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2014 NCAA Tourney "Bubble Buster" Watch

Discussion in 'Colorado Basketball Message Board' started by Buffnik, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    We'll look at "Bubble Busters" in 2 ways.

    First the classic way (as SI's Michael Beller well-described it): second-tier contenders in smaller conferences that fit the following three criteria: good enough to win their conference tournament, lacking the resume to secure an at-large bid, and playing in a conference with a favorite that is likely to make the field of 68 even if it falls in its league's postseason tournament.

    The second way we'll consider it: 1-bid leagues with a leader that's got a great chance to make the Dance not matter what it does in the conference tourney -but- no one else in that conference has a chance to make the Dance without winning the conference tourney. So in this case, we're not talking about teams that we think could be a Bubble Buster so much as "the field" in a conference could be a Bubble Buster.

    As of February 14th, here are some of the prime candidates:

    1. Missouri Valley Conference. Wichita State is a stone cold lock to make the dance with an RPI of 6. Behind them is Indiana State (RPI 53), which is close but probably on the wrong side of the bubble - a classic Bubble Buster team to look out for in the MVC tourney. Then there's the MVC field - Missouri State is the only other team that even cracks the RPI 100 (at 99). Anyone from the field turning the MVC into a 2-bid league by winning the conference tourney would be a Bubble Buster.

    2. West Coast Conference. Gonzaga is in the Dance with its #21 RPI rank. #47 BYU and #51 St. Mary's lurk as classic Bubble Busters. BYU played some tough non-conference teams like UT, giving them a SOS of 31. That makes them a much stronger bubble team than St. Mary's, which didn't schedule a difficult non-con. Neither likely has the resume to make the Dance as an at-large. In terms of the WCC field, there's San Francisco at RPI 93 and Pacific at RPI 100. There are some tricky outs and that tourney could really screw up the Bubble.

    3. Mid-American Conference. Toledo leads the MAC with an RPI of 24. Safely in the Dance and were one of the last unbeatens until traveling to Kansas. They've dropped a couple MAC road games so not a complete lock to win the conference tourney. No one in the MAC has the resume to be a classic Bubble Buster, but the field has a number of teams that could **** things up: #70 Ohio, #79 E Michigan & #92 Akron lead the charge.

    4. Conference USA. Southern Miss looked really good before losing at UAB this week, but they're still at RPI 40 and probably won't lose much the rest of the way in a weak C-USA. Some dangerous teams with good records against weak competition could steal the Dance ticket in the conference tourney while USM still sneaks in: #73 LA Tech, #81 Mid TN State, #104 UTEP, #114 Charlotte.

    ***********************************

    5. Summit. Not currently above the Bubble Buster conference line, but they're close. North Dakota State is RPI 48 and the next best RPI in the Summit belongs to #132 IPFW. The risk here would be NDSU running the table and then losing in the conference championship game. Stranger things have happened.

    6. Ivy. Harvard is 17-4 and sits at #52 RPI. Likely not good enough for an at-large bid. And the Ivy doesn't have a conference tourney. Right now they're tied in the Ivy standings with #141 Yale... and the Elis own the tiebreaker. Would a 24-5 Harvard that dropped a 2nd game to Yale gain an at-large bid? Possibly.
     
  2. hokiehead

    hokiehead Gobbler on the Mountain Club Member

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    Very nice analysis and summary.

    You don't get paid for this, you said yesterday. I gather you have a full time job, but don't recall you stating it anywhere. And you're married. And it's Valentine's Day.

    You realize that you may have the second most tolerant wife in North America, right?
     
  3. cubuffs85

    cubuffs85 Active Member

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    It's all lay leaders at ABs.
     
  4. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    Indiana State beat S Illinois by 3 at home. Some tougher tests coming up. I still think MVC is a 1-bid league and would be shocked if the Shockers got shocked in the conf tourney.

    Toledo took a rough loss at E Michigan, losing by 21. That should drop them but not far enough. They look very shake to win the MAC tourney.

    Southern Miss lost at Middle Tennessee. C-USA is a 1-bid league no matter what happens in its tourney right now.
     
  5. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    MVC - Wichita State is in no matter what. Indiana State is a bubble team (RPI 57), but probably on the wrong side. Every other team is RPI 100+. If Wichita State doesn't win the MVC tourney, a bubble spot is likely taken.

    MWC - 2-bid league with SDSU & UNM locks. Boise State on bubble at RPI 53 - also probably on wrong side. No one else worthy. Potential at-large bid stealer if one of the other teams win the MWC tourney.

    WCC - Gonzaga is a lock and BYU looking good lately (RPI 33). No one else worthy, so one of those 2 teams needs to win the WCC tourney.

    MAC - Toledo is in strong bid position at RPI 31. Next best is Buffalo at 97. Toledo could still get an at-large if they lost the MAC tourney and steal a bid.

    C-USA - Southern Miss is in good shape at RPI 35. If they lose the C-USA tourney, it could cost a bid as USM could still grab an at-large.

    Summit - North Dakota State probably needs to win its conference tourney at RPI 42. But it's a soft bubble and they could get an at-large even with losing in the Summit tourney.

    Ivy - Harvard is at RPI 51. If they lose to Yale, they will lose the conference on tiebreaker. Could theoretically get an at-large bid anyway, but probably not.
     
  6. cubuffs85

    cubuffs85 Active Member

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    One thing I like about the Ivy League is how they don't let 3-5 games dictate which team gets the bid. I realize this isn't happening with smaller leagues because they love the exposure that a few games will get on ESPN the Ocho at some absurd hour of the day.

    I remember some years back when Towson won like two games the entire year, some scribe around here joked if they win their next 11 games, they'll be national champions.
     
  7. BuffAlum2007

    BuffAlum2007 Well-Known Member

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    Just a quick note on this - in the Ivy League, there are no tiebreakers - if two teams are tied at the end of the regular season, they will play a 1-game neutral site playoff to determine who gets the NCAA auto-bid...
     
  8. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    Really? So if Harvard and Yale have the same conference record and the Elis are 2-0 against the Crimson, they still play an extra game to settle it?
     
  9. cubuffs85

    cubuffs85 Active Member

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    That's my understanding is there would be tiebreaker game to settle it at another Ivy League site.
     
  10. WasianCU

    WasianCU Club Member Club Member

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    That's the way I read it too:

     
  11. cubuffs85

    cubuffs85 Active Member

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    Seems like there should be something else between (1)/(2) for a three-way tie. Margin of victory, OOC wins, # of road victories, anything besides a coin toss.
     
  12. CVilleBuff

    CVilleBuff Club Member Club Member

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    Wichita State gets underway tomorrow in the MVC tournament against Evansville, this is a tournament to watch closely because if Wichita State gets upset someone's bubble bursts (and someone else becomes a 1 seed).
     

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