Projecting the Field: The 2015 NCAA Tournament

Selection Sunday is upon us, at 6PM EST we will find out which 68 teams will fight for the NCAA Championship.

With Wyoming earning their way into the NCAA Tournament by winning the Mountain West tournament, the bubble lost a spot, which will add further tension to the watch parties of the teams most glued to the bubble line.  This year’s version of the bubble is considerably weaker than average, especially with the struggles of most of the bubble squads throughout their conference tournaments.

Here is how I project the seeds to look when they come out later today:

1.  Kentucky — Villanova — Duke — Arizona

2.  Wisconsin — Virginia — Gonzaga — Kansas

3.  Notre Dame — Baylor — Iowa State — Maryland

4.  Oklahoma — Wichita State — Arkansas — Louisville

5.  North Carolina — Northern Iowa — West Virginia — Butler

6.  VCU — Providence — Oregon — SMU

7.  Xavier — Michigan State — Georgetown — Iowa

8.  St. John’s — NC State — Utah — San Diego State

9.  Dayton — Ohio State — Cincinnati — Oklahoma State

10.  Georgia — Purdue — Davidson — LSU

11.  Indiana — Texas — Ole Miss — Colorado State — BYU — Temple

12.  Harvard — Wofford — Stephen F Austin — Buffalo

13.  Georgia State — Valparaiso — Wyoming — UC Irvine

14.  UAB — New Mexico State — Northeastern — Albany

15.  Eastern Washington — North Dakota State — Coastal Carolina — Belmont

16.  North Florida — Manhattan — Texas Southern — Lafayette — Robert Morris — Hampton

Last 4 In:  Ole Miss — Colorado State — BYU — Temple

First 4 Out:  Boise State — Tulsa — Texas A&M — UCLA

Next 4 Out:  Richmond — Miami FL — Murray State — Illinois

Bubble Watch: Musical Chairs

This time of year, the focus always remains on the bubble, but just how many spots are there?

That’s a loaded question, as that depends on who wins their conference tournaments and whether or not any of those champions would have been left out of the field without their title.  We call those situations “bid-stealers”, and they are a bubble team’s worst nightmare.  In this game of musical chairs, a space is removed nearly every day at this point in the season, so who will be left standing?  Let’s find out.

The teams have been broken down into four categories, as described below:

  • Locks:  These teams have, for all accounts and purposes, earned their NCAA berth
  • In the Gym:  These teams are in pretty good shape (get it?)
  • Blowing Bubbles:  These teams are squarely on the bubble
  • Grass is Greener:  These teams are on the wrong side of the NCAA Tourney fence

One-Bid Leagues:

America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Horizon, Ivy, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, Northeast, Patriot, Southern, Southland, SWAC, Summit, Sun Belt, WAC.

Total “Locked” Bids (19)

American:

Locks (1):  Southern Methodist

In the Gym (0):

Blowing Bubbles (3):

  • Cincinnati Bearcats (21-9, 12-5 AAC) — RPI:  38 — KenPom:  37 — SOS: 101

After a dominant road win at Tulsa this week, the Bearcats are in good shape in comparison to some others on the bubble, but their resume shouldn’t have them breathing easy just yet.  Non-conference wins vs. San Diego State and @ NC State will be staples of their resume along with their season sweep over SMU.  Losses at East Carolina and Nebraska, and a recent home loss to Tulane are definite warts.  Avoid a home loss to Memphis in the regular season finale, and the Bearcats are probably safe.

  • Temple Owls (21-9, 12-5 AAC) — RPI: 36 — KenPom:  58 — SOS: 96

Temple is definitely taking advantage of their non-conference win vs. Kansas right now.  They have beaten two teams in the RPI top 150 since the first week of conference play, and are just 1-5 against the other teams at the tops of the league.  They remain just 9-9 vs. RPI top 200 opponents, the worst of any program currently on the bubble.

  • Tulsa Golden Hurricanes (21-8, 14-3 AAC) — RPI:  46 — KenPom:  74 — SOS:  118

Tulsa is now in a world of hurt despite being 14-3 in league play after getting blown out at home by Cincinnati.  Yes, they swept Temple and own an 8-3 road record.  Trouble lies ahead though, as they close the conference season @ SMU, find a win somehow and they are probably in, lose, and they will have stumbled enough to make people remember that they lost to a Division II opponent earlier this season.

Grass is Greener (0):

Atlantic 10:

Locks (2):  Dayton, Virginia Commonwealth

In the Gym (0):

Blowing Bubbles (1):

  • Davidson Wildcats (21-8, 13-4 A-10) — RPI:  31 — KenPom:  28 — SOS:  103

Davidson is currently in possession of one of the top slots in Joe Lunardi’s “Last 4 In” category, so you could say they are the face of the bubble mayhem right now.  After dropping back to back games against St. Joseph’s and St. Bonaventure it looked like the Wildcats were done, but they’ve since won 8 straight including a sweep of George Washington, a win @ Rhode Island, and, most recently, a dominating win over depleted VCU.  Avoid a horrible loss at Duquesne this weekend, and the Wildcats will be in good shape.

Grass is Greener (0):

ACC:

Locks (5):  Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Virginia

In the Gym (0):

Blowing Bubbles (1):

North Carolina State Wolfpack (18-12, 9-8 ACC) — RPI:  47 — KenPom:  41 — SOS:  20

After this week’s win @ Clemson, the Wolfpack are in pretty good shape.  They now have road wins vs. Louisville and North Carolina along with wins against Duke and Boise State. Unfortunately, in the past month they’ve also lost @ Boston College and Wake Forest  A home win vs. Syracuse this week would place them “in the gym”, but a loss would be another blemish that would keep them on the bubble.

Grass is Greener (2):

Miami FL (19-11, 9-8 ACC) — RPI:  65 — KenPom:  63 — SOS:  49

Miami won at Pittsburgh this week without star PG Angel Rodriguez, keeping them alive in the bubble race.  They are still on the outside looking in, but a run in the ACC Tournament could push the Hurricanes on the right side of the fence depending on what happens to the team’s in front of them.

Pittsburgh (19-12, 8-9 ACC) — RPI:  62 — KenPom:  77 — SOS:  52

Simply put, after that disastrous home loss to Miami, the Panthers will need to win at Florida State and at least make the ACC semis to even crawl back into the discussion.

BIG XII:

Locks (5):  Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma

In the Gym (0):

Blowing Bubbles (2):

Oklahoma State Cowboys (18-11, 8-9 Big XII) — RPI:  41 — KenPom:  32 — SOS;  7

After dropping four in a row, including bad road losses to TCU and Texas Tech, the Cowboys were able to right the ship a bit by beating TCU at home this week.  They are in pretty good shape overall, having played one of the most difficult schedules in the country, and owning 3 top 10 RPI wins.  Unless they find a way to win @ WVU in their finale, they will finish conference play under .500, can the committee overlook that and see their overall body of work?

Texas Longhorns (18-12, 7-10 Big XII) — RPI:  46 — KenPom:  21 — SOS:  8

The Longhorns are still alive after a crucial OT win at home against Baylor.  Before that, Texas hadn’t beaten a Tournament team since mid-January, and even with that result, Texas is just 6-12 vs. RPI top 100 opponents.  Their best resume bullet point?  No bad losses, they’ve lost to just one team ranked outside the RPI top 50 (Stanford at home).

Grass is Greener (1):

Kansas State Wildcats (15-15, 8-9 Big XII) — RPI:  78 — KenPom:  81 — SOS:  5

A win @ Texas in their season finale could garner them some late interest because of their number of quality top-end wins, but Kansas State is just 10-15 vs. the RPI top 200 and 1-9 away from home, so it would be a pretty significant miracle for them to be selected by the Committee at this point.

Big East:

Locks (4):  Butler, Georgetown, Providence, Villanova

In the Gym (1):

St. John’s Red Storm (21-9, 10-7 Big East) — RPI:  34 — KenPom:  31 — SOS:  43

St. John’s is now approaching “lock” status for me.  After avoiding a bad road loss at Marquette, St. John’s closes at Villanova, which will do no damage to its resume should it leave with a loss.  They’ve clinched an above .500 league record, they own three top 25 RPI victories, and nine RPI top 100 wins.  I see no reason they should be left out.

Blowing Bubbles (1):

Xavier Musketeers (18-12, 8-9 Big East) — RPI:  42 — KenPom:  27 — SOS:  18

Xavier’s resume is actually somewhat similar to Kansas State’s, but they’ve found a way to get a few more crucial wins along the way.  They own three RPI top 25 wins, five RPI top 50 wins, but they’ve also lost neutral court to Long Beach State, @ Auburn, @  DePaul, and at home to Creighton, all bad losses.  Their finale is at Creighton, a loss would put the Musketeers in serious jeopardy.

Grass is Greener (0):

Big Ten:

Locks (4):  Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin

In the Gym (1):

Iowa Hawkeyes (20-10, 11-6 Big Ten) — RPI:  39 — KenPom:  21 — SOS:  35

The Hawkeyes are in great shape, currently sitting T-3 in the Big 10 standings with their lone “bad” loss of the season coming at Northwestern.  Their win at Indiana this week gives them five RPI top 100 ROAD wins this season, if that doesn’t get you in, I’m not sure what would.

Blowing Bubbles (3):

Illinois Fighting Illini (19-11, 9-8 Big Ten) — RPI:  58 — KenPom:  53 — SOS:  64

Illinois has a bit of a bland resume overall, owning just five RPI top 100 victories, but with just a single bad loss @ Nebraska.  They do own wins vs. Baylor, Maryland, and @ Michigan State, which hold some weight.  Their finale @ Purdue could certainly act as a NCAA Tournament play-in game.

Indiana Hoosiers (19-11, 9-8 Big Ten) — RPI:  53 — KenPom:  56 — SOS:  68

Indiana has taken a turn for the worst down the stretch of the season.  Once a mortal lock for the Dance, they have since failed to beat a Tournament team in nearly 2 months, and are 3-5 in their last 8 conference games, with a bad loss to Northwestern to top it all off.  It would be hard to imagine a team with wins over SMU, Butler, and Maryland, along with five additional RPI top 100 wins getting left out, but the Committee does take momentum into account when determining worthy inclusions in the field, and lately, the Hoosiers have not played like a Tournament team.

Purdue Boilermakers (19-11, 11-6 Big Ten) — RPI:  61 — KenPom:  48 — SOS: 57

It is pretty incredible that a team with home losses to North Florida and Gardner Webb could be in this position in March, but you can’t ignore a team T-3 in the Big 10 standings, especially when they sweep Indiana.  They also own non-conference wins against bubble teams NC State and BYU, which will help them when it comes down to comparing team by team.  Take care of business of Illinois at home, and the Boilermakers will be in pretty good shape on Selection Sunday barring an early exit from the Big 10 Tournament.

Grass is Greener (0):

Conference USA:

Locks (0):

In the Gym (0):

Blowing Bubbles (0):

Grass is Greener (1):

Old Dominion (23-6, 12-5 C USA) — RPI:  45 — KenPom:  65 — SOS:  191

Old Dominion is hanging on by a thread after failing to win the Conference USA regular season title.  Their lone RPI top 100 win since beating Richmond, LSU, and VCU in a week-long stretch in November, is a home win over LA Tech.  Over that stretch, they also acquired bad losses @ Western Kentucky, @ Middle Tennessee State, @ UAB, and @ UTSA.  With their signature wins both sputtering to the finish, the committee may fail to be impressed with the Monarchs’ overall resume.

Missouri Valley:

Locks (2):  Northern Iowa, Wichita State

In the Gym (0):

Blowing Bubbles (0):

Grass is Greener (0):

Mountain West:

Locks (1):  San Diego State

In the Gym (0):

Blowing Bubbles (2):

Boise State (23-7, 13-4 MW) — RPI:  35 — KenPom:  37 — SOS:  124

What Boise State has done since dropping their first three league games is incredibly impressive, sweeping San Diego State along the way and likely earning a #1 seed in the MWC Tourney assuming they take care of business at home vs. Fresno State in their finale.  The Broncos do own bad losses at Fresno State, at home vs. Utah State, and a neutral court loss to Loyola Chicago.  With just five RPI top 100 wins overall, they are far from a lock to make the Dance, but avoid a bad loss down the stretch and it would be hard to leave the Broncos out after how they’ve closed the season.

Colorado State (25-5, 12-5 MW) — RPI:  27 — KenPom:  66 — SOS: 158

What Colorado State has done well compared to everyone else on the bubble is acquire wins.  Unfortunately, few of them have come against quality opponents, as they own 11 wins over teams with 200+ RPIs, the committee doesn’t like that.  They didn’t beat anyone in non-conference play that will catch the committee’s eye, and their best road win is at New Mexico State, so the Rams will have to avoid a bad loss to remain on the right side of the bubble most likely.

Grass is Greener (0):

Ohio Valley:

Locks (0):

In the Gym (0):

Blowing Bubbles (0):

Grass is Greener (1):

Murray State Racers (26-4, 16-0 OV) — RPI:  67 — KenPom:  71 — SOS:  303

Here’s the thing, yes, they’ve won 24 straight games, that’s great.  The problem is, they’ve played one of the easiest schedules in the country, they are 67th in the RPI, and their lone RPI top 100 win is home vs. Illinois State.  It would be a huge mistake for this team to earn an at-large berth, period.

Pac-12:

Locks (2):  Arizona, Utah

In the Gym (1):

Oregon Ducks (23-8, 13-5 Pac-12) — RPI:  30 — KenPom:  49 — SOS:  67

It would be hard to imagine a scenario that the Ducks get left out at this point, but the Pac-12 is so weak and their top-end resume is so average I can’t quite bring myself to put them in “lock” status yet.  That said, what they’ve done after the off-season they went through is nothing short of a miracle, Dana Altman has to be the national coach of the year.

Blowing Bubbles (1):

UCLA Bruins (19-12, 11-7 Pac-12) — RPI:  51 — KenPom:  50 — SOS:  26

The Bruins will now be in “wait’ and see” mode after finishing up conference play among the top four in the Pac-12.  They’ve played a brutal schedule, and their two “bad” losses come to Oregon State and Colorado on the road, both teams who are very difficult to beat at home traditionally. They are 3-1 vs. Oregon and Stanford, which the committee will take into account.  Unfortunately, despite all the talent they played in the non-conference portion of their schedule, they weren’t able to beat any of those teams, losing to Oklahoma, North Carolina, Gonzaga, Kentucky, and Alabama.

Grass is Greener (1):

Stanford Cardinal (18-11, 9-8 Pac-12) — RPI:  64 — KenPom:  42– SOS:  62

After falling late at Arizona State last night, the Cardinal are in ominous territory.  They are just 3-6 in their last 9 Pac-12 games, including losses at Washington State and Colorado, and their only chance to finish above .500 in league play is @ Arizona.  Good luck with that.  Of course, that is a huge opportunity to finish with a huge resume-boosting win, but I wouldn’t say the odds are in their favor to pull that off.  It would be hard to put a team with a 9-9 record in a bad league into the Tournament, especially when they finish 3-7.

SEC:

Locks (2):  Arkansas, Kentucky

In the Gym (3):

Georgia Bulldogs (19-10, 10-7 SEC) — RPI:  33 — KenPom:  36 — SOS:  17

The Bulldogs are about as close to “lock” status as you can be now.  After inexplicable back-to-back home losses to Auburn and South Carolina, the Bulldogs rattled off consecutive road wins at Alabama and Ole Miss, and played Kentucky down to the wire this week in a fun battle.  They own 8 RPI 100 wins and are 7-4 on the road, they’ll be in the Tournament.

LSU Tigers (21-9, 10-7 SEC) — RPI:  56 — KenPom:  44 — SOS:  77

How frustrating is this team?  Getting blown out at home by Tennessee?  Seriously?  No one is as inconsistent as LSU, but the fact remains, they are 10-5 vs. the RPI top 100 and are 7-3 on the road.  They’ll be in the Dance.

Ole Miss Rebels (20-10, 11-6 SEC) — RPI:  44 — KenPom:  35 — SOS:  44

Ole Miss has quietly put together a very solid resume as wel after posting bad home losses to Charleston Southern, TCU, and Western Kentucky early in the year.  They also own a neutral court win over Cincinati, they won at Oregon and Arkansas, and swept Florida.  Should they avoid a bad home loss to Vanderbilt to close the regular season, I’d be surprised to see them left out come Selection Sunday.

Blowing Bubbles (0):

Grass is Greener (1):

Texas A&M Aggies (20-9, 11-6 SEC) — RPI:  48 — KenPom:  43 — SOS:  54

No one is more mad at LSU than the Aggies, who now own 0 RPI top 50 wins after LSU’s latest embarrassment.  They are just 6-9 vs. the RPI top 100 as well, so they are now in precarious position despite posting 20 wins and a top half finish in the SEC.  Of hose 6 RPI top 100 wins, only the sweep of LSU come against teams who will be in the Tournament.

West Coast:

Locks (1):  Gonzaga

In the Gym (0):

Blowing Bubbles (1):

BYU Cougars (23-8, 13-5 WCC) — RPI:  40 — KenPom:  26 — SOS:  80

It was mighty nice of Gonzaga to take their final regular season game off and give BYU their lone RPI top 25 (and top 50) win of the season just in time for the close of the year.  With Stanford and Umass falling off, it will likely represent their only win vs. a Tournament team, so the Cougars would be wise to avoid a bad loss in WCC Tournament play.

Grass is Greener (0):

 

To crunch the numbers, there are 48 “locks” to date, which leaves 20 open spots for the teams among the other three categories.  There are 28 teams currently “on the bubble”, that it to say, they are listed in the “In the Gym”, “Blowing Bubbles”, or “Grass is Greener” categories.  That means there will be eight teams left out of the Tournament from these categories come Selection Sunday, who are your picks to feel “snubbed”?

It is going to be a wild final week in college hoops, enjoy the madness!

Bubble Math 2015 v4.0

bracketology

What a wild week in the world of bracketology…

Here’s a quick breakdown of the huge results we’ve seen since our last installment of Bubble Math:

– BYU wins at Gonzaga

– Texas survives Baylor in OT

– Kansas State beats both Kansas and Baylor at home

– Boise State wins at San Diego State

– Davidson wins at Rhode Island

– Indiana drops to Northwestern on the road

– NC State follows up huge win at North Carolina by crumbling at Boston College

– Ole Miss blows home opportunity against Georgia

– Oklahoma State bombs at Texas Tech

– Oregon sweeps their road trip at Stanford and California

– Pittsburgh fails at Wake Forest

– St. John’s rolls over Georgetown and Xavier

– UMass explodes their bubble chances with home loss to St. Joseph’s

 

So…how do you sort all of this madness out?  Simple.  You call it March.

The strength of the bubble continues to weaken, there is little doubt that several decidedly mediocre basketball teams will find themselves celebrating on Selection Sunday.  Let’s check out the numbers and sift through the mess.

– Oregon is now a near lock for the Dance after an improbable sweep of Stanford and California on the road this weekend.  They now own 9 RPI top 100 victories, top amongst teams in the data set still considered to be on the bubble.

– Stanford and UCLA are likewise in trouble.  Especially Stanford.  They are now 0-5 against the other teams in the Pac-12 either on the bubble or projected to make the field.  Their best win in conference?  At California.  Eww.  UCLA owns just 5 RPI top 100 wins, 2nd worst among teams still in the bubble mix, and their 2-8 road record can only be described as dismal, it represents the worst mark away from home of the teams still alive in the data.

– Colorado State is in pretty good shape as well.  With the bubble teams crumbling around them, they suddenly find themselves sitting pretty despite falling on many experts seed lines of late.  They own the 4th best win percentage vs. RPI top 100 opponents, the best win percentage in the entire data set against the RPI top 200, and are 6-3 on the road.  Should they avoid a bad loss down the stretch, I’d be surprised to find them excluded from the field.

–  Indiana’s inclusion in this version of the data set is probably now warranted, but they aren’t really in danger of missing the Tournament.  They’ve struggled of late, but their resume still exceeds most of the teams sitting on the bubble.  They have the most RPI top 25 and top 50 wins among the teams on the bubble, and the 2nd most RPI top 100 wins.  They are just 3-6 on the road, though, a blemish in their resume they have no opportunity to change.

– Oklahoma State and Temple should probably start sweating a little bit.  They are the only two teams in the data set projected to make the field that own just a .500 record vs. RPI top 200 opponents.  Couple Oklahoma State’s 3-7 road record and despite a slew of quality wins, they will need to buckle up in the final few weeks of the season.

– If it were me, I’d have Pittsburgh farther off the bubble than the experts.  They are just 2-6 vs. the RPI top 50, 5-8 vs. the RPI top 100, and they are 2-7 on the road.  Their only win vs. the RPI top 100 in the non-conference portion of their schedule was neutral court vs. Kansas State.

– How important is the RPI in the experts’ bracket predictions?  Apparently very.  10 of the 11 teams with the lowest RPI rankings are considered to be off the bubble, with Miami FL being the lone team still “alive”.  They, however, are a member of the “Next 4 Out” category, so they are hanging on by just a hair.  Purdue (58) is the lowest ranked RPI team currently projected to make the field.

– The lowest ranked KenPom team projected to make the field is Colorado State (75).  The highest ranked KenPom team currently projected to miss the field is Texas (21).

– Texas’ win last night in OT vs. Baylor saved their NCAA Tournament hopes, but if it were up to me, they’d still be on the outside looking in.  They still remain just 3-11 vs. the RPI top 50, 6-12 vs. the RPI top 100, and are just 4-7 on the road.

Strap it in folks, this last week is going to be a wild ride.

Bubble Math 2015 v3.0

bracketology

With March now just four days off, tensions have risen among programs on the bubble.  Each minute, each half, each game carries heavy significance, and those who can shoulder the load will separate themselves and earn their way into the NCAA Tournament.  Match-ups against high-level opponents, especially road games, now become crucial down the stretch.  Earn yourself one of those on the resume, and you are likely to find yourself a step ahead of the competition.

The bubble has started to dwindle as several teams in our data set have fallen out of contention.  The data set now includes 34 teams, but not all of them have survived the gauntlet of the previous few weeks.  Some have fallen off the bubble but aren’t quite finished yet (Old Dominion, UMass, Wyoming), but others are likely going to have to earn an NCAA Tournament bid by winning their conference tournament in a few weeks:  Clemson, Florida, Tennessee, Michigan, Kansas State, Richmond, and George Washington.

Let’s break down the numbers.

 

There are 8 teams who have safely made their way into the field, for now:

Colorado State, Iowa, NC State, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, St. John’s, Texas A&M, and Xavier.

 

Of those eight, who has the weakest resume? 

I’m going to let you decide.  There are three candidates, Team A, Team B, and Team C.

(Don’t cheat).

Team A:  RPI:  26 — KenPom:  72 — SOS:  143

  • vs. RPI Top 50:  2-2 — vs. RPI Top 100:  5-4 — vs. RPI Top 200:  11-5
  • 11 wins vs. opponents with 200+ RPI, 6-3 road record, 1 loss vs. 100+ RPI

Team B:  RPI:  56 — KenPom:  27 — SOS:  40

  • vs. RPI Top 50:  4-6 — vs. RPI Top 100:  6-9 — vs. RPI Top 200:  12-10
  • 5 wins vs. opponents with 200+ RPI, 5-3 road record, 1 loss vs. 100+ RPI

Team C:  RPI:  34 — KenPom:  41 — SOS:  15

  • vs. RPI Top 50:  0-6 — vs. RPI Top 100:  7-8 — vs. RPI Top 200:  14-8
  • 5 wins vs. opponents with 200 + RPI, 5-5 road record, 0 losses vs. 100+ RPI

 

The 34 teams in the data set are a combined:

  • 86-171 (33.5%) vs. RPI top 50 opponents.
  • 205-247 (45.4%) vs. RPI top 100 opponents.
  • 390-314 (55.4%) vs. RPI top 200 opponents
  • 140-177 (44.2%) on the road

 

The only team in the data set to own a winning record vs. RPI top 50 teams? 

Old Dominion at 1-0.  There are 8 others who are .500 against such opponents.

 

Let’s play another blind comparison game… Team A is considered to be on the right side of the bubble according to Joe Lunardi, among the “Last 4 In”.  Team B is considered to be on the outside looking in, among the “First 4 Out”.  

Team A:  RPI: 44 — KenPom:  22 — SOS:  16

  • vs. RPI Top 50:  1-10 — vs. RPI Top 100:  5-11 — vs. RPI Top 200:  12-11
  • 4-6 on the road
  • Bad Losses:  None — in fact, no losses to anyone outside the RPI top 60

Team B:  RPI:  53 — KenPom:  40 — SOS:  63

  • vs. RPI Top 50:  2-5 — vs. RPI Top 100:  9-6 — vs. RPI Top 200:  13-9
  • 5-6 on the road
  • Bad Losses:  3 — on the road to RPI: 128, RPI: 144, RPI: 147

Which do you prefer?

Now…what if I told you that Team A lost to Team B…at home.  Does your mind change?

Now…what if I told you that of Team Bs 9 Top 100 wins, 7 came against opponents ranked 80th or worse?  Does your mind change again?

The bubble is a fickle, fickle process.  Its all in how you view the numbers.

 

Who can take care of business away from home?

Only four high major programs in the data set have winning records on the road:

LSU, Ole Miss, Iowa, and Miami FL.

 

There are 6 mid major programs who have winning road records:

Davidson, Tulsa, Colorado State, BYU, Rhode Island, and Boise State.

 

The most inconsistent team in the data?

There are two noteworthy candidates.  Kansas State and LSU.

Kansas State leads the entire data set with 4 Top 25 wins and 6 Top 50 wins, yet they aren’t even considered on the bubble.  They are just 9-15 vs. RPI top 200 opponents, worst among the teams in the data set, and have 4 losses to teams with 100+ RPIs, also worst in the data.  They are also a horrific 1-9 on the road.

LSU is an impressive 10-5 vs. the RPI top 100, 2nd in the data set, and own a 7-3 road record, the best among the bubble teams.  Included among those, are big time wins @ Ole Miss and @ West Virginia.  Unfortunately, they also own neutral court losses to Old Dominion and Clemson, along with road losses at Missouri and Miss State, along with a home loss to Auburn.  That loss to Missouri represents one of only two losses in the data set to 200+ RPI teams among teams currently projected to make the field.

Be on the lookout for Bubble Watch 2015 v4.0, due early next week!  Want to look back at our previous versions of this piece?  You can find them here:

Bubble Watch 2015 v1.0

Bubble Watch 2015 v2.0