The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 11, 2021

A Quick Look At The Bubble

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:39 am

Thursday, March 11 Prior To Start of Today’s Games

It’s just a little more than 80 hours until the Selection Sunday bids are announced. We will have our final bracketology Sunday around 4 PM EST, unless there is a final tournament game that would affect the seeding.

As of this morning, here is our look at the teams in the gray area, on the bubble.

Let’s start with the teams that we believe are currently in the field if the bids were awarded today, but that are vulnerable to being bumped if other teams play their way into the field.

Louisville: The Cardinals lost in their first ACC Tournament game to fellow bubbler Duke. The Cardinals took a 6-spot dive in the Net Ratings after the loss, and they are in jeopardy of falling out of the tournament if a host of teams play their way in. At 13-7, they finished the season 4-6. UL won just one Quad 1 game, but they were 6-1 in Quad 2 games. Their chances of making the field are still about 85-90%, but they could find themselves playing that extra at-large play-in game.

Xavier: The Musketeers are in a much more precarious position following their immediate Big East Tournament ouster. Xavier fell to 62 in the Net, and they too finished 4-6 after starting 9-2. If a couple of teams still playing advance a couple rounds in their tournaments, it could be lights out for the Musketeers. Their chances of making the field are close to 50-50 today.

Drake: The Bulldogs lost to Loyola in the Arch Madness Championship Game to finish 23-4 with two losses to the Ramblers. A #45 Net with a 6-2 record against Quad 1 and Quad 2 opponents, including one win over Loyola should be enough to keep Drake in a safe spot in this field. Their chances of making the field are about 95%.

Wichita St.: The Selection Committee does not compare teams within the same conference in theory, but when looking at each team’s resumes, they are basically forced to look at who they beat and didn’t beat, and obviously more games are played in-conference, especially this season. Wichita St. is rated behind Memphis in the Net, and their 13-4 record includes a 9-0 mark against Quad 3 & 4 teams. On the plus side, the Shockers finished 9-1 with a win over Houston. The Shockers need to make it to at least the semifinals of the AAC Tournament; a loss to the USF-Temple winner would really jeopardize their tournament hopes. On the good side, Wichita looks to have an express seeding to the AAC Championship Game, so we give them a better than 50-50 chance to Dance.

Syracuse: Yesterday’s pasting of potential Bubble team North Carolina St. has given the Orangemen a legitimate shot to make the field with an upset of Virginia today. SU is now at 39 in the Net. A 1-6 Quad 1 record is poor, but the 5-1 Quad 2 has the Orangemen in position to move into the at-large positive category with a win today. A loss to the Cavs would not totally eliminate SU, depending on what happens in other tournaments. We give SU a 55% chance of making the field. If they stay in the top 40 of the Net, they should get in.

Boise St.: The Mountain West Conference has four teams competing for bids. There might be three awarded. Boise State has 2 Quad 1 wins, and their Net is currently 43. A win over Nevada today is mandatory. If they get that win, then a decent showing against San Diego State tomorrow should be satisfactory. We give BSU a 55-60% chance of making the field.

Colorado St.: Wins at San Diego St. and at Utah St. had the Rams at the top of the MWC in January, but CSU has swooned since and is in danger of playing themselves out of the field. With a Net of 50, a quarterfinal round loss to Fresno St. today would be a dagger in their hearts or dancing shoes. The Rams must win today, and then they might have to beat the Utah St.-UNLV winner tomorrow. If they play USU, it could be an eliminator game.

UCLA: The Bruins are March Madness royalty. The humans on the Selection Committee will find a way to justify placing them in the Dance. A quarterfinal win in the Pac-12 Tournament would more than suffice along with their moving into the top 40 in the Net. UCLA has a 75-80% chance to make the field.

Michigan St.: The Spartans will be hurt if the Net Ratings prove to be as important as the first 16-team pre-selection made by the Committee a month ago. MSU is a low 67 in the Net, but they are coming off a win over 1-seed line Michigan and have 5 Quad 1 wins. The Big Ten schedule, along with a win at Duke, should be enough for Sparty to celebrate with a Dance ticket on Sunday. A win over Maryland in the Big Ten Tournament sets it in stone.

Ole Miss: The Rebels have work to do. They would not be in the field if the Selections were made today, but Ole Miss has a path to get in. They absolutely must defeat South Carolina today and then will have to upset LSU tomorrow to raise their Net of 53 up to the low 40’s at worst. Two wins over Missouri and one over Tennessee are not enough to warrant their selection. Their chances of making the Dance are around 30%.

Utah St.: The Aggies are just outside the Field today, but they swept San Diego State and have a resume ready to move them into the field with a win over UNLV today and then a win over Colorado State in a knockout game tomorrow. If they don’t win two games, they lose out.

SMU: The Mustangs need a lot of help to get in. Teams above them on this list have to play their way out of the field, and SMU needs to do damage in the AAC Tournament, maybe make it to the Championship Game against Houston (not Memphis). A 55 Net is too low to warrant a bid. Their chance to get in is about 20%.

Memphis: It’s awful that the only a desperation heave at the basket by an out of control Houston player could keep the Tigers out of the field. Memphis had a chance to move up into the 40’s in the Net and now sits at 52, which is not good enough. Memphis will have to make it to the Championship Game of the AAC Tournament and face Wichita State in that game to still have an at-large shot. More realistically, the Tigers may need to qualify automatically at this point.

Seton Hall & St. John’s: These two teams face off today in the Big East Tournament. The winner stays alive, while the loser can only think about NIT Selection. The winner still has work to do, maybe needing another tournament win, especially over top-seed Villanova. If Georgetown beats the Hoyas today, then the winner of the SH-SJ game must beat GU tomorrow. St. John’s might still need one more win after that.

Duke: The Eastern equivalent of UCLA, the Blue Devils are March Madness royalty. Like a heavyweight champion in a boxing match, if it goes 15 rounds, the champion will at the least win on a split decision. Duke will qualify for that split decision today if they beat Florida St. The Committee will invent the reason to leapfrog the Blue Devils over eight teams to get them in the Field. A loss today would make them 13-12 with a Net in the 50’s, so they need that win today.

Saint Louis: The Billikens were greatly harmed by a multiple-game cancellation in the regular season. Wins over LSU and St. Bonaventure in the regular season are not going to be enough, and SLU lost to the Bonnies in the A-10 Tournament. It’s not going to be a happy Sunday in the Gateway to the West.

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