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Posts Tagged ‘Bubble Teams’

Bracket Bits: The NC SOS / Bubble factor

February 1, 2018 Leave a comment

Dave2015Welcome to February.  We’ve reached the stretch run; the sprint to the finish line known as Selection Sunday.  The word “Bubble” returns to our regular vocabulary.  We’ll also be reminded of another term – at least if history repeats itself.  That term is non-conference strength of schedule, commonly known among bracket-heads as NC SOS.  On more than one occasion, the Selection Committee has determined that a poor NC SOS is a valid reason to punt a bubble team to the NIT.  With that in mind, here are a few teams that could be at risk if their names remain on the bubble list a month from now …

Houston (NC SOS: 262) – A lot about the Cougars’ profile screams bubble, even a composite of advanced metrics models. Good wins: Wichita State, Arkansas, Providence. Bad loss: Drexel. Reality: Houston’s non-conference schedule includes seven (7) teams in Quadrant 4, none with an RPI better than 200.  Add in South Florida and East Carolina (AAC teams) and 9 of the Cougars’ wins are against Q4. Read more…

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Bracket Bits: Western KY and mid-major at-large hopefuls

January 13, 2018 Leave a comment

Dave2015If you’re looking for an early mid-major team that could potentially steal an at-large bid on Selection Sunday, look no further than Bowling Green, Kentucky.  That’s the home of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.  Think back to the Bahamas: WKU left Atlantis with victories over Purdue and SMU, and a respectable loss to Villanova.  Since, SMU has dropped a bit, but it remains a viable non-conference win, nonetheless.  Here’s a quick peek at WKU’s current situation:

Resume Builders: 

  • Wins over Purdue and SMU (as noted) on a neutral court;
  • Top 25 NC SOS
  • Road wins at Old Dominion and Marshall (solid league W’s)
  • One-point loss at Wisconsin in a somewhat controversial finish

Read more…

Quick Takes: Big day for Bubble teams

March 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Dave2015It’s an especially big day for Bubble teams: Syracuse, Wake Forest, and Clemson take the floor at the ACC tourney in Brooklyn.  It’s also the day when California and USC open Pac-12 tournament play, and Xavier gets a renewed matchup with DePaul in the opening round of the Big East.

Bracketology   |   Seed List

Then there’s Illinois State.  The Redbirds must sit and watch as action around them continues. Tomorrow, Illinois and Iowa try to make a final push at the Big Ten tourney. Friday, Rhode Island opens A-10 play.  It’s a worthy reminder than none of these games occur in a vacuum.  Each result has to be measured in context. Read more…

Bracketology: Kansas leads final march to Selection Sunday

March 2, 2017 Leave a comment

Dave2015March is here. Madness awaits.  The next ten days will be filled with hope, excitement, and anxiety as teams and fans await their 2017 NCAA Tournament bracket on Selection Sunday.  Between now and then, we still have several things to sort out.  Here’s what we know:  Kansas, fresh off yet another Big 12 title, sits atop the bracket, followed closely by Villanova.  Both the Jayhawks and Wildcats look fairly entrenched on the top line.  The other two spots remain in play.  Will Gonzaga hold on?  Will a Pac-12 team make a jump to the one line?  Can North Carolina survive the ACC tournament and keep its perch in the South?

Bracketology  |  Seed List

Each of those story lines should be fun to watch.  And we haven’t even talked about the bubble.  Illinois, Wake Forest, and Kansas State all helped themselves Wednesday.  USC and California are trying to hold on and state their case.  Xavier continues to struggle, its NCAA outlook now unclear.  Next week’s conference tournaments loom large for final seeding and selection.  If a few bid stealers emerge,  hold on.

Quick Takes: Illinois, Vandy among surprise bubble teams

February 28, 2017 Leave a comment

Dave2015Even with a weak bubble that features a host of double-digit loss resumes, a couple of surprising bubble teams have re-emerged: Illinois and Vanderbilt. With improved play and strong SOS numbers, neither should be discounted if they keep up momentum.  This morning, both have nine (9) Top 100 wins and Top 20 schedules.  In fact, Vandy owns the nation’s No. 5 overall schedule and No. 1 non-conference SOS.  Historically, such numbers have given teams a little more leeway when it comes to losses.  The question is exactly how much?  A team with 15 losses has never received an invitation (unless winning their conference tourney).

Editor’s note:  A reader noted my original statistic was derived pre-2011 data, which is correct.  It used to be rare  for 14-loss teams to receive at-large bids (prior to 2011, it only happened six times).  More recently, in 2011, as an example, five teams received at-large bids with 14 losses.  Sorry for the confusion. Read more…

Quick Takes: Potential impact of NC SOS

February 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Dave2015We can identify teams like SMU, South Carolina, and Virginia Tech as recent casualties of weak non-conference strength of schedule (NC SOS) numbers on Selection Sunday.  The Selection Committee has repeatedly sent messages to teams who schedule heavy doses of non-conference games against the bottom third of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI): stay clear of the bubble or risk being left out.

With that as a backdrop, here are six teams currently on the Bubble with either potential NC SOS trouble and/or a large number of non-conference games against the bottom end of Division 1. As part of the exercise, each of these team’s record minus those 200-plus NC RPI wins is noted in parenthesis … Read more…

Non-conference SOS may hinder some Bubble teams

January 25, 2014 Leave a comment

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). Read more…