Alabama Crimson Tide, Southeastern Conference
Good Wins: November 27 on neutral court vs. Wichita State, November 29 on neutral court vs. Notre Dame, January 13 vs. South Carolina, February 10 vs. Texas A&M, and February 13 at Florida.
Bad Losses: November 17 at Dayton, December 21 vs. Oregon, January 9 vs. Kentucky, and January 19 at Auburn.
RPI Breakdown: overall rank 32, with a 16-9 overall record and 7-6 record in SEC play. The Crimson Tide have three wins against the RPI’s Top 26 through 50 and that is also where their lone road win is against the RPI’s Top 50. Their Adjusted Offensive Efficiency ranks 152nd behind Colorado at 104.7 points per game. Meanwhile, their Adjusted Defensive Efficiency per 100 possessions is at 94.4 ppg, which is at a rather impressive standing at 21st place.
Brief Analysis: Tuesday night’s clash with Kentucky looms large, but most bracketologists have them as the first four teams out of the Big Dance.
Percentage chance of reaching the Big Dance: 33 percent, but they would have to at least reach the SEC Tournament final to have a possible glimmer of hope of sneaking in as a possible 11 or 12 seed.
Butler Bulldogs, Big East Conference
Good Wins: December 19 on neutral court vs. Purdue and February 10 at Seton Hall.
Bad Losses: November 22 on neutral court vs. Miami (Florida), getting swept in home-and-home series to Xavier, and January 10 vs. Villanova.
RPI Breakdown: overall rank of 59, 18-8 overall record (7-7 in Big East Conference) with only one win against the RPI’s Top 50. Their Adjusted Offensive Efficiency ranks 43rd behind Dayton at 116.2 points per game. Meanwhile, their Adjusted Defensive Efficiency per 100 possessions is at 101.7 ppg, which is at a meager 130th position.
Brief Analysis: Saturday’s tilt at Villanova (2:30 p.m.. Eastern on FOX) looms very large as the conference’s number one scoring offense at 80.8 ppg takes on the conference’s stingiest defense allowing only an average of 61.3 ppg (8th overall for the entire nation). ESPN tossed around another cool nugget during their Bottom Line ticker during the Duke/Louisville game with Villanova being the only NCAA team not to lose to an unranked team this late in the season (20 straight wins). Otherwise, another big game at Georgetown next Saturday may hopefully put them in middle seeding arguments.
Percentage chance of reaching the Big Dance: 55 percent, but their non-conference strength of schedule stands at 218th–which is something the Selection Committee usually frowns on along with the overall health of teams going into the tournament.
St. Mary’s Gaels, West Coast Conference
Good Wins: December 21 vs. BYU (68th in RPI at the time) and January 21 vs. Gonzaga.
Bad Losses: December 12 at California, February 4 at Brigham Young, and getting swept in home-and-home series vs. Pepperdine.
RPI Breakdown: overall rank 66, but the Gaels have played only one game against the RPI’s Top 25. They are 4-1 against the RPI’s teams ranked 51 through 100. Their Adjusted Offensive Efficiency ranks 47th behind Tulsa and ahead of Florida State at 113.6 points per game. Meanwhile, their Adjusted Defensive Efficiency per 100 possessions is at 100.3 ppg, which is in 100th place overall.
Brief Analysis: Every season, one mid-major has one game they can point to as a game that looked winnable at the time but things turned out differently in their 63-59 loss to the Cal Golden Bears. California got a statement win and St. Mary’s did not.
Percentage chance of reaching the Big Dance: 25 percent, since the only way they can cure most ills is winning at The Kennel (10 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN2). Otherwise, they will have to gamble in Las Vegas and hope their West Coast Conference bracket comes up rolling up sevens every time.
I hope to have at least two more capsules of UTM before the conference tournaments get underway during the first days of March. Enjoy the hoops, everybody.