Feb 19, 2007

Bubble? What Bubble?

Un-pseudo-related to tempo-free musings, I'd just like to share some brief thoughts on bubbles, the media and the fans that put them there.

Every year, as the season winds down, there are always a slew of teams that have been moderately holding around that off the bubble on the bubble position. Mostly because they've won enough games, regardless of the competition or because they chalked up some "wins" early on, that really shouldn't be valued as heavily (i.e. anyone using LSU as a big win).

Then what happens? Well, some of those teams get a "huge" win, and all of the previous flaws are forgotten, and they're immediately locked into NCAA stature. Be wary of these teams, and question always, the true merits of why they're being placed in the way that they are:

West Virginia:

Record: 19-6
RPI: 49
SOS: 115
Vs. RPI 1-25: 2-2
RPI 26-50: 0-3
"Big" (I'm using this term loosely) wins: Villanova, UCLA

Recap: A team that shouldn't have been considered above a slew of other teams gets a home win against a team missing one of it's best players, and immediately, this team is "safe" and has it's "big" win to secure a birth? Show me at least one good road win and I'd reconsider.


Record: 19-7
RPI: 46
SOS: 91
Vs. RPI 1-25: 0-3
RPI 26-50: 3-3
"Big" wins: @ Texas Tech, Arkansas, Oklahoma St (who probably couldn't win at Iona)

Recap: Let's not talk about what Durant is doing for Texas on the court, how about what he's doing off the court, as in single handily securing a bid (or higher than deserved seed) simply by his name alone. In the mock Selection Sunday put on by the national writers, Texas apparently was discussed as "a team with great potential":

From Andy Katz's blog:
"If Texas were to be close to making the field, I'm convinced the Longhorns would get in based on their ability to win games, the overall youthful talent on the team led by Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustin, and a desire to see this team entertain. Remember, the chore is to put together the 34 best at-large teams to make a competitive field. Texas has been one of the most competitive teams in the country this season, playing overtime games and late-possession games constantly.
So, when it came time to vote, I had no issue making a plea to our group that Texas would make it a better field. The reality is that I didn't care what the Longhorns' RPI was, nor did I check it, because I know Texas would be a tough team to face for anyone in the bracket. Once again, there's nothing wrong with that logic to me, and I wouldn't be surprised if Texas is discussed in that manner next month."

Well, if that's the case, VMI should be in because I know they'll be a tough team for anybody to run with. Always value Katz's opinions, I just cringe however when profiles, results and the like are thrown out in favor of "gut feelings"

I don't doubt that they'll be in this year, but let's not base it on karma, competitiveness, or the fact that they're 9-3 in conference.


Record: 18-8
RPI: 52
SOS: 41
Vs. RPI 1-25: 1-4
RPI 26-50: 1-2
"Big" wins: well, the obvious two this week. Huge no less, but that's it, nothing more.

Now, is that the profile of a 9/10/11 seed? Perhaps. Heck, Butler has been riding their 3 wins all season long from the comfortable perch of a protected seed. Such a soft bubble this year.... but let's not heap the praise on, bump them up to a 7 all of a sudden and just forget the previous 24 games even happened, especially since they could easily close out the final 3 with wins (St. John's, @ uconn, Seton Hall).

Just three listed here, obviously there's a few others. Feel free to put in your two cents.

I will now return to my little bubble of tempo-free silliness.

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