— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 16, 2014
Click here for CBS’s current projected NCAA Tournament bracket.
Click here for ESPN’s current projected NCAA Tournament bracket.
Click here for USA Today’s most recent NCAA Tournament bracket.
Click here for NBC’s current projected NCAA Tournament bracket.
Click here for Live RPI projections produced almost in real time.
One consistent thing that you will note in every one of those projected brackets — there is NO inclusion of NC State in these brackets.
The brackets would seem to indicate that the following ten teams are vying for the last five spots in the dance: NC State, Dayton, Nebraska, Xavier, SMU, BYU, Cal, Minnesota and Florida State and Wisconsin Green Bay.
I have always been a big fan of Patrick Stevens. I don’t know anything about him, but Stevens is clearly innately smarter than the average member of the media and has consistently shown an ability to analyze data with more clarity and less of a challenge than others. Earlier today he posted this link that I think does the best job of crystallizing where things stand on the bubble. His ‘last four in’ are Xavier, BYU, Nebraska and NC State and he highlights the decision of the last six (3 in and 3 out) as follows:
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers (19-12) are 8-9 against the top 100 (not bad), won at Michigan State and haven’t done anything remotely bad in nearly two months. Their strength of schedule raises no flags, but their 4-11 road/neutral record does. A top-50 RPI won’t hurt, either. Verdict: IN
Brigham Young: What a difficult profile to discern. The Cougars (23-11) have a great RPI (31), and the sort of nonconference strength of schedule (4) that tends to be rewarded. BYU is decent away from Provo (9-10) and has a winning record against the top 100 (8-7), but also has four losses to teams outside the top 100 and just lost its No. 2 scorer (guard Kyle Collinsworth) to an ACL tear. It’s a real coin flip. Verdict: IN
N.C. State: The Wolfpack (21-13) has a winning record away from Raleigh (8-7), fairly inoffensive bad losses (Miami and Wake Forest) and did its best work (beating Syracuse in Greensboro and Pittsburgh and Tennessee on the road) outside its own building. Of the remaining teams, there’s less bad about N.C. State, and sometimes that’s good enough. Verdict: IN
Southern Methodist: The Mustangs (23-9) are yet another bit of evidence that human polls are entirely worthless for a bracketing endeavor. While they are good away from home (8-8) and respectable against the top 50 (4-5), they played the nation’s No. 296 nonconference schedule. The last team to play a nonconference schedule worse than 250th and earn anything between a No. 9 and No. 16 seed was 2006 Air Force. The committee routinely punishes teams that don’t play difficult nonconference schedules, and SMU probably will be no different. Verdict: OUT
Wisconsin-Green Bay: The wild card in all of this, the Phoenix (24-6) owns a victory over Virginia, an 11-3 record away from home and a winning record against the top 100 (4-3). There are no nonconference strength of schedule issues here (52nd), though Horizon League play brought the overall SOS number down to 144th. If the committee is going to show clemency to any team, it is probably Green Bay, but it should also be noted the Phoenix lost in their conference semifinals on their own court. Verdict: OUT
California: There’s some nice wins for the Golden Bears (19-13), including a Feb. 1 upset of Arizona. But there’s also a lot of losses, a 4-10 mark against the top 50, a 5-11 record against the top 100, a 6-9 mark away from Berkeley, and an ugly loss to Southern California (RPI: 175). That’s probably not going to cut it for much more than an NIT No. 1 seed. Verdict: OUT
I don’t need to say anything else. I choose to follow Stevens’ view and think this is about as accurate of a current bubble analysis as I’ve seen