It is Feb. 1, which means that everyone can start to reasonably wonder about the postseason. The NCAA tournament is what every team (well, except NJIT and Brown at this point), sees as the shining light at the end of the season long struggle.Which teams will make it? There are lots of Bracketologists you could check out. For the past six seasons at Big Apple Buckets and before that at Chicago College Basketball I’ve focused on projecting the NIT bracket. One of the best tools to just get a feel for the bubble is the Easiest Bubble Solver.
Developed by Drew Cannon for Basketball Prospectus back in 2012 it’s explained in only eight words, “Add a team’s KenPom rank to their RPI.” Of course executing that means have both rankings systems matched up properly. Well, I did the work. So now you can just check out the EBS results in the embed below.
The Easiest Bubble Solver has a few interesting results if you actually put the teams into the NCAA bracket (click on the NCAA tab).
- St. John’s, Florida, North Carolina St., and BYU are the last five teams into the NCAA tournament. I haven’t seen the Cougars talked about as an at-large much at all, but EBS has them right on the edge.
- Alabama, Temple,Tulsa, Richmond and Miami (FL) are the first five teams out of the NCAA tournament. The Hurricanes are ranked 23rd in both polls right now, but not in the NCAA tournament according to EBS. Neither their RPI (48th) nor their KenPom rank (62nd) is particularly impressive either.
- Arizona St., South Carolina, Stephen F. Austin, Minnesota, and Florida are all rated much higher by KenPom than by RPI. Still, SFA looks like a fringe bubble team according to EBS. ASU is ranked 88th according to EBS and USC is 70th, so it’s probably better luck next season for them.
- UMass, Tennessee, Providence, Old Dominion, and Colorado St. all benefit from the RPI’s formula. These teams rank 50th, 40th, 47th, 52nd, and 16th in KenPom’s luck metric respectively. They’ve also played scheduled designed for NCAA tournament inclusion. It might not be enough for the Minutemen or Volunteers, but all five teams are at least in the conversation still.