by Joe Perry
Usually, our weekly tough decision comes down to two teams. In previous weeks it has come down to Kansas vs. Purdue as well as Kansas State vs. Washington. However, this week, our tough decision rested on one team: Houston.
5-2 tier 1
2-2 tier 2
NC SOS- 258
2 bad losses
Best win at home vs. Cincinnati
Houston has been on a roll lately. In the past month, they have picked up key wins against Cincinnati and Wichita State and on the road against Temple. So, with the weak group of bubble teams this year, as well as a generally weak overall record for every team outside of the top four seeds, Houston went up. On our bracket, they jumped three seeds within a week, going from the last eleven seed, which is the last at-large team in, to the first seven seed.
So, in our Thursday meeting, as we were mulling over the bracket, we started to question if Houston should be that high up. Were we biased by how well they have done in the past month? Did they really deserve that much of a boost? After all, they lost to Drexel earlier in the season. However, in the end, the answer was yes. In a bracket where twenty teams’ resumes are all similarly flawed and throwing darts would probably be more productive than looking at the numbers, Houston’s 5-2 tier one record, as well as their 21-6 overall record, puts them above teams like Texas A&M and Oklahoma, who both have eleven losses with a week and a half left in the regular season.
It’s not impossible for Houston to fall before the tournament. In fact, it’s rather probable, as Houston’s overall record is the support beam keeping Houston at the top of the mountain of teams that make up seeds six to ten. Keep an eye on this team as we wrap up the regular season and head into the conference tournaments.
by Brian Tonsoni
This is the point of the college basketball season where fans ask the big question. "Is my team going to make the tournament." A slightly different version is "What does _______ (insert team name) have to do to make the tournament." If you have to ask, there is a chance the answer may be no. The latter question can be answered with " Win quality games."
Taking a look at our top 46 seeds in our bracket at this point and we have only four teams with two Tier 1 wins or less.
Clemson 2-7 with 9 Tier 2 wins
Rhode Island 2-4 with 5 Tier 2 wins
Nevada 2-2 with 3 Tier 2 wins
Creighton 2-7 with 6 Tier 2 wins
There are 10 teams with 3 Tier 1 wins
With 68 teams in the bracket overall, 22 go to conferences that will have only one entry. That leaves 46 spots for the remaining automatic qualifiers and the 36 at large teams.
In the top 46 teams, only 14 teams have less than 4 Tier 1 wins. The teams we have out must attempt to replace the teams above by matching or exceeding win totals at this time. The goal of any bubble out team should be 4 to 5 Tier 1 wins. This is to simply be in discussion. At that point it is likely that the committee will compare to similar teams with even more criteria. Without the wins, we don't see how teams cam make the tournament.
We have 14 teams out of the tournament that we are watching closely. Currently only 4 of those teams have three or more Tier 1 wins.
Temple with 3--- but has 4 Tier 3 losses
Mississippi St with 3--- no bad losses--- may be a team to watch. Sub 300 non conf SOS
Oklahoma St with 4--- 16-12 overall- no bad losses--- keep an eye on them
Georgia with 6--- 15-12 overall- two Tier 3 losses
Every other team has two or less wins. This includes St. Mary's, UCLA, Syracuse, USC and Louisville. The bubble seems stronger this year despite most bubble teams having double digit losses at this point.
"Is my team in?" We say---- "If they win down the stretch they have a chance."
The Big 12 may be the best conference in basketball. All 10 teams have decent wins. Where are the team at this moment?
Locks for the Tournament:
Kansas and Texas Tech- These two teams were placed in the top four seeds by the selection committee during the reveal show on Sunday. Kansas continues to pile up top wins for a resume that overcomes its losses. Texas Tech at 22-4 will be on lines 2-5 depending on results.
Should be in:
Oklahoma: The surprise team in the first 16 seeds revealed. Despite losing seven of last nine games, the Sooners still have six quality wins. Those wins should be enough for them to make the tourney. Seeding is only issue.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers withstood a tough stretch when they were not af full strength. They have six tier 1 wins and look to be in the 3-6 range.
Bubble Teams: There are five conference teams that have a chance to make the tourney. We list them in order of likely tournament appearance.
TCU - RPI 28- 17-8: Only 3 wins vs likely tournament teams. No bad losses
Kansas St- RPI 67- 17-8: 4 wins vs tourney teams--Best win vs Oklahoma
Texas- RPI 55 15-11: 5 wins vs tourney teams- Beat Texas Tech, Oklahoma & TCU
Baylor- RPI 54 15-10: 4 wins vs tourney teams- Beat Kansas, Creighton & swept Texas
Oklahoma St- RPI 91 15-10: 4 wins vs tourney teams- Beat Oklahoma, West Virginia, Florida St & Texas
We believe that 7 teams if not 8 will make the tournament. All of the bubble teams have 3 or more quality wins. There are several teams in our field that have 3 or less. The problem will be that these teams will beat up on each other.
Our guess: Kansas, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kansas St, TCU, Baylor will make the tournament- Texas should be in but may lose too many games overall.
by Evan Fritz
Xavier is the team of the week with two big road wins against Butler and Creighton. One big thing that Xavier has going for them is their solid road wins and their strength of schedule isn't bad. Here is their current resume.
RPI - 1
NC SOS - 31
Tier 1 - (7-3)
Tier 2 - (7-0)
Tier 3 - (4-0)
Tier 4 - (5-0)
Xavier’s biggest wins include Cincinnati at home, Creighton on the road, and Seton hall on the road. With their worst loss begging on the road at tier 1 Providence. Their resume looks great, with a 15-0 home record and a strength of schedule at 7. We really like their chances of improving to the number one team in the country with a big game coming up against Villanova at home.
There is basically only thing that is holding Xavier back from staying a one seed, their ability to win big games against big teams. They will have the chance to show up against Nova, but early in the year they got pummeled by them at home. The only other thing that hurts Xavier’s seed, is the fact that they have many wins over strong non conference teams. Yes road wins are good, but when they come against low RPI teams, than they are not all that important. Keep playing hard and congratulations on a strong week.
by Joe Perry
This week’s tough decision was between Kansas and Purdue. Going into Thursday’s meeting, we had Kansas at the #5 spot, which is the first second seed, and Purdue at #4, the last first seed. As always we looked at their resumes:
NC SOS 9
8-2 tier 1
5-2 tier 2
1 bad loss
best win vs. Kentucky at neutral site
NC SOS 87
5-2 tier 1
6-1 tier 2
0 bad losses
best win vs. Arizona at neutral site
When we rank the teams, we look at many factors. SOS, bad losses, record, etc. However, the single most important factor we look at is wins. Who you beat, where you beat them, and how many good wins you have are all part of our conversation. So, when we looked at Purdue and Kansas, the first thing we saw Kansas’s 8 tier 1 wins. EIGHT! That is second only to Villanova, who is one of our number one seeds. Of those 8 tier 1 wins, three are quality wins, aka top 25 RPI teams. They also have 5 tier 2 wins.
Purdue, on the other hand, has 5 tier 1 wins, with one of those being a quality win. Purdue has 6 tier 2 wins, which is one more than Kansas. So, in terms of wins, Kansas is the better team, especially considering that the SOS of Kansas is far superior to Purdue’s SOS. However, Purdue’s argument comes in when looking at their losses, or lack thereof. As of Thursday, Purdue had 3 total losses, with all but one being in tier 1. Kansas, though, has 5 total losses, including 2 tier 2 losses and a bad loss that came at home against a weak Oklahoma State squad.
Like mentioned before, the wins category is arguably the most important category that we look at. After all, 10 tier 1 wins last year put a 23-8 Butler team, with 3 bad losses, including one in tier 4, into the first fourth seed. So, because of Kansas’s wins, the majority of our group voted to move Kansas to #4 and Purdue down to #5. However, Purdue faces Michigan State on Saturday. A win there could be enough to put them back into the first seed line.
Arizona Vs Washington is our game of the week. Both teams have had good seasons and are in a grat position to make a big impact on the tunoment. This results of this game played a key role in seeding these two teams this week
The game was a tier 1 game that was played on Washington's home court and the game came down to the wire, with a buzzer beater that put Washington on top. In the end, Washington was able to defend their home court 78-75. This win now gives Washington their 4th in tier 1 and, comes after another big home win earlier in the week against Arizona St..
For Arizona this was their 3rd tier 1 loss, and that takes them to 2-3 in tier 1. Arizona before this game was on a 7 game winning streak, and now, need to get back into rhythm. It will help that they have a home stand upcoming.
A key point to remember is that the whole season is taken into an account and not just one game. This game will not decide one's fate, both have good resumes, and are currently seeded in a pretty comfortable spot in the tournament. Currently we have Arizona at a 4 seed and Washington at an 8 seed.
Today's bubble discussion for our group is a comparison between Michigan and Syracuse. Michigan lost to Northwestern on the road while Syracuse won on the road at Louisville. So how do the resumes of these teams stack up. Let's take a look.
Current Position: Michigan was a 9 seed and Syracuse was 1st team out heading into the week. Michigan is currently 18-7 with RPI of 39 and Syracuse is 16-8 with RPI of 40. Using the team sheets available at warrennolan.com we must look further into these teams.
Tier 1 wins is our first criteria:
Tier 2 wins
Road vs RPI 28
Road vs RPI 38
Home vs RPI 27
Road vs RPI 42
Syacuse; 1 Tier 3 - home to RPI 76
Non conf SOS
This comparison leaves us selecting Michigan by the slimmest of margins., due to two road quality wins and no tier 3 losses. An argument for Syracuse can easily be made. So how does the change seeding?
Michigan was at 36 overall and Syracuse being first out was effectively 47 (46 at-large- include major conference champions). Our group must decide to either move Michigan down or Syracuse up. However, there are 10 other teams in between that must also be considered. In fact in the actual committee room, these two teams may not even be compared due to the separation of the seed numbers. Also the last 4 teams voted in are in the play-in games regardless of comparisons, which Syracuse may be a part of currently.
Our decision is Michigan moves down and Syracuse stays out for now.
by Elijah Hudson
This past week, the Huskies were playing basketball at a very high level. Washington went 3-0, beating two ranked teams, and their rival, Washington State. Strength of schedule isn’t a problem for this team going forward in the season.
NC SOS- 39
Tier 1- (4-3)
Tier 2- (1-2)
Tier 3- (4-1)
Tier 4- (8-0)
Washington has two quality wins by beating Kansas on the road and Arizona at home. Their non conference strength of schedule is standing at a nice number in 39. They have a chance for some more tier one and two wins down the stretch , and if they can pull them out, they could be seeded higher in the tournament.
The things that can’t be overlooked about this team are their losses and their schedule for the rest of the year. They have a bad loss in tier three to Stanford at home. They also have a losing record when facing tier two teams. From here on out, they aren’t scheduled to play a currently ranked team. Congrats Huskies on a great week.
by Joe Perry
The ACC is arguably THE best conference in college basketball. It has 6 of the top 20 teams in RPI as of Saturday, and hopes to add to that number as the season continues to roll closer and closer to March Madness.
Definitely in: Virginia, Clemson, Duke
Should be in: North Carolina, Miami, Florida St., North Carolina St.
Bubble: Louisville, Virginia Tech
Pick it up: Syracuse, Notre Dame, Boston College
God help them: Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh
Virginia has built up a tremendous resumé so far this year, putting up 12 tier 1 and 2 wins and their only loss coming on the road against a good West Virginia team. Clemson and Duke both have 4 combined losses in tier 1 and 2, but have plenty of quality wins to make up for them. Expect these 3 teams to be in the top 3 seeds.
North Carolina has plenty of good wins, compiling 8 in tier 1 and 2. However, their home loss to Wofford, as well as their 6 other losses, puts a flaw on their resume. Miami and Florida State both have solid resumes. No bad losses and a decent amount of wins. North Carolina State has 2 bad losses, but have been stringing together wins and boosting their resume. Keep an eye on this team as we get down to crunch time.
Louisville needs to wins some games. They don’t have any bad losses, but they only have 3 tier 1 and 2 wins. They’re putting themselves in danger of the NIT if they don’t pick it up. Virginia Tech needs to win some games as well. That tier 3 loss is tainting those 2 measly tier 1 wins.
Now, we have Syracuse. They have ZERO tier 1 wins, and those 2 tier 3 losses are not helping. They’re gonna have to beef up those numbers if they want a chance to slide into the tourney. Notre Dame, if they can get out of the ER, needs to pull out some tier 1 wins to make up for their 10 losses, including 2 losses in tier 3. Boston College is in a similar position as Louisville, having zero bad losses, but very few good wins as well. Just because you have zero bad losses (and plenty of good ones) doesn’t mean you can just waltz into the Big Dance.
Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Pittsburgh are all lost causes. Good luck at the NIT, except for Pittsburgh. They’re on the NIT bubble.
The tough decision this week was on overall seed lines 11-14. These teams are three and four seeds in the bracket. How the committee decides the difference can make a big difference in who they play and possible outcomes.
We compared Tennessee, Cincinnati, Arizona and Kentucky.
Tennessee: We really like the quality of wins. Defeating Purdue and Kentucky are the best wins of these four teams. The combined 9 wins vs top teams along with non conference SOS of 16 moves the Vols into the 3 seed line
Cincinnati- a team where the metrics love them but quality of wins are questionable. The Bearcats have 10 top wins but best win is against Buffalo. Their non conference SOS of 156 will keep them lower than maybe they should be. They are barely hanging on to the 3 seed line
Arizona- A team that we have had move between the three and four seed lines. This team has only lost once since the return of guard Rawlie Alkins. The committee will consider injuries. The reason they are behind Tennessee and Cincinnati is that they only have two tier 1 wins and a total of 7 top wins. Quality of wins include Texas A&M, Alabama and Arizona St.
Kentucky- A team on the rise. Low tier 1 wins but 8 tier 2 wins have the Wildcats on the rise. Best win came against Louisville and non conference SOS of 6 really helps. The Wildcats find themselves on the four seed line but are rising
These four team are really close. Even as writing this blog, Arizona is looking better than Cincinnati. This is what Bracketologist do daily. This is the order the teams are right now, we can easily see the two Wildcat teams moving onto the three seed line by tourney time.