Home > Bubble Banter, Current Updates > Non-conference SOS may hinder some Bubble teams

Non-conference SOS may hinder some Bubble teams

dave1The return of Bubble Banter is still a couple of weeks away.  Let’s at least get to the mid-point of the conference season.

That said, there are some current bubble teams who may face a greater at-large hurdle than others.  The reason: a non-conference strength of schedule (SOS) the sticks out like red flag.  While there is never an absolute, recent trends indicate that members of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Selection Committee value a team’s non-conference schedule (and performance) – for two primary reasons.  First, it indicates a team’s willingness to challenge itself in the non-conference season.  Second, it provides a greater range of opportunities to compare teams with similar resumes. 

We’ve seen teams with adequate conference records – or even stellar conference records in some mid-major leagues – be left out on Selection Sunday because of an unimpressive (or ugly) non-conference SOS.  Which current bubble teams might be facing similar SOS trouble in March?  Here’s 10 potential candidates – with their NC SOS numbers through games played on Thursday, January 23 (data from ESPN’s Insider RPI).

  • Utah (350) 
  • Purdue (312)
  • Clemson (308)
  • Louisiana Tech (290)
  • Indiana State (289)
  • Southern Methodist  (269)
  • Texas AM (268)
  • Harvard (204)
  • Arizona State (203)
  • Providence (201)

The above numbers do not exclude those teams from an at-large bid, but it does mean an exceptional (or strong) conference record in necessary – even for teams like Purdue in the Big Ten.  It will hard, for example, for the Boilermakers to garner an at-large with a 9-9 or 10-8 league record, unless that record includes some significant conference wins and road wins against the best in the league. 

It’s worth noting the obvious disparity between Providence’s 201 number and Clemson’s 308.  While neither number is strong, a number in the high 200’s or 300’s stands out like a proverbial sore thumb.  And potentially give the Selection Committee a reason to remove that team from the consideration board as final decisions are made.

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