NCAA Tournament Projections As of Jan. 31

Before finalizing the bracket this week, I did a scrub of all bubble teams, looking at every metric possible to separate the 30-plus teams. What always strikes me when I examine these teams is how they have the same characteristics. So today I thought we would look at what separates these teams, and what makes them look the same.

The first similarity is that these teams’ combined Quad 1 and Quad 2 records hover around .500. If you do see a team with a winning record in this category, they’ll hear their name called on Selection Sunday. The reason most teams do not have a winning record in these two quads is easy. Most bubble teams play in power conferences; they lose to top teams in their leagues, who are usually all Quad 1 games. And if a bubble team can secure a few high-quality Q1, wins they’ll usually stand out and gain an edge over the other teams.

This year, most of the teams have 12-14 wins and 5-7 losses. To separate these teams, it’s important to focus on strength of schedule (SOS) and the quality and predictive metrics we examined earlier. There are usually several teams who have outstanding records in this group. But when you look closely at them you see that their SOS is in the triple digits, they have no high-quality wins and good chunk of their metrics do not measure up.

If you know nothing of the above about bubble teams, let me simplify. Bubble teams do one thing: they lose. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be bubble teams. So the next time a bubble team loses and you write them off, just remember that there is a good chance that most of the teams around them on the potential bracket lost too!

Each week the Bracketology by TKBrackets podcast looks at the most recent bracket and highlights teams that have made moves. Each episode will also have a guest to discuss the world of college hoops. Guests will include the top bracketologists in the country, NCAA staffers who help put the bracket together, former committee members and the biggest names in college basketball. This week we spoke with Kerry Miller of Bleacher Report. Kerry is an expert on the college hoops scene, and we discussed our bracket pet peeves and took a closer look at a few of the more interesting teams in the bracket.

Check out the latest podcast and get caught up on all the past episodes right here at Buzzsprout or anywhere you go to listen to podcasts.

LAST FOUR IN: San Diego State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Creighton
FIRST FOUR OUT: Wyoming, Florida State, Florida, Belmont
NEXT FOUR OUT: Texas A&M, Stanford, Saint Louis, Mississippi State

Big 12: 8
Big Ten: 7
Big East: 7
SEC: 6
ACC: 4
WCC: 4
Pac-12: 4
MW: 4