BUBBLE BANTER: A loaded Saturday slate could determine a few bids

(AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
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This post will be updated throughout the day. 

A week ago, No. 25 Wichita State (KenPom: 11, RPI: 43) was going to be one of the most interesting seeding discussions on Selection Sunday.

But after the second straight Saturday that the Shockers have taken a loss to a league opponent with a sub-100 RPI, Wichita State is no longer a discussion about seeding.

We now have to ask whether or not this group can actually get a bid to the NCAA tournament without earning the automatic bid in the Missouri Valley. They have just one top 90 win (Utah) and two sub-100 losses; by Sunday morning, it will likely be just one, as Northern Iowa should sneak into the top 100 after beating the Shockers in Wichita.

As we all know, Wichita State was on the receiving end of some bad injury luck, losing Fred VanVleet to a hamstring injury during the Advocare Invitational, when the Shockers lost to USC, Alabama and Iowa. But even with VanVleet, Wichita State has not done enough to unequivocally prove themselves as a tournament team.

Another loss would give them three bad losses in the eyes of the selection committee. My advice? Don’t give them a chance to leave you out of the dance.


  • Wisconsin (KenPom: 47, RPI: 54): The Badgers picked up a massive, massive, massive win on Saturday, going into Maryland and knocking off the Terps. Suddenly, the Badgers are one of the most intriguing bubble teams. They have four top 50 wins — including Michigan State and at Maryland — and a 7-6 record against the top 100. But they also have three ugly losses, including a loss to Western Illinois that is one of the worst losses a bubble team has ever suffered. The Badgers are probably on the right side of the cut line as of today, and as long as they keep winning — they’ve won seven in a row, mind you — Greg Gard will be headed to the NCAA tournament in his first year.
  • Texas Tech (KenPom: 57, RPI: 41): The Red Raiders are doing everything they can to prove that they deserve to be in the bubble conversation. After beating Iowa State during the week, Tubby Smith’s club went into Waco and beat the Bears by 18 points. Here’s the deal: Tech still has to play Oklahoma, at Kansas and at West Virginia. Win one of those three games, sweep the other three games on their schedule and get to .500 in the league and I think they have a real shot.
  • LSU (KenPom: 59, RPI: 74): The Tigers got one step closer to locking up an at-large bid on Saturday, as they kept pace with Kentucky atop the SEC with a win over No. 15 Texas A&M. The Tigers are 9-3 overall and have looked like a tournament team since they got Keith Hornsby healthy and Craig Victor eligible. Throw in the fact that their bad losses all came without those two (and, frankly, are not as bad as we thought they would be) and I think that the Tigers, at this point, have done enough to get in as long as they win the games they’re supposed to win.
  • Michigan (KenPom: 48, RPI: 60): The Wolverines picked up a huge win, knocking off Purdue on a day that they got Caris LeVert back. It was their third top 100 win of the season, but the good news for Michigan? It was also their third top 25 win of the season. Michigan also doesn’t have a loss outside the top 50. Four of their last five games come against top 100 competition. Go 3-2 down the stretch and they should be able to enter the Big Ten tournament feeling pretty comfortable.
  • Cal (KenPom: 33, RPI: 29): The Golden Bears picked up their fifth top 50 win and 10th top 100 win beating Oregon State on Saturday night. The only concern on their profile at this point is their struggles away from home given that four of Cal’s last six are on the road.
  • Alabama (KenPom: 84, RPI: 38): Is it time for us to start paying more attention to Alabama? The Crimson Tide won their fourth straight game on Saturday, knocking off Florida. It was their second top 25 win of the week — they beat Texas A&M in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday — and this won came on the road. They’re 5-5 against the top 50 and 6-8 against the top 100 with just one sub-100 loss.
  • Stanford (KenPom: 122, RPI: 82): The Cardinal somehow found a way to keep their name in the hunt for an at-large bid, snapping a four-game losing streak with a win over Oregon at home. Stanford how four top 50 wins, but they’re just 4-10 against the top 50. The good news? Their worse loss is on the road against a top 75 opponent and they have five more games against top 100 foes. Will this be the start of a winning streak or a weird blip in a disappointing season?
  • UConn (KenPom: 22, RPI: 46): UConn is trending for the cut-line, which is what made Saturday’s win over Tulsa so important. The margins are slim when you’re on the bubble, and every top 50 win is valuable.
  • Colorado (KenPom: 61, RPI: 30): The Buffaloes landed another top 100 win on Saturday, beating Washington. They’re 7-7 against the top 100 with three top 35 wins and no bad losses to their name. The Pac-12 is tough, so it’s possible that the Buffaloes could lose all five of their remaining games. Even then, I’m not sure they’d be all that far out of the bubble picture. Going 2-3 in that stretch should be enough.
  • Vanderbilt (KenPom: 34, RPI: 59): Vandy made light work of Auburn on Saturday. Their bid will be earned the last two weeks of the season, when they play at Florida, Kentucky and at Texas A&M.
  • St. Bonaventure (KenPom: 66, RPI: 34): The Bonnies are slowly but surely climbing their way into bubble contention. They have a great RPI, but their win over George Washington was just their fourth top 100 win of the year.
  • Clemson (KenPom: 58, RPI: 88): The Tigers picked up a win over Georgia Tech on Saturday, their seventh top 100 win. The Tigers still have a lot of work to do, however, as they have three bad losses on their profile and one of the 15 worst non-conference schedules in college basketball.
  • Saint Joseph’s (KenPom: 37, RPI: 28): The Hawks beat La Salle, but with GW losing against tonight, there’s a chance that St. Joe’s only top 50 win drops out of the top 50. They play Dayton this week. Winning that game could alleviate a lot of stress in Hagan Arena.
  • Creighton (KenPom: 42, RPI: 84): The Bluejays landed a nice road win at Marquette on Saturday, but with an ugly non-conference schedule and just one top 50 win, Creighton still has a lot of work to do. They close at Providence and at Xavier. They might need them both.
  • Cincinnati (KenPom: 30, RPI: 63): The Bearcats avoided a landmine loss to East Carolina. Next week will be critical for them, as they visit Tulsa and host UConn.
  • VCU (KenPom: 41, RPI: 53): Like Cincy, the Rams avoided an awful loss to Saint Louis, keeping them smack in the middle of the bubble conversation.
  • Saint Mary’s (KenPom: 39, RPI: 72): The Gaels beat Loyola Marymount today, but I still don’t think they have a chance to get a bid on Selection Sunday.


  • South Carolina (KenPom: 43, RPI: 21): The good news for South Carolina? The RPI, which is the DNA of the selection process, does not factor in margin of victory. So that 27-point loss they took to Kentucky at home on Saturday afternoon? It looks the same as a one point loss in the formula. But with a gaudy record that lacks quality wins, getting embarrassed on national television at home is not a good way to make an impression.
  • Butler (KenPom: 35, RPI: 58): In and of itself, losing to Xavier at home is not a bad loss for Butler. What hurts is the opportunity cost: That was their best chance on landing another elite win for their résumé. With just one top 50 win to their name and only one top 50 opponent left (at Villanova), the Bulldogs are going to have some issues at the top of their profile on Selection Sunday.
  • Gonzaga (KenPom: 31, RPI: 64): The Zags lost at SMU on Saturday. As I wrote here, that’s a devastating loss for their tournament hopes.
  • George Washington (KenPom: 88, RPI: 44): The Colonials lost their second straight game on Saturday, falling at St. Bonaventure in another game between Atlantic 10 bubble teams. The Colonials are in a troubling spot at this point. There are no more potential top 50 wins left on their schedule — at the moment, Davidson and VCU are both just outside the top 50 — and they are anything but a lock for the dance right now.
  • Tulsa (KenPom: 50, RPI: 48): Tulsa lost to UConn on the road on Saturday, a loss that doesn’t hurt all that much in and of itself — it was a top 50 road game, after all — but is a killer because it was the last chance for the Golden Hurricane pick up a top 50 win this season. If Frank Haith’s club was in a better position entering the day it wouldn’t be as much of an issue, but they still have work left to do.
  • Florida (KenPom: 28, RPI: 24): Florida looked like they were in a pretty good spot to earn an at-large bid after beating West Virginia two weeks ago, but they’ve gone 2-2 since then and now sit with just a 2-7 record against the top 50. Their RPI is great and their non-conference strength of schedule is second nationally. They’re not exactly in trouble yet, but landing at least one more good win (at South Carolina, Kentucky) would be quite helpful.
  • Oregon State (KenPom: 73, RPI: 31): There’s no shame in losing at Cal, especially now that Cal has Tyrone Wallace back. The Beavers have six top 50 wins and eight top 100 wins. They’re still in a good spot.
  • Washington (KenPom: 77, RPI: 61): Losing to Colorado on Saturday hurt not because a road loss to a top 30 team is a bad thing, but because they had a real shot to win that game without Colorado State Josh Scott on the floor. They’re likely headed directly for the bubble.
  • Marquette (KenPom: 104, RPI: 95): Marquette, who lost at home to Creighton, might need to win out at this point. Their non-conference schedule does them no favors.
  • Georgetown (KenPom: 60, RPI: 78): The Hoyas lost to Providence on Saturday. At this point, we can basically write off Georgetown from the bubble conversation.
  • Valparaiso (KenPom: 22, RPI: 49): I think Valpo is one of the top 40 teams in college basketball. But with three losses to sub-150 opponents, the only way they’ll have a chance to prove it in the NCAA tournament will be by winning the Horizon’s automatic bid.
  • Kansas State (KenPom: 49, RPI: 52): The Wildcats had a shot at an at-large bid simply they had some good wins left on their schedule and no bad losses on their résumé. They lost to Oklahoma State today. That’s a bad loss.