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Final Bubble Projection: Cal, Iona, Drexel, BYU, NC State and South Florida In

To start our morning, since we know the at-larges are set and the bubble is closed, I went one last time through the final six spots. I’ve got Virginia solidly in, by the way, even though I’ve heard people mention them. (and if I did the comparison below, they would rank ahead of all these teams.) So, here are 14 teams I think are likely to be in the final consideration for the last six at large spots.

I list three different categories, and I’ll explain. RPI is self-explanatory, but is the relative ranking within the group using the latest RPI rankings at CBS Sports. Record vs Top 100 is the relative ranking within the group by winning percentage versus the RPI top 100, showing performance against tournament and NIT type teams. Finally, that “performance” category is one I whipped up, using Pomeroy’s ratings, but an RPI style W/L approach. I compare teams by their winning percentage versus various levels of teams, and how the average at-large (from Kansas to Dayton, etc) performed. So, win versus Kentucky is rare and gets a higher value than a win versus a bubble team. That measure takes into account the likelihood of bad losses, and weights just how bad the losses are. It doesn’t treat all RPI top 50 or top 100 games the same, since, for example, NC State’s “Top 100″ games were tougher than others on this list.

Anyway, here are those results:

 

People will have Cal on the bubble, and I even thought after their closing loss, they dropped. They still win this group handily and should be in. I’m putting Iona and Drexel both in. A quick assessment shows BYU and NC State also finishing above the pack in an assessment of the combined finish in these categories. That leaves a mix of teams, from Seton Hall to Washington, being about equal. I think the committee goes with South Florida because of how they closed and were playing at the end, and for looking better than Seton Hall in the Big East tourney.

My official final projections (and not necessarily seeding order) are that California, both Iona and Drexel among mid-majors, BYU, NC State, and South Florida are in. I’m differing with others and putting Seton Hall first out, followed by Marshall, Mississippi State, Washington and Miami. I also think Northwestern’s record versus top 100 will not be viewed favorably, and the committee won’t want a team that proved it could largely lose to tourney type teams. Teams like Iona and Drexel will get the benefit of the doubt, while they don’t have the great wins, also haven’t proven they will lose those games consistently.

[photo via US Presswire]

 

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