Wednesday, February 22, 2017

ACC Bubble Teams Stumble (Except Miami), Big East and SEC Take Advantage

This week has seen ups and downs for ACC bubble teams in the projected field. On Monday, Miami scored a tremendous win at Virginia in overtime, strengthening their chances to make the field of 68. They already had victories over North Carolina and Virginia Tech, but those came at home. This is by far their best win away from home, the previous being Pittsburgh. They also have wins over fellow ACC bubble teams Clemson and Georgia Tech and beat Stanford on a neutral court. Their RPI sits in the top 40 at the moment, and today, they are a No. 9 seed.

On the flip side, Tuesday saw Clemson and Georgia Tech, previously in the last four in category, fall at home to Virginia Tech and North Carolina State, respectively. That was Clemson's 11th ACC loss, meaning the best they can do is 7-11, which usually is a death sentence for an at-large bid. Their loss against Oklahoma is also going to become more magnified because of this, which means Clemson may end up relegated to the NIT, unless they put on a show in the ACC Tournament.

Georgia Tech is 7-8 in conference play and does have wins over North Carolina, Florida State and Notre Dame at home, plus a road victory at VCU. However they do also have a home loss to Ohio on their profile, No. 105 in RPI (RPI numbers come from CBS Sports). Oh, and their own RPI ranks 89th. Which is really bad for a bubble team. Marquette is in the field at the moment with an RPI of 71, but even that means they have little room for error.

As a result, moving into the field are Providence and Vanderbilt. Yes, the Commodores are just 14-13, but sit with a top-50 RPI, road wins against Florida and Arkansas, as well as home victories against South Carolina and Iowa State, all tournament teams at the moment. However, they are just 9-12 against the top-100 and lost at Missouri, the laughing stock of SEC basketball.

Providence has beaten three of the top teams in the Big East, though all at home, knocking off Butler, Xavier and Seton Hall. Rhode Island is also scored as a top-50 win, plus they won at Marquette. However, they have some ugly road losses against Boston College and the ultimate punch line in Division 1, DePaul.

It also helped that at the moment, Wichita State is atop the Missouri Valley, opening up a spot, since I don't think Illinois State will get an at-large bid.

The bubble is so soft and the bracket will be very fluid from now until March 12, so keep that in mind. This kind of exercise is a snapshot in time. With that said, here's today updated field.

Last Four Byes: Michigan, Michigan State, TCU, California
Last Four In: Kansas State, Marquette, Providence, Vanderbilt
First Four Out: Pittsburgh, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Tennessee
Next Four Out: Illinois State, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Rhode Island

Conference Breakdown:

ACC - 8
Big East - 7
Big Ten - 7
Big 12 - 7
Pac-12 - 5
SEC - 5
American - 2
Atlantic 10 - 2
West Coast - 2
One-bid leagues - 23

One last thing. I just wanted to give a shoutout to the Bracket Matrix for the fantastic work pulling together brackets and seed lists from all over the place.

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