Here is our updated bracket following this past weekend’s games.
So one of the most common things you’ll hear every year during late February and early March is how “the bubble is so weak this year.” On ESPN and all the various college basketball sites you check out, that is always said at this time of year. Usually, it results in me giving a huge eye-roll. If you hear it every year, is the bubble really weak or is that just the nature of being on the bubble? Well, guess what? This year, the bubble really is INCREDIBLY WEAK.
I’ve done this now for 4 years, and I’ve never seen teams with such low RPIs and such awful conference records being considered for those last 4 in/First Four spots. (Sidebar: the RPI is awful. But the committee uses the RPI, so I use the RPI. Until that changes, that’s the standard operating procedure around here.) Clemson is being heavily considered by bracketologists with a conference record of 4-10. Syracuse and Georgia Tech could very well both make the field, and both have RPIs over 70. The 2nd place team from the Missouri Valley would make it in the field for me right now, whether it is Wichita State or Illinois State. Both of them only have one top-50 win, and it is against each other. This is bad, awful, hold-your-nose while you put them in the final 68 type of stuff.
Why is it so bad? It’s due to conferences not performing up to their standards. The American conference is garbage. The A-10 is having a down year. The Pac-12 is really quite bad after its top 5 teams. The SEC is a gigantic, jumbled mess after its top 3. (I considered saying top 4 here and including Arkansas in that “top” group. The fact that I considered including Arkansas in a “top” group shows how much of a mess the rest of the league is.) The Big Ten is having a down year. The Big East is the 3rd best conference in America, and it really only has one team that will be favored to make the 2nd weekend. Because those conferences are having such down years all at the same time is the reason we’re seeing the possibility of the ACC getting 12 of its 15 teams in or the Big 12 getting 8 of its 10 teams. There are not a lot of other great options out there.
Therefore, that’s why you see Georgia Tech, with its RPI in the 70s, as one of my last 4 at-large bids in this bracket. The same goes for Marquette and its RPI hovering in the 70s. This is the bubble. It is bad. Unless some of these teams start getting some big wins, we’re looking at a very shaky bubble. Get prepared. Onto the bracket.
- 1 – Villanova, Kansas, Gonzaga, Baylor
- 2 – North Carolina, Louisville, Oregon, Arizona
- 3 – Florida State, Kentucky, Duke, Florida
- 4 – UCLA, Virginia, West Virginia, Purdue
- 5 – Butler, Cincinnati, Creighton, Notre Dame
- 6 – Wisconsin, Maryland, St. Mary’s, SMU
- 7 – Minnesota, Northwestern, South Carolina, Xavier
- 8 – Oklahoma State, Iowa State, USC, VCU
- 9 – Dayton, Miami (FL), Virginia Tech, Arkansas
- 10 – Michigan State, California, Michigan, Wichita State
- 11 – Middle Tennessee, Kansas State, Seton Hall, TCU, Marquette
- 12 – Illinois State, Georgia Tech, UNC Wilmington, Nevada, Akron
- 13 – Monmouth, Vermont, UT Arlington, Valparaiso
- 14 – Princeton, New Mexico State, Belmont, East Tennessee State
- 15 – Bucknell, Florida Gulf Coast, UNC Asheville, North Dakota State
- 16 – Texas Southern, UC Irvine, North Dakota, New Orleans, North Carolina Central, Mount St. Mary’s
- Last 4 Byes: California, Michigan, Kansas State, Seton Hall
- Last 4 IN: TCU, Marquette, Illinois State, Georgia Tech
- First 4 OUT: Providence, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Clemson
- Next 4 OUT: Tennessee, Alabama, Texas Tech, Rhode Island
Bids by Conference
- ACC: 9
- Big 12: 7
- Big Ten: 7
- Big East: 6
- Pac-12: 5
- SEC: 4
- Atlantic 10: 2
- American: 2
- West Coast: 2
- Missouri Valley: 2
Always check out the Bracket Matrix to see how The Nickel Dimer compares to the competition.