NCAA Bubble Watch

Story posted February 23, 2017 in Sports, CommRadio by Joe Esquivel-Murphy

As the regular season is coming to a close, teams are jockeying for position on the tournament bubble. Every year, the committee is stuck choosing between a top-tier team in the non-conference or a middle of the pack and lower tier team in a major conference.

The teams below are some of the teams who will be sweating it out on Selection Sunday:

TCU: 17-10 (6-8) RPI: 54 KenPom: 43 SOS: 34

Key wins: Illinois State, Iowa State

Key losses: Auburn, Texas Tech

Beating teams on the bubble will always improve a team’s place in the eyes of the committee as TCU has a win over Illinois State. A loss to Texas Tech damages their chances as the Red Raiders are another team that are currently on the tournament bubble.

The Horned Frogs have had numerous opportunities to knock off the top teams in the Big 12, but have failed to finish. The computer resume looks good, but TCU needs to avoid a bad loss to cement their ticket to the tournament.

Seton Hall: 16-10 (6-8) RPI: 47 KenPom: 51 SOS: 36

Key wins: Creighton, South Carolina, Cal

Key losses: St. Johns, Providence, Stanford

Seton Hall is a curious team as they are capable of playing with the big teams, but can fall to teams like St. Johns. While St. Johns can play good basketball at times, they have not put a consistent season together and have a RPI over 100.

The loss to Providence also hurts, as the Friars are on the bubble, but beating pseudo-bubble team Cal helps their case. Victories against Creighton and South Carolina improve Seton Hall’s resume and have games remaining against teams in the RPI top 100 in their remaining Big East games.

Georgia Tech: 16-12 (7-8) RPI: 86 KenPom: 79 SOS: 54

Key wins: North Carolina, Florida State, Notre Dame

Key losses: Ohio, NC State, Penn State

Georgia Tech is a head scratcher among the bubble teams as they have one of the worst computer profiles, yet have the best wins. The trade-off is definitely interesting as a team capable of taking down some of the elite teams in the ACC would also have a favorable profile.

Wins against North Carolina and Florida State are some of the best in the nation, but losses to Ohio and NC State drag down their profile. Unfortunately, Notre Dame is the only top team left on their schedule that will help bolster their somewhat shaky tournament profile.

Illinois State: 23-5 (15-1) RPI: 36 KenPom: 50 SOS: 162

Key win: Wichita State

Key losses: Murray State, Tulsa

Illinois State are in an interesting situation as being one of the better mid-major teams in the country in a down year for mid-majors. The Redbirds easily have the most wins of teams on the bubble, but their wins are not against high quality teams.

Their best win is against Wichita State, which is their only win in the RPI top 100. Illinois State needs to win out in the regular season and reach the Missouri Valley championship game to solidify a spot in the tournament.

These are just some of the teams that find themselves on the bubble and each of them have a different way of making the tournament.

 

Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email jje5139@psu.edu.