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Bubble Talk: Trouble for Saint Mary’s?

February 17, 2018 Leave a comment

Dave2015Could Saint Mary’s actually be on the NCAA bubble?  Well … that’s a tough question, without an easy answer.   The Gaels have had a great season, including a huge win at Gonzaga.  They’ve been ranked.  But after losing their return game with Gonzaga and then falling to San Francisco, are they still safe?

Bubble Talk

A closer look at SMC’s profile raises questions.  Elsewhere, we welcome Penn State to the bubble scene after its second win over Ohio State.  More importantly, the Nittany Lions have multiple chances to add NCAA-level wins down the stretch – which isn’t easy in year’s Big Ten.

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Quick Takes: Louisville slides onto the bubble

February 6, 2018 Leave a comment

Dave2015Louisville and Syracuse now have something in common: The Bubble.  As the Orange exited the KFC Yum! Center on Monday night, they took a nice gift with them – a road win over a fellow bubble team.  That’s right, Louisville – losers of three straight and four of five – is now a bubble team with a month to go until Selection Sunday.

As recently as a week ago, it was easy to look at the Cardinals’ fast ACC start and believe they were on solid ground – even more so when you saw an upcoming three-game home stretch that included Florida State, Syracuse, and Georgia Tech.  Oh, how things can change.  Louisville has now lost the first two of those home games – adding a lot of pressure to the Cards’ date with Georgia Tech on Thursday.  Louisville’s closing stretch is brutal – it includes trips to Duke, Virginia Tech, and NC State, plus home games with North Carolina and Virginia.  A berth in the 2018 NCAA tournament is squarely on the line.

Other Quick Takes from Monday … Read more…

Bubble Talk: Syracuse, K-State back again

February 3, 2018 Leave a comment

Dave2015Time to debut Bubble Talk for another season.  Let the debates begin.  Who’s in? Who’s on the bubble?  Here we go, folks.

Bubble Talk – February 3 (2018 debut)

Syracuse and Kansas State, as you recall, were two of last year’s bubble darlings.  Why change?  Both are back again, with key February dates ahead.  Could we see a mid-major such as Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky, or New Mexico State earn an at-large spot, if needed?  All three present interesting profiles.

As for locks, it’s still a bit early, so those are few, relatively speaking.  Guess is, several teams will move into that group by our next update.  Until then, enjoy!

Quick Takes: Championship Week begins

March 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Dave2015The final Saturday of the regular season is upon us.  Which means Championship Week is officially here.  Were it not for NCAA tournament itself, this would arguably be one of the best weeks in sports.  So much rides on every outcome, especially for those teams fighting for dance tickets.  Friday night gave us a glimpse of the perils ahead, as Ohio Valley Conference favorite Belmont was bounced in the OVC tournament semifinals.  With that, here are the latest updates:

As this is Quick Takes, we won’t go in-depth.  But here are a few highlights and questions regarding the next eight days… Read more…

Quick Takes: Middle Tennessee St leads early mid-major hopefuls

February 3, 2017 Leave a comment

Dave2015If you’re looking for a quality non-power conference team that could earn an at-large bid on Selection Sunday, Middle Tennessee State should be near the top of your list.  If the name sounds familiar, think back to last year’s NCAA tournament.  The then 15th-seeded Blue Raiders knocked off No. 2 seed Michigan State in St. Louis before losing to eventual Final Four participant Syracuse in the Round of 32.  As we look ahead, Giddy Potts and MTSU are 19-3 with Top 100 RPI wins over UNC-Wilmington, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, and Belmont.  The Blue Raiders are 8-1 on the road and have some pretty solid metric numbers:

Middle Tennessee State … RPI: 37 | BPI: 52 | SOR: 31 | KP: 47

Unfortunately, Conference USA hasn’t provided MTSU with much support; the Blue Raiders are the only team in the RPI’s Top 100, and six of the schools are 300-plus.  That’s a recipe for picking up a really bad loss.  The good news, MTSU has avoided that issue.  If that continues, the Blue Raiders should receive strong consideration were they to lose in the C-USA tournament final.

Here are a few other mid-major hopefuls as we head into February: Read more…

Quick Takes: An early peek at the Bubble

January 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Dave2015It won’t be long before the Bubble returns.  If you’re new to college hoops lingo, the Bubble references teams caught in one of two places: either barely inside the bracket or close enough to be under strong consideration.  Either way, February and March become an agonizing adventure.  The remedy, of course, is to perform well enough to remove yourself from the aforementioned situation.  But as history suggests, that can be much tougher than it appears.

Although Bubble Banter won’t return until February, here’s an early peek at the developing Bubble …

Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)

  • Projected IN: Florida State, North Carolina, Louisville, Notre Dame, Virginia, Duke.
  • Early Bubble: Virginia Tech, Clemson, Wake Forest, Miami-FL, Pittsburgh, NC State, Georgia Tech
  • Notes:  It’s possible the league could tie a record for the most teams to make the NCAAs from one league (11).  My guess would be that three of the Bubble teams make it (9 total), with a fourth right along the cutline.

Read more…

Bubble Bits: Syracuse, Pitt tussle in ACC

March 8, 2016 Leave a comment

Dave2015It’s fair to say that neither Syracuse nor Pittsburgh is safely in the Field of 68, which makes Wednesday’s early tip at the ACC tournament worth following.  Although the Panthers won both regular season meetings against the Orange, the loser will be nervously awaiting their fate on Selection Sunday.

It’s especially timely given what we’ve seen thus far in Championship Week.  As potential bubble slots disappear, the value of every win increases.

Additional bubble action on Wednesday (March 9) ..

  • Washington (vs. Stanford) – The Huskies need a lengthy stay to get back in the conversation; they may need to win the Pac-12 tourney.
  • Georgia Tech (vs. Clemson) – First game of the ACC tourney for the Yellow Jackets who are back in the mix after winning 5 of 6 down the stretch.
  • USC (vs. UCLA) – Beating their rival may not be required, but it would certainly help ease the Trojans’ nerves. USC has lost 6 of 8 games, and a poor record away from home could become an issue.
  • Oregon State (vs. Arizona State) – While overall power numbers help the Beavers, they have not beaten a tournament team away from home. Losing to ASU a second time might not be the best message to leave the Committee.

Although likely above the bubble, it would still be nice to see Texas Tech beat TCU (Big 12) and Colorado beat Washington State (Pac 12).  A lot could still change between now and Saturday night.