  Big game for LSU itself, of course
West Virginia at Baylor - typical Big 12 game
Arkansas at Kentucky - big implications for Arkansas' seed
High Point at Charleston Southern - HPU wins the Big South with a win, a loss brings all sorts of ties into play, including CSU
Texas at Kansas - it's almost not fair to call this mandatory for Texas, but it kinda is
Montana at Eastern Washington - both are part of a 4-way logjam at the top of the Big Sky
Texas Southern at Alabama St - for the SWAC lead with 2 to play
George Washington at Davidson - probably too late for GWU, now's the time for Davidson though
Tulsa at Memphis - not a trivial game for Tulsa
Boise St at San Diego St - all the wins to stay on the bubble, it's all building towards this moment for Boise
Arizona at Utah - Utah can almost lock itself on the 3 line with a win (I think the 2 line might be beyond them).  For 'Zona, it's their last best chance at a signature win to state their 1 seed case, because it seems like they're a half-step behind the Nova/Wisky/Gonzaga tier right now
BYU at Gonzaga - it's the season for BYU

On top of this, several conferences end season play.  And a myriad of other bubble teams in must-hold situation.  TOO MANY GAMES

2/27 recap

- Valparaiso 56, @Cleveland St 53 - Valpo wins the Horizon
- Iona wins yet again and seems very solid to make the 12 line
- Harvard loses on the road at Cornell, and Yale beating Princeton means Harvard and Yale are square on 9-2.  3 to play

S-Curve 2/27

Mostly cosmetic changes, but enough seedings changed.

We'll see if Harvard and Valpo force me to revise early Saturday.

The 1 line:  Kentucky (28-0), Virginia (26-1), Duke (25-3), Gonzaga (28-1)
The 2 line:  Villanova (26-2), Wisconsin (25-3), Arizona (25-3), Kansas (22-6)
The 3 line:  Utah (21-5), Maryland (23-5), Iowa St (20-7), Notre Dame (24-5)
The 4 line:  Oklahoma (19-8), Northern Iowa (27-2), Baylor (20-7), Wichita St (25-3)
The 5 line:  North Carolina (19-9), Louisville (22-6), Providence (19-9), Georgetown (18-8)
The 6 line:  Arkansas (23-5), SMU (22-5), Butler (20-8), West Virginia (22-6)
The 7 line:  VCU (21-7), Oklahoma St (16-10), San Diego St (21-6), Xavier (18-11)
The 8 line:  Cincinnati (19-9), Ole Miss (19-9), North Carolina St (17-11), Indiana (19-10)
The 9 line:  Michigan St (19-9), Iowa (18-10), Colorado St (23-5), St John's (19-9)
The 10 line:  Dayton (21-6), Ohio St (20-8), LSU (20-8), Oregon (20-8)
The 11 line:  Georgia (18-9), Texas (17-11), Purdue (19-9), Temple (20-9), Stanford (18-9)
The 12 line:  UCLA (17-12), Pittsburgh (18-10), Stephen F Austin (20-4), Wofford (22-6), Iona (23-6)
The 13 line:  Harvard (17-5), Murray St (23-4), Louisiana Tech (21-7), Eastern Washington (18-7)
The 14 line:  Valparaiso (22-5), William & Mary (16-10), UC-Davis (19-5), Central Michigan (18-5)
The 15 line:  South Dakota St (19-8), High Point (19-7), North Carolina Central (18-6), Albany (20-8)
The 16 line:  New Mexico St (17-10), Texas Southern (15-12), Louisiana-Monroe (15-9), North Florida (16-11), St Francis(NY) (20-9), Bucknell (16-13)

Bubble in:
Ole Miss
North Carolina St
Michigan St
Colorado St
St John's
Ohio St

Next 4 in:

Last 4 in:

Last 4 out:
Miami (18-10)
Tulsa (20-6)
Davidson (19-6)
Texas A&M (19-8)

Next 4 out:
Boise St (19-7)
Illinois (17-11)
Old Dominion (21-6)
BYU (20-8)

2/27 preview

Game of the year in the Horizon:  12-3 Valparaiso at 11-4 Cleveland St.  Finale.  A Valpo win clinches the Horizon.  A Cleveland St win ties the two at 12-4...and then Oakland plays at Green Bay on Saturday, both of those teams are 11-4.  So we would have a 3-way tie atop the Horizon.  As best I can tell, Cleveland St would win a 3-way CSU/Valpo/GB tiebreaker for the 1 seed, and if Oakland won, as best as I can tell, the tiebreaker would go so deep between Oakland and Cleveland St that it would depend on the finish of the bottom 3 teams in the conference.

tl;dr pray Valpo wins or we have a tiebreaker mess on our hands

On Ivy Friday, Harvard at Cornell and Princeton at Yale

Iona's already clinched the MAAC, they have Manhattan at home

Thursday, February 26, 2015

2/26 recap

No one really had a signature win.  This was all about holding serve today.  One team failed to hold.

Catastrophic losses:
Minnesota 96, @Michigan St 90 (OT) - home loss to Minny?  what a disaster.  So much goodwill given away

Holding serve:
@Temple 66, Houston 54
@Ohio St 81, Nebraska 57
Old Dominion 63, @Rice 54
Arizona 82, @Colorado 54
SMU 66, @Memphis 57
@Purdue 92, Rutgers 85
BYU 82, @Portland 69
@Utah 83, Arizona St 41
@Gonzaga 59, San Diego 39
St Mary's 84, @San Francisco 53
@Stanford 75, Oregon St 48

- In the SoCon, Wofford and Chattanooga wins, Wofford is 1 up with 1 to play
- Big doings in the Big South.  High Point wins on the road to go to 13-4.  And literally all the other contenders lost.  Charleston Southern down on the road, they're on 12-5.  Coastal Carolina loses on the road, they're on 12-6.  Winthrop and Radford both could've backdoored back into the race, and both lost.
- High Point at Charleston Southern, 13-4 at 12-5.  Last game for both, conference will be decided here
- CAA:  Northeastern lost a bad one on the road to Elon.  CAA race, with one to play, has W&M and UNCW tied at 12-5
- Sun Belt:  Georgia Southern and UL-Monroe win, so joint 13-4 for them, 3 to play.  Georgia St lost to go one back
- North Dakota St lost in the Summit, so South Dakota St leads by a half-game
- @Louisiana Tech 77, UTEP 60.  LaTech on 13-3, UTEP and UAB at 11-4, 1.5 back.  It's getting late on that race
- Murray St won again, 15-0 OVC
- Green Bay wins, so that Horizon race is even more complicated
- Big Sky, new standings:  EWU and Sac St on 12-3, Montana on 12-4, UNA on 11-4.  Still a week and a half left in this race
- UC-Davis loses in the Big West, their lead down to 1 over Irvine.  3 to play
- Vanderbilt 73, @Tennessee 65

2/26 preview

There are quite a few must-hold situations out there on the bubble today.  No one really has a signature win chance, though.

Houston at Temple
Minnesota at Michigan St
Nebraska at Ohio St
Rutgers at Purdue
BYU at Portland
St Mary's at San Francisco
Oregon St at Stanford

Let's see who messes this up.

- Lots of Big South games; we'll deal with those standings tomorrow
- UTEP at Louisiana Tech in CUSA should go a long way towards deciding the race.  Old Dominion has a must-hold situation at Rice
- It's getting late in several conference races.  Key games in the Sun Belt, Big Sky, Summit

2/25 recap

Signature wins:
Davidson 60, @Rhode Island 59 - it's not a fancy win, but it's a road win over a bubble team, and Davidson is now your prime candidate for a 3rd NCAA team
Baylor 79, @Iowa St 70 - the race on the 3 and 4 lines is very tight, and ISU has lost pole position in that race.  Baylor...right on the 3/4 edge
@Iowa 68, Illinois 60 - maybe stretching the definition of a signature win, but this should come close to keeping Iowa in the field for good.  They're staying a half-step ahead of Purdue and UI right now, and that's enough
Georgia 76, @Ole Miss 72 - Ole Miss has been so hot I don't think this hurts (the next loss would, though).  Georgia gets a signature road win

Catastrophic losses:
@Richmond 67, VCU 63 (2OT) - VCU could do some real serious seed damage
@Northwestern 72, Indiana 65 - IU is still probably a loss away from any real bubble danger, but this was a poor spot to have to use your mulligan
St Joseph's 82, @UMass 71 - whatever faint hopes UMass had have left the building with this catastrophic home loss
Fresno St 64, @Wyoming 59 - for everyone who still had Wyoming in play, stop it

Holding serve on the top line:
Kentucky 74, @Mississippi St 56
Virginia 70, @Wake Forest 34 - it'll take multiple losses to budge either of these teams off their position
Duke 91, @Virginia Tech 86 (OT)

Holding serve elsewhere:
@Dayton 76, George Mason 53 - the A-10 title race is a bit of a subplot compared to the bubble race, but with 3 to play, we have a 4-way tie at 11-4 (Dayton, VCU, Davidson, URI)
Wichita St 63, @Indiana St 53
@Cincinnati 83, Central Florida 60 - I think Cincy's going to be okay here
@Butler 73, Marquette 52
@Tulsa 76, Tulane 55
@Northern Iowa 68, Evansville 57
@Miami 81, Florida St 77
@Colorado St 72, San Jose St 56
@UCLA 88, Washington 66
Oregon 80, @California 69 - a quiet night for the Pac-12, which is the best type of night this time of year

NIT watch:
UConn 60, @East Carolina 49
@Fordham 63, LaSalle 48
@George Washington 69, St Bonaventure 46
@TCU 71, Texas Tech 54
@Illinois St 73, Southern Illinois 56
Loyola(Chi) 80, @Drake 75 (OT)

- The Patriot title is still in play.  Bucknell loses on the road at Lehigh, and Colgate is one back with one to play, with tiebreaker in hand
- North Florida beats FGCU on the road.  They're tied with 1 to play, but UNF has tiebreaker in hand
- Albany salts away the A-East race
- Valpo, with a chance to clinch the Horizon, loses on the road at Detroit.  Valpo at Cleveland St this weekend.  Cleveland St is one back.  12-3 at 11-4.  What makes this even more complicated is Oakland is also on 11-4 and Green Bay is 10-4.  Things could get very weird with tiebreakers here
- In the Colonial, UNC-Wilmington beats James Madison, and William & Mary wins.  Currently:  W&M 12-5, UNCW 12-5, Northeastern 11-5, JMU 11-6.  Still a lot of possibilities here
- Toledo with a terrible loss at home to Northern Illinois.  3 to play for everyone in the MAC, and after Akon, Buffalo, BGU, Kent St, and's now Central Michigan's turn to represent the MAC in all your brackets
- By law, I include every score from every power conference.  So Washington St 70, @USC 66.  There you go.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

S-Curve 2/25

Enough happened on Tuesday to make me want to update.  Changes on the 1 line and 3 line, particularly.

The 1 line:  Kentucky (27-0), Virginia (25-1), Duke (24-3), Gonzaga (27-1)
The 2 line:  Villanova (26-2), Wisconsin (25-3), Arizona (24-3), Kansas (22-6)
The 3 line:  Iowa St (20-6), Utah (20-5), Maryland (23-5), Notre Dame (24-5)
The 4 line:  Oklahoma (19-8), Northern Iowa (26-2), Baylor (20-7), Wichita St (24-3)
The 5 line:  North Carolina (19-9), Louisville (21-6), VCU (21-6), Providence (19-9)
The 6 line:  Georgetown (18-8), Arkansas (23-5), SMU (21-5), Butler (19-8)
The 7 line:  West Virginia (22-6), Oklahoma St (17-10), Indiana (19-9), San Diego St (21-6)
The 8 line:  Ole Miss (19-8), Michigan St (19-8), Xavier (18-11),  Cincinnati (18-9)
The 9 line:  Iowa (17-10), North Carolina St (17-11), Colorado St (22-5), St John's (19-9)
The 10 line:  Dayton (20-6), Ohio St (19-8), LSU (20-8), Oregon (19-8)
The 11 line:  Texas (17-11), Purdue (18-9), Temple (19-9), Georgia (17-9), Stanford (17-9)
The 12 line:  UCLA (16-12), Pittsburgh (18-10), Stephen F Austin (20-4), Wofford (21-6), Iona (23-6)
The 13 line:  Harvard (17-5), Murray St (22-4), Lousiana Tech (20-7), Valparaiso (22-4)
The 14 line:  William & Mary (15-10), UC-Davis (19-4), Central Michigan (18-5), South Dakota St (19-8)
The 15 line:  High Point (19-7), FGCU (18-7), North Carolina Central (18-6), Albany (19-8)
The 16 line:  New Mexico St (17-10), Texas Southern (15-12), Georgia Southern (16-6), Sacramento St (16-8), St Francis(NY) (19-9), Bucknell (16-12)

2/25 preview

North Florida at FGCU - a FGCU win clinches the A-Sun; a UNF win ties the race with 1 to go, and UNF would have the tiebreaker in hand and a home game against terrible Stetson.  So this is the de-facto conference championship
Davidson at Rhode Island - two bubble teams on the fringes.  The winner gets a solid resume boost, the loser might be too far gone in the bubble race.  Game of the day
James Madison at UNC-Wilmington - two of the four teams tied for the CAA lead
Baylor at Iowa St - massive seeding implications
Illinois at Iowa - massive bubble implications
Georgia at Ole Miss - Ole Miss is safer, and Georgia needs this more.  They desperately need something resembling a signature win

Bubble teams in need of holding serve:
Oregon at Cal, Cincy hosting UCF, Tulsa hosting Tulane, Miami hosting FSU, UCLA hosting Washington

2/24 recap

Signature wins:
@Maryland 59, Wisconsin 53 - Maryland up to the 3 line, Wisconsin down to the 2 line for me.  This is the impact win Maryland needed to hang onto their top 4 seed
@Villanova 89, Providence 61 - it's more the margin of victory that's important, because Nova smashing their opponents will get them by Gonzaga in the S-Curve eventually
North Carolina St 58, @North Carolina 46 - signature road win!  They've now taken road games off of Louisville and UNC, and are all of a sudden cooking with gas here.  All they need to do is beat BC on the road, split with @Clemson and Syracuse, and they might be all set

Catastrophic losses:
@West Virginia 71, Texas 64 - this doesn't hurt in the micro view, but in the macro, it's yet another loss.  Gotta beat someone
Syracuse 65, @Notre Dame 60 - these are the losses that make people pay more attention to your non-con SoS

Holding serve:
LSU 84, @Auburn 61
@Arkansas 81, Texas A&M 75 - A&M stays out of my field; this won't hurt them, but it doesn't help either
@Pittsburgh 71, Boston College 65
@Boise St 76, New Mexico 65

- In the MAC, Kent lost and CMU won.  Central Michigan, with Toledo not playing yesterday, has temporary full possession of the MAC lead
- NIT watch:  @Alabama 59, South Carolina 51; @Utah St 83, UNLV 65; and @Missouri 64, Florida 52 as UF is now too far gone for even the NIT
- Creighton 75, @DePaul 62.  It took all season, but DePaul is finally acting like DePaul

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bracket 2/24

Fun bracket fact of the day:  the way it fell, I got Xavier/Dayton in Columbus.  That might be fun.

1) Kentucky (27-0) vs. 16) Georgia Southern (16-6)/Bucknell (14-12)
8) Michigan St (19-8) vs. 9) Colorado St (22-5)
4) Baylor (20-7) vs. 13) Valparaiso (22-4)
5) Louisville (21-6) vs. 12) Stephen F Austin (20-4)
3) Notre Dame (24-4) vs. 14) Kent St (18-8)
6) Georgetown (18-8) vs. 11) Georgia (17-9)/Stanford (17-9)
2) Arizona (24-3) vs. 15) North Carolina Central (18-6)
7) Oklahoma St (17-10) vs. 10) LSU (19-8)

1) Wisconsin (25-2) vs. 16) Texas Southern (15-12)
8) Xavier (18-11) vs. 9) Dayton (20-6)
4) North Carolina (19-8) vs. 13) Louisiana Tech (20-7)
5) VCU (21-6) Vs. 12) Wofford (21-6)
3) Iowa St (20-6) vs. 14) South Dakota St (19-8)
6) Arkansas (22-5) vs. 11) Purdue (18-9)
2) Gonzaga (27-1) vs. 15) Albany (19-8)
7) San Diego St (21-6) vs. 10) Texas (17-10)

1) Duke (24-3) vs. 16) New Mexico St (17-10)
8) Ole Miss (19-8) vs. 9) Iowa (17-10)
4) Northern Iowa (26-2) vs. 13) Murray St (22-4)
5) Providence (19-8) vs. 12) UCLA (16-12)/Pittsburgh (17-10)
3) Utah (20-5) vs. 14) UC-Davis (19-4)
6) Butler (19-8) vs. 11) Temple (19-9)
2) Kansas (22-6) vs. 15) FGCU (18-7)
7) Indiana (19-9) vs. 10) Oregon (19-8)

1) Virginia (25-1) vs. 16) Sacramento St (16-8)/St Francis(NY) (19-9)
8) Cincinnati (18-9) vs. 9) St John's (19-9)
4) Maryland (22-5) vs. 13) Harvard (17-5)
5) Wichita St (24-3) vs. 12) Iona (23-6)
3) Oklahoma (19-8) vs. 14) William & Mary (15-10)
6) SMU (21-5) vs. 11) North Carolina St (16-11)
2) Villanova (25-2) vs. 15) High Point (19-7)
7) West Virginia (21-6) vs. 10) Ohio St (19-8)

S-Curve 2/24

The 1 line:  Kentucky (27-0), Virginia (25-1), Duke (24-3), Wisconsin (25-2)
The 2 line:  Gonzaga (27-1), Villanova (25-2), Arizona (24-3), Kansas (22-6)
The 3 line:  Iowa St (20-6), Notre Dame (24-4), Utah (20-5), Oklahoma (19-8)
The 4 line:  Maryland (22-5), North Carolina (19-8), Northern Iowa (26-2), Baylor (20-7)
The 5 line:  Wichita St (24-3), Louisville (21-6), VCU (21-6), Providence (19-8)
The 6 line:  Georgetown (18-8), Arkansas (22-5), SMU (21-5), Butler (19-8)
The 7 line:  West Virginia (21-6), Oklahoma St (17-10), Indiana (19-9), San Diego St (21-6)
The 8 line:  Ole Miss (19-8), Michigan St (19-8), Xavier (18-11),  Cincinnati (18-9)
The 9 line:  Iowa (17-10), Colorado St (22-5), St John's (19-9), Dayton (20-6)
The 10 line:  Ohio St (19-8), LSU (19-8), Oregon (19-8), Texas (17-10)
The 11 line:  Purdue (18-9), North Carolina St (16-11), Temple (19-9), Georgia (17-9), Stanford (17-9)
The 12 line:  UCLA (16-12), Pittsburgh (17-10), Stephen F Austin (20-4), Wofford (21-6), Iona (23-6)
The 13 line:  Harvard (17-5), Murray St (22-4), Lousiana Tech (20-7), Valparaiso (22-4)
The 14 line:  Kent St (18-8), William & Mary (15-10), UC-Davis (19-4), South Dakota St (19-8)
The 15 line:  High Point (19-7), FGCU (18-7), North Carolina Central (18-6), Albany (19-8)
The 16 line:  New Mexico St (17-10), Texas Southern (15-12), Georgia Southern (16-6), Sacramento St (16-8), St Francis(NY) (19-9), Bucknell (16-12)

Bubble in:
Colorado St
St John's
Ohio St

Next 4 in:
North Carolina St

Last 4 in:

Last 4 out:
Texas A&M (19-7)
Illinois (17-10)
Miami (17-10)
Tulsa (19-6)

Next 4 out:
Boise St (18-7)
Davidson (18-6)
Old Dominion (20-6)
Rhode Island (18-6)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Bubble Watch 2/23

Time has prevented me from breaking this out over multiple posts.  Also, no review of the bottom 22 conferences due to time constraints.  We'll hit each individual one starting next week anyways.

Big 12

The Lockbox

Kansas (22-5) (11-3) RPI 1 SoS 1
Vital signs:  8-5 R/N, non-con SoS 2, 9-5 vs. Top 50, 13-5 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 77/19
Signature wins:  Utah, Iowa St, @G’town, a slew of Big 12 wins
Bad losses:  perhaps @Temple, in context
I want to point your attention to the avg W/L.  As a reminder, that is the average RPI of the teams Kansas has won and lost against.  The average RPI win is 77.  Everyone else is above 100.  That is insane.  Kansas’ raw SoS is around .6700.  The #2 SoS is somewhere around .6200.  Those are two insane numbers keeping Kansas in the 1 line conversation for now.  However, 8-5 road/neutral might be the counterweight.

Iowa St (20-6) (10-4) RPI 9 SoS 10
Vital signs:  6-6 R/N, non-con SoS 99, 8-4 vs. Top 50, 11-5 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 116/53
Signature wins:  Kansas, Arkansas, sweeps of WVU, OSU, Texas
Bad losses:  @TTU, N-South Carolina
Key games late:  they host both Baylor and Oklahoma.  They might need both to ensure they’re the second highest Big 12 team to be seeded, and therefore to get the inside track to the Omaha regional.

Oklahoma (19-8) (10-5) RPI 16 SoS 15
Vital signs:  7-7 R/N, non-con SoS 88, 10-4 vs. Top 50, 10-5 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 111/60
Signature wins:  Iowa St, N-Butler, Baylor and WVU
Bad losses:  @Creighton, swept by K-State
They’ve done enough to enter the lockbox, with an insane 10 Top 50 wins, including 5 of those being road/neutral.  They’ve done enough to erase their missteps; now the challenge is seeding.  It’s very tight between several teams in this conference, and the conference tourney may be very useful here.  They have just enough questionable losses to keep them from safely being Big 12 #3.  Games with Kansas and Iowa St do remain, though.

Baylor (20-7) (8-6) RPI 14 SoS 9
Vital signs:  6-5 R/N, non-con SoS 47, 5-5 vs. Top 50, 8-6 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 120/34
Signature wins:  Iowa St, Oklahoma, @WVU
Bad losses:  @K-State, N-Illinois?
It’s a pretty bland profile for a Top 15 RPI team, frankly.  They only have two R/N wins inside the top 100 (Memphis is the second).  They’ll make the tournament, but they lack the impact wins.  5 Top 50 is great, but compare them to everyone else in the conference, and realize it’s lacking a bit.  Of course, there’s still time to fix it.

West Virginia (21-6) (9-5) RPI 24 SoS 49
Vital signs:  11-3 R/N, non-con SoS 197, 4-5 vs. Top 50, 6-6 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 149/24
Signature wins:  Kansas, @Oklahoma St, Oklahoma
Bad losses:  the worst by far is LSU
A profile that is good enough to be a lock at this stage, but man, it’s really tough to argue a high, high seed.  The bad loss avoidance is good, though.  Their non-con SoS is uncomfortably low.  And once again, they still have impact games left so we’ll see.


Oklahoma St (17-10) (7-8) RPI 29 SoS 5
Vital signs:  6-6 R/N, non-con SoS 113, 6-7 vs. Top 50, 8-8 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 124/42
Signature wins:  Kansas, swept Baylor, @Tulsa
Bad losses:  @TCU, K-State, and S. Carolina
Not quite locked because they still have two chances at ugly losses with just 3 games left in their regular season.  They’re almost out of impact chances (@WVU) to help their seed, so there’s still a bit of consternation on my end here.

Texas (17-10) (6-8) RPI 40 SoS 19
Vital signs:  6-5 R/N, non-con SoS 90, 1-9 vs. Top 50, 4-9 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 160/18
Signature wins:  WVU, N-Iowa, @UConn?
Bad losses:  Stanford at home is by far the worst
Here’s the deal:  when you play eleventy billion games against the top teams…you have to win every once in a while.  Of course, Cal and @UConn were supposed to be quality wins, but both fell back.  And in conference, WVU at home is the only time they’ve taken a game off the top 6 teams.  Probably definitely need a second.  Another chance at WVU and Baylor are the ones to watch, assuming Kansas takes care of them.


The Lockbox

Virginia (25-1) (13-1) RPI 3 SoS 12
Vital signs:  11-0 R/N, non-con SoS 23, 6-1 vs. Top 50, 14-1 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 106/4
Signature wins:  @Maryland, @UNC, @Notre Dame…
Bad losses:  nope
It’s still going to take multiple losses for them not to be #2 ovearll.

Duke (24-3) (11-3) RPI 4 SoS 7
Vital signs:  11-2 R/N, non-con SoS 34, 10-1 vs. Top 50, 15-3 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 107/48
Signature wins:  @Virginia, @Wisconsin, @Louisville
Bad losses:  Miami, @NC State could be a killer
They have an important pair of trump cards if they need it for seeding purposes.  They also have a big stable of quality wins to lean on.  I have to imagine, at this stage, they control their own 1 seed destiny.  I can’t see Gonzaga or Villanova leaping them down the stretch; it’ll take a Duke mistake to let them in.

Notre Dame (24-4) (12-3) RPI 27 SoS 107
Vital signs:  8-3 R/N, non-con SoS 325, 4-4 vs. Top 50, 8-4 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 164/16
Signature wins:  Duke, @UNC, Michigan St
Bad losses:  I suppose @Pitt
Many teams with that non-con SoS get punished hard.  Here’s why I think UND might avoid that:  when they played the tough teams, they split (split with Duke, beat UNC, lost to Virginia).  They did beat MSU and Purdue in the non-con, and were buried by 5 sub-300 teams in the non-con.  They don’t have the volume of wins you’d like, which makes seeding them very tricky.  On the one hand, if they keep winning, I bet the committee will overlook the SoS.  On the other hand, there’s a bunch of good teams with much better SoS numbers surrounding them in the S-Curve.  I’m not confident saying they’re a 3 seed right now, but I can’t budge them off of it at the moment.

North Carolina (19-8) (9-5) RPI 13 SoS 2
Vital signs:  9-5 R/N, non-con SoS 12, 3-7 vs. Top 50, 9-8 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 121/21
Signature wins:  Louisville, N-Ohio St, N-UCLA?
Bad losses:  @Pitt?  Iowa?
They’re a lock, but they’ve lost the chance at a protected seed, it seems.  1-6 vs. teams I project to be top 6 seeds in March is too poor.  Losing to Pitt and Iowa isn’t awful…unless your second best win is Ohio St.  Are they anything more than the good bad team that just beats the teams they’re supposed to and no one else?  I’m not sure.

Louisville (21-6) (9-5) RPI 19 SoS 31
Vital signs:  7-3 R/N, non-con SoS 132, 5-4 vs. Top 50, 9-6 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 138/25
Signature wins:  UNC, N-Indiana, swept Pitt
Bad losses:  @Syracuse?  NC State?
A lock without the impact group of results you need to feel good about your chances at a protected seed.  I don’t have much to say here.


Pittsburgh (17-10) (7-7) RPI 36 SoS 26
Vital signs:  4-8 R/N, non-con SoS 127, 2-6 vs. Top 50, 4-8 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 145/63
Signature wins:  UNC, Notre Dame, swept Syracuse?
Bad losses:  @VaTech, @Hawaii, Clemson
In the end, having two signature wins is a big differentiator on the bubble.  However, the profile is barren behind it, and 3 of the final 4 games are cupcake-ish.  Oh man, that home game against Miami will be everything for Pitt.

North Carolina St (16-11) (7-7) RPI 52 SoS 4
Vital signs:  3-5 R/N, non-con SoS 30, 4-7 vs. Top 50, 7-10 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 134/46
Signature wins:  Duke, @Louisville, Pitt?
Bad losses:  Clemson, @Wake
Too many losses.  @Purdue, @Miami, Wofford, Cincy…no single loss there is awful, but it’s the collection that hurts, and keeps them very much in danger.  2 great signature wins are helping, along with that SoS, but everything else in this profile screams at them being right on the cutline.  One nasty game at UNC awaits, but 3 must-wins lurk behind it.

Miami (17-10) (7-7) RPI 67 SoS 66
Vital signs:  8-5 R/N, non-con SoS 198, 1-5 vs. Top 50, 6-6 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 168/65
Signature wins:  @Duke, NC State and Illinois at home?
Bad losses:  EKU, @Wake, GaTech, @FSU
Too many bad losses and not enough depth in the quality win profile.  These two things along with the non-con SoS tell me they’re out as of today.  With UNC and @Pitt left, they’ve got to get at least 1 of those to help rectify the profile problems – losing both might leave too big a hole.

If you’re curious, Syracuse would probably barely be on the tail end of this bubble, clearly behind the other 3 bubble teams.

Big 10

The Lockbox

Wisconsin (25-2) (13-1) RPI 6 SoS 22
Vital signs:  11-1 R/N, non-con SoS 17, 5-1 vs. Top 50, 13-1 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 107/80
Signature wins:  N-Oklahoma, N-G’town, Indiana
Bad losses:  @Rutgers
The loss to Duke could hurt in a head-to-head seeding battle.  They definitely would wish the Big 10 would’ve given them more signature win chances, because it is hurting their chances right now for the 1 line.  Maryland is coming, though.

Maryland (22-5) (10-4) RPI 11 SoS 33
Vital signs:  6-4 R/N, non-con SoS 70, 5-3 vs. Top 50, 8-5 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 135/38
Signature wins:  N-Iowa St, swept Michigan St, @Oklahoma St
Bad losses:  I suppose @Iowa and @Illinois
No bad losses, more or less split all their games against tourney-level teams.  Pretty standard profile of a 4 seed, give or take a seed line.

Indiana (19-9) (9-6) RPI 33 SoS 35
Vital signs:  4-7 R/N, non-con SoS 135, 5-6 vs. Top 50, 8-9 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 152/36
Signature wins:  Maryland, SMU, N-Butler
Bad losses:  EWU at home
This might be an aggressive lock, but I can’t see Indiana screwing this up.  3 good, solid wins anchor the profile.  Sure, splitting with OSU and getting swept by Purdue hurts.  But that’ll impact seeding at this point.  There’s too much profile foundation already built to prevent this house from falling apart.


Michigan St (19-8) (10-4) RPI 28 SoS 34
Vital signs:  8-5 R/N, non-con SoS 60, 2-5 vs. Top 50, 6-6 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 139/48
Signature wins:  Indiana, OSU, @Iowa
Bad losses:  Texas Southern(!), @Nebraska
Remember, this team’s signature non-con win is Loyola(Chi).  Oy.  All the work they’ve done is inside the conference, which is good enough for the time being.  They are 0-5 against probable top 5 seeds.

Ohio St (19-8) (8-6) RPI 43 SoS 82
Vital signs:  3-7 R/N, non-con SoS 225, 2-4 vs. Top 50, 6-8 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 165/43
Signature wins:  Maryland, Indiana, Illinois?
Bad losses:  @Michigan, @Purdue
Hrm.  Poor road/neutral, and their best such win is Minnesota.  Not encouraging, and throwing in the non-con SoS, this is a troubling profile.  Getting swept by Iowa, splitting with Indiana…have they done enough against the midsection of the conference?  Not yet, and they have 3 mostly useless games and Wisconsin to close.  Yikes.  Must hold serve at all costs until the Wisky game.

Iowa (17-10) (8-6) RPI 55 SoS 30
Vital signs:  5-6 R/N, non-con SoS 120, 4-6 vs. Top 50, 6-9 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 159/46
Signature wins:  @UNC, Maryland, swept OSU
Bad losses:  @Northwestern, Minnesota
Two signature wins are standing out from the rest of the profile.  Every other vital signs screams bubble to me, but with two big wins in tow, it’s tough to find a fatal flaw.  Of course, there’s plenty of flaws still to be found, with marginal losses, average SoS numbers, and average everything else.  It’s probably more about bad loss avoidance for this profile at this stage.

Illinois (17-10) (7-7) RPI 58 SoS 54
Vital signs:  5-8 R/N, non-con SoS 161, 3-6 vs. Top 50, 5-9 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 161/53
Signature wins:  Maryland, @Michigan St, N-Baylor
Bad losses:  @everywhere…Nebraska, Minnesota, Michigan, etc
Well, another typical bubble profile.  Just enough good wins to convince everyone you’re good enough, and just enough marginal road losses to knock you out of the tournament.  This profile seems pre-destined to be one of the last ones in or out.  Every single vital sign is marginal.  With @Iowa and @Purdue still in their schedule, odds are they gotta get one.

Purdue (18-9) (10-4) RPI 61 SoS 71
Vital signs:  6-6 R/N, non-con SoS 226, 3-3 vs. Top 50, 8-5 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 139/87
Signature wins:  swept Indiana, OSU and Iowa at home?
Bad losses:  UNF, Gardner-Webb, @Vandy, N-K-State, @Minny?
Good lord, those losses.  And the wins are okay but not inspiring.  But they’re hot, and it’s the one trait that has them firmly on the bubble.  The non-con SoS is a red flag if they try to cut it close to the cutline.  The good/bad news?  They close with @OSU, @MSU, Illinois.  They’ll sink or swim right then and there.  We’ll know which way the profile falls, soon.


The Lockbox

Arizona (24-3) (12-2) RPI 7 SoS 39
Vital signs:  9-3 R/N, non-con SoS 65, 6-0 vs. Top 50, 13-2 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 111/95
Signature wins:  Gonzaga, Utah, N-SDSU
Bad losses:  @Oregon St, @UNLV
Those 3 marginal road losses will cost them the 1 line, almost assuredly at this point.  The other contenders are breaking away from them.  They’ll be fine on the 2 line, but if Gonzaga is also a 2 seed, they may be shipped out east.  The fun part?  If they let Gonzaga beat them, Gonzaga would be on the 1 line and Arizona could be the #2 out west.  So beating Gonzaga didn’t help their seed AND caused them to travel across the country.  Hah.

Utah (20-5) (11-3) RPI 10 SoS 38
Vital signs:  6-5 R/N, non-con SoS 26, 2-5 vs. Top 50, 9-5 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 141/25
Signature wins:  Wichita St, UCLA, Stanford
Bad losses:  @Oregon and @UCLA are the worst
All 5 losses are roadies, and the best road win they have is @BYU.  Not the most overwhelming resume for a possible 3 seed, but it’ll have to do.  Losing to Kansas and Zona and SDSU on the road is fine; they probably needed to split those other 2 to feel good about the 3 line.  But this is first world problems for Utah.


Oregon (19-8) (10-5) RPI 44 SoS 59
Vital signs:  3-6 R/N, non-con SoS 115, 2-5 vs. Top 50, 8-7 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 141/53
Signature wins:  Utah, UCLA, N-Illinois?
Bad losses:  @Wazzu, @Washington
One truly signature win, a couple decent ones, and enough marginal losses to leave them in big trouble.  Their road game at Stanford might be everything.  I couldn’t get excited about this profile, at all, a couple weeks ago.  Just getting the Utah win gets them into the workable phase of the bubble.

Stanford (17-9) (8-6) RPI 51 SoS 64
Vital signs:  5-7 R/N, non-con SoS 85, 2-5 vs. Top 50, 8-6 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 150/66
Signature wins:  @Texas, uh…Wofford?
Bad losses:  @DePaul, @Wazzu, @Colorado
One good win, and a whole lotta nothing elsewhere in the profile.  They have 6 wins in between RPI 82 and 98.  So the depth that seems to be there in the quality win pile actually isn’t.  Uh oh.  The good news is they can win at Arizona to fix everything.  The bad news is, they’re Arizona.  Getting swept by UCLA is also problematic.

UCLA (16-12) (8-7) RPI 47 SoS 16
Vital signs:  3-10 R/N, non-con SoS 46, 2-7 vs. Top 50, 6-11 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 149/49
Signature wins:  Utah, Oregon, swept Stanford
Bad losses:  @Colorado, @Cal, @eveywhere.  Alabama, OSU, ASU…
Reminder:  6 of the 12 losses are inside the RPI top 16, and they did beat Utah.  So even if you write those 6 losses off, you still have 6 road losses from RPI 44 to 126, with one road win at Stanford mixed in.  No depth whatsoever in this profile.  And they’re done with road games and have 3 relative cupcakes left.  MUST.  HOLD.


The Lockbox

Kentucky (27-0) (14-0) RPI 2 SoS 21
Vital signs:  10-0 R/N, non-con SoS 10, 10-0 vs. Top 50, 17-0 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 101/potato
Signature wins:  N-Kansas, @Louisville, UNC
Bad losses:  no

Arkansas (22-5) (11-3) RPI 20 SoS 78
Vital signs:  6-4 R/N, non-con SoS 41, 5-2 vs. Top 50, 8-5 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 148/57
Signature wins:  @SMU, @Ole Miss, Dayton
Bad losses:  @Tennessee, @Clemson
A couple marginal road losses aside, they’ve done enough.  Getting a high seed may be a trickier trick to pull off, though.  The SEC is better, but with many bubble teams, wins over the likes of Georgia and Ole Miss are good but not great.  Still, they have a good SoS and generally solid vital signs.  They’ll be fine.


Ole Miss (19-8) (10-4) RPI 32 SoS 46
Vital signs:  10-3 R/N, non-con SoS 97, 4-4 vs. Top 50, 8-5 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 148/69
Signature wins:  @Arkansas, @Oregon, N-Cincy
Bad losses:  Charleston Southern, TCU, both at home!
Man, there’s some stinkers of some losses there.  The good news is they’ve won enough against the legit teams on the schedule to be in workable bubble shape.  @Arkansas is a good trump card if they need it.  10 R/N wins, which include the 3 above, are mega-huge right now.  They’ve got bubble games to navigate against Georgia and LSU, and if they get by them…

Georgia (17-9) (8-6) RPI 37 SoS 40
Vital signs:  6-6 R/N, non-con SoS 79, 2-3 vs. Top 50, 6-7 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 132/69
Signature wins:  Ole Miss, @A&M…Seton Hall?
Bad losses:  Auburn, @GaTech, S. Carolina
According to my count, they are 2-4 against bubble-or-better teams, 0-4 against the toughest 4 of those games.  Not good.  The schedule had a bunch of misses – Seton Hall, K-State, Colorado were all victories that have now melted in their hands.  They do have 10 wins in between RPI 71 and 126, which does have more value than you think.  If we don’t count Kentucky, their one impact game left is at Ole Miss.  There’s your chance, Georgia.

LSU (19-8) (8-6) RPI 54 SoS 85
Vital signs:  7-5 R/N, non-con SoS 180, 4-4 vs. Top 50, 10-5 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 145/91
Signature wins:  @WVU, @Ole Miss, Georgia?
Bad losses:  @Mizzou, @Mississippi St, Auburn
3 losses outside the top 125 are just killer, because most of the vital signs, while not great, are workable.  They have enough wins (just) to lean on if they are right on the cutline, but those losses (and getting swept by A&M) are killer.  This is a bubble profile that will go down to the wire.

Texas A&M (19-7) (10-4) RPI 34 SoS 77
Vital signs:  7-5 R/N, non-con SoS 140, 0-5 vs. Top 50, 7-6 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 164/43
Signature wins:  swept LSU…@Tennessee?
Bad losses:  N-K-State, @Bama
You need a win over a tourney team to make it eventually.  Only one chance left, at Arkansas, then you have 3 mines to dodge.  Outlook is pretty cloudy here.  How did they get the shiny SEC record though?  They avoided the catastrophic losses the 3 teams above took.

Big East

The Lockbox

Villanova (25-2) (12-2) RPI 5 SoS 29
Vital signs:  11-2 R/N, non-con SoS 51, 8-1 vs. Top 50, 13-2 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 108/46
Signature wins:  N-VCU, @Provi, swept Butler
Bad losses:  @Seton Hall isn’t so hot right now
Nothing they can really do but keep on winning and waiting for teams ahead to mess up, frankly.  I’m not sure how much they can move up on their own accord anymore.

Providence (19-8) (9-5) RPI 22 SoS 13
Vital signs:  7-5 R/N, non-con SoS 19, 6-5 vs. Top 50, 10-5 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 101/85
Signature wins:  swept G’town, @Butler, N-Notre Dame
Bad losses:  Brown, @BC, @Marquette
Man, Brown at home!  But 5 top 30 wins, all over probable tourney teams, and I think they’ve just done enough to lock in now.  I don’t like getting swept by St John’s, and seeding can still be quite variable, but the vital signs are too strong at this point to not lock in.

Butler (19-8) (9-5) RPI 23 SoS 17
Vital signs:  7-6 R/N, non-con SoS 67, 5-7 vs. Top 50, 7-8 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 129/27
Signature wins:  N-UNC, N-G’town, Xavier
Bad losses:  @Tennessee
Only one loss that’s even remotely bad.  The sweeps of St John’s and Seton Hall seemed better at the time.  They still host Georgetown and go to Provi, so some of the vital signs can be touched up.  If they lose a bunch?  I think the SoS would just save them at this point, along with a couple trump cards on a neutral court.  Seeding can still be variable, though.

Georgetown (18-8) (10-5) RPI 21 SoS 3
Vital signs:  6-5 R/N, non-con SoS 9, 4-8 vs. Top 50, 6-8 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 128/17
Signature wins:  Villanova, Butler, N-Indiana
Bad losses:  none
All 8 losses inside the top 30.  No bad losses in this environment means just about a lock right now.  Sure, they could’ve won more, avoid getting swept by Xavier and Provi, etc etc. And they lost 6 of their 7 toughest R/N games.  Wait, am I talking myself out of this lock?


Xavier (18-10) (8-7) RPI 30 SoS 18
Vital signs:  5-8 R/N, non-con SoS 38, 5-4 vs. Top 50, 9-6 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 104/74
Signature wins:  swept G’town, @Cincy, Provi
Bad losses:  @DePaul, Creighton, @Auburn
They finished 4-2 against the 3 teams right ahead of them in this post.  That’s good, because 4 sub-100 losses keep them from being a lock right now and they need profile help.  One hidden key:  did beat SFA, Murray, and FGCU, 3 probable conference champions.  Two roadies at St John’s and Creighton…boy I’d feel a lot better with both, not just 1 of 2 there, X.

St John’s (18-9) (7-7) RPI 46 SoS 32
Vital signs:  4-6 R/N, non-con SoS 61, 3-6 vs. Top 50, 7-7 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 138/48
Signature wins:  swept Provi, @Xavier
Bad losses:  @DePaul, @Creighton
Eh.  They’re probably in right now; they could fall out; they have all the typical deficiencies and advantages of a bubble team.  There’s no new ground to tread in this resume.  We will wait and see.  They host X and G’town coming up, so a split seems inevitable and likely.


The Lockbox

SMU (21-5) (13-2) RPI 18 SoS 60
Vital signs:  7-3 R/N, non-con SoS 14, 3-5 vs. Top 50, 8-5 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 160/32
Signature wins:  swept Temple, @Tulsa
Bad losses:  all inside the top 50
An aggressive lock on my end, but I can’t see them falling all the way back at this point.  Non-con SoS inside the top 15 is the magic elixir.  Seeding might be an issue if they lose a couple, and I think I’m hanging them back to the 6 line now, but still.  Lock.


Temple (19-9) (10-5) RPI 31 SoS 44
Vital signs:  7-7 R/N, non-con SoS 39, 2-7 vs. Top 50, 6-7 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 175/51
Signature wins:  Kansas, Cincy…@UConn?
Bad losses;  @St Joe’s, N-UNLV
How long can they make the Kansas win hold up?  Getting swept by Tulsa and SMU…they really needed one of those 4.  Right now, they’re kind of stuck without the profile depth they need to be comfortable on the bubble.  This is a profile that will likely come down to the wire, but they gotta get through the regular season without losing again first.

Cincinnati (18-9) (9-5) RPI 49 SoS 53
Vital signs:  5-6 R/N, non-con SoS 20, 4-4 vs. Top 50, 6-6 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 153/90
Signature wins:  swept SMU, SDSU, @NC State
Bad losses:  @ECU, Tulane, @Nebraska
As always, when you have both good wins and bad losses, the level of your good wins determines how safe you are.  SMU 2x and SDSU are pretty good, relative to the rest of the field.  There’s plenty of worry left on the board, but probably safe for the time being.  @Tulsa late is the swing game for them between safety and harm.

Tulsa (19-6) (12-2) RPI 39 SoS 106
Vital signs:  8-3 R/N, non-con SoS 102, 2-4 vs. Top 50, 4-5 vs. Top 100, , avg W/L 186/57
Signature wins:  swept Temple, Memphis and UConn?
Bad losses:  @Oral Bob...AT HOME TO A NON D-1
Can they really survive Southeastern Oklahoma State?  They still have @Memphis, Cincy, @SMU.  This bubble profile is really just beginning to develop and will reshape radically around those 3 games.  Hold your thoughts on them for a couple of weeks.


The Lockbox

VCU (21-6) (11-3) RPI 12 SoS 14
Vital signs:  10-3 R/N, non-con SoS 1, 4-3 vs. Top 50, 11-5 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 125/58
Signature wins:  UNI, N-Oregon, @Cincy
Bad losses:  @St Bonaventure, LaSalle
They wobbled a bit, but straightened things out well enough.  Should be safe, in large part due to that shiny 1 next to non-con SoS.  That’s the magic bullet.  The committee will eat that up.  Now, seeding is another issue, and 4 losses to non-tourney teams will be a problem to be dealt with at the appropriate time.


Dayton (20-6) (10-4) RPI 35 SoS 119
Vital signs:  6-6 R/N, non-con SoS 96, 2-2 vs. Top 50, 4-5 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 172/88
Signature wins:  Ole Miss, N-A&M
Bad losses:  @Duquesne, @GWU is looking worse
All losses are road/neutral, and the next pure road win is St Bonaventure.  Therein lies your resume weakness.  They’ve got one game at VCU that won’t hurt them, so holding in the other 3 remaining games might be enough at this point.  A pair of decent trump cards over the SEC might be useful.

Davidson (18-6) (10-4) RPI 57 SoS 131
Vital signs:  7-5 R/N, non-con SoS 217, 2-3 vs. Top 50, 5-4 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 191/70
Signature wins:  Dayton, @UMass?
Bad losses:  @St Joe’s, St Bonaventure
There’s not a lot going on here.  Which means the @URI/GWU/VCU stretch coming up is good timing.  All the opportunities in the world are staring this team in the face.  Go get it.

Rhode Island (18-6) (11-3) RPI 63 SoS 142
Vital signs:  7-5 R/N, non-con SoS 200, 1-3 vs. Top 50, 4-3 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 187/63
Signature wins:  UMass, @Richmond?  Yikes
Bad losses:  @St Joe’s, N-GaTech
Not much going on here.  One saving grace:  Davidson and @Dayton remain on the schedule.  2 quality win chances will give them the boost they need to be competitive on the bubble.  It’s up to them.


The Lockbox

Gonzaga (27-1) (16-0) RPI 8 SoS 76
Vital signs:  13-1 R/N, non-con SoS 15, 4-1 vs. Top 50, 8-1 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 143/7
Signature wins:  SMU, N-Georgia, @UCLA
Bad losses:  null
Go look at the non-con SoS, then tell me there’s a problem.  Go ahead.  I dare you.  The simple fact is this:  they have no more access to signature wins.  A lot of other teams do.  Their chances at a 1 seed have almost nothing to do with them.  We simply have to play it by ear and see how the other teams do.


BYU (21-8) (11-5) RPI 59 SoS 92
Vital signs:  6-5 R/N, non-con SoS 18, 1-3 vs. Top 50, 3-5 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 171/78
Signature wins:  Stanford, St Mary’s and UMass?  Seriously?
Bad losses:  @San Diego, swept by Pepperdine
The road/neutral thing is a serious issue.  They best road win is Utah St.  That’s it.  They lost 5 R/N games tougher than that.  The signature win is not very signature.  They lost at St Mary’s, to Purdue on a neutral, and 3 tougher ones.  They just need a bigger impact win than what they’ve got.  Fortunately for them, they still have a Gonzaga regular season game in the hopper.

St Mary’s (19-7) (12-4) RPI 53 SoS 90
Vital signs:  6-3 R/N, non-con SoS 89, 0-4 vs. Top 50, 2-5 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 175/70
Signature wins:  BYU, and holy crap the other Top 100 win is at 99
Bad losses:  Northern Arizona, Pepperdine
This is a charity listing.  They went 1-3 against Gonzaga/BYU, which isn’t terrible.  But by losing @St John’s and Boise in the non-con, they have nothing left but Northeastern and NMSU buffering that end of the profile.  And that’s just not enough.  They did do a reasonably good job of building a good non-con SoS but just couldn’t get impact wins with it (and had the one marginal loss to NAU).

Mountain West

The Lockbox

San Diego St (21-6) (12-3) RPI 25 SoS 80
Vital signs:  7-6 R/N, non-con SoS 52, 3-4 vs. Top 50, 6-5 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 167/71
Signature wins:  Utah, CSU, N-Pitt
Bad losses:  @Fresno, @Washington
An aggressive lock, but I’ll be shocked if they lose enough to bring the bubble into play.  A couple marginal road losses, kinda offset by neutral wins over Pitt and BYU and on the road at Wyoming (again, kinda).  Flaws are visible, but a signature win over Utah saves the profile a bit.  They’re not going to get the seed they’re hoping for, though.  6 or 7?


Colorado St (22-5) (10-5) RPI 26 SoS 97
Vital signs:  9-4 R/N, non-con SoS 103, 2-2 vs. Top 50, 4-4 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 174/76
Signature wins:  SDSU, Boise and UTEP at home?
Bad losses:  @New Mexico, swept by Wyoming aren’t awful but aren’t great
Good R/N record, just on good win, no horrible losses.  Adds up to a bubble team to me.  The margin of error is low, but I think this type of profile will get rewarded by the committee in the end.  They haven’t given a slam-dunk reason to be left out yet, which is vital.  They do need to hold serve for a couple more weeks, though.

Boise St (18-7) (10-4) RPI 41 SoS 110
Vital signs:  9-6 R/N, non-con SoS 169, 2-2 vs. Top 50, 3-4 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 192/95
Signature wins:  SDSU, CSU, @St Mary’s
Bad losses:  @Fresno, Utah St, N-Loyola(Chi)
One mega-ginormous signature win chance is still on the table @SDSU.  Without it, they’re right around the bubble.  Compared to CSU, they have one or two more bad losses, a worse non-con SoS by a modest margin, and slightly worse vital signs across the board.  Not the greatest position.  They do have the one semi-decent road win to lean on, I guess.


The Lockbox

Northern Iowa (26-2) (15-1) RPI 17 SoS 138
Vital signs:  12-2 R/N, non-con SoS 105, 1-1 vs. Top 50, 7-1 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 183/61
Signature wins:  Wichita, N-Iowa, @SFA
Bad losses:  @Evansville
Their seed feels very variable.  More because of the teams around them.  They can still add another signature win or two, but it feels like teams ranked around them will have the chance to win their way past UNI on the S-Curve.  A probable protected seed seems likely, still, but they’re pretty tough to pin down right now.

Wichita St (24-3) (15-1) RPI 15 SoS 104
Vital signs:  11-3 R/N, non-con SoS 27, 1-2 vs. Top 50, 6-3 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 170/40
Signature wins:  oh, dear.  Seton Hall, Tulsa, @Memphis?
Bad losses:  N-George Washington is getting ugly
So the non-con schedule had Tulsa, Seton Hall, Alabama, Memphis, New Mexico St, and the Diamond Head tourney with Colorado and Nebraska.  The schedule then promptly turned around and took a dump all over Wichita’s resume.  This seed will be all about the eye test.



Old Dominion (20-6) (9-5) RPI 48 SoS 133
Vital signs:  5-6 R/N, non-con SoS 58, 1-0 vs. Top 50, 6-2 vs. Top 100, avg W/L 182/137
Signature wins:  VCU, N-LSU
Bad losses:  @UTSA, @MTSU, @UAB, @WKU
Losing road record.  Best road win is…Charlotte.  5 road losses against teams better than Charlotte.  It’s a pretty simple bubble case to diagnose.  It’s a shame because they were going so well for so long.  I won’t kill them off just yet because they beat LaTech, but they need help elsewhere to make it all the way back to the cutline.

Best teams not to get a bubble look:
UMass – despite a top 40 RPI, too many body blows (11 losses) to be taken seriously
Buffalo – somehow has a top 50 RPI despite being 2 back in the MAC East race
Iona – top 50 RPI, has occasionally snuck into the bubble picture in the past, but the MAAC is too weak this year to support a bid
Wofford – gave them a chance, absorbed too many bad losses, which is a shame
Harvard – 2 sub-200 losses.  Can’t do it

UTEP, Green Bay, Valparaiso, George Washington, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, UConn, Wyoming, Clemson, Murray St, Stephen F Austin, Seton Hall could all probably make an argument for being on the board in some form, but I can’t find a convincing reason to do it.