Sunday, February 19, 2017


Let's put one more of these up for the year.  Here's a primer on this post, as a wall of text is going to follow:

Below are mini-profiles for every team in at-large contention, and quick blurbs for those that just missed that cut.  It's a one-stop shop for quick information - has all the main metrics, list of notable wins/losses, and a quick takeaway or two from the profile to consider.  Use this to quickly compare teams, to identify where a team is weak and where it's strong.  It's a bit wall of text-y, but there's no way around that.



North Carolina (22-5) (11-3) RPI 5 SoS 17
Vital signs:  8-5 R/N, non-con SoS 26, 9-3 vs. Top 50, 13-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Wisky, FSU, UND, Virginia
Bad losses:  @Indiana
This resume smells like a 2 seed, no?  Minus an elite, elite win, but a bunch of really good wins.  Well, they have 3 elite opponents coming up, so they can charge to the 1 line.  Just not there yet.

Louisville (22-5) (10-4) RPI 4 SoS 4
Vital signs:  8-4 R/N, non-con SoS 10, 6-5 vs. Top 50, 12-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Purdue, Kentucky, Duke
Bad losses:  none at all
Their best away from home win is…Wichita St, I think?  That might be the only nit to pick with this resume, and something like that may keep them from the 1 line, but it’s no big deal.  That’s just the difference between the 1 line and the 2 line right now.

Duke (22-5) (10-4) RPI 11 SoS 22
Vital signs:  8-4 R/N, non-con SoS 75, 8-4 vs. Top 50, 13-4 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Florida, UNC, @Virginia
Bad losses:  NC State, I suppose @VT?
As far as they slipped down…they’re more than fine, and compare favorable with other 2 seeds minus a couple of details.  The non-con SoS is merely very good instead of great, and they mixed in a terribad home loss.  That leaves them a step behind.  But more signature win chances loom.  The 1 line is do-able here.

Florida St (21-6) (9-5) RPI 12 SoS 25
Vital signs:  5-6 R/N, non-con SoS 133, 9-2 vs. Top 50, 12-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Florida, @Virginia, Duke, Louisville
Bad losses:  N-Temple…@Pitt, Syracuse, and GT I suppose
That road record is a bit concerning, if we’re talking about a chance at a 2 seed.  Good collection of high quality wins, though.  All those marginal road losses by themselves aren’t bad, but in combination, it’s a concerning trend.  One that @Virginia doesn’t quite erase.

Virginia (18-8) (8-6) RPI 15 SoS 7
Vital signs:  8-5 R/N, non-con SoS 57, 6-6 vs. Top 50, 10-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  swept Louisville, @ND, @Cal?
Bad losses:  @Pitt I suppose is the worst
Swept Louisville but most most other games against truly elite competition.  No big deal normally, but it leaves them behind several other ACC teams, which could hurt during seeding.  No real risk of falling below a 6 or so.

Notre Dame (21-7) (10-5) RPI 25 SoS 31
Vital signs:  7-5 R/N, non-con SoS 163, 6-6 vs. Top 50, 9-7 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Louisville, FSU, Northwestern?
Bad losses:  @GT is the worst
No real risk of missing the tournament, but it’s tough to have enough momentum to crack the top 4 lines with this resume.  Kind of stuck in bracketology purgatory where they’ll be a 5-7 seed and very uninteresting to talk about in the next month


Virginia Tech (18-8) (7-7) RPI 35 SoS 58
Vital signs:  5-7 R/N, non-con SoS 291, 2-6 vs. Top 50, 10-7 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Duke, Virginia, @Michigan
Bad losses:  @NC State, N-A&M
Gulp, that non-con SoS is in the true danger zone.  But two signature home wins might be enough to mask that on this bubble.  They’ve held serve in enough games as well, with 10 top 100 wins.  The non-con SoS has a problem with 5 300+ opponents, but does have 5 opponents between 51-100.  Who knows how exactly the committee will respond.

Miami (18-8) (8-6) RPI 45 SoS 58
Vital signs:  5-6 R/N, non-con SoS 254, 2-7 vs. Top 50, 6-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  UNC, VT?  @Pitt?  Uh
Bad losses:  @Syracuse is the worst, maybe @Wake
Kind of the quintessential bubble team that ends up making the tournament.  Just good enough on the road.  Just good enough against the top 100.  Posted the one signature win.  Very marginal non-con SoS complicates the situation though.  They’ve held at home over the other bubble teams, so that’s good.  What’s not good is the schedule:  @Va, Duke, @VT, @FSU.  2-2 is enough to get to the lockbox, but good luck with that.

Syracuse (16-12) (8-7) RPI 87 SoS 53
Vital signs:  2-9 R/N, non-con SoS 157, 5-6 vs. Top 50, 7-9 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  FSU, Virginia, Miami?
Bad losses:  @Pit?  @GT?  @BC for sure.  St John’s at home
The damning problem here is all the damage has been done in home games.  Clemson is their one road win of note.  They’ve only got Louisville on the road left to try and rectify that problem, and Duke’s on the sked too.  So they either pick up a signature win, or fall off the bubble.  A very solvent situation.

Georgia Tech (15-11) (7-7) RPI 76 SoS 47
Vital signs:  2-8 R/N, non-con SoS 235, 4-7 vs. Top 50, 6-10 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @VCU, UNC, FSU, ND
Bad losses:  Georgia at home, Ohio too
That non-con SoS is not a good situation.  And a bad road record.  Those two things combined usually equal death, but they have a collection of signature wins better than most teams on the bubble, so they might survive.  With winnable games coming, they will either move forward or way back.  That @VCU win is so huge because of all the road losses to bubble teams.

Wake Forest (15-12) (6-9) RPI 38 SoS 16
Vital signs:  6-9 R/N, non-con SoS 17, 1-9 vs. Top 50, 5-12 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Miami, GT, uh
Bad losses:  swept by Clemson?
So every loss is reasonable, except maybe Clemson at home.  Problem is simple.  Look at that list of wins.  The other top 100 wins are Charleston, Bucknell, and Richmond.  When you have as many chances as Wake does in conference play, you have to cash in more than just Miami and GT at home.  They’ve only got a couple chances left to add.  This likely isn’t happening, the committee needs to see a team like this cash in a better signature win than Miami.

Clemson (14-12) (4-10) RPI 59 SoS 18
Vital signs:  5-8 R/N, non-con SoS 99, 4-9 vs. Top 50, 9-11 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @S Carolina, swept Wake?
Bad losses:  N-Oklahoma, Syracuse
Probably can’t justify them holding on too much longer.  4 Top 50 wins seem sexy, but 2 are Wake and another is UNCW.  Perhaps the worst of all, outside of signature win chances outside of FSU at home.  Sure, they can win their way into the tourney, but I’m not optimistic.

Pittsburgh (15-12) (4-10) RPI 60 SoS 11
Vital signs:  4-7 R/N, non-con SoS 38, 3-8 vs. Top 50, 6-10 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Maryland, Virginia, FSU
Bad losses:  @NC State, N-Duquesne
Too many losses.  Tis a shame, because the high end part of the resume holds up.  But when you play that many high end games in a high end conference, you can’t lose that many swing games.  Syra, Miami, Clemson, VT…you gotta win swing games, and they just didn’t get them.  Not completely dead yet, though.

Big East


Villanova (26-2) (13-2) RPI 2 SoS 31
Vital signs:  13-2 R/N, non-con SoS 44, 9-1 vs. Top 50, 15-2 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Purdue, N-ND, @Crei
Bad losses:  @Marquette is the worst
I think you can make an argument for Kansas ahead of them just based on resume.  Kansas has better signature wins.  But Nova passes the eye test for #1 overall.  Either way, there won’t be much difference between #1 and #2 overall, so it’s no big deal, but I’d consider the switch.

Butler (21-6) (10-5) RPI 13 SoS 21
Vital signs:  8-4 R/N, non-con SoS 11, 7-2 vs. Top 50, 15-4 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Arizona, Cincy, Nova, N-Northwestern?
Bad losses:  @Indiana St, @St John’s
It’s really aggravating they lost a few games they shouldn’t have.  4 losses to non-tourney teams which is just frustrating.  They’ve got high end wins.  They have the sterling SoS, every vital sign is great.  Just those stupid losses.  It’ll catch up with them as they have a tough finish coming up and they’re going to absorb reasonable losses.

Creighton (21-5) (9-5) RPI 22 SoS 42
Vital signs:  10-2 R/N, non-con SoS 109, 6-3 vs. Top 50, 10-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Wisky, swept Butler, @X
Bad losses:  home to Marquette
They’re in a good spot for a protected seed with a strong finish.  They’ll be favored in 3 of those final 4 games, so it’s just a matter of holding their ground.  Very good road/neutral record, none of the vital signs are in bad shape.  Your bread-and-butter 5 seed at this point.


Xavier (18-9) (8-6) RPI 17 SoS 6
Vital signs:  6-7 R/N, non-con SoS 13, 3-6 vs. Top 50, 9-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Creighton, N-Wake, N-Clemson?
Bad losses:  @Colorado, @Provi?
Only here because I can’t call them a lock when they can still theoretically suffer 5 more losses.  They need some better wins, and their seed will suffer as a result, but they’ve done enough against decent competition to be solidly in the field.  Great job scheduling in the non-con, avoiding cupcakes, which led to a slightly deceiving #13 (but it does also include a good pocket collection of wins like NDSU, Utah, Wake, and Clemson).

Marquette (16-10) (7-7) RPI 71 SoS 57
Vital signs:  4-7 R/N, non-con SoS 239, 5-5 vs. Top 50, 7-9 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Nova, @Creighton, Xavier
Bad losses:  @St John’s, Provi?
A couple things to note:  5 Top 50 wins is great, although one is Vandy.  The non-con SoS is in the danger zone, which is hurt further by losses to Michigan and Pitt which could really be useful right now.  They had a bit of a cupcake problem in the non-con.  This is probably a true bubble resume which will teeter on the edge.  Can’t make a definitive call on them right now.

Seton Hall (16-10) (6-8) RPI 47 SoS 33
Vital signs:  6-8 R/N, non-con SoS 156, 3-6 vs. Top 50, 6-9 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-S Carolina, N-Cal, Creighton
Bad losses:  @St John’s, N-Stanford?
The non-con SoS is marginal, but cupcakes appear to have sunk that, and their wins aren’t the worst in the world among bubble teams.  What kills them is just losing some of their swing games in conference play (road games against other bubble teams, home games against lockboxed teams).  Need to win a couple more of those to make it, and they’ve got a couple chances left.

Providence (16-11) (6-8) RPI 67 SoS 35
Vital signs:  3-8 R/N, non-con SoS 194, 3-7 vs. Top 50, 8-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Butler and Xavier; swept G’town?
Bad losses:  St John’s, @DePaul, @BC
This is an uber-generous listing, but they have a very light back 4 games with one exception @Creighton.  If they win their final four, there’s hope, but they need all 4 to erase a ton of sins.  The losses are worse than the numbers would suggest.

Georgetown (14-13) (5-9) RPI 61 SoS 7
Vital signs:  5-7 R/N, non-con SoS 19, 3-9 vs. Top 50, 6-13 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Oregon, Creighton, @Butler
Bad losses:  Arky State at home is the worst, which isn't THAT bad
Ugly number of losses, and things like losing to other bubblers like Provi 2x and SHU and others are just killer.  They’ve got high-end wins, so they force their way into a listing here.  Gotta win a bunch, though.  Probably all of ‘em down the stretch, including Nova, to have a legit chance.  That Top 100 number is butt-ugly.

Big 12


Kansas (24-3) (12-2) RPI 1 SoS 5
Vital signs:  11-2 R/N, non-con SoS 24, 7-2 vs. Top 50, 16-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Duke, Baylorx2, WVU
Bad losses:  N-Indiana
What’s likely going to keep them from catching Nova (without help) is the one bad loss, and the non-con SoS just merely being great instead of outstanding.  Still, a remarkable track record of handling their business.  Could still lose a 1 seed, but it would require multiple stunning losses.

Baylor (21-5) (9-5) RPI 3 SoS 1
Vital signs:  8-3 R/N, non-con SoS 8, 8-3 vs. Top 50, 14-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Oregon, N-Louisville, Xavier, N-VCU
Bad losses:  K-State at home is sloppy, @TTU is worse
Nothing too wrong with the resume, outside of maybe losing one game too many in the conference.  Losing to WVU and Kansas 2x is forgivable.  Their non-con work still puts them in solid position, but the chance for a 1 seed is in danger.  They’re behind Nova and Gonzaga and Kansas and can’t do a whole lot about that, and their spot is going to be under siege from the ACC schools.  But!  They hold trump cards on Louisville and Oregon if they need them.

West Virginia (21-6) (9-5) RPI 28 SoS 63
Vital signs:  7-4 R/N, non-con SoS 258, 5-2 vs. Top 50, 10-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Virginia, Baylor, Kansas, @ISU and OSU?
Bad losses:  @TTU, Oklahoma, N-Temple
A couple sloppy losses, and a really sloppy SoS.  They only had 3 Top 100 teams in the non-con schedule, that really killed them.  The high-end wins will offset some, but not nearly all, of that.  This is going to be a tricky balancing act for the committee to figure out how high they go.


Iowa St (17-9) (9-5) RPI 43 SoS 44
Vital signs:  7-6 R/N, non-con SoS 157, 3-6 vs. Top 50, 7-7 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Kansas, N-Miami, @OSU
Bad losses:  @Texas, @Iowa, @Vandy?
I do wish there was a second win over a lockboxed team to make this easier.  But given the current state of the bubble, I think they’re fine on that front (and they have chances against Baylor and WVU coming).  That is one spot of hesitation.  With those two and Okie State still coming, it wouldn’t be hard to fall to 18-12, and another conference tourney loss and things get dicey.  None of the vital signs are in critical condition, yet at least.

Oklahoma St (17-9) (7-7) RPI 29 SoS 20
Vital signs:  8-5 R/N, non-con SoS 32, 3-7 vs. Top 50, 7-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @WVU, Arky?  @Wichita St?
Bad losses:  @Texas, K-State at home?
6 of their losses are clustered together to start Big 12 play.  Might be a help, but I’m not sure.  One bit of help is the non-con losses are UNC and Maryland, so they avoided fatal blows in the non-con.  The key will be to try and add a win or 2 to the Top 50 tally (chances are coming) and to keep that Top 100 record around .500.  The other resume pieces are in good shape for now.

Kansas St (17-10) (6-8) RPI 57 SoS 45
Vital signs:  6-6 R/N, non-con SoS 236, 3-8 vs. Top 50, 4-10 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  WVU, @Baylor, @OSU
Bad losses:  @TTU, @Tennessee I suppose
Two big wins make the resume, but there’s a couple warning signs of note.  That non-con SoS is an obvious one, and is in the danger zone.  Worse, they’re out of chances for impact wins, so their task at the moment is fixing that horrendous Top 100 record.  This is doable, though.

TCU (16-10) (6-8) RPI 58 SoS 32
Vital signs:  4-6 R/N, non-con SoS 113, 2-8 vs. Top 50, 5-10 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Iowa St, @K-State?  Illinois St?
Bad losses:  Auburn, @TTU
No win over a lockboxed team is not great.  Most teams on the bubble are going to be able to at least play that card.  That poor overall record v. the top 100 is damaging to the overall situation as a result.  Can’t beat great teams and can’t hold own against good teams is usually a bad formula, combined with just okay road/neutral and SoS numbers.  Have Kansas and WVU left, I recommend getting one.

Texas Tech (17-10) (5-9) RPI 90 SoS 89
Vital signs:  2-8 R/N, non-con SoS 340, 2-6 vs. Top 50, 4-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Baylor, WVU, K-State and TCU?
Bad losses:  @Oklahoma, @Texas
An absolutely terrifying 1-7 in true road games, and non-con SoS 340.  This completely wipes out their wins over WVU and Baylor, IMO.  They make the listing only because the two signature wins are truly notable, and road chances at OSU and KSU are coming.  Winning those helps mask one of the flaws (although the other flaw will doom them regardless).



Purdue (22-5) (11-3) RPI 20 SoS 51
Vital signs:  8-3 R/N, non-con SoS 123, 6-3 vs. Top 50, 11-4 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-ND, Wisky, @Maryland
Bad losses:  @Nebraska, @Iowa
They’re a couple of sloppy road losses away from a real chance at the 2 or 3 line.  As is, they miss the true high-end win that can compete with the other competition for a top 2 seed.  Everything in the profile is very good without being great enough to reach that point.  Still, it would take serious damage to knock them into 7-8 range.  And with 3 roadies coming up, it’s possible.

Wisconsin (22-5) (11-3) RPI 24 SoS 70
Vital signs:  8-4 R/N, non-con SoS 235, 3-4 vs. Top 50, 13-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Maryland, @Minny, Michigan?
Bad losses:  @Michigan, maybe
On the good, 13 Top 100 wins, although many of them are more trivial than you think.  Missing some high-end wins that would really help, and that non-con SoS really worsens the problem.  They’re going to be a seed or two below what everyone else expects, I fear.

Maryland (21-5) (10-4) RPI 19 SoS 39
Vital signs:  10-2 R/N, non-con SoS 100, 3-2 vs. Top 50, 13-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Oklahoma St?  @Minnesota and @Northwestern, ok
Bad losses:  @Penn St, Nebraska?
They’ve got a signature win problem, but the road record helps erase most concerns.  This is a standard resume for a 5-7 seed.  It’s the type of resume typically held by a mid-major – good road record, pile of good but not great wins, couple marginal losses.


Northwestern (20-7) (9-5) RPI 37 SoS 65
Vital signs:  7-4 R/N, non-con SoS 172, 3-6 vs. Top 50, 8-7 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Dayton, @Wisky, Wake?
Bad losses:  Illinois
It’s happening.  Sure, there’s some weak spots in this resume.  Just good enough against good competition, just good enough on the road, just good enough everywhere.  There’s time to damage this resume, to be fair, but it’s getting late.

Minnesota (20-7) (8-6) RPI 23 SoS 22
Vital signs:  5-4 R/N, non-con SoS 30, 5-5 vs. Top 50, 10-7 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Purdue, @NW, Michigan?
Bad losses:  @OSU and @PSU, perhaps
The 5 Top 50 wins are mirage-y, with UTA and Vandy mixed in.  But still, a solid performance against a solid non-con schedule, plus a reasonably good conference performance means relative safety.  I can’t call them home free yet because with a couple marginal losses already, a couple more would be exponentially harmful.

Michigan St (16-11) (8-6) RPI 43 SoS 14
Vital signs:  4-9 R/N, non-con SoS 18, 4-6 vs. Top 50, 8-10 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  swept Minny, NW, Wichita St?
Bad losses:  @OSU and Indiana and PSU?  Northeastern for sure
I’m not that optimistic here, there’s just enough to support the at-large bid, but there’s holes.  There’s a couple too many marginal losses, and a couple too many road giveaways.  Still in for now, but they have to hold serve in games they’re supposed to win (and there’s a couple left).

Michigan (17-10) (7-7) RPI 55 SoS 33
Vital signs:  3-7 R/N, non-con SoS 95, 3-7 vs. Top 50, 9-9 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-SMU, Wisky, Michigan St?
Bad losses:  OSU at home, @Illinois and Iowa?
One true road win on the year.  That ain’t good.  3 more road games still to come, 2 of them extremely winnable.  Either they mask their problem, or they make it into a bubble-bursting problem.  Pretty simple diagnosis of this profile.  Everything else here is just good enough to sneak into the field with.

Indiana (15-12) (5-9) RPI 90 SoS 37
Vital signs:  2-8 R/N, non-con SoS 151, 3-8 vs. Top 50, 6-11 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Kansas, UNC, Michigan St
Bad losses:  Nebraska, N-IPFW
Man, I don't know.  What doesn't help is losing sooo many swing games in the conference.  Swept by Michigan, lost to Minny and NW and swept by Wisky, lost to a swing game!

Off the board:
Penn St (14-13) (6-8) RPI 73 SoS 25 – it’s not theoretically impossible; they have wins over Minny, Maryland, and MSU, but nothing of consequence on the road, so the raw number of losses is a big problem
Illinois (14-12) (5-9) RPI 67 SoS 16 – a couple too many bad losses, and the wins aren’t high-impact enough.  Pass
Ohio St (15-13) (5-10) RPI 82 SoS 29 - nahhh



Kentucky (22-5) (12-2) RPI 8 SoS 11
Vital signs:  9-3 R/N, non-con SoS 6, 6-5 vs. Top 50, 13-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-UNC, S. Carolina, N-Michigan St?
Bad losses:  probably @Tennessee counts
Sneaky problem with the resume:  3 of those 6 Top 50 wins are Arky, @Vandy, and Georgia.  You would hope for more depth, but the SEC has hurt them.  That one loss to UCLA is pretty harmful right now; they could really use a second high-end win.  Another Florida game awaits, at least.

Florida (22-5) (12-2) RPI 10 SoS 21
Vital signs:  15-4 R/N*, non-con SoS 8, 5-5 vs. Top 50, 14-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Kentucky, @Arky, N-Miami
Bad losses:  home to Vandy is the only real mistake
The usual caveat:  they’re 8-2 in true road games (they played a bunch of neutral site games in the state of Florida in the non-con).  Point is the metric is flawed but the winning percentage is valid.  Same general issue as Kentucky – could use more depth of wins.  SEC didn’t help; they lost chances to Duke and FSU, and their non-con SoS is buoyed by scheduling the right mid-majors.


South Carolina (19-7) (10-4) RPI 30 SoS 43
Vital signs:  7-4 R/N, non-con SoS 69, 3-4 vs. Top 50, 11-6 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Florida, N-Syracuse?  @Tennessee
Bad losses:  @Memphis technically counts, home to Alabama?
I think they’ll be home free.  Beat Syracuse in New York, that other top 50 win was Monmouth.  They’ve mostly beaten the teams they should have, as the 11 Top 100 wins testify.  No metric of theirs is disqualifying.  If there’s an issue, the final week brings the Mississippi schools, who could damage their resume with wins.

Arkansas (20-7) (9-5) RPI 33 SoS 62
Vital signs:  7-4 R/N, non-con SoS 53, 4-5 vs. Top 50, 9-5 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @S Carolina, @Tennessee?  UTA?
Bad losses:  MSU and Vandy at home
That win at USC is huge, it’s their only win over a sure tourney team at this point.  When Vandy, UT, and UTA are 3 of your Top 50 wins, your profile can be a bit deceiving.  Down the stretch, they have one optional game (@Florida) and 3 other games they really need to hold service in.  Two marginal home losses mean there’s less margin for error than you think.

Alabama (16-10) (9-5) RPI 74 SoS 65
Vital signs:  7-5 R/N, non-con SoS 83, 2-5 v. Top 50, 4-9 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @S Carolina, @Georgia?  Oh no
Bad losses:  @Texas, @Auburn perhaps, N-Valpo?
Very marginal listing here.  Only here because of the road win at USC.  They’re out of quality teams to play, but winning those 4 would fix the Top 100 mark, so we can’t kill them yet.

Tennessee (14-12) (7-7) RPI 50 SoS 10
Vital signs:  4-8 R/N, non-con SoS 9, 2-8 vs. Top 50, 8-11 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Kentucky, K-State, GT?
Bad losses:  @MSU, I suppose Chattanooga counts too
Only really here with the Kentucky win.  They did schedule up, and had plenty of chances to get big wins…and missed all the other chances.  Lost to S Carolina and Arky at home, which really hurt the resume depth.  One last chance @USC which is do or die for them.

Vanderbilt (14-13) (7-7) RPI 49 SoS 3
Vital signs:  5-8 R/N, non-con SoS 1, 4-7 vs. Top 50, 9-12 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Florida, Iowa St, S Carolina, @Arky?
Bad losses:  @Mizzou, N-Bucknell?  Auburn?
Only here because they have 4 probable wins over tourney teams, and they own the Magic Bullet – the #1 non-con SoS.  Did a great job playing Belmont, Bucknell, M Tennessee, and others.  Not so good was losing a few of those.  MT, Minny, Marquette, Dayton…just missed chance after missed chance.  They still have Kentucky and Florida coming though, so we must pay attention.  This absolutely could be a resume that gets in at 18-15 overall.

Off the board:
Ole Miss (16-11) (7-7) RPI 71 SoS 38 – 2-9 v Top 50, no wins over tourney teams.  No real chances to fix either problem, so they’re stuck here
Georgia (14-12) (6-8) RPI 59 SoS 16 – another case where the metrics are similar to other SEC teams, but they’re missing the big win that gives them a real chance, and they’re out of such chances
Texas A&M (14-12) (6-8) RPI 96 SoS 51 – did you know they’re 1-11 vs. Top 50?  Yikes
Auburn (16-11) (5-9) RPI 84 SoS 72 – if you’re wondering, their signature win is @Alabama.  Just can’t make the case



Oregon (23-4) (13-2) RPI 7 SoS 26
Vital signs:  7-4 R/N, non-con SoS 42, 6-2 vs. Top 50, 12-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Arizona, UCLA, swept USC?
Bad losses:  @Colorado, N-Gtown
It’ll be tough to see if they can ascend all the way to the 1 seed.  Don’t think they can get enough signature wins to matter.  Borderline 2/3 seed at the moment, with a marginal loss at Colorado dooming the Pac-12 title hopes.  They did NOT have to play Arizona on the road, so head-to-head doesn’t matter as much as you’d think.

Arizona (25-3) (14-1) RPI 8 SoS 38
Vital signs:  11-3 R/N, non-con SoS 28, 5-3 vs. Top 50, 11-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @UCLA, @USC and Cal, N-Michigan St?
Bad losses:  not even close to a bad one
They lost their 3 toughest games on the schedule so far, so that probably locks them out of the 1 line.  2 line is possible, but I’d like to see some more wins against UCLA (another game is coming) and Oregon (which isn’t).  They may have to settle for the 4 line because their chance of improving the resume is pretty small.

UCLA (24-3) (11-3) RPI 20 SoS 89
Vital signs:  10-2 R/N, non-con SoS 246, 4-3 vs. Top 50, 10-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Kentucky, Oregon, USC
Bad losses:  @USC is the worst
That damned non-con SoS.  They beat Kentucky and Michigan, but the cupcakes caught up with them.  Playing the other top Pac-12 teams to par so far, and avoiding bad losses would typically mean a 2 seed, but that SoS number will literally cost them seed lines in March.


USC (21-6) (8-6) RPI 32 SoS 74
Vital signs:  9-3 R/N, non-con SoS 168, 2-5 vs. Top 50, 5-6 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  SMU, UCLA, and it gets light from there
Bad losses:  @Utah, Cal?
No real harmful losses, and they’ve won enough home games against good competition.  Competent enough, with one metric (road wins) balancing out another (just an okay SoS).  This profile could miss, but mostly because of the threat of horrible losses are still out there.  All they need to do is hold.

California (18-8) (9-5) RPI 39 SoS 43
Vital signs:  4-6 R/N, non-con SoS 77, 1-6 vs. Top 50, 4-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @USC, Utah?  Yeesh
Bad losses:  @Stanford perhaps, N-SDSU
Here’s a case where Cal lost 7 of their 8 toughest games on the schedule, and only one more outside of that.  They haven’t exactly proven they can beat tourney teams, and all that remains is @Oregon on that front.  Still, if they hold serve in other games, I think the other metrics can just hang on.  I’m not thrilled by this resume, though.

Off the board:
Utah (15-10) (8-7) RPI 96 SoS 100 – it’s tough to have only 1 Top 100 win at this stage in the season



Cincinnati (24-3) (13-1) RPI 14 SoS 80
Vital signs:  8-3 R/N, non-con SoS 40, 3-2 vs. Top 50, 5-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Iowa St, Xavier, SMU
Bad losses:  N-URI
They’ll probably be fine even if they lose their next 5 games.  Enough wins against tournament teams (just barely, though).  And complete bad loss avoidance, which increases cushion.  It’s now about seeding, and to be honest, it’ll be more about what the teams around them do than what Cincy does.  Their resume is more or less fully formed


SMU (24-4) (14-1) RPI 18 SoS 85
Vital signs:  8-4 R/N, non-con SoS 113, 1-2 vs. Top 50, 7-4 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Cincy, TCU?  N-Pitt?
Bad losses:  @Boise is the only marginal one
I suppose they could lose 4 to end the year and miss, so no lockbox yet.  The profile is good, but not good enough to withstand that kind of collapse.  That win over Cincy was so important just to put a win over a sure tourney team into the ledger.

Off the board:
Houston (18-8) (9-5) RPI 62 SoS 88 – no wins over probably tournament teams, and they’re out of chances against SMU and Cincy.  And a couple bad, bad losses.  Nothing in the resume is strong enough to mask those things



VCU (22-5) (12-2) RPI 24 SoS 69
Vital signs:  9-4 R/N, non-con SoS 74, 2-1 vs. Top 50, 8-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Dayton, MTSU
Bad losses:  I suppose N-Illinois, @Fordham definitely
8 Top 100 wins…4 Top 95 wins.  Watch out for stats that are deceiving.  A metric that would suggest a lock is really deceiving.  Still, they’re in pretty good shape, but two roadies at URI and Dayton loom, and those can be easily lost.

Dayton (20-5) (12-2) RPI 27 SoS 70
Vital signs:  8-4 R/N, non-con SoS 36, 1-3 vs. Top 50, 11-4 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  footage not found
Bad losses:  @UMass, N-Nebraska
Hmm.  Did you know they don’t have a win over a tourney team right now?  11 Top 100 wins!  And 0 against tourney teams!  How in the hell is that possible!  Beat UNM, Winthrop, ETSU, Bama, Vandy…URI, a few other A-10 teams…pretty amazing feat.  Non-con SoS is great, they did a great scheduling job as you can see by the 12 Top 100 opponents.  I’d really like them to beat VCU at home just to make sure they’re in.

Rhode Island (17-9) (9-5) RPI 51 SoS 60
Vital signs:  6-6 R/N, non-con SoS 24, 1-3 vs. Top 50, 3-8 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Cincy, and we’re done
Bad losses:  Fordham, LaSalle?
We’ll keep them on the board with a game against VCU coming.  A second good win would help, and several losses on the road were reasonable (against 51-100 competition).  Still a pretty big stretch, though

Everyone else:


Gonzaga (28-0) (15-0 WCC) RPI 6 SoS 79
Vital signs:  13-0 R/N, non-con SoS 48, 7-0 vs. Top 50, 11-0 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  N-Florida, N-Iowa St, N-Arizona, swept St Mary’s
Bad losses:  nah
I’m okay with the argument to put them #1 overall.  Only 2 of the Top 50 wins are deceiving (Akron, Tennessee).  5 legit Top 50 wins


Nevada (21-6) (10-4 Mountain West) RPI 42 SoS 126
Vital signs:  10-5 R/N, non-con SoS 163, 0-1 vs. Top 50, 6-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Boise, swept New Mexico?
Bad losses:  @Utah St, @Fresno?
Courtesy listing.  Top 100 record isn’t nothing to sneeze at, but there’s a lot of MWC teams mixed in there, and very little heft OOC.  Won at Washington in a game that should’ve meant more.  Such is life for a non-power conference school.

St Mary’s (24-3) (14-2 WCC) RPI 16 SoS 74
Vital signs:  10-1 R/N, non-con SoS 67, 2-3 vs. Top 50, 7-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  @Dayton, Nevada
Bad losses:  UTA at home?
I do wish there was just a couple more quality wins to make this easier.  4 of the 7 Top 100 wins are sweeps of BYU and San Fran.  And the non-con SoS feels a bit deceiving.  But even if they lose 3 in a row to finish the year, it’s a stretch to call them out, IMO.  No bad losses yet means they have that mulligan still to burn

Illinois St (22-5) (15-1 MVC) RPI 33 SoS 138
Vital signs:  9-5 R/N, non-con SoS 116, 1-1 vs. Top 50, 2-3 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Wichita St, New Mexico?
Bad losses:  N-San Fran, @Tulsa, @Murray St
This is a very marginal listing.  The road/neutral record isn’t strong enough for a middie, the SoS isn’t good enough, not enough quality wins, too many marginal losses.  Can’t do it

Wichita St (24-4) (15-1 MVC) RPI 41 SoS 155
Vital signs:  10-3 R/N, non-con SoS 182, 1-4 vs. Top 50, 2-4 vs. Top 100
Signature wins:  Illinois St, @Colorado St, and we’re done here
Bad losses:  Okie State is the worst
How much do you like advanced metrics?  If you don’t, they’re out.  If you do, they’re in.  It’s that simple, really.  I don’t know what to do with them, myself.  Nothing in the overall resume says they deserve an at-large bid, with perhaps an exception for the road/neutral record

Middle Tennessee (23-4) (14-1 CUSA) RPI 31 SoS 124
Vital signs:  13-2 R/N, non-con SoS 16, 2-1 vs. Top 50, 4-1 vs. Top 100S
Signature wins:  Vandy, @Belmont?  N-UNCW?
Bad losses:  Tennessee St at home, @UTEP is hideous
They somehow managed to put together the #16 non-con SoS by playing exactly one team with reasonable at-large chances (VCU).  Pretty fluky.  However, they did beat some other competent teams, and have powerful computer numbers, so we’ll look at them for now.  1 CUSA loss is pretty much all they can afford; I just wish they used it on someone better than UTEP.

Off the board:
Boise St (16-8) (10-4 Mountain West) RPI 62 SoS 96 – there’s actually a win vs. SMU in here that could be handy…except they lost to Mississippi St and Evansville.  They could’ve made it up with a strong MWC season, but got swept by New Mexico.  Flip those two and we’d be cooking
UNC-Wilmington (22-5) (13-3 Colonial) RPI 41 SoS 153 – shiny RPI, but @Charleston is the signature win, so I just can’t defend it.  SoS is a bit of a mirage, to be honest
Charleston (20-8) (12-4 Colonial) RPI 67 SoS 116 - @UNCW is the signature win, so they’re a bit of a NIT bubble team if it comes to it
Texas-Arlington (18-6) (10-3 Sun Belt) RPI 36 SoS 138 – they do have a win at St Mary’s in their pocket, but 3 Fun Belt losses kill.  Now, the top of the league is decent…but the losses aren’t to any of the top teams.  They’re to minnows.  That’s why they’re dead on the bubble, which is a shame
Arkansas St (18-8) (10-4 Sun Belt) RPI 79 SoS 194 – beat G’town on a neutral, alas it doesn’t carry enough weight.  NIT bubble team, probably trending out
Akron (21-5) (12-2 MAC) RPI 48 SoS 167 – How to become a Top 50 RPI team without a Top 100 win:  the Akron story
Monmouth (23-5) (15-2 MAAC) RPI 47 SoS 190 – Win at Memphis is rotting away.  Nowhere near the heft in their resume that they had last year
Valparaiso (21-6) (12-3 Horizon) RPI 72 SoS 191 – Had wins against Bama, BYU, and URI.  Watched those wins become nothing and then lost a couple marginal games.  Out
New Mexico St (20-4) (9-2 WAC) RPI 56 SoS 235 – Don’t be fooled by the RPI and record, the resume doesn’t hold up
Vermont (23-5) (14-0 A-East) RPI 51 SoS 197 – Again, don’t be fooled by the RPI and record.  0 Top 100 wins

Belmont (20-5) (14-1 OVC) RPI 64 SoS 212 – Broken record

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