Saturday, March 13, 2010
It's That Bubblicious Time of Year Again
I thought the Lloyd Bridges quotes in Airplane were appropo for today's article. And even if they weren't, it's still a freakin funny movie! A day after presenting a case for William and Mary, I decided to take a day off from writing on the blog to play with my kids and watch basketball Friday night. As I watched on Pixelvision, Dayton finally sealed their fate and imploded on a fifteen point second half lead and lost to Xavier, other teams that were on the bubble actually improved their fate. In fact for some, they guaranteed their spot in the NCAA Tournament. For others, like Dayton, they sealed their fate with a loss.
So first, as I have done every season since this blog has started, I suggest reading the the Moore Primer. The best set of rules to use on whether a team should be in or out. Read carefully, let the rules sink in to the crevices of your cerebellum, and then read below on teams worthy of at large consideration..or not.
They Should Be In
Illinois - The Fighting Illini is in the tournament after defeating Wisconsin in the Big Ten quarters. They were one of Lunardi's last in teams in Bracketology. Their RPI is not very good at all, neither is their non-conference SOS. But when you finish over .500 in the Big Ten and you knock off a ranked guaranteed in team in the Quarters, the Committee is putting you in.
San Diego State - Similar to the Illini, the Aztecs entered Friday as one of the last teams in. I didn't understand why, since they had no non conference wins to speak of and only had two home wins over BYU and UNLV. But the upset win over New Mexico has San Diego State squarely in. UNLV also looks to be solidly in now after upsetting BYU last night (much to the great pleasure of one Mal Galletta III). But they were not in the precarious position San Diego State was in.
Washington - The PAC 10 looks like they are going to get two teams in. Cal made the final yesterday and the Huskies won last night over Stanford. They were also one of Lunardi's last teams in and getting to the finals helps Washington. My guess is that Dan Guerrero, the chair of the NCAA Committee is not going to embarrass the PAC 10 and make it a one bid league. But it's only going to be two.
Georgia Tech - They weren't one of the Final Four In, but it was precarious for the Yellow Jackets. But not after the upset win over Maryland. The Ramblin Wreck is in the dance.
They Should Be Out
Memphis - Bubble teams should never lose to sub .500 in conference teams like Houston in their conference quarters. The non-conference SOS isn't that particularly great and they only have two Top 50 RPI wins. Welcome to the NIT.
Ole Miss - Another team that got bounced in its league quarterfinals. 9-7 in the SEC is not terrific and losing in the quarterfinals is not good. Plus the Rebels lost both games to Mississippi State and with the Bulldogs winning, thus the circle is complete. The Bulldogs and Rebels switch spots and the Rebels are NIT bound.
Dayton - A team with serious serious issues. How can they look so good for 30 plus minutes over Xavier then just flat out implode. The Flyers had a FIFTEEN POINT second half lead and blew it. Their season in a nutshell. Fantastically talented. Fantastically flawed with bad shot selection, careless ball handling and the ability at times to not even get the ball in their best player's hands (Chris Wright). Amazing.
Arizona State - One team had to pay for Washington's inclusion to the dance. And that would be the other PAC-10 team in the mix, the Sun Devils. The only non conference win of a note is a three point home win over San Diego State. But the loss in the PAC-10 quarters means another disappointing trip to NIT land for Arizona State.
Seton Hall - They didn't make it through the quarterfinals of the Big East. They didn't finish in the top eight of the Big East. Their best non conference win was at Cornell, but that's it folks. Why am I even talking about them?
Still Got Work To Do
Minnesota - A huge upset win over Michigan State last night helped the Golden Gophers cause big time. But with the above "They Should Be In" teams winning, spots are becoming few and far between. Minnesota needs to win today and get to the conference final if they have any hope of getting an at large.
Mississippi State - The win over Florida was huge and kept alive the Bulldogs slim at large hopes. They also have swept the season series from the Rebels and believe it or not, the neutral site win over Old Dominion, the CAA champ that already had significant at large credibility, helps. They have probably flopped their position on Lunardi's last four in list. But a win in the semis over Vanderbilt could seal the deal and get the Bulldogs in.
Rhode Island - The rout over St. Louis certainly helped the Rams. But the 0-4 record vs. the Top 25 RPI and 2-4 record vs. the Top 50 RPI are not things to write home about if you are a Rhode Island fan. And the neutral site win over Oklahoma State can only take you so far. So a big win against Temple today would help greatly.
Don't Get Too Comfortable
Some teams have to pay for other teams playing better during conference tournament time and locking up at large spots. And those are the teams whose at large spot was precarious to start the tournament.
Wake Forest - Lunardi had them as an eleven seed starting yesterday. I think the fact they lost by TWENTY to Miami in the first round of the ACC Tournament puts them squarely on the bubble. Plus with other bubble teams like Georgia Tech, Miss State, Washington, San Diego State playing well and the Deacons out, they get closer and closer to the edge. Losing five out of their last six certainly doesn't help the cause. But they at least have a non-conference road win at Gonzaga and a home win over Richmond to hang their hat on, unlike...
Virginia Tech - It never fails with the Hokies. They always sweat out Selection Sunday. And often due to self inflicted wounds, like losing in the quarterfinals to Miami. Had they won against the Canes, Va Tech would have had something over Wake. Nope. The non conf SOS of 344 screams CUPCAKE! And sorry, beating Seton Hall at a neutral site doesn't compare to Wake's non conference wins. And they have lost four of their last six, so another strike against them. Don't be surprised if they end up Lunardi's "Last Four In" list today.
Florida - One week they're in. One week they're out. One week they're in, then they flop in a quarterfinal against Mississppi State. They were only fourth in the SEC East regular season. All they can hang their hat on is the neutral site win over Michigan State. And that hat hangar is starting to get awfully wobbly. NIT could be calling again.
Please Don't Screw Up and Lose Your Conference Final!
Utep and Utah State - Both teams deserve at larges, even if they don't win the tournament finals today. Both teams won their regular season conference championship. Hell, UTEP is ranked. And Utah State has a non conference win over BYU. But being non power six conferences, you can not give the NCAA Tournament Committee any reason to exclude you from the tournament. Think Al Davis. JUST WIN BABY!
Hoping for a Prayer
Wichita State and William and Mary. Both teams had very successful seasons and deserve to be a part of the at large consideration talk. But once again, the fact that the Colonial and Missouri Valley tournaments were the weekend prior, which basically quiets all the talk about them. Both teams had very successful seasons, both made it to their conference tournament finals unlike many other bubble teams, and their resumes deserve serious consideration, especially, the Tribe's.
The only person who has been singing their praises lately is one Douglas Gottlieb, ESPN analyst. He was on 1050 ESPN yesterday stating that you might see a surprise team picked like one of those two teams. And much to his credit, I regularly hear Gottlieb talking about their quality wins, especially William and Mary's.
Today for some teams that are already assured of being in, it's "Saturday in the Park". For some other teams fighting for their bubble lives, "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"