Monday, February 20, 2006

How Large is the Bubble?

I'm a such a wannabe Joe Lunardi or Jerry Palm. I like to get going on my projections for the Tourney about every year at this time (I already put in for a day off on the Friday of the first round--also St. Patrick's Day).

This year I thought it was worth taking a look at how big the bubble really is. Since Nebraska was on it a few days ago, I was more interested at that time, but just in case we reel off four straight to win the season, its worth knowing whether to get excited, like when I got my first ever Powerball ticket last Saturday night, or not.

The first task is to determine how many slots are already filled. This can be done by first listing the Conferences that will likely not get any at-large bids, as they will probably get one and only one bid. So, I've done that below. The conferences have the team(s) listed next to them that is the favorite to win that conference's tournament.

1. MAAC (Iona/Manhattan)
2. Big Sky (Northern Arizona/Montana)
3. Ohio Valley (Murray St.)
4. Southlan (Northwestern St.)
5. Big South (Winthrop)
6. Southern (Georgia Southern)
7. Ivy (Penn)
8. Big West (Pacific)
9. Northeast (Fairliegh-Dickinson)
10. America East (Albany)
11. Mid-Continent (IUPUI)
12. Atlantic sun (Lipscomb/Belmont)
13. MEAC (Deleware St.)
14. SWAC (Southern)
15. Horizon (Wis-Mil)
16. MAC (Akron)
17. Sun Belt (Western Kentucky)
18. Patriot (Bucknell)

Then there are the teams that have already sewn up a bid, but are the only teams in their conferences that have done so. If these teams do not win their Conference Tournaments, they'll still be in, but there will be one less bubble spot available due to the automatic bid.

19. Gonzaga (West Coast)
20. George Mason (Colonial)
21. Memphis (C-USA)
22. George Washington (A-10)
23. Nevada (WAC)

Then, the teams from multi-bid conferences that have wrapped up their spot:

24. Illinois
25. Iowa
26. Wisconsin
27. Michigan St.
28. Ohio St.
29. Villanova
30. Pitt
32. West Virginia
33. Georgetown
34. Marquette
35. Duke
36. Boston College
37. NC State
38. North Carolina
39. Florida
40. Tennessee
41. LSU
42. Texas
43. Oklahoma
44. Kansas
45. UNI
46. Wichita St.
47. UCLA
48. Arizona

And that leaves a grand total of 17 spots to be divided between the bubble teams. Remember for each team like Gonzaga and George Mason that is knocked out of their conference tourney early, there is one less spot on the bubble. That same phenomenon would happen if a team not listed above wins a major conference tournament (i.e. Colorado wins the Big XII, Washington wins the Pac-10), although there is then also usually one less bubble team vying for the remaining bubble spots.

So Who are those teams battling for those 17 spots? Right now, here's what I think:

Seton Hall
Florida St.
Southern Illinois
Missouri St.
Air Force
San Diego St.
Utah St.
Western Kentucky

That's 26 teams. A few of the bubble teams (like Bucknell and Western Kentucky) are also the favorites in their conference, so if they win their conference tourney, there will be fewer teams vying for the bubble spots.

I tried to make the list of teams that are in fairly stable so that no one is going to play themselves off that list in the next couple weeks, so that means that teams that are very likely to make it, like Creighton and Michigan, are not yet listed as "in". But the bubble list I've made is completely static. Any of those 26 teams could move off the bubble in either direction in the coming weeks, and other teams may move onto the bubble in that time as well.


Blogger JohnnyMitchell said...

Pope, I deleted your other post where you put my NCAA projections on here because this is more updated.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Brian Pope said...

I was bored yesterday. So I posted it. This is way better. Sorry to step on your toes. Just wanted to see something other than my crappy christina aguilera post.

2:02 PM  
Blogger JohnnyMitchell said...

No, I wasn't mad, I just wanted to have the better product up.

3:51 PM  
Blogger Brian Pope said...

I didn't think you were mad.

4:13 PM  

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