Bubble Math 2015 v4.0


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.

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