Updated Friday Morning February 20. Next Update: Sunday Afternoon February 22
It's the most wonderful time of the year for college hoops fans and the Good Bull Hunting Bubble watch is here to help you sift through the madness.
This was a regular feature on Texags.com from 2006-2012 and is now back and better than ever. That 6 year run featured correctly picking 385 out of the 393 entrants into the field of 68 (65 until 2011) with an average of 1.3 misses per year.
How is this bubble watch different than the hundreds of others? This provides not only an inside analysis on every nationwide contender picking on bad losses, highlighting good wins and breaking down the remaining schedule, this bubble watch will synthesize that information and rank teams 1 through N to show how "safe" teams are and how much "work left to do" there is. It is one thing to say win at Arkansas and they are IN! Go 12-6 and we are IN! This takes that to the next level to show how much wiggle room there is to absorb a bad loss or how many teams need to be passed to be on the right side of the cut line.
This bubble watch is a little more inclusive of others you may have seen. I include any team nationwide regardless of conference that has ANY chance to get to an at large. For the big conference teams (Michigan, Florida, etc.) they still have 3-4 bigtime chances to improve their resume by winning out until the Conference Tournament finals. The chances of that happening AND the bubble falling the right waynot very good but it is worth tracking.
Another thing to keep in mind a "lock" is exactly that. No wiggle room, no hedging. A lock could lose their star player and lose all remaining games and still be in the field of 68. Period.
We will look at the potential multiple bid conferences and then rank the teams 1-N. Once a team reaches "lock" status their "ranking" doesn't matter, it is just a placeholder to count how many spots are left.
This is not a ranking of how good teams are or how much of a threat they are for a deep tourney run, it is a measure of if the season ended today based on past selection committee behavior, who is in and who is out and how relatively safe teams are.
Most likely a 3-4 bid league and outside of Tulsa unless something dramatic happens this league will likely have very little drama in March.
Bubble: SMU, Temple, Cincinnati, Tulsa, UConn, Memphis
A crowded bubble watch league and it would be shocking if the A10 wasn't at the heart of some Selection Sunday bubble drama. We got a little bit of clarification on Wednesday with URI beating UMass and Davidson beating GW but still lots left to sift through with 5 bubble threats just on the outside looking in.
Locks: Virginia Commonwealth
Bubble: Dayton, UMass, La Salle, George Washington, Rhode Island, Davidson
The ACC is having a very good year for having numerous top end teams that could make a deep run. Not so great of a year for getting in a huge number of middling teams, although those on the bubble each have multiple opportunities to knock off the top tier of the league.
Locks: Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, Notre Dame
Bubble: Pitt, NC State, Miami, Clemson
With 70% of the league IN the tournament as of today the Big 12 is the top statistical conference in the country. Kansas State was in must win mode and lost to TCU so they drop off the list. Iowa St. beats OSU at Stillwater on Wednesday and earns the lock.
Locks: Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa St.
Bubble: Baylor, Oklahoma St., West Virginia, Texas
The 2nd best conference statistically to the Big 12 and ahead of the ACC. 6 bids wouldn't shock anyone.
Bubble: Butler, Georgetown, Providence, St. Johns, Xavier, Seton Hall
Similar to the SEC the Big 10 has 1 very good team (Wisconsin) and then a host of teams that are trying to sneak in to seeds somewhere in the 7-11 range.
Locks: Wisconsin, Maryland
Bubble: Indiana, Ohio St., Michigan St., Illinois, Iowa, Purdue, Michigan
San Diego St. will likely be able to fall a few times still be dancing. Could the MWC still get 3 teams in during a down year?
Bubble: San Diego St., Colorado St., Boise St., Wyoming
2 pretty solid locks, 3 teams right at the cut line and 2 teams that are the fringiest of fringe bubble contenders.
Locks: Arizona, Utah
Bubble: UCLA, Stanford, Oregon, Cal, Arizona St.
Kentucky may be the best team in the history of college basketball, but there is still some debate about the rest of the conference. 6 bids max but it will take some luck to get there. 5 bids is much more likely, 4 is not out of the realm of possibility.
Bubble: Arkansas, Georgia, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, LSU, Alabama, Florida
Non Power Conferences
In general this is an exceptionally weak year for the non power conferences. It is entirely possible that only 1 at large bid goes to a deserving small conference team (not counting the A10). If that is the case will the committee reach down and pick an Iona, Wofford or Green Bay if they fail to secure an automatic bid? Not likely but it will be interesting to keep an eye on them come Conference Tournament Week.
Missouri Valley Conference
No drama here so long as WSU or UNI win the tournament this will be a 2 bid league
Locks: Wichita St., Northern Iowa
West Coast Conference
Same song different year. Gonzaga is solidly in, St, Mary's and BYU are still hoping for a big win or 2 and then will be saying Hail Mary's on Selection Sunday
Bubble: St. Mary's, BYU
Difficult to imagine a scenario where this league can get 2 in. Nevertheless they do have 3 decent profiles, it would likely take 2 of the 3 winning out all the way to the finals and then having things fall the right way. Don't lose too much sleep over CUSA.
Bubble: Old Dominion, La Tech, UTEP
Conference listed indicates projected auto bid
1. America East
2. Atlantic 10 - Virginia Commonwealth
3. ACC Virginia
4. Atlantic Sun
5. Big Sky
6. Big 12 Kansas
7. Big East Villanova
8. Big 10 - Wisconsin
9. Big South
10. Big West
12. Conference USA
18. Missouri Valley - Wichita St.
21. Pac 12 - Arizona
24. SEC Kentucky
28. Sun Belt
29. West Coast Gonzaga
32. North Carolina
34. Notre Dame
38. Northern Iowa
39. Iowa St.
40. Butler (RPI 23: 19-7, 9-4) Best Wins: NC (Neutral court) vs. North Carolina, NC vs. Georgetown, Xavier, St. John's (twice). Worst Losses: At Tennessee. Great top level wins, no bad losses, great record and SOS ranking. Unless disaster strikes there isn't much to talk about here (Next Up: 2/21 @ Xavier)
41. Baylor (RPI 14: 17-7, 6-6) Best Wins: Iowa St, Oklahoma, @ West Virginia, Worst Losses: At Kansas St. Solid profile for the moment, but might want to avoid the season sweep by Kansas St. the next 3 after that are very difficult and the conference W-L record could get skewed in a hurry in the very tough Big 12. (Next Up: 2/21 Kansas St.)
42. Georgetown (RPI 20: 17-8, 8-5) Best Wins: NC vs. Indiana, Butler, Villanova, St. Johns, NC vs. Florida. Worst Losses: Xavier (twice). The #2 SOS in the country and it shows with great OOC and in conference wins, as well as every one of the 8 losses being to probable tournament teams. Go ahead and grab the gimme this weekend and they can afford a little bit of a late season slide as the schedule doesn't lighten at all. (Next Up: 2/21 DePaul)
43. Arkansas (RPI 24: 21-5, 10-3) Best Wins: @SMU, Dayton, @ Ole Miss. Solid OOC wins, Won 8 of 9 games. Clearly the 2nd best team in the SEC as of today. Probably just 2 more wins down the stretch to reach lock status. (Next Up: 2/21 @ Miss St.)
44. San Diego St. (Mountain West auto bid placeholder) (RPI 18: 20-6, 11-3) Best Wins: Utah, Colorado St., NC vs. Pitt. Worst Losses: @ Fresno St. Outside of a really bad loss to Fresno St. this looks a lot like a lock profile. In the MWC however there are plenty of landmines to avoid including 2 upcoming on the road vs. 140+ RPI teams, get past those and they should be ok. (Next Up: 2/21 @ San Jose St.)
45. Providence (RPI 21: 19-8, 9-5) Best Wins: NC vs. Notre Dame, @Butler, Georgetown, Xavier. Worst Losses: Brown, @ Marquette, @ Boston College. Great wins, really bad losses. This is a roller coaster of a profile to keep in mind when picking a top seed to be upset early but at the end of the day it is a gaudy win total with some marquee wins and a 3rd place Big East team which is likely more than enough to sweat out bubble status too much. (Next Up: 2/24 @ Villanova)
46. West Virginia (RPI 26: 20-6, 8-5) Best Wins: Kansas, Oklahoma, Wofford. Worst Losses: LSU. Monster win vs. Kansas on Monday for their 20th win. The OOC schedule was nothing to write home about and the 1 big chance they had vs. LSU but they are still in very good shape. All 5 of the remaining games on the schedule are against RPI top 25 teams. (Next Up: 2/21 @ Oklahoma St.)
47. Oklahoma St. (RPI 28: 16-9, 7-7) Best Wins: Baylor (twice), Kansas, Texas (twice). Worst Losses: @ Kansas St., @TCU, @ South Carolina. Followed up a banner week with wins over Baylor and Kansas with losses to TCU and Iowa State this week. After a tough home game this weekend the schedule is as manageable as it gets in the Big 12 with 2 can't lose games vs. TCU and Texas Tech. (Next Up: 2/21 West Virginia)
48. SMU (AAC auto bid placeholder)(RPI 19: 21-5, 13-2) Best Wins: Temple (twice), @Tulsa, @ Michigan. Worst Losses: Cincinnati (twice). After losing 3 of the first 5 out of the gate SMU has navigated through a very tough schedule to a very good record with no bad losses. That said they picked up only their 3rd top 50 win this week with 2 of those being Temple and the other #49 Tulsa. The remaining schedule is not easy vs. 3 teams fighting for their lives @Memphis, @UConn and Tulsa but even with a late season slide the Mustangs should feel pretty good about going back to the dance for the first time in 22 years. (Next Up: 2/21 @Memphis)
49. Dayton (RPI 29: 20-5, 10-2) Best Wins: Texas A&M, Ole Miss, La Salle. Worst Losses: UConn, @ George Washington. When your worst loss is in November on a neutral court to the defending champ UConn and you will likely have well over 20 wins and a 2nd place finish in the conference, it's hard for me to see them flying into the tournament. (Next Up: 2/21 @Duquense)
50. Indiana (RPI 35: 18-9, 8-6) Best Wins: SMU, NC vs. Butler, Maryland. Ohio St. Worst Losses: Purdue (twice) Eastern Washington. Missed a great chance to start firming things up on Thursday night with a 2nd loss to Purdue. Still great OOC wins and no terrible losses. They can't afford to stub their toe again though with a road trip to Rutgers and Northwestern upcoming. (Next Up: 2/21 @ Rutgers)
51. Ohio St. (RPI 37: 19-7, 8-5) Best Wins: Indiana, Maryland, Illinois. Worst Losses: Purdue, Iowa (twice). Another profile with top end wins and not any terrible losses. The upcoming schedule is very manageable so a great chance to rack up the wins over the next week or 2. (Next Up: 2/22 @ Michigan)
52. Colorado St. (RPI 27: 21-5, 9-5) Best Wins: San Diego St., Boise St., Worst Losses: @New Mexico, Wyoming (twice). CSU started 13-0 against a joke of a non-conference slate and has a pair of nice in conference wins vs. the class of the league. Every game left is vs. a RPI 150+ team however if they can manage to stub their toe once or less the rest of the way the at large should be a safety net for them in the conference tournament. (Next Up: 2/21 Air Force)
53. Temple (RPI 30: 19-8, 10-4) Best Wins: Kansas, Cincinnati, La Salle. Worst Losses: NC vs. UNLV, @ St. Joes., Tulsa. It is amazing what a OOC win vs. Kansas can do to make you look past an otherwise lackluster non-conference season with a few questionable losses. Temple missed a good chance to really improve their stock with a loss to SMU on Thursday which put a stop to their 7 game win streak. They get another chance at a top 50 win at Tulsa this weekend. (Next Up: 2/22 @Tulsa)
54. Michigan St. (RPI 31: 18-8, 9-4) Best Wins: Indiana, Ohio St., @Iowa. Worst Losses: Texas Southern, @ Nebraska. That home loss to TSU is still tough to forget but the 9-4 record in the Big 10 is doing all it can to erase it. The Spartans will be challenged down the stretch to keep up that record. (Next Up: 2/22 @ Illinois)
55. Xavier (RPI 32: 17-10, 7-7) Best Wins: Georgetown (twice), Providence, @Cincinnati, @Alabama, Murray St. Worst Losses: @Auburn, @DePaul, Creighton, @Seton Hall, NC vs. UTEP. A schizo mess similar to LSU's resume with the really high end wins, a god quantity of top 100 win and top 50 wins but then double digit losses including some really questionable losses away from home especially OOC.Xavier got one of the biggest bubble wins of the week with a road win at fellow bubbler Cincinnati. Must continue to impress in the middle of a brutal stretch with Butler, @St. John's and Villanova up next, how many losses can they accumulate and still get in? (Next Up: 2/21 Butler)
56. Ole Miss (RPI 33: 18-8, 9-4) Best Wins: @Arkansas, Texas A&M, NC vs. Cincinnati, @ Oregon. Worst Losses: Charleston Southern, TCU, Western Kentucky. If only the Rebels didn't have those 3 horrible horrible losses OOC all at home to some really bad teams they would may be a lock and the perception of the SEC may be a little bit brighter. They have won 8 of 9 now and look to be 3rd in the SEC pecking order. Due to the terrible OOC showing the wins need to keep rolling in if they want to stay on the right side of the bubble. (Next Up: 2/21 Tennessee)
57. Texas (RPI 34: 17-9, 6-7) Best Wins: West Virginia, NC vs. Iowa, @UConn. Worst Losses: Stanford. Only 1 really top notch win vs. West Virginia to go along with a couple solid wins OOC. 5-7 in the last 12 and outside of that win vs. West Virginia they don't have a top 90 RPI win since beating Iowa in November. Actually a pretty similar resume all the way around to Texas A&M, they have beaten who they are supposed to and lost most of the games vs. top end RPI top 50 competition. (Next Up: 2/21 Iowa St.)
58. Texas A&M (RPI 36: 18-7, 9-4) Best Wins: LSU (twice), Florida, Arizona St. Worst Losses: @Kansas St., @Alabama. The Aggies added another solid win and now their 2 best wins of the season are both against LSU. With the worst loss being at Kansas St. this is still a solid resume even without the marquee wins that many of their bubble competitors boast. It is tough to envision A&M removing itself from the bubble unless they go an improbable 2-0 on the road this week or slide off the wrong side by taking a few bad losses down the stretch. 12-6 still looks to be the magic number depending on what happens around A&M on the bubble. It would have been very difficult to get there without the win Tuesday night vs. LSU, the same can be said if A&M doesn't get at least one on this road swing, the game at surging South Carolina appearing to be the more winnable of the 2. (Next Up: 2/21 @South Carolina)
59. Illinois (RPI 44: 17-9, 7-6) Best Wins: NC vs. Baylor, Maryland, @Michigan St., Michigan. Worst Losses: @Nebraska, @Minnesota, @Michigan, @Miami. The win on the neutral court vs. Baylor may be the saving grace for the Illini. One of the more interesting games of the weekend coming p vs. the Spartans on Saturday. (Next Up: 2/22 Michigan St.)
60. St. John's (RPI 41: 16-9 6-7) Best Wins: Providence (twice), @Xavier, @Syracuse, St. Mary's. Worst Losses: @DePaul, @Creighton, @Seton Hall. St. John's went 3-6 in the month of January with 2 of those wins being their biggest 2 of the season sweeping Providence. They may have to finish the sweep Xavier as well in the upcoming homestand to feel real good about their chances (Next Up: 2/21 Seton Hall)
61. Georgia (RPI 40: 16-9, 7-6) Best Wins: @ Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Seton Hall, Florida. Worst Losses: @Georgia Tech, NC vs. Minnesota, South Carolina (twice), Auburn. Georgia gets a lot of credit for a strong OOC when you dig deeper their only 2 OOC wins versus teams with a pulse were Seton Hall and @ Kansas St. nothing to sneeze at but it's not like they knocked off Kansas or Duke. To counter that the Bulldogs took their 5th questionable loss on Tuesday with South Carolina finishing the season sweep. Interesting road trip for UGA now at Alabama and Ole Miss. (Next Up: 2/21 @Alabama)
62. Cincinnati (RPI 52: 17-9, 8-5) Best Wins: San Diego St., SMU (twice), @NC State, Uconn, Temple. Worst Losses: @East Carolina, @Nebraska, Tulane. When you have the kind of solid OOC wins the Bearcats do a few toe stubs are ok, but they are starting to pile up as Cincy creeps closer to their 10th loss on their current 3 game losing streak. Each of the next 3 are against RPI 150+ and are all of the "can't lose" variety. (Next Up: 2/21 @Houston)
63. N.C. State (RPI 47: 15-11, 6-7) Best Wins: Duke, @ Louisville, Boise St., Pitt. Bad Losses: @Wake Forest, @Miami, @Purdue. The first appearance of an 11 loss squad on the BW, but also a team with 2 really very top tier wins. The #4 SOS in the country but they can't afford any more bad losses. (Next Up: 2/21 Virginia Tech)
64. Purdue (RPI 58: 18-9, 10-4) Best Wins: Indiana (twice), Ohio St., Iowa, N.C. State, Worst Losses: NC. vs. Kansas St., North Florida, @ Vandy, Gardner-Webb. Purdue got the biggest win in the country knowcking off Indidana to complete the season sweep. The Boilermakers are still recovering from a bad December stretch where they dropped 3 of their 4 terrible losses, but they have now won 7 of 8. They have a week off now to prepare for a can't lose game ahead of the final 3 of the season all against likely NCAA tournament teams. (Next Up: 2/26 Rutgers)
65. Iowa (RPI 59: 16-10, 7-6) Best Wins: @North Carolina, @Maryland, Ohio St. (twice). Worst Losses: @Northwestern, Minnesota, @Purdue, NC vs. Syracuse. The Hawkeyes beat Rutgers Thursday night to end a nightmare 2 game slide of their worst 2 losses of the season against Northwestern and Minnesota. They have another can't lose game up next on the road at Nebraska and even with the great win @UNC still need to keep piling up wins to stay above .500 in conference play. (Next Up: 2/22 @Nebraska)
66. Boise St. (RPI 38: 17-7, 9-4) Best Wins: San Diego St., Colorado St., @ St. Mary's. Worst Losses: @Fresno St., Utah St., NC vs. Loyola Marymount. The Broncos have just as many losses outside of the top 100 as wins inside of it (3). That's not a very good ratio. They did have a nice sneaky good road win at UNLV on Wednesday night to rebound from the bad loss to Fresno St. The remaining schedule (4 games against RPI 140+, 1 game @SDSU) suggest a likely 4-1 finish, 21-8 record. If that is the case the Broncos may need to beat Colorado St. again in the semis of the MWC tournament to secure an at large. (Next Up: 2/21 Nevada)
67. UCLA (RPI 45: 16-11, 8-6) Best Wins: Utah, Stanford (twice), Oregon, Oregon St. Worst Losses: @ Colorado, @Alabama, @Oregon St., @Oregon, @Cal, @Arizona St. The Bruins can't win on the road and it may cost them a spot in the NCAA tournament. Lucky for them their last road game is this weekend before finishing the regular season with 3 straight games at home that are very winnable. The Bruins are on a direct path for a 19-12 record and an RPI around 45. That is the quintessential bubble profile and would put them right on the cut line as the bubble begins to shrink with bid stealers. I still think they are the 3rd best profile out of the Pac 12 at this point. UCLA could erase almost all doubt with a road win against one of the best teams in the country @ Arizona this weekend. (Next Up: 2/21 @Arizona)
68. Pitt (RPI: 49: 16-10, 6-7) Good Wins: Notre Dame, North Carolina, Syracuse, NC vs. Kansas St. Worst Losses: @Virginia Tech, @Hawaii, @NC State. This is a classic case of don't be too mesmerized by the quality of the top wins- although all 3 (ND, UNC, Syr) look great on the resume they are the only 3 top 100 wins all season. Being in the ACC will afford lots of opportunities to forget about a loss at Virginia Tech and they have taken advantage of a couple of those opportunities. The remaining schedule is very manageable and winning out or 4-1 is not asking too much. Toughest game left is Saturday at Syracuse. (Next Up: 2/21 @Syracuse)
---------------------- The Bubble Bursts Here
69. LSU (RPI 54: 18-8, 7-6) Best Wins: @West Virginia, UMass, Georgia, @Ole Miss, @Florida, @Alabama.Worst Losses: @Missouri, @Miss St., Auburn. A win vs. West Virginia and UMass in December can't carry you forever and LSU is getting to that point. LSU also started SEC play strong with wins over Ole Miss and Georgia but with 2 losses to Texas A&M since they need to get back on track quickly to erase 3 bad conference losses and a conference record that is getting ugly for the SEC. The schedule sets up well for a good finish to potentially get to 11 wins in conference play but it needs to start this weekend. (Next Up: 2/21 Florida)
70. Miami (RPI 66: 17-9, 7-6) Best Wins: @Duke, Illinois, @Florida, NC State, @ Syracuse. Worst Losses: Eastern Kentucky, Georgia Tech, @Florida St., @ Wake Forest. An 8-0 start with solid wins at Florida, and at home against Illinois is starting to slip away with 4 losses in the last 7. And it isn't the tough schedule - 3 of those 4 are to RPI 100+ teams. They did stop the bleeding with a win vs. Virginia Tech this week but next up is a road trip to Louisville. (Next Up: 2/21 @ Louisville)
71. Wofford (RPI 46: 20-6, 12-2) Best Wins: Iona, @NC State. Worst Losses: @Citadel, Chatanooga, @ William & Mary. Here to reflect where they fit if they didn't have an automatic bid to rely on. Any loss, including in the Southern conference tournament would be to a RPI 100+ and they just can't afford that as it would drop them well below the cut line and they would not be a very serious contender for an at large. They do have good wins vs. NC State and Iona. They took advantage of some key OOC games notching 2 nice wins but 6 losses is just too many in a really bad conference. (Next Up: 2/21 Citadel)
72. Stanford (RPI 53: 16-9, 7-6) Best Wins: @Texas, Wofford, UConn, Arizona St. Worst Losses: @DePaul, @Washington St., @Colorado. The Cardinal have lost 4 of 5 and have fallen onto the wrong side of the bubble for now. They absolutely must take advantage of a 3 game homestand to 3 RPI teams ranging from 57-93 before finishing the season on a 2 game swing in the state of Arizona. The Conference record is not pretty especially in the Pac 12. (Next Up: 2/21 Cal)
73. Oregon (RPI 60: 17-8, 8-5) Best Wins: NC vs. Illinois, UCLA, Arizona St. (twice), Oregon St. Worse Losses: @Washington St., NC vs. Michigan, @Washington, @UCLA. There isn't much to separate the Oregon and Stanford resumes at this point. If one of them sneaks in it may come down to the March 1st contest @ Stanford. Before the Ducks can get ready for that one however they have a HUGE chance against top 10 Utah at home on Sunday. (Next Up: 2/22 Utah)
74. Davidson (RPI 56: 17-6, 9-4) Best Wins: Dayton, @UMass, @La Salle, @George Washington. Worst Losses: @St. Joeseph's, @St. Bonaventure, @Richmond. The third best resume in the A10 in a league that very well could sneak 3 teams in.Not much in the way of quality wins to balance a poor SOS and some bad losses. They did get a crucial H2H win at George Washington to reach 4 straight wins. The 5 remaining games are 2 can't lose games against Fordham and Duquense sandwiching tough ones at Rhode Island, and home games against GW and VCU. (Next Up: 2/21 Fordham)
75. Old Dominion (RPI 61: 19-6, 8-5) Best Wins: Virginia Commonwealth, NC vs. LSU, Georgia State. Worst Losses: @Western Kentucky, @Middle Tenn. St, @UAB, @UTSA.Similar to Wofford out of the Southern, ODU is listed here but realistically their chances for an at large are slim. A loss in the Conference tournament however would not be quite as devastating to their chances however particularly if they can win out until the finals. They do have 2 very nice wins but really they are the only 2 of any particular substance which is not enough to balance out a handful of really bad losses. Winning out only adds 1 additional decent win to the resume (La Tech).
76. Harvard (RPI 51: 15-5, 7-1) Best Wins: UMass, Yale. Worst Losses: Dartmouth, NC. vs. Holy Cross, @Boston College. The ONLY possible way this is even a consideration is if both Yale and Harvard win out and Yale beats Harvard on 3/6. That would leave Yale as the automatic bid winner at 13-1 in conference (Ivy League awards their automatic bid to the regular season champ) and Harvard at 20-6 and 12-2 in conference and an RPI around 50. Probably not enough even in that scenario. If either Harvard or Yale loses to any team other than each other the Ivy officially becomes a 1 bid league yet again as a Yale loss means Harvard would need to lose 2 to be eligible for an at large and 2 more losses would kill this profile.Yale is not mentioned in this post for similar reasons, they have a decent profile but would only be eligible for an at large if they sustained another regular season loss, and that loss would be crippling to their chances.
77. Rhode Island (RPI 64: 17-6, 10-3) Best Wins: UMass, La Salle, George Washington. Worst Losses: NC. vs. Georgia Tech, @St. Joeseph's, The Rams added a 3rd top 100 win by beating UMass on Wednesday to split the season series for their 10th conference win. Still plenty of work to do with 3 RPI top 100 games left in their last 5. (Next Up: 2/21 @George Mason)
78. UMass (RPI 39: 16-10, 9-4) Best Wins: Dayton, Iona, Rhode Island, La Salle (twice). Worst Losses: Florida Gulf Coast, St. Bonaventure, St. Joeseph's. Outside of a win vs. Dayton there isn't much to counter a handful of bad losses. The RPI looks ok but it is mainly inflated by road and neutral losses for a team that just doesn't pass the "eye test". Only 3 regular season games left starting with this Saturday at Virginia Commonwealth which is a huge chance to boost the resume. (Next Up: 2/21 @ Virginia Commonwealth)
79. Tulsa (RPI 48: 18-6, 11-2) Best Wins: @Temple, UConn, Memphis. Worst Losses: @Oral Roberts Southeast Oklahoma St. (DII), One of the worst starts to a season you can imagine with a loss to RPI 200+ Oral Roberts and then a later loss to Division 2 SEOSU. Only 1 win vs. an RPI top 80 team to balance that out. A gaudy conference record demands attention but at the end of the day they just haven't done much to show they are a good team and they will likely continue to get exposed down the stretch as the schedule gets much tougher. Stopped a 2 game skid with a must win vs. East Carolina (Next Up: 2/22 Temple)
80. Wyoming (RPI 78: 19-6, 10-4) Best Wins: Colorado St. (twice), Boise St. Worst Losses: Utah St., @ Air Force. The biggest problem for Wyoming is there are no chances left to impress so even winning out won't move them up much if any. (Next Up: 2/25 Fresno St.)
81. Alabama (RPI 68: 15-10, 6-7)Best Wins: NC vs, Arizona St., UCLA, Texas A&M, @Tennessee. Worst Losses: Vandy, @South Carolina, Florida. Pretty decent OOC but thy need to do a lot of damage in conference and right their conference record in a hurry. (Next Up: 2/21 Georgia)
82. Green Bay (RPI 43: 19-6, 9-3) Best Wins: Miami, Valpraiso, Georgia State. Worst Losses: UC Irvine, @Oakland, @Cleveland St. See Wofford, Old Dominion, etc. The win over Miami has them included in the watch to show where their resume sits but unless madness ensues in late February they have no chances left to impress and any loss even in the tournament would be tough to look past. (Next Up: 2/20 Cleveland St.)
83. Murray St. (RPI 71: 21-4, 11-0) Best Wins: Illinois St. Worst Losses: Houston, NC vs. Portland, NC vs. Valpraiso. Started 1-4, then reeled off 20 straight wins. Too little too late most likely as the OVC is a pitiful conference and any tourney loss would be devastating. (Next Up: Austin Peay)
84. Arizona St. (RPI 84: 14-12, 6-7) Best Wins: Arizona, UCLA, @Washington, Harvard. Worst Losses: @Marquette, Lehigh, @Washington St. The Sun Devils stay alive with a big win vs. UCLA on Wednesday. They did almost nothing in the nonconference outside of beating Harvard but that doesn't make up for bad losses to Marquette and Lehigh. The 0-4 start to conference play didn't help either but the win against Arizona is a big feather in the cap and enough to keep them as a fringe contender for now. (Next Up: 2/22 USC)
85. UTEP (RPI 67: 18-7, 10-3) Best Wins: NC vs. Xavier, Old Dominion, Kent St. Worst Losses: @Western Kentucky, @Marshall, @New Mexico St. See Old Dominion. Similar resume minus the VCU win that ODU has and the Miners do not. They do have H2H vs. ODU but that only goes so far. Winning out would mean adding a nice but not impactful win against La Tech. (Next Up: 2/21 UTSA)
86. Seton Hall (RPI 72: 15-11, 5-9) Best Wins: Villanova, George Washington, Xavier. Worst Losses: DePaul (twice), Marquette, Hard to see them turning it around at this point. Lost 8 of 10 but they did beat Villanova to boost an otherwise bad resume. If they win out it will include some good W's. (Next Up: 2/21 @St. John's)
87. Clemson (RPI 88: 15-11, 7-7) Best Wins: Arkansas, NC vs, LSU, @Pitt, @NC State, Syracuse. Worst Losses: Winthrop, NC vs. Gardner Webb, Rutgers, Florida St., @ Georgia Tech. Way too many questionable losses to take seriously at this point. If they beat Duke on Saturday however we need to take notice. (Next Up: 2/21 @Duke)
88. Memphis (RPI 90: 16-10, 8-5) Best Wins: Cincinnati, UConn. Worst Losses: @East Carolina, Tulane. A team that challenged itself non-conference with games vs. Wichita St., Oklahoma St. and Baylor but they didn't win any of them and then have failed to impress in conference. They are coming off a nice win vs. UConn and they still have games vs. SMU and Tulsa at home so they have some chance to impress. (Next Up: 2/22 @ UCF)
89. Valparaiso (RPI 63: 21-4, 11-2) Best Wins: Green Bay, Murray St. Worst Losses: @Missouri, New Mexico, @Oakland. See Green Bay. It will be almost impossible to improve this resume at this point in the season. (Next Up: 2/21 Wright St.)
90. George Washington (RPI 87: 17-9 7-6) Best Wins: NC. vs Wichita St., Dayton, Richmond. Worst Losses: @Duquense, @Seton Hall, Davidson. @ Rhode Island. Very good wins vs. Wichita St. on a neutral court and home against Dayton look good. A loss at 200+ RPI Duquense and losing 5 of 6 do not. Must win out at this point to be in the conversation come conference tourney time. (Next Up: 2/21 @Richmond)
91. La Salle (RPI 75: 15-11, 7-6) Best Wins: @Virginia Commonwealth, Richmond, George Washington. Worst Losses: @George Mason, NC vs Vandy, American. Similar story as George Washington. It is win out or bust at this point. (Next Up: 2/22 @St. Louis)
92. BYU (RPI 57 19-8, 11-5) Best Wins: Stanford, UMass, Worst Losses: @Pepperdine (twice), San Diego. 5 losses in the WCC? Yikes. Only 2 regular season games left, lucky for them the regular season finale is at Gonzaga. (Next Up: 2/26 @Portland)
93. St. Mary's (RPI: 50: 19-6, 11-3) Best Wins: BYU. Worst Losses: Northern Arizona, Pepperdine. Terrible loss to Northern Arizona will be impossible to forget. Similar to BYU, at least they have a game vs. Gonzaga left still to potentially impress. (Next Up: 2/21 Gonzaga)
94. Iona (RPI: 42, 21-6, 14-2) Best Wins: Florida Gulf Coast Worst Losses: @Monmouth, @ George Mason, @Canisius. Could a team with 0 top 100 RPI wins really be in play for an at large? Probably not and that's certainly not a question Iona wants to be pondering on Selection Sunday. No chances for a top 100 left on the schedule and a tourney loss would be a devastating one. This is where their resume slots in but not a serious contender for an at large. (Next Up: 2/20 @Marist)
95. Florida (RPI: 77 13-13, 8-8) Best Wins: Arkansas, @South Carolina, Yale. Worst Losses: @Vandy, @Florida St. Phew squeaked by Vandy to stop the 4 game losing streak to get back to .500. Winning out means a season finale W at Kentucky. I feel like this is a Dumb and Dumber moment telling Lloyd Christmas he has a 1 in a million chance. (Next Up: 2/21 @LSU)
96. Michigan (RPI 96, 12-13, 6-8) Best Wins: NC vs. Oregon, Illinois, Syracuse. Worst Losses: NJIT, Eastern Michigan. 2 horrible losses lowlight a .500 record. After losing again Tuesday night, Michigan needs to win out plus do damage in the tourney before anyone needs to worry about the Wolverines. (Next Up: 2/22 @Ohio St.)
97. California (RPI 91: 16-10, 6-7) Best Wins:NC vs. Syracuse, Wyoming, UCLA, Washinton (twice). Worst Losses: CSU Bakersfield, @USC, Washington St. Things were looking good non-conference with a 10-1 start and some good wins until they ended it with a loss to RPI 308 Cal St. Bakersfield. Then a 1-6 start to conference play was a mighty big hole to dig out of. They have since won 5 of 6 but they still have a lot of digging to do. (Next Up: 2/21 @Stanford)
98. La Tech (RPI: 69, 20-6, 12-2) Best Wins: @UTEP Worst Losses: @La-Lafayette, @North Texas, @UAB. Exactly 1 Top 100 RPI win. 2 RPI 200+ losses. They will have a few chances as they get ODU and UTEP again for the next 2 games but they need to win out till the finals and get a lot of help. (Next Up: 2/21 @ Old Dominion)
99. Connecticut (RPI 83, 14-10, 7-5) Best Wins: Dayton, @Florida, Cincinnati, Tulsa. Worst Losses: @Houston, @Memphis, @Stanford. Beat Dayton in Puerto Rico but the losses have really piled up since then. Only 1 really bad loss on the season. Lots of big chances left to end the regular season vs. SMU, Temple, & Memphis but even winning out and a deep tourney run is likely too little, too late. (Next Up: 2/22 Tulane)
What to Watch: All times Central
(Aggie fans should root for the team in bold)
6:00 Cornell @ Yale Why is this one here? If Yale loses it locks the Ivy in as a 1 bid league. The Ivy League does not have a tournament and sends the regular season winner its automatic bid so a Yale loss eliminates the possibility for Harvard to go 5-1 down the stretch and steal an at large bid.
6:00 Penn @ Harvard see above
8:00 ESPNU Iona @ Marist hey it's a slow night what else are you going to watch?
11:00 Pitt @ Syracuse Syracuse is ineligible for postseason play but for Pitt this would still be a bigtime road win to dramatically increase the strength of their profile
11:00 FS1 Seton Hall @ St. John's A SHU win keeps them on life support but also keeps the SJU slide out of the 68 going too.
11:00 SECN Texas A&M @ South Carolina The big one of the day, keeping an eye on the national landscape is nice but if you don't take care of business it doesn't matter. The Aggies can take a big step forward in terms of taking the decision out of the Selection Committee's hands on Saturday.
11:00 ESPN2 UMass @ VCU VCU is a lock, UMass is trying to stay relevant. For the ultra confident Ag that isn't worried about just getting in, VCU is potential seeding competition but let's worry about that closer to March.
12:00 ESPNU Kansas St. @ Baylor Hard to envision a scenario where Baylor slips enough to not get in but root against them anyways. From a strength of schedule perspective we lost to both so no effect other than hoping KSU gets into the top 100 of the RPI and improves A&M's worst loss of the season.
12:00 CBS Florida @ LSU From a pure SOS standpoint an LSU win would be best as A&M beat them twice and a win would inch them closer to getting back into the RPI top 50. But a loss by the tigers also is a huge blow to a conference bubble teams hopes and further separates the SEC top 5 from LSU in what most likely is a 5 bid league. Dealer's choice in this one.
1:00 ESPN2 Iowa St. @ Texas ISU officially reached lock status on Wednesday, now is the time to root them on the rest of the way and deny chances for big wins to Big 12 bubblers. First up is Texas who is desperate to end their slide and add a good win.
1:00 ESPN News West Virginia @ Oklahoma St. too much basketball to root hard for one team or the other. Just sit back and watch a great game knowing the team that wins is in fantastic shape for the stretch run and the team that loses has a little more work to do.
1:00 ESPN Miami @ Louisville a Canes win would be huge for their profile
1:00 Butler @ Xavier Butler is likely in no matter what. Xavier will likely have Selection Sunday drama.
1:00 NBCSN Dayton @ Duquense this would hurt the SOS but help hand a bad loss to a fellow bubble contender.
1:00 CBSSN Austin Peay @ Murray St. MSU and their 20 game win streak likely not a legitimate threat for an at large but you never know
2:00 Louisiana Tech @ Old Dominion ODU is a much more serious theat at an at large than La Tech
2:00 Nevada @ Boise St. Boise St. is hanging on in the field of 68 by a thread, this would be a devastating blow to their chances.
3:00 ESPN Clemson @ Duke Clemson is desperate for a marquee win
3:00 FSN Arkansas @ Mississippi St. an Arkansas loss muddies the waters for who the 2nd best team in the SEC is
3:00 Rhode Island @ George Mason a "can't lose" game for URI
3:00 George Washington @ Richmond a "can't lose" game for GW
5:00 ESPN2 Virginia Tech @ NC State a "can't lose" game for NCSU
5:00 Air Force @ Colorado St. a "can't lose" game for CSU
5:30 Cal @ Stanford Cal needs too much help to worry about for now. Stanford is right on the cusp of being in the field of 68 and losing to Cal would knock them down quite a bit.
6:00 The Citadel @ Wofford Wofford likely not a legitimate at large threat but this would seal the deal.
6:00 Fordham @ Davidson Davidson needs to rack up the wins quickly to boost their resume
6:00 Columbia @ Yale See Friday nights Yale game explanation
6:00 Princeton @ Harvard See Friday nights Yale game explanation
6:30 ESPNU Tennessee @ Ole Miss Ole Miss is one of the key teams that A&M should be watching out for the most and hoping for a loss or 2 down the stretch.
7:00 CBSSN Depaul @ Georgetown Georgetown would need to totally collapse to not make it, this could be the start of that.
7:00 ESPN2 Georgia @ Alabama Hopefully this will provide further separation between A&M & Georgia and eliminate any strictly H2H arguments
8:00 UTSA @ UTEP UTEP a very fringe contender, this would eliminate them
8:00 ESPN UCLA @ Arizona One of the bigger games of the day. UCLA may need a win here or a deep Pac 12 tourney run to get in.
8:30 ESPNU Cincinnati @ Houston This would be a terrible loss for a team currently IN
9:00 ESPN2 Gonzaga @ St. Mary's this would eliminate SMC
9:00 San Diego St. @ San Jose St. SDSU probably in anyways barring a huge collapse but this could help for seeding.
12:00 CBS Ohio St. @ Michigan Michigan not a serious threat. Ohio State is.
1:00 CBSSN Memphis @ UCF This would eliminate Memphis
1:30 NBCSN La Salle @ St. Louis This would eliminate La Salle
2:00 FS1 Utah @ Oregon This would be a big time win for Oregon and launch them into the field of 68, I'd rather not.
2:00 Iowa @ Nebraska Iowa in a "can't lose" game
3:00 CBSSN Tulane @ UConn this would finally be the last nail in the coffin for UConn
3:00 Monmouth @ Iona This would eliminate Iona as a threat for an at large
4:15 BTN Indiana @ Rutgers This would be a devastating loss for Indiana. Sign me up for that.
5:00 CBSSN Temple @ Tulsa Tulsa has too much work to do to worry too much about them right now best not to give a top 50 road win to Temple.
6:30 BTN Michigan St. @ Illinois Sit back and watch a great game. Winner is in very good position, loser is in a bit of trouble but still IN for now.
7:30 USC @ Arizona St. Arizona St. is technically bubble competition but Ags shouldn't be too worried about them at this point. An ASU win helps boost our best OOC win.