Bubble Notes (3-14-09)

Dylan Burkhardt
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Committee. We are one day away from Selection Sunday and most of the bubble action wraps up today. According to chairman Mike Slive the committee looks at “the three Ws and an H“:

“Who you play, where you play, with whom did you play and how you played,” Slive said. “Who you played: qualify of competition. Where you played: was it road, home or neutral? With whom did you play: was everyone available and healthy on either team? And how you played: did you win or maybe it was a good loss.

Slive also emphasizes the full body of work:

“The best way to evaluate a team is based on a full body of work, to think about or give credit for, or if there are losses, to hold teams accountable,” Slive said. “Otherwise, in a sense, you’re going to have November and December being an exhibition season, and it’s not. It’s an integral part of the entire season. I think it is important for the committee to consider the teams when they’re playing throughout the year.

I think Michigan’s resume stacks up very well against any of the other bubble teams out there. Michigan has 20 wins, a .500 conference record, their RPI is 42, they have 2 (possibly more when everything shakes out) top 25 wins, 6 top 50 wins, and 10 top 100 wins to go along with a top 10 strength of schedule. Yes, Michigan’s road record leaves something to be desired but every bubble team has its problems and Michigan definitely went out and beat quality competition this year .

Elsewhere. Temple or Duquesne will get in the tournament after they beat Dayton and Xavier in the A10 semifinals which takes one bid away from the rest of the bubble teams and guarantees three bids for the Atlantic 10.

We’ll start with Joe Sheehan’s list of bubble teams from Friday morning. Not many of these teams did much to help themselves. The few teams that won are in bold. Sheehan mentions that at most thirteen (it would be 12 now because the A10 is getting an extra bid) and as few as four of these teams could get in. I’m not sure about the exact math right now but this more or less gives a good sense of the other teams on the bubble. Teams in bold won yesterday.

  • Dayton – Lost to Duquense
  • Ohio State – Beat Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin – Lost to Ohio State
  • Michigan – Lost to Illinois
  • Texas A&M – Lost to Texas Tech Wednesday
  • Boston College – Lost to Duke
  • Creighton – Lost in Semis of MVC
  • Minnesota – Lost to Michigan State
  • Auburn – Beat Florida
  • Temple – Beat Xavier
  • South Carolina – Lost to Mississippi State
  • Florida – Lost to Auburn
  • Penn State – Lost to Purdue
  • Utah State – Squeaked by New Mexico St.
  • San Diego State – Beat BYU
  • New Mexico- Lost Thursday to Wyoming
  • UNLV – Lost Thursday to SDSU
  • Maryland – Beat Wake Forest
  • Alabama-Birmingham – Lost to Tulsa
  • Tulsa – Beat UAB
  • Niagara – Lost to Siena on Monday
  • Virginia Tech – Lost to UNC
  • Kentucky – Lost to LSU
  • Mississippi State – Beat South Carolina
  • St. Mary’s – Beat Eastern Washington

Not many teams doing that much to help themselves. Maryland got themselves back in the picture and they have some very nice wins. San Diego State got a huge win over BYU and Auburn keeps on winning. UNLV is slipping away but San Diego State is moving up. USC also played themselves onto the bubble with a win over UCLA; if they beat Arizona State they get the automatic bid but if not you have to wonder if they did enough to get themselves in? The lack of a quality road win really hurts them.

Basically there are a few teams that helped themselves but it doesn’t appear like Michigan is in danger yet. Bracketology 101 sees four teams that are in danger (their last four in include San Diego State, Maryland, Penn State, and St. Mary’s):

If we had to put a number on it we think that there are 4 bids still in question. All of the teams on the last 4 in line are still vulnerable, while everyone above them (the 10 line and better) are relatively safe.

Bubble watchers (Jeff Goodman and ESPN to name a few) also seem to still feel good about Michigan’s chances and I think Michigan is still in very good shape despite their loss. Michigan has more top 50 wins than essentially anyone else on the bubble and they took care of business in Indianapolis despite a somewhat disappointing loss.

Anything can happen over the next few days but it appears that it would take Murphy’s Law to knock Michigan out of the tournament at this point.

Saturday Viewers Guide. The theme of the day is to root against anyone that would steal a bid. If LSU and Tennessee make the conference finals, the SEC very well could be looking at 2-bids. Memphis, Arizona St., Missouri, and Utah St. can all lock up automatic bids and secure a spot for a bubble team.

  • Tulsa vs. Memphis – 11:35 AM CBS
  • Mississippi State vs. LSU – 1:00 PM ESPN2
  • Auburn vs. Tennessee – 3:30 PM ESPN2
  • Maryland vs. Duke – 4:00 PM ESPN
  • Duquesne vs. Temple – 6:00 PM ESPN2
  • Arizona St vs. USC – 6:00 PM CBS
  • Baylor vs. Missouri – 6PM ESPN
  • SDSU vs Utah – 7PM Versus
  • Utah St. vs. Nevada – 10:00 PM ESPN2