Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Bubble watch part 4 (SEC resurgence edition)

I can't believe this conference reformed themselves.  Until at least the inevitable Bruce Pearl scandal surfaces.


Auburn (21-3) (9-2) RPI 9 SoS 39
Vital signs:
9-2 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 82
avg RPI win  120
4-3 vs. Group 1
5-0 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  @Tennessee, N-MTSU, @Missou?
Bad losses:  N-Temple perhaps
I can't quite make the case for the 1 line yet.  The non-con SoS is more a product of bad team avoidance than actually scheduling up well.  2nd best win the non-con might be @Dayton or @Murray St.  So I can't endorse the 1 line, at least yet.  There's a fair bit of substance still to come in the SEC schedule, so winning the SEC might yet get them to the 1 line, but let's slow our roll for now.

Tennessee (18-5) (8-3) RPI 10 SoS 14
Vital signs:
8-3 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 21
avg RPI win 108
5-5 vs. Group 1
4-0 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-Purdue, swept Kentucky, A&M?
Bad losses:  none, honestly
This is a profile that's closer to the 1 line, IMO, although Auburn is currently ahead of them on the S-Curve.  Higher end wins, and the losses are perfectly fine (Nova, UNC, @Arky and Mizzou).  Only issue is they're kind of out of signature win chances, so they will be in service hold mode for awhile here.

Kentucky (17-7) (6-5) RPI 17 SoS 7
Vital signs:
4-5 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 7
avg RPI win 106
2-5 vs. Group 1
8-2 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  A&M and @WVU are the best
Bad losses:  @South Carolina, probably
UK will get a better seed than most think - that SoS is a magic bullet, and 10 Group 1/2 wins are a very solid amount.  They have what I often refer to as a nice pocket collection of wins.  Add up all the loose change in their pocket, and they can use it to move up a seed line or two.  Plenty of signature win chances lurk as well.


Florida (16-8) (7-4) RPI 48 SoS 28
Vital signs:
6-4 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 35
avg RPI win 122
5-3 vs. Group 1
4-5 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-Gonzaga, N-Cincy, @Kentucky, a couple roadies
Bad losses:  @Ole Miss, South Carolina
They'll probably be fine, but the raw number of losses is a mild concern.  Especially since a couple of their losses are a bit loose right now.  Some of these road losses are concerning (Loyola, FSU, Bama, etc).  Every single one is reasonable in a vacuum, but it's the combination that's devastating.

Arkansas (16-8) (5-6) RPI 36 SoS 34
Vital signs:
4-7 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 79
avg RPI win 125
4-6 vs. Group 1
1-1 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mizzou?
Bad losses:  @Miss St, @LSU?
A classic bubble resume.  One or two signature wins, poor but not awful road record with a couple marginal losses in there, solid SoS numbers and a general capability to be good but not great.

Missouri (15-8) (6-5) RPI 30 SoS 19
Vital signs:
6-6 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 64
avg RPI win 109
5-6 vs. Group 1
3-1 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  Tennessee, @Bama, Kentucky
Bad losses:  N-Illinois
We have to be honest:  that non-con SoS is fraudulent.  It's got wins over the likes of St John's, Wagner, Utah, Iowa St and UCF, all of which play a lot better with the computers than they should.  Just about every metric is a little better than they should be, given the computer ranking of their opponents.  This just means that a profile that looks like a lock to the computers isn't quite as safe, although I'll be surprised if they don't at least hold onto a bid from this position.

Texas A&M (16-8) (5-6) RPI 20 SoS 5
Vital signs:
5-6 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 12
avg RPI win 108
5-5 vs. Group 1
3-2 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  N-WVU, @USC, @Auburn
Bad losses:  swept by LSU!
Okay, they should be fine after a swoon.  The start of the SEC (@Bama, @UK, @Tennessee) turned out to be nastier than most realized.  That LSU thing is concerning, but now that they're out of the abyss, there's enough profile strength to carry them.  Note the SoS numbers and the other peripherals look fine.

Alabama (15-9) (6-5) RPI 42 SoS 16
Vital signs:
5-6 road/neutral record
non-con SoS 22
avg RPI win 100
5-4 vs. Group 1
4-4 vs. Group 2
Signature wins:  URI, A&M, Auburn, @Florida, Oklahoma
Bad losses:  @Vandy, @MSU, N-Minnesota
A profile that would be in great shape with 1 or 2 less silly losses.  As is, the rest of their season should be more about bad loss avoidance, as they should have enough high-end wins to make it.  Of course, the SEC is filled with a few traps this year so easier said than done.  Home holds would be more than enough for them.

Off the bubble:

Mississippi St seems like a team to put on the list, right?  17-6 (6-5), RPI 54 SoS 96.  Good.  But....1 true road wins.  They are home court heroes, all their wins of consequence are home wins (@South Carolina is their only Group 1 win).  Non-con SoS is 300 on the note.  With 8 teams above them in the resume pecking order, they're in trouble.  Even worse for them, signature win chances are dwindling.

I could look silly not doing a full profile for Georgia right now.  N-St Mary's and Florida are the signature wins, but 4-7 in conference with a merely middling non-con SoS of 161 leaves them here for now.

LSU and South Carolina both could merit long looks if they start winning, but their resumes are at the point where the raw number of losses are becoming a big problem.  But if they get hot, there is definitely some substance in the resumes to work with.

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