March Madness Preview: Good Bubble
Ah, it’s finally March. In a mere two weeks, it’ll all be about upsets and draws. We’ll pick apart 32 games from every possible nuanced angle. But to get to the glory of the double digit Cinderella, we have regular season and conference tournament action on the docket. RotoRob’s March Madness coverage will begin gearing up now with periodic look-ins at the college basketball world.
We’ll kick off with an examination of the bubble teams that look good.
Who’s Looking Out (…of the bubble…on to the inferior teams)
Dayton (24-5, RPI 28) – Obviously, playing in the A-10 ain’t quite as tough as other conferences, but Dayton really shouldn’t have to sweat this one out. It’s been very good with quality wins over Xavier (11) and Marquette (30). Losses to Charlotte (193) and Massachusetts (172) aren’t great, but Dayton is 17-0 at home and have another chance to impress with an away game at Xavier tomorrow. Probable seed: 6 or 8.
Texas A&M (20-8, RPI 34) – A&M should not be in this position. Its schedule should have included decent out of conference games which would have either assured it a spot or definitely shown it doesn’t belong. As it stands, we’re not really sure what to do with this squad. No glaring losses. No great wins. Overall, the RPI is good and it did beat LSU (22). But it lost every statement game. If it beats Missouri on Saturday, it’ll be in a much better spot. Probable Seed: 9 or 10.
Arizona (18-11, RPI 47) – The Wildcats have put up three quality top 25 RPI wins in Kansas (7), Washington (13), and UCLA (25). A couple bad losses at Stanford (110) and at Washington St. (89) are blemishes. Still, Arizona has a ton of good quality victories and just need to finish strong. Probable Seed : 10 or 11.
Michigan (17-12, RPI 48) – Amazingly, the Wolverines haven’t appeared in the NCAA tournament since 1998 (or was it 1989?). Something about scandals and sanctions and whatnot. Michigan has played a really tough schedule this year – it ranks ninth overall – so its 17-12 record is actually better than it looks. Quality wins include Duke (1) Illinois (19), Purdue (24) and UCLA (25) on a neutral court. Among the 12 losses, 11 were to definite tournament or bubble teams. Only Iowa (111) could really go down as a bad loss. Probable Seed: 9 to 11.
Boston College (20-9, RPI 49) – The Eagles have beaten Duke (1), UNC away (3), and Florida State (16) this season. But they also lost to Harvard (247) at home. Come on, how does that happen? Anyway, they’re on the course for the tourney. Probable Seed: 7 or 8.
St. Mary’s (22-5, RPI 53) – Well, this guy seems to think St. Mary’s is in. I guess he’s got a point. The committee has been known to take injuries into account when making selections, and the…ummm…Gaels (that’s a bird, right?) are 18-1 with “star guard” Patrick Mills. Without him, they are 4-4. Quality wins over Utah St. (32) and San Diego St. (46) should propel these winged creatures to March Madness. Probable Seed: 12 or 13.
Obviously, some will disagree that these are all tourney teams if they remain on their current trajectory, but I’ll stand by them…until selection day at least.