2011 Bubble / Selection Sunday Open Thread

by David Mihm | March 13th, 2011

All teams (and conferences) below are listed in order on my S-Curve.

UPDATED: Sunday morning at 8:45 am Pacific Time.

Locks (57)

Big East (11)
Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Syracuse, UConn, Louisville, West Virginia, St. John’s, Cincinnati, Georgetown, Marquette, Villanova

Big Ten (3)
Ohio State, Wisconsin, Purdue

Big 12 (4)
Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas State

SEC (4)
Florida, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee

ACC (3)
Duke, North Carolina, Florida State

Mountain West (3)
San Diego State, BYU, UNLV

Pac-10 (3)
Arizona, UCLA, Washington

Atlantic-10 (3)
Temple, Xavier, Richmond

At-Larges (1)
Utah State

Auto-Bids / One Bid Leagues (22)
Old Dominion, Gonzaga, Butler, Memphis, Oakland, Belmont, Princeton, Indiana State, Wofford, Akron, LIU, Bucknell, Morehead State, St Peter’s, UCSB, No. Colorado, Boston U, UNC-Asheville, UALR, Hampton, Alabama State, UT-San Antonio

Probables (5)

George Mason (odds: 80%)
Everyone’s favorite Cinderella should be safely in, despite a couple of bad early-season losses and no signature wins. The Committee has to reward a 16-game winstreak against the kind of competition that GMU faces in the Colonial league.

Penn State (odds 75%)
Bad losses to Maine and Mississippi in the non-conference mean the Nittanies needed to beat Wisconsin Friday to make the NCAAs. They did it in putrid fashion, but the Committee says that it does not award style points.  And, they backed it up with a big win over fellow bubbler Michigan State.  PSU probably has the best profile of any of the four Big Ten bubble teams now.

Michigan (odds 75%)
The game against Illinois was a true elimination game for Michigan, which lost to the Fighting Illini in Champaign just a couple weeks ago.  They survived AND have been aided by Clemson’s rise (Wolves won @ the Tigers’ home floor in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge) and they also swept Penn State (something fellow bubblers Illinois and Michigan State did not).  Add in wins over Oakland, Harvard and their sweep of the Spartans…UM is safe.

Missouri (odds: 70%)
Tiger fans not happy to see their team here, but without non-conference wins over Vanderbilt, Illinois, and Old Dominion, Mizzou wouldn’t even be in the Tournament.  Dreadful Big 12 road record and a damaging 15-point loss to Texas A&M in the Big 12 Tournament have really impacted the Tigers’ seed.

Michigan State (odds 65%)
Spartans have a similar resume to Illinois, except lack the quality non-conference win that the Illini have with North Carolina.  That’s why they’re here.  Izzo’s bunch backed up my prediction and punched their ticket with a huge win over Purdue Friday.

True Bubble (6 slots available)

Colorado (odds 57.5%)
Buffaloes have darn near secured their place on the dance floor with a sweep of K-State.  Add in home wins over Texas, Mizzou and Colorado State, and the resume looks pretty good. Only thing holding them back right now are the bad losses to USF and Oklahoma.  The real question is…if you let in the Buffaloes, how do you keep the Trojans home (who own a nearly-identical resume)?

Clemson (odds 50.7%)
Different coach, same old story.  Reasonably good home record, 2 games above .500 in the ACC…the Tigers had a chance to play their way in against UNC, but didn’t quite get over the hump.  Still, the Committee was probably watching the game, and although close losses are not *supposed* to count, that one probably helped the Tigers pass both BC and VaTech on the S-Curve.

Illinois (odds 50.6%)
I can’t believe that other analysts had the Illini in an 8-9 game prior to Friday.  They went .500 in Big Ten play with two pretty atrocious losses (UIC, Indiana).  They do have signature non-conference wins over Gonzaga in Seattle, and at home against UNC, but the last truly exciting win for the Illini (Wisconsin at home) came on January 2nd.  I could easily see Illinois missing this field.  Interestingly, it looks almost certain that Chicago will host at least one of the “first four” victors on the 12-line…and I can’t see the Committee pairing a 4/5 seed against the Illini in their own backyard.

Virginia Tech (odds 50.5%)
It STILL makes me a little sick to my stomach that the Hokies are even under consideration with this resume.  Florida State got left home with a nearly identical resume (in a MUCH better ACC) twice in 2007-2008.  Hokies were literally one-tenth of a second away from missing the Tournament again.  And they still might, especially if Dayton upsets Richmond today.

USC (odds 50.4%)
I think I was the first analyst to project the Trojans in the Tournament last month (perhaps because I’m one of the few who pays attention to the Pac-10).  USC’s RPI has skyrocketed by about 30 points over the last two weeks thanks to games against the top of the league (Arizona, @Washington, @Washington State, N-Cal) in which they went 3-1.  Wins over Texas and @Tennessee in the non-conference are awesome…not so awesome are losses to Rider, Bradley, TCU, and Oregon State.  USC will be the barometer by which this Committee is measured: does it reward good wins and ignore a couple of head-scratching losses, or season-long mediocrity by ACC or Big Ten teams?   As I point out in the comments below, don’t forget that USC’s bad nonconference losses were without transfer Jio Fontan, a key part of the team.

Alabama (odds 50.3%)
The Tide got the win they absolutely had to have Friday against Georgia.  If they’d beaten Kentucky for a second time this season, they’d have iced their bid…but with the loss, they could easily get overlooked in favor of one of the teams below, all the way through Harvard.

Boston College (odds 49.7%)
Well, on closer inspection, BC looks like it’ll be on the outside looking in.  Clemson has probably passed them, in my opinion, aided by that shellacking on Friday.

Georgia (odds: 49.5%)
Wow.  A lot can change in 24 hours.  Bulldogs got passed by a lot of teams Friday, including VaTech, MSU, Michigan, Penn State, and Alabama–the team they lost to.  They did go 9-7 in a very good SEC and own wins over fellow bubblers Colorado and UAB, and a marquee road win (@Tennessee).  But losing both games to Alabama this past week might doom UGA.  It’s awfully close with the ACC and Big Ten schools, and I wouldn’t be all that surprised if UGA got in the field.

Saint Mary’s (odds 49%)
As a fan of the little guy, I’m sorry to see St Mary’s end up here.  But there were too many bad late-season losses in WCC play (Portland, San Diego) to offset wins over St John’s and at Gonzaga.

Harvard (odds 48%)
Crimson beat Colorado at home and won at cross-town “rival” BC.  Their only bad loss is to Yale, but the good wins are just not quite good enough.  Had they won @Michigan in December, they’d be in.

UAB (odds 45%)
No bad losses for the Blazers…until EAST CAROLINA IN THE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT.  Ouch.

VCU (odds 45%)
See St. Mary’s, above, except replace bad losses with Northeastern, Drexel, and James Madison and good wins with N-UCLA, @Old Dominion.

New Mexico (odds 45%)
Timing is everything.  UNM caught BYU in a classic let-down game after its huge win against San Diego State.  Then again after Brandon Davies was suspended.  Beating Jimmer three times might just be good enough to put the Lobos in the field of 68…importantly, they also own a neutral-court win over Colorado in the non-conference portion of their schedule.  There are bad losses to Northern Iowa, Wyoming, and a losing sweep to Utah to be concerned about, though.

Washington State (odds 40%)
Cougs needed to beat the Huskies a third time.  Gonzaga, Washington, @Washington just ain’t enough to get excited about.

Missouri State (odds 20%)
The Valley was just not good enough this year, and the Bears did nothing in their non-conference schedule to o

Colorado State (odds 10%)
Good power numbers, and a nice season for the Rams, but they needed to get past UNM in the opening round MWC game to have any chance.

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24 Responses to “2011 Bubble / Selection Sunday Open Thread”  

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  1. JT Says:

    Wouldn’t an outright regular season title in the #8 rated RPI rated conference be meaningful for UAB? That rationale seems to have helped other teams in the past (e.g. Cal, Air Force), despite the lack of high quality wins.

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  2. David Mihm Says:

    JT, good point…however,

    - Cal made the finals of the Pac-10 Tournament last year & had a top-20 RPI for most of the year.
    - I think pretty much everyone puts that Air Force / Utah State year in the ‘exception’ category rather than the rule for the Selection Committee.

    UAB’s resume looks closer (to me) to Missouri State’s when they were left home despite a 23 RPI and a share of the MVC crown.

    Had UAB made the finals of the CUSA Tournament, say, and lost to UTEP, it would be a much, much closer call.

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  3. Justin Says:

    How is Michigan 51 percent they have beaten plenty of good teams and if not for a buzzer beater would have beaten Wisconsin?

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  4. Christopher Mackinder Says:

    @ Justin: Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. That’s what all those “close” losses mean for Michigan. That being said, Michigan’s win over Illinois and solid play as of late has Michigan on the right side of the bubble. You and other Michigan fans just have to hope this committee uses common sense unlike the committee that included Air Force a few years back.

    Also, Michigan was at 51% BEFORE yesterday’s game, if I’m not mistaken. With other bubble teams faltering (Boston College, UAB, Georgia, etc.), I’m sure that percentage might be at 55-60% now.

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  5. Durden Says:

    They’ve won the CUSA title since you posted this article, but how come you did not even have Memphis as a bubble team before today? Were they not at least deserving of 10-30%, even after reaching the CUSA final?

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  6. Henry Muto Says:

    Wow I wish I had known you had put this up a few days ago I had been checking almost daily for the last month and finally gave up. I will post my thoughts Sunday afternoon.

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  7. Henry Muto Says:

    USC has 6 sub 100 losses and 3 sub 200 losses. If the committee gives them a bid they are basically saying not every game counts. Those are some terrible losses that no mid major team could ever survive but because USC is from a BCS school they have a chance to overcome them with big wins. Hard to believe a team will get in the field who lost to Bradley, TCU and Rider.

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  8. Henry Muto Says:

    Boston College should be in some real trouble right now.

    Exactly 1 top RPI 50 win (Neutral court vs Texas A&M) way back in November .

    Their next best collection of wins, VA-Tech x2, Cal, Bucknell, Maryland x2.

    Their losses include Home loss to Yale, @Rhode Island, Miami (FL)x2, Clemsonx2, Fla-ST, Home to Harvard, Wisconsin, NCx2, Duke.

    To me this is not very impressive. They beat VA-Tech twice a team that would not even be on the bubble except for a win over Duke.

    They beat a Texas A&M team a long time ago and was their only top 60 RPI win

    Lost to both Harvard and Yale at home

    Swept by Miami(FL)

    Got hammered by 23 pts in a critical game today.

    I think they should be left out they have done nothing of note since the win vs Texas A&M in November.

    If Mid majors are going to get penalized for not beating anyone then going 1-8 vs top RPI 50 for BC should condem them to the NIT plus that 1 win was like 5 months ago

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  9. David Mihm Says:


    1) I tend to agree with you on BC. The sweep of Virginia Tech was what was keeping them in the field. I still think the Committee may flip those two, but Clemson has clearly passed both, wouldn’t you say?

    2) Regarding USC, keep in mind that the losses to Rider, Bradley, and TCU were without Jio Fontan (as was their win against Texas). So, evaluating the Trojans’ resume since then, with Jio in the lineup…a losing sweep against Oregon are the only marginal losses and a loss at Oregon State the only bad loss. I think the Trojans’ work away from home (@Tennessee and @Washington) probably separates them to some degree.

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  10. Henry Muto Says:

    I always wait until the last minute it seems and I have to seed all my teams in the final 2 hours on Sunday because I am always watching the games so I will get to seeding the teams now. I have ran into my 1st decision right off the bat. OSU, Kansas are #1′s but then you have Pitt, Duke and ND 2 of the 3 for final #1. Palm has SD-State as West #1 but I don’t see it. I say they get #2. I think Pitt gets a #1 despite H2H loss to ND for better regular season. Duke vs ND. Committee will side with Duke I think even though ND has better top 25 and top 50 wins.

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  11. Henry Muto Says:

    The committee could hit a home run I think if they use the “first four” and put 2 mid major’s vs 2 BCS schools something like VCU vs Alabama and St. Mary’s vs USC but I don’t think it will happen heck I don’t think any mid major’s on the bubble get in leaving out VCU, St. Mary’s, Harvard and UAB.

    St. Mary’s probably has the best chance to get in but you know what VCU has the best win resume. They have 4 wins over tourney teams but no way the committee takes an 11 loss mid major team.

    I think with 68 teams instead of 65 a lot more people will miss multiple teams this year. Usually 63-64 teams are pretty much locked up by now and the last 1-2 teams are bubble out of 4-5 picks this year with 68 teams still 63-64 are locks and now you have 4-5 teams to pick from 8-9 teams so more room for people to miss multiple teams. Myself I have missed 10 teams in the last 8 years no more then 2 in any year (I have never got all 65 right) In 4 of the last 7 years I missed 1 team always a mid major I had faith too much in the committee giving a mid major the bid and they never do it so I won’t put any faith depsite 3 added spots this year.

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  12. Henry Muto Says:

    For your last 6 here is what I think with my odds

    Colorado (odds 70%) – I think 3 wins over Kansas State will be the key that gets them in the field. Sure they had a crap non conf SOS but they did work in the Big 12 and will probably get in.

    Clemson (odds 50%) Wow 0 wins vs top 50 something a mid major would never get a bid I am right on the fence with Clemson I think it is a true 50/50 shot.

    Illinois (odds 80%) – I think Illinois with 9-9 in the big 10 and a huge win out of conf vs NC is a near lock I really don’t see how they get left out.

    Virginia Tech (odds 50%) – Wow another head scratching team. Do I think they should be in ? Not really they have 1 big win over Duke at home then got a miracle win vs Florida State which may have saved their season.

    USC (odds 50%) – Yet another toss up team. Horrific losses and great wins who knows what the committee will think they were hot lately might be what gets them in.

    Alabama (odds 45%) – For some reason I think that RPI of 80+ will be the reason they are left out. Non conf horrific both in schedule and losses.

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  13. Sam Says:

    If South Alabama was able to get in 3 years ago as an at large, I would certainly think Harvard can get in this year. And St. Mary’s should have no trouble either.

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  14. Henry Muto Says:

    You guys every try to seed all 68 teams in 1 hour and the entire mid section 5-12 in 30 minutes from scratch…try it what a fun ride!

    Here is my seeds (I don’t do a full bracket just the 68 seeds) – Good thing I can type fast it is 5:54 PM when I started this post.

    1 Ohio State, Kansas, Pitt, Duke
    2 Notre Dame, San Diego State, Conn, Texas
    3 North Carolina, Florida, Syracuse, Purdue
    4 Kentucky, Louisvlle, BYU, Wisconsin
    5 St. John’s, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Arizona
    6 Kansas State, Xavier, Missouri, West Virgina,
    7 Temple, Cincinnati, G’Town, Washington
    8 UNLV, Tenn, Utah State, UCLA
    9 Florida State, Marq, George Mason, Villanova
    10 Old Dominion, Michigan, Richmond, Illinois
    11 Michigan State, Colorado, Penn State, Gonzaga
    12 Memphis, Butler, Virginia Tech, USC, Clemson, Georgia
    13 Princeton, Belmont, Oakland, Indiana Stat
    14 Morehead State, Bucknell, Wofford, Long Island
    15 St.Peter’s, Akron, No Colorado, Boston U
    16 UCSB, NC-Ash, Hampton, Ark-LR, Tex-SA, Alabama State

    First Four teams Virginia Tech, USC, Clemson, Georgia

    First 4 out Alabama, St. Mary’s, Boston College, VCU
    Next 2 out Harvard, UAB

    5:59 PM whew!


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  15. Henry Muto Says:

    I got 66 out of 68 I missed UAB and VCU. I thought VCU deserved to be in but guess what I had no faith in the committee after years of screwing mid majors.

    Colorado wow I was DEAD wrong on you were right I had them in easily. They had some great wins.

    Va-Tech I missed had them in but knew it was close.

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  16. Henry Muto Says:

    Why does the committee have to 8/9 Butler vs ODU ? Seriously why ?

    Put 1 of them vs a BCS school can’t stand 1 of them has to be out.

    Makes me mad as hell

    Make it Butler vs Illlniois or something like that.

    Also hate Mid majors on the 8/9 line run smack into the #1 seed.


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  17. Henry Muto Says:

    I give committee credit for 1 thing I said the last few days enough teams were on the bubble they could really spice up the tourney with 2 BCS and 2 Mid majors as the first 4 games and they did it and did it well going Clemson vs UAB and VCU vs USC. Well done on that.

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  18. Bama Fan Says:

    Great Job committee NOT

    Alabama beat Georgia twice and you leave the tide out and make Georgia a 10 seed

    on what planet are you living

    Hope everyone of the committee gets fired

    You suck

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  19. JT Says:

    Very tough year to make predictions. A few thoughts:

    It amazes me when major conference teams play garbage non-conference schedules and think they can get away with it. Colorado and Alabama are the latest examples of this. The bottom line is that the committee has been consistent in penalizing teams that are anywhere close to the bubble. People may not agree with it, and I’ll admit that I was surprised that Colorado didn’t make it, but they’ve gotten fair warning.

    I had a suspicion that the outright C-USA title would help UAB more than many expected. Not that I necessarily think that they deserve to get in, but it is definitely a distinguishing factor among the so-so bubble teams.

    St. Mary’s really wasn’t that close — I was amazed at how many people predicted them in. Harvard’s resume is just as good.

    These ESPN guys annoy me. They say all these bubble teams had a chance to get into the tournament by winning more games, yet they get so indignant when UAB and VCU get selected over their favored teams.

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  20. Paul Says:

    WHAT A DISGRACE!! Like Doug Gottlieb just said…. Florida is the MOST OVERRATED seed in the tournament. Time to get some people on the committee with some basketball knowledge. The entire committee should be ashamed/embarrassed AND REPLACED!!!

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  21. John Says:

    @ Henry Muto. Two things:

    In my field, I included Harvard, especially after seeing them play those last two against Princeton. That is in no way a bad loss.

    You also have to take Bucknell off that list. The Bison are in no way anywhere close to Harvard, or other mid-majors, but if you beat a mid/low major that makes the Tournament, that has to count for something. Also remember that Bucknell survived the rash of upsets in leagues similar to theirs to win the conference tournament, whereas regular-season champions like Texas Southern, Bethune-Cookman, Florida Atlantic, etc. did not. Bottom line, if you beat a team that makes the field, its not a bad loss. Think Alabama losing to Saint Peter’s. It turned out to be not as bad a loss as you might think.

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  22. Jeff Says:

    Following up what Paul said about Florida seed I agree 100% plus This is what I asy about Kentucky’s #4 seed…On Kentucky being a 4 seed? They beat Florida a 2 seed, 2 out of 3 times. They lost in Gainesville by 2,won in Lex by 8 and drilled the Gators on a neutral floor by 16! Kentucky wiped the floor with ND a two seed in Louisville by 14 points and only lost to NC by 2 on the road and of course they also are a 2 seed. Kentucky has a RPI of 7 and a strength of schedule of 7. UK is in the the top 10 in the final poll. So someone tell me how are the BIG BLUE a 4 seed ???????????

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  23. Henry Muto Says:

    Where is 2012 Bubble ?

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  24. davidhess Says:

    Henry, sorry for the lack of banter, but we simply are swamped and don’t have as much time to parry back and forth about bubble teams as David Mihm used to. Sorry!

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