BX Bubble Rundown, Conference Championship Games, and More...

BX Bubble Rundown, Conference Championship Games, and More...
Mar 11, 2007, 04:09 am

-The following is a thorough and precise evaluation of all of the teams on my bubble. I have 13 teams on this list, and there are seven spots available. I’m fairly confident about putting Old Dominion and Drexel into the field, mainly because they have done so much on the road and have some of the more impressive OOC wins. I’m also fairly confident about Texas Tech due to their impressive wins against Texas A&M (twice) and Kansas. They'd also won six of seven prior to losing in the conference tournament.

On the flip side, I’m fairly confident that Air Force will not be selected. They have the best RPI of anyone here, but a more precise evaluation of them shows that they are probably the weakest when it comes to all of their credentials.

That leaves nine teams for four spots. Right now, I have Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Xavier and Purdue in.

Arkansas, Florida State, Missouri State, Stanford and Kansas State are out.

This is obviously subject to change. I believe Arkansas is the team that impresses me the most of all the teams that are left out. I believe Florida State is also a very strong team. A case can be made for all the teams on this list, but I believe those two are the best. Arkansas can play their way in automatically if they can upset Florida today. I may decide to put them in anyway regardless of what happens in the SEC title game.

-Of the teams I have in, I believe Xavier and Purdue have the two weakest cases, but there are weaknesses in Georgia Tech and Syracuse as well. Xavier’s wins just aren’t as impressive as the other teams, and Purdue’s road record is very poor.

-It’s also worth noting that one less bubble team will get in if North Carolina State wins the ACC Championship. Right now, that would remove either Purdue, Georgia Tech or Xavier from my bracket, but then again, it is all subject to change. The resumes and analysis of each of the teams I am considering is given below.

-Both the SEC and ACC Championship games will be going on at the same time, and that could definitely impact things.


-won 12 straight before losing in the semifinals of the CAA Tournament
-road win against Georgetown
-8-5 road record

-RPI = 40
-finished second in CAA standings
-2 wins against Drexel

-losses to James Madison and George Mason

I believe the Monarchs are in based on how they finished the season. The win against Georgetown on the road is also one of the more impressive overall wins that anyone on the bubble really has. In addition to everything else, they beat VCU rather handily down the stretch. They also look like an NCAA Tournament team, and I believe that will come through on the subjective part of the discussions.


-13-5 away from home
-road wins against Syracuse, Villanova and Creighton

-RPI = 39
-7-3 in last 10 games

-losses to Rider and William & Mary
-finished 4th in CAA standings

I believe Drexel is in simply because of what they’ve accomplished on the road. Three road wins of that caliber is more than what anyone else on the bubble has. They also made an effort to schedule tough. The committee stresses the importance of scheduling tough and winning on the road, and Drexel has done that. The committee will be verifying what they’ve always said teams must do if they take Drexel, which I believe they will.


-home wins over Kansas and Texas A&M
-roads win against Texas A&M and Kansas State
-6-5 on the road

-6-4 in last 10 games
-SOS = 39
-RPI = 53
-10-8 in conference games, including conference tourney

-losses to Nebraska and Baylor

I’m fairly confident that the Red Raiders are in. In looking at their wins, they’re pretty impressive, and they even have a head to head win over another bubble team in Arkansas. There also aren’t that many bad things on their resume. Their RPI is somewhat low, but there is more than enough on their schedule to offset that. Had it not been for losing on a last second prayer to Nebraska and/or a blown lead late in the game to Oklahoma State, they’d be in even better shape. They did lose to Kansas State in the conference tournament rather badly, but they won at Kansas State earlier this year.


-wins against Georgetown and at Marquette

-RPI = 51
-SOS = 46
-7-3 in last ten games
-5-4 in true road games
-home win against Villanova

-loss at Saint John’s

There isn’t anything all that outstanding about the Orange other than their two big wins, but there isn’t anything all that bad about them either. Another win in the conference tournament would have locked them in, but it appears as if they have done enough. They didn’t schedule any big time OOC games and the committee may hold that against them, but they look like one of the 34 best at-larges to me.


-RPI = 43
-SOS = 45
-3-2 in neutral site games
-home wins against Michigan State, Indiana, Illinois and Virginia
-close loss to Ohio State on the road
-10-8 in Big Ten play (includes conf. tourney)
-7-3 in last ten games

-2-8 on the road
-losses to Indiana State and Minnesota on the road

The Boilermakers were playing their best basketball of the season toward the end, and the committee tends to favor teams who finish strong. Their conference tournament win against Iowa was big because it gave them another neutral court win. There is nothing really outstanding on their resume, and they have not played well on the road at all, so that could be a huge issue for the Boilermakers. Still, two of their three losses in their last ten games were against Ohio State, and they played very well in both games, and that does count for something, or at least that’s what they tell me.


-wins against North Carolina, Memphis on a neutral floor, Duke and at Florida State
-7-3 in their last 10 games

-RPI = 52
-SOS = 39
-2-2 in neutral site games
-8-9 in conference games (including loss in conf. tourney)

-1-8 in true road games
-losses to Wake Forest twice, and Miami, FL

I really believe that Georgia Tech would have been in great shape had they not lost their conference tournament game to Wake Forest. They haven’t been good on the road at all, but at least that would have been another neutral floor win on their resume. They still have a very strong case given how good some of their wins are, but just one road win could keep them home.


-RPI = 34
-9-1 in their last 10 games

-neutral floor wins against Villanova and VCU
-home wins against Kansas State and Illinois
-5-5 on the road
-tied for Atlantic Ten regular season title

-losses at Duquesne and Cincinnati

There is nothing too terribly wrong with Xavier’s resume, but there isn’t anything all that outstanding either. In comparing them to the other bubble teams, their wins just aren’t as good. The Illinois win came at a time when the Illini weren’t playing all that well, and they have some pretty poor losses as well. They finished the season red hot and that will work in their favor, but they also didn’t beat any solid tournament teams in that stretch. In matching them up to a lot of the teams on the bubble, it just looks like that the teams ahead of them have done a little bit more. They also have losses to Rhode Island and Saint Joseph’s, who have poor RPIs as well.


-RPI = 35
-SOS = 12
-neutral floor win against Southern Illinois
-6-1 in neutral floor games
-advanced to SEC championship game

-6-4 in last 10 games
-2 wins against Vanderbilt
-10-9 in conference games (includes conf. tourney)

-2-8 on the road
-losses at South Carolina and at Auburn

The more I look at Arkansas, the more I think they might be in. 2-8 on the road isn’t good, but 6-1 on neutral sites sure is. They’ve also won five straight, and four of those have been away from home. Only going 7-9 during the conference regular season didn’t help, and their win against Mississippi State in the semifinals didn’t exactly come against a top notch team, but they are really finishing the season strong. A win over Florida puts them in regardless, but there is a very good chance they may have played their way in already. The Southern Illinois win is good, but it was also very early in the season before the Salukis really caught fire.


-SOS = 19
-road win against Duke
-home win against Florida

-RPI = 41
-2-1 in neutral site games
-home wins against Maryland and Virginia Tech
-no losses outside the RPI top 60

-4-8 on the road
-4-6 in last ten games

After winning at Duke, the Seminoles lost five straight games. They turned it around with wins against North Carolina State and Miami, FL, but neither of those are really strong teams. They did win their opening round ACC game against Clemson, and that’s why they’re in the discussion. They have a shot because their wins are good and they had no bad losses. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if their name was called, but the fact that they played poorly down the stretch gives the committee a good reason not to take them.


-road win against Texas
-neutral site win against USC

-11-7 in Big Twelve play (includes conf. tourney)
-RPI = 56
-neutral floor win against Texas Tech
-6-8 on the road
-5-5 in last 10 games

-SOS = 88
-losses at Nebraska and at Colorado State

Kansas State also has a bad loss to New Mexico, but it came at a time when the Lobos were at full strength and playing very well, so they won’t be punished too much for that. Having seen Kansas State play, I believe they are a good team, but in looking at their credentials on paper, I just don’t think they’ve accomplished enough and haven’t really shown they are an NCAA tournament team. 10-6 in the Big Twelve is impressive, but they play all of the Northern teams twice. Playing Iowa State, Nebraska, Colorado and Missouri twice is easier than playing Texas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M twice. They do have a big statement win at Texas and a good neutral floor win against Texas Tech, so they do have some credentials and could get in, but I just don’t think they have as many credentials as the teams I have ahead of them. Had they beaten Kansas at least once this season or upset Texas A&M (which they almost did) it would have made a world of difference.


-home win against UCLA

-home wins against Oregon, Washington State and USC
-neutral floor win against Texas Tech
-5-7 on the road
-SOS = 33
-RPI = 63
-no losses outside RPI top 100
-10-9 in Pac Ten play (includes conf. tourney)

-3-6 in last 9 games

If Stanford misses the dance, and I have a hunch that they will, it will be because of their weak finish. They don’t have anything else all that bad on their resume, and they did play a tough part of their schedule at the end of the season, but when compared to the teams ahead of them I just don’t think they are quite as good. They also didn’t do much out of conference other than defeat Texas Tech. Still, 10-8 in the Pac Ten regular season is pretty good, and the fact that they have no bad losses is also something to consider. I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if their name was called tomorrow, but right now I’m thinking it won’t be.


-RPI = 36
-neutral floor win against Wisconsin
-8-4 on the road

-SOS = 40
-7-3 in their last 10 games
-13-7 in Missouri Valley play (includes conference tournament)

-loss to Evansville

There isn’t a whole lot wrong with this resume, but there isn’t a whole lot on there to indicate that they belong in the tournament either other than an early season win against Wisconsin. That is the only at-large caliber team that Missouri State beat all year, and although it’s an outstanding win, I just don’t think that it’s enough all by itself. Had they beaten Creighton in the semifinals of the conference tournament, they’d most likely be in.


-RPI = 30

-home win against UNLV
-neutral floor win against Texas Tech
-road win against Stanford
-10-7 in Mountain West play
-6-5 on the road

-4-6 in last ten games
-lost last 4 games of the season, and lost to Wyoming and TCU in that stretch
-also have a loss at Utah

Air Force was solidly in the field about two weeks ago, but they have absolutely gone into the tank, and I just can’t find a way to put them into my bracket. The best thing on their resume is their RPI and a home win against UNLV, and that simply isn’t enough, especially when you look at the bad things on their resume. I believe the Falcons are out.



-2. WISCONSIN VS 1. OHIO STATE. The winner of this game is pretty much assured a #1 seed, and there is a very good chance that the loser of it will receive a #1 seed as well, especially if Wisconsin ends up winning. The two split the regular season series as both won very close games at home against one another, so this is the perfect rubber match. Both teams can be very dangerous tournament teams, so really the most important thing is that both teams stay healthy. It should be an intense game because the Big Ten title is on the line, but whatever happens in the NCAA Tournament this week will overshadow whatever happens in this game today.


-W3. ARKANSAS VS E1. FLORIDA. Arkansas is squarely on the bubble, and has a shot at being selected even if they don’t win this game. A win today erases any questions of it, though. Florida is in regardless and will be at worst a #2 seed. A win in this game gives them a very good shot at a #1 seed. I believe they are still the best team in the country despite the fact that they’ve lost some games in the latter part of the season. I attribute that to a team that knew they had a good seed locked up, and that already had the top seed in the conference tourney locked up, not getting entirely motivated for games down the stretch. They are on a roll now, though and have absolutely blown through their quarterfinal and semifinal games. It would take a tremendous effort on the part of Arkansas in order to pull the upset.


-10. NORTH CAROLINA STATE VS 1. NORTH CAROLINA. NC State has been playing outstanding basketball in this tournament. It’s too bad they hadn’t played like that all season, but nevertheless they have a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament with a win today. They have actually beaten the Tar Heels once this season, so it could be done. One of NC State’s better players is suffering an aggravated hamstring, but they’ve still managed to beat three very good teams with him not being at 100%. I believe North Carolina will end up with a #1 seed regardless of what happens in this game, but a win here pretty much guarantees it.


-3. TEXAS VS 1. KANSAS. Texas has been on an absolute tear down the stretch of the season, and should make a #4 seed regardless of what happens in this game today. A win pretty much guarantees it and could raise them up even better than that. I believe Kansas will get a #2 seed regardless of what happens. At the very worst I believe they’ll drop to a #3. This is just one of those great tune-up games for the NCAA Tournament as far as both teams are concerned. It’s also a rematch of last year’s championship game.


-3. NORTHWESTERN STATE VS 1. TEXAS A&M CORPUS CHRISTI. TAMUCC was the regular season champion and defeated Northwestern State on the road earlier this year. If they win this game they’ll be seeded in the 14-15 range. A win for Northwestern State will assuredly land them as a #16 seed. This is TAMUCC’s first year in the league. Their program isn’t all that old, and they’ve never been to the NCAA Tournament. Still, they’ve come a very long way in a very short time and this would be a huge accomplishment for their program if they can pull it off.

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