I have had a lot of time over the past several weeks to watch a lot of basketball and study teams that have been deemed “on the bubble”. I know Joe Lunardi may be the Bracketology expert but I have found five teams that are more deserving than teams that he currently has in big dance.
My “Last 5 In”: Mississippi Rebels 23-8 (12-6 SEC) RPI 55: Ole Miss could have a nice run in the SEC tournament and given their resume, Lunardi and the NCAA selection committee would be forced to put them into the big tournament. Their main flaw is that they are only 1-2 vs. Top 25 teams.
Alabama Crimson Tide 20-11 (12-6 SEC) RPI 61: Much like Ole Miss, the Tide has lost 4 of their last 10 games entering the SEC tournament and are 0-3 vs. the Top 25 for the season. I think if they win today against Tennessee they are in.
Middle Tennessee 28-5 (19-1 Sun Belt) RPI 31: A great record and RPI help the Blue Raiders case. They won 17 in a row before a Sun Belt tournament semi-final loss to FIU.
Southern Miss Golden Eagles 24-8 (12-4 Conf USA) RPI 35: There are not a lot of negatives about this team and they should be in. A victory against UTEP today in the Conference USA tournament semi-final should cement that.
Weber State Wildcats 24-5 (18-2 Big Sky) RPI 96: Obviously the RPI hurts but the Wildcats are the top shooting team in the nation at .509. They have won 11 in a row entering the conference tournament and with one of their only losses being assumed automatic bid-winner Montana. Don’t rule out the possibility of Weber State beating N. Dakota State today in the Big Sky semi-final and potentially winning the conferences automatic bid.
My “Last 5 Out”: Tennessee Volunteers 20-11 (11-7 SEC) RPI 53: If we are just basing this on records and RPI alone, Ole Miss would be in and UT would be out, but the Volunteers make a case as they have won 8 of their last 10 entering the SEC tournament and are 3-2 against the Top 25. A loss today against Alabama could be the deal breaker.
Minnesota Golden Gophers 20-12 (8-10 Big 10) RPI 30: Entering Big 10 tournament play Minnesota lost 6 of their last 10 games and then followed that up with a first round loss to Illinois. The only thing giving the Gophers hope is their strong RPI and Strength of Schedule.
Cincinnati Bearcats 22-11 (9-9 Big East) RPI 47: The Bearcats were 2-6 vs the Top 25 and lost six of their last ten games entering the Big East tournament. A loss to pathetic Providence 54-50 doesn’t help their resume either. Will their RPI be enough to get them in? I think other teams that are “on the bubble” and still playing come through their conference tournaments better than the Bearcats end against Georgetown.
Virginia Cavaliers 21-10 (11-7 ACC) RPI 64: I’m not sure their win against NC State and Duke is enough to carry them through. Virginia lost four of their last ten games including at Boston College and at Florida State. The Wahoos could be playing a potential play-in game as we speak against NC State in the 2nd round of the ACC tournament.
Villanova Wildcats 20-13 (10-8 Big East) RPI 50: A decent RPI and conference record may not be enough to get Villanova in. Nice wins against Georgetown, Marquette, Syracuse, and Louisville help, but losing 4 of their last 10 and a game at Seton Hall doesn’t bode well.
Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Sports Radio 610 AM WFNZ The Fan