BRACKETOLOGY Vol. 1- Four Weeks And Counting
By: Harris Hicks
At last we are just a month away from the Christmas of college basketball: Selection Sunday! Get ready for the bubble to heat up and a to be dosed a classic spoon of upset pandamonium. Prepare to be surprised and get ready to see some up and comers blast into the bubble drama like Baylor and Nebraska and get ready to see bubbles burst like Washington, Maryland and Marquette. This bracketology will use metrics of RPI (Ranking Power Index), BPI (Basketball Power Index), SOR (Strength of Record) and a newly invented stat QWI (Quality Win Index). We will also provide you with potential Cinderella teams and the Bubble Watch and without further ado, here is your month until madness bracketology slate.
Last 4 In:
Baylor Bears (BIG 12) (5-7 Conf 14-10 Overall) 29 SOS +7.4 Point differential 59th RPI 36th BPI 53rd SOR 2.58 QWI
Before this weekend, BPI gave Baylor just a 17.8% chance to make the tournament, now the tables have turned. After a win against Big 12 decade long dominator, Kansas, Baylor now has the quality wins to compete in the bubble. Their BPI is solid at 39 and their RPI and SOR sit in the top 60. Baylor has now built up a résumé primed to go back and dance in March.
Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12) (6-6 Conf 17-8 Overall) 98 SOS +5.4 Pt Diff 61st RPI 53rd BPI 37th SOR 2.97 QWI
Like Baylor, Kansas State was sliding out of the bubble after losing three of their last four. But with a solid win against conference foe Texas, they now find themselves on thin ice in the tournament. Thanks to their near three QWI and their impressive top 40 SOR.
Saint Bonaventure Bonnies (Atlantic Ten) (8-4 Conf 18-6 Overall) 108 SOS +7.9 Pt Diff 46th RPI 55th BPI 50th SOR 2.42 QWI
Welcome back to the bubble Saint Bonaventure! Out of all of these bubble teams, Saint Bonaventure might be the most safe. They are the only team in the last four in or first four out that holds a top 50 RPI and SOR, but because they are a mid major, they can not afford bad losses like they have had with teams like Dayton and Saint Joseph’s. Arguably their biggest opportunity strikes on Friday against top five RPI rated, Rhode Island.
UCLA Bruins (PAC 12) (8-5 Conf 17-8 Overall) 67 SOS +6.5 Pt Diff 53rd RPI 60th BPI 57th SOR 3.27 QWI
After the loss against Oregon, Steve Alford has revamped his team. The Bruins are winners of five or their last six. They have consistency in their ranks as the possess a top 60 rank in RPI, BPI and SOR, but what the have that many other bubble teams don’t is quality wins. They have key wins against teams like Kentucky, Arizona and fellow bubble teams Washington and USC. Thanks to the key wins, the Bruins slide into the tournament as the last official team in.
First four out: Temple, Providence, USC, Washington
Next four out: Notre Dame, Mississippi St, Nebraska, NC State
The Fringe: Western Kentucky, Utah, St. John’s, UNLV, Maryland, SMU
The Slipper Fits…
New Mexico State
With a key win over Miami, the Aggies have gotten a breed of playing up to their competition. Their SOR remains the highlight of their resume at a staggering 23rd. There’s only been two times we have not seen NMSU in the tournament, however they have yet to win a game in this decade. However, New Mexico State is led by a trio of juniors, 20+ scorer Zach Lofton, and double-double machine Jemerrio Jones. The Aggies use their polarizing defense which ranks top five in the country to halt other offenses. Expect their senior leadership and defense to shine through.
What if I told you Alabama was ranked fourth in the entire country in quality wins index. Alabama is 6-1 against teams seeded in the top eight. It’s clear Avery Johnson has his team play up to their competition. If Alabama can continue to derail elite teams with its length, superior guard play and athleticism Alabama could keep up that spiraling momentum in the NCAA Tournament.
The case is clear for Florida, if they hit their shots, they are nearly unstoppable. You see it all the time with teams who can shoot and play defense shock people in the tournament. Look at the 2014 Connecticut Huskies and the 2011 VCU Rams they mastered both of those things. Like Alabama, Florida has a knack for playing up to their competition. They’ve beaten seven teams in this NCAA Tournament field. With seniors like Chiozza, Kouchelov and tons of shooters, Florida could be poised for a shocking cinderella run folks.
16 Wagner/Texas Southern
8 Seton Hall
4 Texas A&M
5 West Virginia
2 Texas Tech
16 Stephen F. Austin
9 Virginia Tech
3 Michigan State
14 South Dakota State
7 Saint Mary’s
16 Harvard/North Carolina A&T
9 Arizona State
4 Ohio State
13 East Tennessee State
12 Loyola Chicago
11 New Mexico State
16 UNC Asheville
9 Florida State
4 Rhode Island
13 UL Lafayette
5 Wichita State
12 Saint Bonaventure/UCLA
11 Boise State
14 Northern Kentucky
10 Middle Tennessee
2 North Carolina
15 UC Santa Barbara