Bubble Banter: Sunday Funday on the bubble

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As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Sunday.

It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:

  • Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
  • Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
  • Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
  • Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus

The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.


N.C. STATE (RPI: 47, KenPom: 40, NBC seed: 9): N.C. State is probably a lock at this point. I’m not even sure it’s justifiable to have them on the bubble as of today. They’ve won seven of their last night games and they have five Quadrant 1 wins, including some elite wins: Arizona on a neutral, Duke, Clemson, at North Carolina.

NEBRASKA (RPI: 58, KenPom: 54, NBC seed: Out): Nebraska is proof that looking at a power conference team’s league record is meaningless without context. The Cornhuskers are 13-5 in the Big Ten and 22-9 overall, but they have just one Quadrant 1 win and three wins in the top two Quadrants. They are going to need to win a game or two in the Big Ten tournament to really have a chance at this thing, and those wins are going to need to come against the teams at the top of the conference.


UCLA (RPI: 54, KenPom: 58, NBC seed: Next four out): The Bruins fell at Colorado on Sunday, putting them in a position where they might have to win a couple of games in the Pac-12 tournament to really have a chance at an at-large bid. The good news is that the Bruins have three Quadrant 1 wins — including Kentucky on a neutral and at Arizona — with a road game against USC to close out their season. Win that, and their profile looks a whole lot better.

PENN STATE (RPI: 84, KenPom: 32, NBC seed: Out): The Nittany Lions had a chance to play their way in with four Quadrant 1 games to close out the season, but they lost their last three. They need to win at least two games in the Big Ten tournament — including at least one against one of the top four teams in the league — to have a real shot.