2011 Bubble / Selection Sunday Open Thread
All teams (and conferences) below are listed in order on my S-Curve.
UPDATED: Sunday morning at 8:45 am Pacific Time.
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
Florida, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee
Duke, North Carolina, Florida State
Mountain West (3)
San Diego State, BYU, UNLV
Arizona, UCLA, Washington
Temple, Xavier, Richmond
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
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.