Bubble-ology (Wk 2) or How I learned to stop worrying and love the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee

Bubble_medium More Bubble-babble. This is clearly Gopher-centric as the Gophers are creeping back into the conversation.

Blogs I'm using as a resource for this project.

The Gophers blew a golden opportunity to catapult themselves up this list and probably into an actual seed when they couldn't hold on to against Purdue. But they did redeem themselves a bit with a nice road win over Illinois. This win gives us any head-to-head advantage when it comes to Big Ten standings over Illinois. Currently the Illini are in the Tournament despite a lower RPI, weaker strength of schedule and the recent loss to the Gophers. But their 10-6 Big Ten record is currently what drives their seeding. The Illini are heading to Ohio State and then hosting Wisconsin this week so 0-2 is a realistic scenario for them, expect to see them on this list next week.

As far as the Gophers are concerned they absolutely need to go 2-0 to finish out the season and then start picking off the teams ahead of them one at a time.

Record RPI ∆ in RPI SOS Conf Rnk Lst Wk
Virginia Tech 21-7 52 - 132 3rd (t) 0-2 Relatively Safe
Florida 20-9 46 +7 45 3rd (t) 1-1 Relatively Safe
Marquette 19-9 50 +9 56 5th (t) 2-0 Relatively Safe
UConn 17-12 44 +1 2 9th (t) 1-1 Relatively Safe
St. Mary's 24-5 45 +1 138 2nd 3-0 Likely IN
San Diego State 20-8 38 - 62 4th 2-1 Likely IN
Mississippi St 21-8 56 +9 63 3rd (t) 2-0 Likely IN
UAB 23-5 34 -3 108 3rd 2-0 Likely IN
Notre Dame 19-10 68 +12 53 8th 2-0 Less than 50/50
Minnesota 17-11 71 +5 42 6th 1-1 Less than 50/50
Dayton 19-9 42 +1 39 6th (t) 1-1 Less than 50/50
Rhode Island 20-7 36 -11 68 6th (t) 1-0 Less than 50/50
Mississippi 19-9 55 +8 114 6th (t) 2-0 Likely OUT
Seton Hall 16-11 63 -11 20 9th (t) 1-1 Likely OUT
Cincinatti 16-12 58 -2 14 9th (t) 1-1 Likely OUT
Memphis 21-8 64 -4 105 2nd 1-1 Likely OUT
Washington 19-9 53 +7 55 3rd 1-0 Lots of work to do
Arizona State 20-9 54 +4 71 2nd 1-1 Lots of work to do
Charlotte 19-9 62 -7 100 5th 1-1 Lots of work to do
Wichita State 23-8 51 -1 128 2nd 1-1 Lots of work to do
South Florida 17-11 66 +2 41 9th (t) 1-1 Lots of work to do

Once again the Big East is the most intriguing. There are several teams vying to get themselves IN and most of them are currently sitting at 8th or 9th in conference. UConn is a great example of a 9th place team fighting to get in as they are surging as of late. Their #2 SOS rank is carrying them a long way right now, but they'll have to keep winning along the way to stay in. Marquette is moving up based on a 2-0 week but this week isn't going to be easy as they play Louisville and Notre Dame. Speaking of the Irish they also have a difficult week as they get UConn and Marquette this week. Something has to give with all of these Big East teams. Seton Hall and Cincinnati are also fighting to get in. Cincy has another tough week but Seton Hall can make up some serious ground with 2 winable games this week.

The SEC intrigue all comes down to the leading teams in the West Division. Mississippi State is leading this weaker division but they are barely clinging to life. Their weekend tilt with Tennessee should determine a lot for the Bulldogs. Ole Miss on the other hand is barely outside of the Tournament looking in. Fortunately for the Rebs they have two very winable games this week before the SEC Tournament. Florida is also in the bubble conversation though they are relatively safe for now. They travel to Vandy this week in a game that will either solidify their seed or bring them back to the dreaded Bubble.

Arizona State stumbled a bit this week going 1-1 and they trending downward in most bracket projections. Washington's RPI went up 7 spots but they are still generally considered out in most scenarios. Their schedule is still pretty easy and their resume will only get stronger a week from now.

The Mid-Majors is where the Gophers can make up the most ground. It really would take just one loss by SDSU, UAB or St. Mary's for the Gophers to jump them in the pecking order. Not sure how likely this is to happen but that is what may help the most.

Games that Matter this Week, and what we need to happen.

The most important game of the week is Minnesota at Michigan on Tuesday night. A must win that would avenge our lack-luster loss to the Wolverines last month and it would boost our road record.

MONDAY

  • no significant games

TUESDAY

  • Illinois at Ohio State - Go Buckeyes for a couple reasons. First of all if we stay put as the 6 seed in the B10 Tourney, I want Purdue to drop down into the 3rd seed so we can play them. But I also want to see Illinois go 0-2 so the Gophers have a shot at catching them in the standings. And did I mention our RPI is stronger than Illinois?
  • Villanova at Cincinnati - I think the Bearcats are safely behind us but that can all change with a home win over a top-10 team.
  • Vanderbilt at Florida - Need Vandy to bring the Gators back to the Bubble pack.
  • Louisville at Marquette - read the Florida blurb above

WEDNESDAY - holy cow there are some huge head-to-head games for Bubble teams.

  • Memphis at UAB - this a VERY intriguing match up. Both are desperate for a win and whoever loses may be relegated to the NIT.
  • Connecticut at Notre Dame - read above. Both teams are surging. This game will catapult one and force the other to have a big Big East Tournament.
  • Charlotte at Rhode Island - both are on outside looking in. Winner stays in the conversation, loser falls off my list and is one less team I'll track.
  • Miss State at Auburn - should be an MSU win, but there is always hope for the road upset.
  • Colorado State at San Diego State - this one shouldn't have much drama. A home win for the Aztecs is very likely. A loss to the Rams would drop-kick them to the NIT.

The action picks up as we get to the weekend. If I get time, I'll do a mid-week Bubble-ology. But if not use the list of Bubble teams above and cheer for them all to lose.

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