All POSSIBLE Bubble Teams

So, here is the COMPREHENSIVE list of all POSSIBLE bubble teams. There’s not a single team who can get an at-large that isn’t listed here. That also means most of these teams have a 25% or less chance to make the field. But I’m including EVERYONE.

Updated at 9:32 am EST on 3-2-2016

SHOULD BE IN (75% or more tourney chance)

Dayton – A non-conference strength of schedule of 4 and three wins away from home over the top 50 should be enough to get it done. One more win would clinch.

Oregon State – It might take one more win because they can’t seem to win away from home. But 6 top 50 wins over tournament teams, including Utah and Oregon, will likely be enough.

South Carolina – That poor non-conference strength of schedule will not be ignored by the committee. There is still work to do, but they’ll likely make it behind their 3-1 top 50 record. But this is far from a closed case, due partially to some bad losses.

USC – They’re 11-10 against the top 100 with 4 top 50 wins. They might not need another victory.

Providence – Huge win over Creighton to guarantee a .500 Big East record. There isn’t a ton to get excited about on the resume, but winning at Villanova is a better win than any bubble competitors will have. One more win should do it.

Vanderbilt – The Commodores started the year with promise, dragged to out of the field, and then made a late push to get back into the field. One more win may be enough, thanks to a 32nd ranked non-conference schedule and some serious work against RPI 51-100 (5-2).

TRUE BUBBLE (25-74% chance)

St Bonaventure, St Joe’s, Little Rock, St Mary’s, Pitt, Wichita State, Tulsa, VCU, Cincinnati, UConn, Syracuse, Temple, Florida, Alabama, Butler, Michigan, Stanford

LONGSHOTS (under 25% chance but realistic)

Monmouth – Those wins over UCLA, USC, and Georgetown are looking worse, but the ambitious scheduling and non-conference performance help.

George Washington – Beating UVA is a huge boon, but losing at home to VCU was a killer. They need a big A-10 tournament.

Gonzaga – Cheering on fellow bubble teams UConn and Washington isn’t the best way to get a bid. But a strong OOC schedule helps.

Georgia Tech – The Jackets are on a roll. They have three top 50 wins and ample ACC tourney opportunities.

Ohio State – Four top 50 wins out of the Big Ten? Ouch. Weak scheduling.

Washington – With eight top 100 wins and three top 50 wins, this isn’t over. But it’s close.

LSU – They haven’t looked good recently, but Ben Simmons and company have wins over Kentucky, Texas A&M and at Vandy.

HUGE Longshots (these teams still have an at-large chance because their conference tournaments give them huge chances to beef up the resume, but it would be a shock if ANY of them make it)

Florida State, Kansas State, Clemson, Houston, Georgia, Arizona State, Creighton, San Diego State, Ole Miss, and Virginia Tech

 

Tourney Locks

At this time of year, it’s popular for  various bracketologists to call teams locks to make the tournament, even when they aren’t quite locks. So, my list is smaller than most because I want to assure this team can lose out and still have a 100% chance of making the tournament. So, here are the teams that will definitely make the tournament:

ACC – Virginia, UNC, Miami, Duke, Notre Dame

Big 10 – Michigan State, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Maryland, Purdue

Big XII – Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, West Virginia, Iowa St

Big East – Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall

Pac-12 – Oregon, Arizona, Utah, Cal, Colorado

SEC – Kentucky, Texas A&M

You’ll notice I don’t have a single team “locked” from outside the power six conferences. The reason is because of the damage that losses in the other conferences can do. Losing to two teams outside the top 100 will really hurt the profile.

Specifically, let’s look at Dayton.  They seem like a lock at first  with three top 50 wins, a 21st rating in the RPI, and a terrific non-conference strength of schedule (4th).  Dig a bit deeper, though, and you’ll see a team who is playing very poorly (which really hurts the eye test), a team with two bad losses (one at home to Rhode Island and one at dreadful LaSalle), and a team who has played just 12 games against the top 100 in the RPI.

While Dayton has about a 95% chance of making the field, they better not lose to VCU at home and in their first A-10 game. The profile isn’t so air tight that they are a lock if both of those happen.

Another team I want to discuss is Wichita State.  The Shockers are one of the nation’s most efficient teams, but bracketologists are calling them a lock, and I can’t figure out why. Look, it’s not how good we think a team can be; it’s how good a team has been.  WSU may have been missing Fred Van Vleet for some early season games, but they still have just one win against the top 92 in the RPI (though it is a very good Utah team), just four top 100 wins, and two fairly bad losses (at HOME to Northern Iowa and at Illinois State). I have WSU at an 11 and they will likely need to win the Missouri Valley tournament to get in.  If not, they will get in by the skin of their teeth. If WSU is a high seed in the tournament, I will admit I’m wrong. But to me, the best case scenario for WSU is the 8-9 game. And that’s if things go really well.

The last team I want to mention is Oregon State. Many have them in the First Four, just barely making the field. Not me. I will lock them with a win over USC or UCLA.  They have no bad losses, SIX top 50 RPI wins, and they have four wins over other locked teams. They may not end up as a single digit seed, but they are almost assured of making the field.

 

 

 

 

 

3/2 Bracket Projection

MIDWEST 

1 Kansas

16 Tex Southern / Wagner

8 So Carolina

9 USC

5 Purdue

12 San Diego St

4 Duke

13 Akron

6 Iowa

11 Wichita St

3 Utah

14 Stony Brook

7 Colorado

10 UConn

2 Michigan St

15 SF Austin

WEST

1 Oklahoma

16 Weber St

8 Oregon St

9 Vanderbilt

5 Cal

12 Valpo

4 Kentucky

13 UNC-Wilmington

6 Arizona

11 St Mary’s

3 UNC

14 Hawaii

7 Notre Dame

10 Michigan

2 Oregon

15 N Mexico St

EAST

1 Villanova

16 Bucknell / North Florida

8 St Joe’s

9 Pitt

5 Baylor

12 Monmouth

4 Indiana

13 South Dakota St

6 Texas Tech

11 Alabama / Butler

3 Miami

14 Yale

7 Seton Hall

10 Syracuse

2 West Virginia

15 Winthrop

SOUTH

1 Virginia

16 Hampton

8 Dayton

9 Providence

5 Texas A&M

12 Little Rock

4 Iowa St

13 Chattanooga

6 Texas

11 St Bonaventure / Tulsa

3 Maryland

14 UAB

7 Wisconsin

10 Cincinnati

2 Xavier

15 Belmont

 

First Four Out – VCU, Temple, Florida, Stanford

 

Bracket Projection – 2/28/16

MIDWEST

1 Kansas – 16 Texas Southern / Wagner

8 Pitt – 9 Dayton

5 Iowa St – 12 S Diego St

4 Purdue – 13 Akron

6 Indiana – 11 Syracuse / Alabama

3 Miami – 14 IPFW

7 Notre Dame – 10 Cincinnati

2 Xaver – 15 SF Austin

WEST

1 Oklahoma – 16 Weber St

8 Oregon St – 9 Vanderbilt

5 Texas A&M – 12 St Mary’s

4 Duke – 13 Yale

6 Cal – 11 Michigan

3 Maryland – 14 Hawaii

7 Seton Hall – 10 Uconn

2 Oregon – 15 New Mexico St

EAST

1 Virginia – 16 Hampton

8 St Joe’s – 9 Providence

5 Baylor- 12 Little Rock

4 Iowa – 13 UNC Wilmington

6 Arizona – 11 Wichita St

3 Utah – 14 Stony Brook

7 Colorado – 10 Monmouth

2 W Virginia – 15 Winthrop

SOUTH

1 Villanova – 16 Bucknell / N Florida

8 USC – 9 South Carolina

5  Kentucky  – 12 Valpo

4 Texas – 13 Chattanooga

6 Texas Tech – 11 Florida / VCU

3 UNC – 14 UAB

7 Wisconsin – 10 Tulsa

2 Michigan St – 15 Belmont

 

Last 4 Out –  Butler, St Bonaventure, Temple, Gonzaga

 

I’m Graham Doeren, former NCAA / Turner Sports Super 10 Men’s Basketball Selection Committee member. I’ve been projecting brackets since I was in elementary school (which was a long time ago now) and will be updating brackets on this site.

I do a bi-weekly radio show with USA Today bracketologist Shelby Mast and RPI expert Warren Nolan. You can listen to us live on Sundays at 11 am eastern and Wednesdays at 8 pm eastern, or you can listen to previously broadcasted podcasts (which we call Bracket Rabble).