How the NCAA/NIT bubbles sleep tonight

How the NCAA/NIT bubbles sleep tonight

Posted by Lindsey on Sun, 03/13/2011 - 00:54
Utah State’s win over Boise State in the just-concluded WAC final gives Illinois and Northwestern extra hope in their respective postseason pursuits. If Boise had won, it would have taken away an at-large NCAA berth. That, in turn, would have pushed an NCAA team into the NIT and knocked NU down another notch there. So let’s review. There are four conference finals Sunday (the number next to the record is their Pomeroy ranking through Friday): ACC: North Carolina (26-6; 14) vs. Duke (29-4; 2), 12 p.m. (ESPN) Atlantic 10: Dayton (22-12; 95) vs. Richmond (26-7; 49), 12 p.m. (Ch. 2) SEC: Kentucky (24-8; 9) vs. Florida (26-6; 17), 12 p.m. (Ch. 7) Big Ten: Ohio State (31-2; 1) vs. Penn State (19-13; 46), 2:30 p.m. (Ch. 2) As you can see, the ACC and SEC teams already are in regardless of result. Ohio State is in, too, of course. I believe Penn State got in this weekend, too, but we can’t call the Nittany Lions a definite unless they beat the Bucks. The A-10 final is sticky. Dayton clearly won’t get into the NCAA tourney without a win Sunday while Richmond is a bubble team that’s the direct opposite of Illinois. The Spiders have just one win over an NCAA team (Purdue), but their overall record is excellent. Their only “bad” loss was a home defeat to 19-13 Rhode Island. Even if Dayton wins to return Richmond to the bubble, I just don’t see enough teams out there that can keep Illinois out of the tournament. Does a 25-8 Missouri State team that owns a better RPI than Illinois sneak in? Cuonzo Martin’s squad has two wins over Wichita State, one win over Indiana State and one over Arkansas-Little Rock. As my old college roommate from Chicago’s South Side used to say, Yip-Skip. Does Harvard, with wins over fellow bubble teams Colorado and Boston College, deserve a nod over the Illini? What about a 21-11 Alabama team that went 13-5 in a mediocre SEC and defeated exactly zero average opponents in non-conference? NOW FOR NORTHWESTERN The NIT’s decision to hand out automatic bids to every top-seeded team that loses in its conference tournament is really crimping the Wildcats’ shot at a third straight NIT spot. There are 30 conference tournaments with automatic bids. Here’s how those 30 top seeds did: STILL ALIVE AND WILL GET IN NCAA REGARDLESS (3) ACC: North Carolina Big Ten: Ohio State SEC: Florida WON AND REACHED NCAAs (7) Atlantic Sun: Belmont Big 12: Kansas Big Sky: Northern Colorado Northeast: Long Island Patriot: Bucknell Summit: Oakland WAC: Utah State LOST AND DEFINITELY IN NCAAs (5): Atlantic 10: Xavier lost in quarterfinal Big East: Pittsburgh lost in quarterfinal Colonial: George Mason lost in semifinal MWC: BYU lost in final Pac-10: Arizona lost in final LOST AND COULD BE IN NCAAs (2): WCC: St. Mary’s lost in final Conference USA: UAB lost in quarterfinal LOST AND FELL INTO NIT (13): America East: Vermont lost in semifinal Big South: Coastal Carolina lost in final Big West: Long Beach State lost in final Horizon: Milwaukee lost in final MAAC: Fairfield lost in semifinal MAC: Kent State lost in final MEAC: Bethune-Cookman lost in semifinal MVC: Missouri State lost in final OVC: Murray State lost in semifinal Southern: College of Charleston lost in final Southland: McNeese State lost in final SWAC: Texas Southern lost in semifinal Sun Belt: Florida Atlantic lost in quarterfinal Presuming St. Mary’s (but not UAB) gets into the NCAA Tournament, then that leaves just 18 at-large bids. If you go by Pomeroy/Sagarin rankings and the eye test, then Northwestern sneaks in. If the committee relies on RPI, then the Wildcats are sunk. LW
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