The NCAA bracketology season for 2016 is in full-swing, and the teams on the bubble are coming clear with just one day left until Selection Sunday.
Championship weekend is nearing the end, and after a few surprises — including Michigan’s upset over Indiana — the NCAA bracket picture is starting to shape up.
As CBS bracketology expert Jerry Palm noted, the teams at the bottom of the NCAA tournament bubble don’t have particularly strong resumes this year. In what he terms “Outlier Central,” Palm outlines what he sees as the teams on the bubble.
• Michigan: A paltry four top 100 wins in 15 tries and the possibility of one victory more coming Saturday.
• Monmouth: Three bad losses and a more than half of their schedule filled with 200+ RPI teams.
• St. Mary’s: Has more than half of its schedule filled with 200+ RPI teams.
Friday wasn’t a great day for teams on the NCAA Tournament bubble either. In the Atlantic 10 Tournament alone, George Washington and St. Bonaventure both lost in the quarterfinals. While that likely won’t knock the surprising Bonnies out of the bracket — instead dropping them down to a 10-seed, or perhaps a trip to Dayton to pay in the First Four — it will doom the hopes of George Washington, which needed a deep run in the A-10 Tournament in order to find a spot in the tournament.
Tulsa and South Carolina also both suffered losses on Friday, and Syracuse’s bubble may have already burst after a loss to Pittsburgh.
As Syracuse noted, the Orange had some other setbacks as well with wins by UConn and Michigan.
“Syracuse was hurt early in the day as big-name teams like UConn and Michigan strengthened their bubble bids by utilizing buzzer-beaters. Later in the evening, though, spots seemingly held by St. Bonaventure and South Carolina may have opened up thanks to upsets.”
“As a reminder, Syracuse has a record of 19-13 and an RPI of 66 (according to ESPN) as of Friday night. The website Bracket Matrix, a collection of projections, currently ranks the Orange as the third team out of the NCAA Tournament, putting the Orange right on the edge heading into Selection Sunday.”
ESPN expert Joe Lunardi also has bad news for the Orange, placing them among the first four teams out. The others included Saint Mary’s, Michigan, and Valparaiso.
Bracket Matrix, which compiles the full brackets from more than two dozen experts, finds that there is a pretty clear consensus on the teams currently on the bubble. It found that Tulsa, Monmouth, Syracuse, and Michigan are the last teams out. The last four teams in the bracket are Vanderbilt, Saint Mary’s, Connecticut, and Virginia Commonwealth.
On the other end of the bracket, there is some more consensus. Kansas is seen as the across-the-board No. 1 overall, with most bracketology experts also settling on Villanova, Virginia, and Oklahoma as the other No. 1 seeds. There are some voters who put Michigan State as a No. 1 seed and a few odd ones who give North Carolina a top seed, but these teams are most likely to find No. 2 seeds.
The rest of the bracket will play out between Saturday and Sunday’s semifinal and championship games, but there may not be a lot of wiggle room left as many of the bubble teams are already out (with the exception of Michigan), so there may not be a lot of drama come Selection Sunday.
[Picture by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]