On Friday, I explained how the bubble is formed and what constitutes the makings of the bubble. Today, we will look at this year’s bubble and how things have developed rapidly over the last few weeks.
Several weeks ago, I mentioned that this bubble may be the weakest in recent memory. But as we have seen on a nightly basis, things can change quickly. In a mere two weeks, the bubble has become full of teams with similar records and it has become difficult to decipher who is on the right side and who is on the wrong side of the bubble.
The last four teams I have in the field are Rutgers, Wichita State, Stanford and Richmond. The safest of this group is Rutgers, who would not be on the list if it were not for their horrible road record (1-10). There is a gap between them and Wichita State, and a smaller gap between the Shockers and Stanford.
If you take Stanford and Richmond – who are in the field – and group them with other teams, you see that the gap between them is quite small. Directly behind Richmond sits Mississippi State and NC State, with Cincinnati, Utah State, Texas and Memphis closely behind them.
What it will boil down to is this: Will the committee value high-quality wins and almost totally ignore bad losses, or will the committee put a high price on obtaining victories, even if they aren’t of the highest value and penalizing more than a couple bad losses. Over time, the committee has gone with the former, but one could certainly see a team like Cincinnati being penalized for having four bad losses.
The movement of the “last four in” is far from over, and the conference tournaments will certainly have some effect. But remember, generally speaking, the committee does not overreact to the results of the tournaments. So we still need to keep the entire resume in focus.
LAST FOUR IN: Richmond, Stanford, Wichita State, Rutgers
FIRST FOUR OUT: Mississippi State, NC State, Utah State, Cincinnati
NEXT FOUR OUT: Texas, Memphis, St. Louis, South Carolina
CONFERENCES WITH MULTIPLE BIDS
BIG TEN: 10
BIG EAST: 7
BIG 12: 5
Now it’s time for Bracket Facts:
Tip of the cap to this team: Kentucky. The Wildcats clinched the SEC over the weekend. Who would have predicted such an early clinching, especially how the season started – remember Evansville? A two-seed is still a possibility for Big Blue.
Best team: Kansas. We said that 22-day stretch for Baylor in which they faced the top teams in the Big 12 could take its toll, and it has with another loss for the Bears. The only way KU will lose the top spot now is for Baylor to win the Big 12 tourney. And that may still not be enough.
In the bracket but fading fast: Texas Tech. Many still have them comfortably in, but the resume is thin and the Red Raiders have games against Baylor and Kansas this week. The good news? A win over either team will put Tech in the field.
On the uptick: USC. Last week, they were in the above category, but the Trojans swept the Arizona schools over the weekend. A win over UCLA this week will most likely put them in the field, but it really wouldn’t hurt to win one in the Pac-12 tourney.
Updates each week on Monday and Friday until we reach Selection Sunday. Follow me on twitter @tkbrackets.