It’s time for us to take a deeper look at VCU’s (KenPom: 32, RPI: 46, CBT Bracketology Seed: 10) résumé, because after losing at George Mason on Wednesday evening, the Rams look like they might be in some trouble.
Here are the things that you need to know: VCU challenged themselves early in the season, putting together a non-conference schedule ranked in the top 100, but they whiffed on all five of their games against top 75 opponents. They have two top 50 wins — at Saint Joseph’s and St. Bonaventure — and a 5-6 record against the top 100, but they also and a pair of losses outside the top 100 — at UMass and at George Mason.
That’s not an ideal combination, as their RPI will likely fall outside the top 50 when it gets updated on Thursday morning.
The other side of this is that VCU also still had three games on their schedule against teams ranked in and around the top 50: at GW, Davidson, at Dayton. So they still have chances to really improve on their résumé, but all three of those games are losable.
Put a different way, unlike a lot of the other bubble teams in their league — and, frankly, across the country — whether or not VCU gets an at-large bid is under their control.
And if I was Will Wade, I would want a 2-1 finish to the regular season to really feel comfortable.
- George Washington (KP: 80, RPI: 50, CBT: First Four Out): The Colonials got some revenge for a loss they took at home earlier this season, beating Richmond in dominating fashion on the road. GW is on the wrong side of the bubble right now, but with a pair of borderline top 50 teams remaining on their schedule (VCU at home, Davidson on the road) they’ll have some chances to play their way into the tournament.
- Wisconsin (KP: 37, RPI: 42, CBT: 9): The Badgers all-but punched their ticket to the dance tonight. We wrote about it in depth here.
- Colorado (KP: 69, RPI: 35, CBT: 10): Did Colorado do the same? We wrote about that here.
- Michigan (KP: 48, RPI: 55, CBT: 11): The Wolverines were down early to Northwestern at home, but they managed to scrap out a win in a game they simply could not afford to lose.
- Oregon State (KP: 62, RPI: 31, CBT: Play-In Game): When you’re a team that is sitting squarely on the bubble you cannot afford to lose any games, which is what made Stevie Thompson’s shot (travel) so important. The Beavers needed the win over Washington because they couldn’t afford the hit they’d take from a loss. And they got it.
- St. Bonaventure (KP: 67, RPI: 33, CBT: 11): The Bonnies flirted with disaster, but they ended up holding on to beat Duquesne. This is not a team with room to spare right now. The good news? They do have a game left against Saint Joseph’s, meaning they’ll have a chance to add another really nice with to their profile. They may need it.
- Saint Joseph’s (KP: 39, RPI: 28, CBT: 8): The Hawks are getting closer to being taken off of this list. They won at UMass, and as long as they don’t take a loss to one of the landmines left on their schedule, they’ll be dancing.
- Wichita State (KP: 10, RPI: 47, CBT: 10): The Shockers handled Loyola (IL) on Wednesday, a loss that they couldn’t have afforded to take.
- Pitt (KP: 46, RPI: 34, CBT: 7): The Panthers are still sitting on the right side of the bubble right now, but if they had been able to hold onto a lead at home against Louisville on Wednesday night, they would have come pretty close to locking up a bid at this point.
- Washington (KP: 65, RPI: 70, CBT: Next Four Out): The Huskies might have seen their NCAA tournament hopes dashed on a travel that wasn’t called. Tough break. If they don’t win at Oregon this weekend, they’re probably going to need the automatic bid.