February 10: 1-68

The bubble is atrocious this year.  Last year, Syracuse and Vandy snuck in the tournament with 13 losses.  But this year, there may be a team with 14 or 15 losses that gets in the tournament for a few reasons.

First, the non Power 6 conferences are historically bad.  The American, A10, Mountain West, and Missouri Valley have regularly put multiple teams in the tournament in the last decade.

Four years ago, we watched the semifinals of the Mountain West conference in Vegas for my bachelor party, and all four teams not only made the tournament, but were comfortably in.  This year, it’s likely a one bid league.  From these four conferences, you are looking at 2-4 at large bids, which certainly is way down from previous years.

Second, there is significant parity in the middle of the Power 6 conferences.  It seems like everyone is 6-5 or 5-6 in conference, except for a couple of really good teams per conference, and a couple Boston Colleges or Rutgers in each.  This has inflated the RPI numbers for the bubble teams.  Hell, Vandy at 12-12 is still in this thing to potentially get an at-large.

For example, take a look at the last seven teams to make the tournament last year, and their record going into the tournament against Top 100 RPI teams:

Pittsburgh: 9-9
Temple: 7-9
Syracuse: 8-10
Michigan: 4-12
Tulsa: 8-8
Wichita State: 4-7
Vanderbilt: 7-10

Now, look at the last seven teams currently in our projected field against the Top 100.

Marquette: 6-8
California: 5-5
Seton Hall: 6-8
Georgia Tech: 6-9
Michigan State: 7-9
Michigan: 7-9
Tennessee: 8-9

Most of these teams have at least 8 games left, and will have more than 20 games against Top 100 teams.  Just a completely different year.

Last Four In:  Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Michigan, Tennessee

Next Seven:  Illinois State, Indiana, Rhode Island, Wake Forest, Arkansas, Clemson, Ohio State

The Top 16 will be released by the committee tomorrow. It is almost certain that Gonzaga will be a projected 1 seed. Our projections at this point in the season are based on how we would seed the tournament, not what we think the committee will do. As stated in previous articles, if Duke West wins Saturday, they will earn the spot on the 1 line.

1 Seeds

1. Villanova (22-2)
2. Kansas (21-3)
3. Baylor (21-3)
4. Florida State (21-4)

2 Seeds

5. Gonzaga (25-0)
6. UNC (21-5)
7. Oregon (21-4)
8. Virginia (18-5)

3 Seeds

9. Louisville (19-5)
10. Arizona (22-3)
11. Wisconsin (21-3)
12. UCLA (22-3)

4 Seeds

13. Cincinnati (22-2)
14. Duke (19-5)
15. Purdue (20-5)
16. Florida (19-5)

5 Seeds

17. Kentucky (19-5)
18. WVU (19-5)
19. Butler (19-5)
20. Xavier (18-6)

6 Seeds

21. Creighton (20-4)
22. Maryland (20-4)
23. S. Carolina (19-5)
24. Notre Dame (18-7)

7 Seeds

25. St. Mary’s (22-2)
26. SMU (21-4)
27. USC (21-4)
28. Northwestern (18-6)

8 Seeds

29. VCU (19-5)
29. Dayton (18-5)
31. Syracuse (16-9)
32. Minnesota (17-7)

9 Seeds

33. TCU (17-7)
34. Iowa State (14-9)
35. Oklahoma State (15-9)
36. Miami (16-7)

10 Seeds

37. Virginia Tech (16-7)
38. Kansas State (16-8)
39. Marquette (15-9)
40. Seton Hall (15-8)

11 Seeds

41. California (17-6)
42. Georgia Tech (14-10)
43. Michigan State (14-10)
44. Michigan (15-9)
45. Tennessee (14-10)
46. Wichita State (22-4)

12 Seeds

47. MTSU (21-4)
48. UNC Wilmington (22-4)
49. Nevada (19-5)
50. Monmouth (20-5)

13 Seeds

51. Akron (20-4)
52. Valparaiso (20-5)
53. Princeton (13-6)
54. UT-Arlington (17-6)

14 Seeds

55. New Mexico State (22-3)
56. Vermont (22-5)
57. Belmont (18-4)
58. E. Tennessee State (19-6)

15 Seeds

59. Florida Gulf Coast (19-7)
60. UNC Asheville (19-7)
61. Bucknell (19-7)
62. N. Dakota State (16-8)

16 Seeds

63. Texas Southern (13-10)
64. UC-Davis (15-9)
65. Weber State (14-8)
66. NC Central (17-6)
67. Stephen F. Austin (13-11)
68. Mount St. Mary’s (13-13)

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