Georgetown was the first big name to bow out in the conference tournaments, losing to DePaul last night and most likely assuring that they will not make the NCAA Tournament. Proponents for Georgetown will try to point out that they played a tough schedule and had a lot of top 50 wins. The truth is this: the RPI isn’t good enough, the wins relative to the schedule faced isn’t good enough, and the Hoyas are out. You don’t get to trumpet a 5-6 record against the top 50 if you lose 8 games outside of it, and one of those losses prevented you from adding another game against a top opponent in Creighton.
Seth Burn, who is far smarter than myself, has a similar concept to what I was calling wins over bubble. He has a slightly different baseline, so the numbers are slightly different, though the rank order is not. Below, I list his wins above bubble (current through earlier in the week, so the Georgetown number overstates the Hoyas, since that was a bad loss that most bubble teams would win). Georgetown was -1.25 wins below bubble before that result. They are more likely closer to 2 wins below now. That means a true bubble contender, with Georgetown’s schedule, would be expected to go 19-12.
How does the bubble shape up, and what should it look like? Below I list every team that is ranked in the Top 75 in each of the RPI (which the committee leans heavily on), Burn’s Wins Above Bubble, and Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, but outside the Top 40 in at least one of those categories. (I’m considering a team inside the top 40 in all a lock, also, excluding teams that have auto bids secured, like North Dakota State and Harvard).
Right now, the cut line would be right between the yellow group and the orange. A couple of notes here:
Southern Miss is in right now, but the problem is, they cannot really improve their standing (because they would earn the auto bid anyway) while they can go down with a loss. If that loss is to Louisiana Tech in the final, then they might still get in. Anything short of that, and teams will jump them.
Kansas State is considered solidly in. Oddly, this is one team where all three differing ranking methods agree, and they are in the 45 to 50 range, which should put them right on the cut line. The factor here is quality wins. Whether you believe in it or not, this is a factor for the committee. Now, Wins Above Bubble tries to account for this, so Kansas State really has about the number of wins a team on the bubble should have, and no more. They have been pretty good at home, sub-par for a bubble team on the road, and Pomeroy’s rankings have them playing in the same range. I agree they are in. I’m just saying that they are probably fortunate that they played a Big XII schedule where a bubble team would get those wins if they were close to being good enough, with that many opportunities. Compare that to . . .
Tennessee, who doesn’t have the big wins in conference, because they weren’t there and they missed their few opportunities. While they should be on the bubble squarely based on “resumé”, they pass the eye test. They blew out Virginia. They beat Xavier handily in a neutral court rematch. They just hammered Missouri.
This is where I have teams heading into the rest of today’s results. By the time the smoke clears, Georgetown should have plenty of company.
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