Sunday, March 13, 2016
2016 Sportz' Bubble Watch: March 12th
With many conference tournaments ending today while others having their semifinals, it is time to merge the bubble into one pile. First, let's take a look at who are in right now. The locks, the looking goods and the one-bid leagues (*-denotes "looking good"):
LOCKS/LOOKING GOOD (38)
ACC: North Carolina, Virginia, Miami, Notre Dame, Duke
BIG EAST: Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, Providence*, Butler*
BIG TEN: Indiana, Michigan State, Maryland, Purdue, Iowa, Wisconsin
BIG 12: Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Baylor, Iowa State, Texas, Texas Tech*
PAC 12: Oregon, Arizona, Utah, California, Colorado, USC*, Oregon State*
SEC: Texas A&M, Kentucky
AMERICAN: Cincinnati*, UConn*
ATLANTIC 10: Dayton, St. Joseph's, VCU*
MISSOURI VALLEY: Wichita State*
ONE BID LEAGUES (24):
OHIO VALLEY: Austin Peay
ATLANTIC SUN: Florida Gulf Coast
BIG SOUTH: UNC-Asheville
MISSOURI VALLEY: Northern IowaWCC: GonzagaMAAC: Iona
HORIZON: Green Bay
NORTHEAST: Farleigh Dickenson
SUMMIT: South Dakota State
PATRIOT: Holy Cross
AMERICA EAST: Stony Brook
BIG SKY: Weber State
BIG WEST: Hawaii
CONFERENCE USA: MTSU
MW: Fresno State
SOUTHLAND: Stephen F Austin
WAC: Cal St-Bakersfield
SUN BELT: Arkansas Little Rock/Louisiana Monroe
BUBBLE TEAMS (6)
So, the bubble teams. According to my calculations, there are 7 spots left which is a lot at this late date.
South Carolina (IN): The Gamecocks were near locks a month ago but their weak non-conference schedule has now mixed with bad losses. Losing to Georgia in the SEC quarterfinals puts them smack dab on the bubble. I can see a world where the committee passes on South Carolina. Still, I still see them in.
St. Bonaventure (IN): St. Bonnie was looking good a week ago, but losing to Davidson in the A-10 tournament really stings. With teams like Michigan and LSU still playing ... plus the possibility of San Diego State losing the MW final ... the Bonnies will be a bit nervous tomorrow.
Pittsburgh (IN): Looking around these bubble teams, Pitt has better wins than most. But they've also had some puzzling losses. Pitt looked great a few weeks ago, but they've spiraled a bit of late with some large losing margins.
Temple (IN): Temple won the AAC regular season and swept the regular season series with UConn and Cincinnati ... who are both in on my board. By that, plus a non-con slate that included Nova, UNC, Utah and Wisconsin ... uh, where they lost to all of them ... should slide them in.
St. Mary's (IN): They swept Gonzaga and made the WCC final where they lost to the Zags. This is a very good team that should eye test fine for the tournament. However, are their numbers good enough? This is a classic case of giving a mid-major a chance over a middling Power 5 team.
Monmouth (IN): Perfect example here. They beat UCLA, USC, Notre Dame and Georgetown. Sure, the Bruins and Hoyas aren't going to the tournament, but that wasn't Monmouth's fault when they scheduled them. They've won 13 true road games and played most of their slate away from home. No offense to anyone below, but do I need to see what Michigan or Florida do against tournament teams or let this fireball in? Let them play!
Vanderbilt (OUT): This is the truest bubble team. Vandy was on cloud nine beating Kentucky a few weeks back. Some bad losses and being ousted by Tennessee in their first SEC tournament game have them smack dab on the bubble. It wasn't like the SEC was a really good league. If you look above, you see that this will be an ideology of mid-major versus a middle of the road major.
Michigan (OUT): The Wolverines got a huge win over top seeded Indiana. It still doesn't get them in. The Wolverines gave their all against Purdue but was it enough? Nope. Again, I think the NCAA isn't going to put them in.
San Diego State (OUT): All year, the Aztecs have been the lone Mountain West school who could gain an at large bid. Many people, like me, felt they had to win the MW tournament to get in. They lost to Fresno State in the final and it looks like SDSU will sit this tournament out. If you think the MW is bad, then there is nothing on the Aztecs' resume that jumps out. They really have beaten no one outside of Cal. They lost to Grand Canyon and beat San Diego Christian College by 10. They just don't have it.
Syracuse (OUT): The Orange are hoping the committee decides to wipe out those nine games that Jim Boeheim was suspended and Syracuse went 4-5. They would also hope the committee would forget about them closing out the season by losing 5 of their last 6 -- all of them with Boeheim. The Orange are out!
Florida (OUT): They just don't look like a tournament team. I know that's subjective, but they haven't been playing that well and the SEC has looked like the worst of the Power 5 leagues. Nothing says they deserve to be in ahead of a few of the OUT teams anyway.
Memphis (OUT): Not really a bubble team, but if they beat UConn in the American Conference final, they will get an automatic bid and steal a spot from one of these bubble teams.