This will be the 13th of the last 18 basketball seasons that NC State fans will turn thoughts regarding the NCAA Tournament towards other teams that we can root both for and against.
Personally, I am conference/NCAAT/RPI/etc junkie. So, I thought this was a pretty good read to help set college basketball’s current landscape with a month to go before the big dance. (Additionally, this link to Rush the Court also does a nice job of framing the current NCAA Tournament landscape of the ACC)
This week’s bracketing process brought to mind The Wire character Marlo Stanfield, who when he received word that people on the street were talking about him, bellowed “My name is MY NAME!”
Much like in life on the streets of Baltimore, your name is currency when it comes to the bubble. That’s the harsh reality for outsiders trying to break into the bid cartel. Basically, if you have power (conference), you rule the block and it takes a lot to wrest away control.
A perfect example comes from these two bubble teams:
Team A: 3-2 RPI against the top 50, 7-5 RPI against the top 100, 8-5 road, two very bad losses (one at home).
Notes: Road wins at second- and fourth-place teams in No. 3 conference, beat leader of No. 6 conference.
Team B: 2-6 against the RPI top 50, 5-8 against the RPI top 100, 2-6 road, one bad home loss.
Notes: Road win at now second-place team in No. 2 conference. Other top-50 win is 49th in RPI. Lost by 22 at home to team tied for second in No. 6 conference.
Team A is William & Mary. Team B is Louisville. And the Cardinals made this week’s bracket ahead of the Tribe simply because I don’t think there’s any way the committee would leave out a 7-5 Big East team for the fourth-place team in the Colonial, regardless of what the overall profiles suggest. Years of bracket history suggest that Williams & Mary, which has two league losses to sub-200 teams, has shown just enough weakness to be cast aside while Louisville, with its big-boy conference, big upset of Syracuse and series of competitive losses to good teams, has provided just enough reason to support its rep.
It’s not fair, but that’s the way the bubble world works.
Also, you can’t help but love how the media just cannot accept what has happened to their mighty Tarheels this year.
For posterity’s sake, we’ll note that North Carolina (14-11, 3-7, RPI: 82, SOS: 15) needs to win at both Georgia Tech and BC this week to have any real hope. Even 7-9 in the conference looks really unlikely at this point.
GW: Ohio St. (with Evan Turner), Michigan St.
BL: at Coll. of Charleston, the huge batch of ACC defeats
For anyone who wants a little more national college basketball, then clicking on “The Dagger” is always a great thing.
With a non-conference schedule ranked, no I’m not kidding, 340th, Virginia Tech isn’t a shoo-in for the NCAA tournament like you might expect based on its gaudy 20-4 record. That’s why Tuesday night’s battle with Wake Forest could be so huge for the Hokies: It’s a chance for them to not only take over second place in the ACC, but also capture just their second victory over a top-50 RPI team.