2013 NCAA Tourney Bubble Watch

Posted: 03/03/2013 by levcohen in NCAA

It’s that time of year! Time to look at the bubble teams and their remaining schedules to see what they need to do to get a spot in the tournament.
Teams that should be in:
North Carolina: With a top 20 RPI, North Carolina has probably punched their ticket into the NCAA tournament. They just need to avoid bad losses.

Oklahoma: Their loss at Texas was bad, but they rebounded with a win over Iowa State (top 60 RPI), and their last two games are against West Virginia and TCU, less than stellar teams.

California: Their RPI is just 45, but they have a top 40 strength of schedule and picked up their 20th win. With just one game left in the regular season, if they beat Stanford at home they probably don’t need to do much in the Pac-10 tournament to be considered a lock.

Cincinnati: Going into conference play, Cincinnati had an RPI of 9. With tough games seemingly every time they take the court, that RPI has slipped into the 40’s as Cincy is just 8-8 in Big East play. They have a huge chance on Monday when they travel to Louisville. If they win that, they will be safe. If not, they might need a win over South Florida and a win or two in the Big East tournament.

St. Marys: With 25 wins, St. Marys is a classic lesser conference team. They lost both games to Gonzaga, and their best win was over Creighton, a tourney team. This team still has a solid resume, though, with only three non-Gonzaga losses. As long as they can reach the WCC final, they’ll be in.

Wichita State: The Shockers are 3-1 against top-50 RPI teams, including a win at VCU. They did lose to Southern Illinois, which is never good, but they have a solid resume.

On the Fence:
Temple: The only reason(s) the Owls aren’t locks is because of their three head scratching home losses. They lost at home to Canisius (RPI 110), St. Bonaventure (106) and Duquesne (212). They have played six top 50 teams, going 3-3, and it really should have been 4-2. With a home game against VCU looming, the Owls have to win out in the regular season unless they plan on making a run deep into the A-10 tournament.

Boise State: Their win over Colorado State was huge, as it gave them a second win over a top 20 RPI team (UNLV was the first). Still, they might need a win at UNLV (unlikely) or home against San Diego State (more plausible), as both are going to be tournament teams.

La Salle: The Explorers have only three losses to teams outside the top 55 in RPI. If they can beat GW at home, winning at St. Louis won’t seem as necessary, although it would almost certainly punch a ticket to the tournament.

Kentucky: Kentucky’s loss at Arkansas was damaging, but it didn’t kill their chances or even take them out of the tourney field. A win at Georgia is vital, and a home win against Florida would put them in. if they lose to both, they are probably out. If they beat Georgia and lose to Florida, it will be 50-50 unless they can make noise in the SEC tournament.

Iowa State: Their RPI has sunk to 53, and they are just 2-7 against RPI top 50 teams. Their two remaining games are against Oklahoma State and West Virginia. They need at least a win at West Virginia, but that might not be enough. A home win against OK-State is doable, and would definitely give the Cyclones a big boost.

Villanova: They are 3-1 against RPI top 25 teams, which is huge, but they have only one big road win, which was at Connecticut. As I type, they are up three at Pittsburgh at halftime, and a win over Pittsburgh OR Georgetown would be enough. If they lose to both, they’d probably need two or three conference tournament wins.

Tennessee: The loss at Georgia broke a six game winning streak and came at the worst possible time, as the Volunteers are now on the wrong side of the bubble. They absolutely can not lose at Auburn, and probably need a win over Missouri to get back onto the right side.

Virginia: The win over Duke put them into this conversation, but they still need another boost to make it as an at large. They need to win their last three, for sure.


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