This is the final bubble analysis that I’ll put a lot of thought into. I’ll be at the Mountain West Tourney this week, so my attention won’t be focused on posting here.
This is the first year I have really tried to play along with the committee and I’ve learned a few things. First, the committee has a very difficult job. I didn’t even take a stab at seeding or dealing with bracketing rules. Second, it is useless to project at-large teams more than a couple weeks in advance. So much can change, and even with a week left there are still some questions.
Last year there were four conference tournament champions that took spots from otherwise deserving at-large teams. Consequently, I’ve expanded the number of teams I’ve put in the questionable category. These folks need to be big Utah St. and Southern Illinois fans this week, and take care of business themselves. (So much for SIU!)
(One question mark means you’re in, but shaky. Two question marks means you’re out, and are going to need a lot of help to get in.)
ACC (6 teams in) – Duke, North Carolina St., Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia(??), Florida State(??).
FSU needs to do damage in the ACC tournament, like get to the championship. FSU and UVa easily have the worst non-conference schedules among ACC teams. This is why they can’t get in with 6-10 conference records without winning getting to the ACC championship.
SEC (7) – Mississippi St., Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt, Alabama, South Carolina, LSU (?), Georgia(??).
Four teams with 8-8 conference records and they’re difficult to separate, but they should all get in. The committee might play the Jaime Lloreda card against LSU to keep them out, but they have won some games without him. The Tigers shouldn’t feel safe with a 1st round SEC exit however.
Georgia at 7-9 in conference needs a good run in the SEC tourney.
Big East (6) – Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Providence, Seton Hall, Boston College, Syracuse.
Big 12 (5) – Oklahoma St., Texas, Kansas, Texas Tech, Missouri(?), Colorado(??), Oklahoma(??).
With Jabahri Brown done for the season, that pushes OU over the edge. They need 2 wins in Dallas to get back into consideration. I would be shocked if this happens, give the way they shoot.
Colorado is probably in the same boat. It doesn’t help that they have home losses to Utah and Richmond, two teams they are competing against on the edge of the bubble.
No team has ever received an at-large bid with only 15 wins, so Mizzou could use one more in Dallas.
Big 10 (3) – Wisconsin, Michigan State, Illinois.
Conference USA (6) – Memphis, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Louisville, UAB, DePaul.
Atlantic 10 (3) – St Joseph’s, Dayton(?), Richmond(?).
Dayton is hobbling to the finish line, and a Richmond/Dayton semi-final in the A-10 tourney would have a lot riding on it.
Pac 10 (2) – Stanford, Arizona, Washington(??).
Oh if only Brent Musberger were on the committee, Washington would be a lock!! Six losses to triple-digit RPI teams is not good, and only 4 wins vs. teams in the top 100 does not offset this. It has been an incredible turn-around for the Huskies though. The way they are playing, they are certainly capable of winning the Pac-10 tourney.
Mountain West (3) – Air Force, BYU(?), Utah(?).
Utah needs a win over BYU in the MWC Semis. Air Force must beat Colorado State in the first round to stay safe. This is a scary game for the Academy with 7-footer Matt Nelson as healthy as he’s been all year for CSU.
WAC (2) – Nevada (?), UTEP(?).
UTEP missed a golden opportunity at Boise State Saturday. Now they share the WAC regular season title with Nevada and these two teams are difficult to separate. If they meet in the WAC championship, then the loser probably gets in.
Teams from other conferences getting consideration: Gonzaga (a lock from the WCC), Southern Illinois (a lock from the MVC), Utah St. (looking good from the Big West), and Western Michigan(MAC). WMU probably cannot sustain a MAC tourney loss to someone other than Kent State or Toledo.
Any teams winning a conference tournament other than the teams mentioned above cause the at-large pool to shrink and the bubble divider below gets moved up a level
1) Missouri 2) BYU 3) LSU 4) Dayton (Western Michigan) 5) Nevada 6) UTEP 7) Richmond 8) Utah
9) Colorado 10) Georgia 11) Oklahoma 12) Washington 13) Florida St. 14) Virginia