Last Updated: 5:30 PM ET
Let’s refrain from having the conversation of how sad it is that we have to sit here and be reliant on other teams’ failures to help us out…and turn our attention to focusing on how NC State can make the NCAA Tournament. The “bigger picture” conversations can wait until after the ACC Tournament.
I have updated Bubbleology at the bottom of this entry for the time being. Remember, the primary goal of Bubbleology is to accurately define the bubble. Any attempt at ranking teams on the bubble is much more general in nature.
Let’s take a quick look at how the early results of some key conference tournaments have enhanced the Wolfpack’s position on the Bubble. The news is generally good for the Pack:
= > First, State did what we had to do – we beat Florida State (again). Thank God for Florida State. I don’t know how we figure out a way to get matched up against the Seminoles in the first round (3 of 9 times), but I’ll take it. (Now, if could just find a way to play Georgia Tech in the second round!)
= > Before today, most conference tournaments were completing without much negative impact. No real bubble spots have been lost to upsets and State’s position has been enhanced by Louisiana Lafayette‘s conference championship and Notre Dame‘s loss to Rutgers last night.
= > West Virginia‘s defeat of Boston College is nothing but good news for the Pack. The Mountaineers were already ahead of State on the bubble and could have been considered a lock after their win last night over Providence. State’s loss to WVU (without Julius Hodge) now doesn’t sting as badly (except to those who wonder how John Belien has been able to create a winner in Morgantown, WVa so damn quickly). Congrats to the Mountaineers.
= > Maryland‘s loss to Clemson is the big one today and has a double-edged impact on the Wolfpack.
– The Good: The Terps loss severely impairs the their chances of reaching the NCAA Tournament…effectively bumping them behind NC State on the mythical Tournament Bubble.
– The Bad: The Terps represented what NC State was hoping”to be 2 “good wins”. Now, the good doesn’t look so good. The loss will move Maryland out of the RPI’s Top 50 and out of the NCAA Tournament. That said, State’s resume just took a hit. State is now:
* 3-6 against teams in the RPI’s Top 50
* 5-9 against the Top 100
* 3-7 against NCAA Tournament teams with wins over only two teams – Georgia Tech and Louisiana Lafayette
= > We should keep our eye on DePaul vs UAB in C-USA. DePaul is currently ahead of the Pack in the NCAA pecking order. A win will make them very safe. UAB is currently behind the Pack on the Bubble. A Blazers win would work to converge the two closer to the Pack on the bubble and put more pressure on us to perform in the coming days. I’d prefer to have DePaul go ahead and sow up their bid and knock the Blazers out of contention. This would create a situation where C-USA would have little impact on the bubble unless Memphis makes a run to the conference title. (And, don’t count that out as a possibility.)
= > Any outside shot South Carolina had of making a run and cloudying up the bubble is over. Iowa is still trying to make an outside run from the Big 10. They may be too far in the hole to make an impact on the bubble.
= > Akron was hanging around the bubble until Western Michigan took them down today. Both teams are probably behind the Wolfpack now. The primary impact West Michigan could have would be to win their tournament and have Miami (Oh) and Kent State consume bubble bids.
Current Conclusion (@ 5:30 PM ET)
I wish we could have seen more of Cedric Simmons, Gavin Grant, Levi Watkins and crew in an attempt to rest the legs of Bethel, Hodge, Evtimov, Atsur and Bennerman. Due to the nature of our offense (jump shooting team) we need those legs under us this weekend.
Going into today, I was convinced that State needed 3 wins in the ACC Tournament to be a “lock” for the NCAA Tournament. 2 wins would have given us a good shot, but we would remain at the mercy of other schools. Based on the performances of Maryland and Notre Dame (with others remaining), State is at least closer to solidifying our position with only 2 wins.
As of this afternoon, I have moved State “above the line” on the bubble and into the NCAA Tournament. Note, this position is not necessarily safe considering some other teams are still to play today. A loss to Wake Forest, would of course seriously jeopardize the spot.
Despite the negative impact of Maryland’s loss on our tournament resume, I am more optimistic regarding our situation. We will keep our eye on the likes of Indiana, UTEP, Kent State, New Mexico and Georgetown in the next 24 hours.