Bracketology 102: The Real Bubble Teams and the Teams Pretending To Be Them

Good afternoon, virtual class.

Hope your studying has been going well.

Before I begin, I would be remiss if I did not mention that we have a new member who had an excused absence due to the severe drought on California this past Monday.

Welcome to the virtual class, Kimberly.

I am sure you found Wednesday’s games quite enjoyable.  I could not believe the endings myself.

With the bubble teams suffering major blows to their chances in reaching the “Big Dance”, I would like to mention the key implications of each school and give a percentage on what they would need IMHO to hear their school called on Selection Sunday:

Gonzaga (RPI of 27)–no wins at all over a Top 25 team, that probably has not happened since John Stockton laced them up for the ‘Zags way back when.  But in all seriousness, their 23-6 record in any other year would automatically give them a Tournament label.  All they have to do is win their conference tournament and they will be in as one of the Automatic Qualifiers–more on that term next week as some of the mid-majors being their conference tournaments.

Percentage chance on making the “Big Dance”–90 percent.

California (RPI of 47)–their overall game has not been good recently, having lost to the top two schools record-wise in the Pac-12.  They still can improve their chances winning at Arizona State, plus their final two home games at Berkeley with Utah and Colorado.

Percentage chance–65%.

Nebraska (RPI of 52)–huge loss to the Orange Crush at Illinois on Wednesday night.  The game wasn’t even close.  Northwestern and Indiana are next up for the Huskers.

Percentage chance–55%.

Dayton (RPI of 56)–7 of their 10 wins against Top 25 ranked teams were in the RPI 100 to 200 range, which is mostly comprised of medicore teams.  The Flyers are a very meager 3-7 against those same teams ranked in the Top 50, 2-6 in the Top 25 just by itself.  Dayton has some winnable games left on their schedule, with home games with UMass and Richmond surrounding a trip to Saint Louis.

And yes, in a small tweak of the hosting rules–Dayton would be eligible to play on their home court if they manage to be one of the last four schools in.

Percentage chance–75%.

BYU (RPI of 33)–A 20-10 record good enough for 12-5 in West Coast Conference play.  They are definitely on the bubble since they don’t have too many quality wins.  The Cougars would have to win their post-season conference tournament just to be included in the mix.  Any other year, they would be just like Gonzaga and St. Mary’s of California in recent years–their records alone would merit serious consideration from the Selection Committee.

Percentage chance–Between 35 to 40%.

Other schools needing all of the help that they can get include:

Shared RPI’s of 53 for Richmond and UW-Green Bay, along with St. John’s (RPI of 63) and LSU (RPI of 66).

Wait a second…someone has a question:

Big Z, it seems that there are way too many variables to put into play.  With the RPI, is that the only indicator or there are other indicators taken into consideration?

The RPI is one of many considerations, great question there Tiffany.

Strength of schedule, what were teams ranked in November and December, along with the overall health of a team.  Are players healthy both with their bodies and in their grades?  Injuries and any type of academic suspensions/financial or personal hardships can place a considerable strain on a school’s chances not just to reach the Final Four, but also any stage of the Tournament itself.

(The ladies imagine that their hearts are beating a bit faster, as Big Z mentions his next statement.)

But I do realize it is one of many factors, but it is not the overriding factor.

Hope that answers your question.

And I do realize with the calendar getting ready to turn to March, one of my favorite times of the year and that I am having a slightly difficult time trying to get to my mail as this pic from earlier in the week clearly attests…

Image

Yes, my online friends–that is around 3 to 4 inches of ice over the street and with the return of the very chilly and snowy weather to come, I have decided…

There will be no pop quiz on Friday.

(The ladies all scream, “Hooray” with sheer delight, followed by a clever mention of, “Thank you, Big Z.”)

I certainly hope and pray that the West gets their rain–I went through a similar drought back in the spring of 2012.  In the meantime, the games are planning to get more exciting than ever in this being the most wide open tournaments we have seen in at least two decades.

Please have a great night and stick around for more cool updates throughout parts of the weekend, as long as I don’t feel too exhausted or sweaty from all of the shoveling of snow that is yet to happen.

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