"I Know the Game Like I'm Reffing It"

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Don't Believe The Hype - 4 tournament hopefuls whose fans shouldn't worry (too much).

This time of year, everyone - including yours truly, of course - has an opinion about who's on the bubble, who's not on the bubble, who deserves to be on the bubble, just a lot of bubble ish.

We all know that the only opinions that matter are the ones held by the Selection Committee members who convened today.

But, let me assuage the fears of a few fan bases that have unnecessarily been driven to cold sweats by much of the college basketball media.


Most people acknowledge that the Rams are solidly in the field, but I have heard a few voices putting that bubble label on them. Remember, the Committee looks at a team's complete body of work, not just how they finish. The injury to Briante Weber has ignited talk that they went from a force to a farce based on Weber's absence. I would argue that they were slightly overrated with him - a solid, but far from great team - pre injury and only marginally weaker now. Their RPI is still very high and don't count out a nice run in the Atlantic 10 Tournament.


According to many, the Longhorns are sweating this thing out. People are paying way too much attention to Texas's conference record when the Committee has explicitly stated they pay no attention to it. Plus, 8-10 in the country's best conference is far from an embarrassment. Their RPI is decent, but they are very strong in the other metrics. They have the 14th ranked strength of schedule and have yet to lose to a non-tournament team.


The Cougars have probably been the most talked/worried about of the bubble teams. But, let me tell you why BYU fans should be happier than Pharrell, pre infringement ruling. First and foremost, their metrics are really good. That includes the RPI, which everyone acknowledges is important, but also the others, such as Sagarin, Ken Pom and the BPI. Those other metrics don't matter, you've heard? One thing we know about the committee is that they take their job very seriously and are more likely to seek out more information than less. No, those other metrics aren't built into the system like the RPI is, but it's naive to think that Committee members aren't more than aware of and somewhat influenced by this "other information." Back to the real game, the Cougars' win at Gonzaga - though, maybe their only "good" win - was one heck of a win. It was a top 10 road win. Only 5 other teams have such a win: Duke (2), Virginia, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Miami. Miami is the bubble team some like to compare to BYU, but the Hurricanes have more bad losses and their metrics are worse across the board. Finally, almost everyone agrees that the Cougars pass the good ol' eye test.


Now, Hoosier fans have reason to be just a little bit concerned. 4-6 in their last 10 is not a good thing and neither particularly are their metrics However, let's look on the bright side. Indiana has 4 top 50 wins and 3 top 25 wins. Wins over SMU, Butler on a neutral court, Maryland and Illinois on the road look even better when spelled out. Still, IU might want to win at least a game in the Big Ten Tournament.

Twitter: @Blacketologist 

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