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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Examining the Bubble

As the basketball season winds down there will be more talk about who is on the "bubble" and who is not.  It's fairly obvious which teams won't be sweating bullets on Selection Sunday; teams who win their respective conference tournaments, teams who are ranked in the top 25 polls, and teams that are awful  can go ahead and DVR the CBS special.
With the exception of the conference tournament winners, teams in the other two categories probably have a pretty good idea of who they are.  Everyone else is on the bubble.  I began listing bubble teams to see how they stack up against one another and to see just how many there are to choose from.  I looked at a variety of categories including each school's record on road and neutral floors, their conference record and RPI, and their record against top competition.  Below are the thirty six teams I listed and how I've ranked them.

School Record Conf Record Road/ Netural Non Conf SOS vs RPI      top 50 vs RPI      top 100 Conf. RPI RPI
UNLV 20-7 8-5 9-4 51 4-4 7-5 7 44
Florida St. 19-7 7-5 7-5 47 3-5 6-6 3 40
Clemson 19-7 7-5 6-5 32 3-5 7-6 3 35
OK St. 19-7 7-5 6-6 139 4-5 4-6 1 29
Louisville 18-10 9-7 4-6 23 2-6 6-9 2 30
VA Tech 21-5 8-4 7-5 98 2-3 6-5 3 45
Florida 19-8 8-4 7-5 156 2-6 6-7 4 54
California 18-9 10-5 5-8 1 0-4 5-7 8 23
GA Tech 18-9 6-7 5-8 113 4-6 8-8 3 31
UAB 21-5 9-3 10-3 97 1-0 6-4 11 33
Marquette 17-9 8-6 5-6 206 3-7 5-7 2 59
ODU 21-8 14-3 7-8 41 3-4 6-7 12 42
Uconn 17-11 7-8 3-8 6 4-6 9-9 2 41
Illinois 18-10 10-5 6-8 132 4-6 6-8 5 71
URI 20-6 8-5 9-4 28 2-4 4-6 6 27
Dayton 18-8 7-5 5-7 18 3-5 5-7 6 43
Cornell 23-4 9-1 14-3 65 0-2 3-3 21 49
St. Mary's 22-5 9-3 10-2 34 2-3 5-5 7 47
Utah St. 22-6 11-2 7-5 76 2-1 8-4 10 36
Miss St. 19-8 7-5 8-6 236 1-3 5-4 4 64
SDSU 20-7 9-4 7-6 58 2-4 4-5 7 39
Neastern 18-10 13-3 9-7 9 2-4 6-5 12 69
Charlotte 18-8 8-4 9-5 163 3-7 4-8 6 55
Memphis 20-7 10-2 6-4 74 1-4 4-5 11 62
Cincinnati 15-11 6-8 4-8 58 4-6 6-11 2 56
Bill & Mary 19-8 11-5 9-6 38 3-3 5-6 12 46
Wichita St. 22-7 11-5 6-7 297 2-3 7-4 9 50
Siena 22-6 15-1 9-6 101 0-4 3-5 15 37
Miss. 17-9 5-7 7-5 137 1-5 4-8 4 63
Seton Hall 15-10 7-8 3-7 149 3-9 6-10 2 52
St. Louis 18-8 9-3 4-7 221 3-1 4-5 6 82
Minnesota 16-10 7-7 3-8 86 3-5 4-8 5 77
Notre Dame 17-10 6-8 2-7 192 1-4 5-8 2 81
Washington 18-9 8-7 1-7 42 2-3 6-7 8 61
Arizona St. 13-13 9-5 5-5 69 1-4 4-7 8 57
LA Tech 21-6 8-4 11-5 310 1-2 4-5 10 65

Thirty one conferences receive an automatic bid and another eighteen to twenty can consider themselves locks leaving fifteen or sixteen available spots.  A few schools I've listed like Cornell and Siena can be expected to gain an automatic bid by winning their conference tournament, but in case they don't they shouldn't assume they're safe.  It's impossible to say just how many of these teams will be able jump off the bubble and into the field of 65 or how many upsets will occur in conference tournaments causing the bubble to shrink.  One thing is for certain, though, if you're sitting at the Old Dominion line or below you have work to do.
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