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Bracketology 2018: Resetting the bubble heading into the final week

With little changing at the top of the bracket on Sunday, today’s projection is complemented by a closer examination of the teams still in the race for the final at-large bids.

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Southern California
The bubble is the focus of today’s bracket post, with the Pac-12 heavily featured.
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday’s American Athletic regular season finales and the Big Ten Tournament championship game didn’t create any seismic shifts in the bracket when compared to yesterday’s version. However, the Cincinnati Bearcats’ win on the Wichita State Shockers’ home floor — a result that sealed the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament for the Bearcats — and the Michigan Wolverines’ second straight Big Ten auto bid — earned with an impressive victory over the Purdue Boilermakers — did lead to some relatively minor changes to lines two through four.

Three mid-major conference champions joined the Wolverines in the field yesterday afternoon. And each member of the trio has a story to tell.

First, the Radford Highlanders claimed the Big South’s auto bid with the first buzzer-beater of the Championship Fortnight. They’re in the field for the third time ever and the first since 2009.

Then, the Lipscomb Bisons won on the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles’ home floor to claim the ASUN’s title and their first-ever NCAA appearance, though they had to fend off a furious comeback by the home team to do so.

Last, but certainly not least, the Loyola of Chicago Ramblers took their fate out of the Selection Committee’s hands by pounding the Illinois State Redbirds in the Missouri Valley final. That’s something their opposition was unable to do just one season ago.

The Ramblers’ tournament drought wasn’t quite at pre-2017 Northwestern long, but the 1963 NCAA champs last reached the field back in 1985. That team reached the Sweet 16. This team, which defeated the Florida Gators on their own floor in December, has that potential.

After today’s full bracket and rundown, it’s time to more closely examine the pros and cons of the remaining bubble teams as we get ready for the remainder of the power conference tournaments to unfold starting tomorrow.

1. South (Left) and 2. East (Right)

Atlanta (Thu./Sat.) Boston (Fri./Sun.)
Atlanta (Thu./Sat.) Boston (Fri./Sun.)
Charlotte (Fri./Sun.) Pittsburgh (Thu./Sat.)
1. Virginia (ACC) 1. Villanova
16. SE La./Ark.-Pine Bluff 16. RADFORD/Hampton
8. Arkansas 8. Rhode Island (A 10)
9. Butler 9. Kansas State
San Diego (Fri./Sun.) Boise (Thu./Sat.)
5. Ohio State 5. West Virginia
12. Arizona State/Alabama 12. Buffalo (MAC)
4. Texas Tech 4. Gonzaga (WCC)
13. Vermont (AE) 13. MURRAY STATE (OVC)
Wichita (Thu./Sat.) Pittsburgh (Thu./Sat.)
6. Texas A&M 6. Kentucky
11. Texas 11. Marquette/USC
3. MICHIGAN (Big Ten) 3. North Carolina
14. Bucknell (Patriot) 14. College of Charleston (CAA)
Nashville (Fri./Sun.) Detroit (Fri./Sun.)
7. TCU 7. Seton Hall
10. N.C. State 10. St. Bonaventure
2. Cincinnati (American) 2. Michigan State
15. Harvard (Ivy) 15. Wright State (Horizon)

4. West (Left) and 3. Midwest (Right)

Los Angeles (Thu./Sat.) Omaha (Fri./Sun.)
Los Angeles (Thu./Sat.) Omaha (Fri./Sun.)
Charlotte (Fri./Sun.) Detroit (Fri./Sun.)
1. Duke 1. Xavier (Big East)
16. LIPSCOMB (ASUN) 16. Iona (MAAC)
8. Creighton 8. Nevada (MW)
9. Oklahoma 9. Florida State
San Diego (Fri./Sun.) Boise (Thu./Sat.)
5. Florida 5. Clemson
12. New Mexico State (WAC) 12. LOYOLA (ILL.) (MVC)
4. Arizona (Pac-12) 4. Wichita State
13. South Dakota State (Summit) 13. Louisiana (Sun Belt)
Dallas (Thu./Sat.) Dallas (Thu./Sat.)
6. Houston 6. Miami (Fla.)
11. Saint Mary's 11. UCLA
3. Tennessee 3. Auburn (SEC)
14. Montana (Big Sky) 14. UNCG (SoCon)
Nashville (Fri./Sun.) Wichita (Thu./Sat.)
7. Virginia Tech 7. Missouri
10. Providence 10. Middle Tennessee (C-USA)
2. Purdue 2. Kansas (Big 12)
15. UC Davis (Big West) 15. Wagner (NEC)

First Four

SOUTH (Automatic) EAST (Automatic) SOUTH (At-Large) MIDWEST (At-Large)
SOUTH (Automatic) EAST (Automatic) SOUTH (At-Large) MIDWEST (At-Large)
To Charlotte (Wed.) To Pittsburgh (Tue.) To San Diego (Wed.) To Pittsburgh (Tue.)
16. SE Louisiana (Southland) 16. RADFORD (Big South) 12. Arizona State 11. Marquette
16. Ark.-Pine Bluff (SWAC) 16. Hampton (MEAC) 12. Alabama 11. USC
KEY: ALL CAPS = clinched auto bid * = new to bracket ↑ = seed rising ↓ = seed falling

Rundown

LAST EIGHT IN FIRST EIGHT OUT ARRIVALS DEPARTURES
LAST EIGHT IN FIRST EIGHT OUT ARRIVALS DEPARTURES
St. Bonaventure Syracuse Lipscomb FGCU
Providence Louisville
Saint Mary's Utah
UCLA Baylor
Marquette (Dayton) Oklahoma State
USC (Dayton) Notre Dame
Arizona State (Dayton) Washington
Alabama (Dayton) Boise State

Bids by Conference

Conference Bids Teams (in Seed List Order)
Conference Bids Teams (in Seed List Order)
ACC 8 Virginia (auto bid), Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, Miami (Fla.), Virginia Tech, Florida State, N.C. State
SEC 8 Auburn (auto bid), Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama (First Four)
Big 12 7 Kansas (auto bid), Texas Tech, West Virginia, TCU, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas
Big East 7 Villanova, Xavier (auto bid), Seton Hall, Creighton, Butler, Providence, Marquette (First Four)
Big Ten 4 Michigan State, Purdue, Michigan (auto bid), Ohio State
Pac-12 4 Arizona (auto bid), UCLA, USC (First Four), Arizona State (First Four)
American 3 Cincinnati (auto bid), Wichita State, Houston
A 10 2 Rhode Island (auto bid), St. Bonaventure
WCC 2 Gonzaga (auto bid), Saint Mary's

In today’s expanded look at the bubble, I’m going beyond the “Last Four In” and “First Four Out” to give the pros and cons of the cases for the 10 teams in the field closest to the cut line and the 12 teams on the other side aiming to bump them out.

Currently In

St. Bonaventure Bonnies

24-6, 14-4 A 10 (No. 2 seed); RPI: 21; KenPom: 63; “Super Average”: 42.8; SOS: 88

Pros: The Bonnies own a 3-2 record against Group 1 with wins over Rhode Island at home and MAC regular season champ Buffalo and fellow bubble team Syracuse on the road. They’re also 4-2 against Group 2, with their most notable victory coming over Maryland on a neutral floor. St. Bonaventure also plays well away from home, racking up a 9-4 mark in true road games, going 2-1 on neutral floors (with the loss coming to TCU). Plus, the Bonnies head into the Atlantic 10 Tournament riding a 12-game winning streak.

Cons: For all the good they’ve done, the Bonnies three of the Bonnies’ six losses came against teams ranked outside of the RPI top 100 (Dayton and Saint Joseph’s on the road and Niagara at home). Plus, their victory over Rhode Island is the only one they can claim over a team currently in the field

Next game: vs. Duquesne or Richmond, Friday

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

23-6, 16-2 C-USA (No. 1 seed); RPI: 28; KenPom: 45; “Super Average”: 43; SOS: 83

Pros: The Blue Raiders split a half-dozen Group 1 games, picking up wins over Murray State, Western Kentucky and Old Dominion, all of which came in true road games. They’re also 2-1 against Group 2 with a home win over WKU the best RPI win, even if the Vanderbilt one came against a bigger brand name. And if you thought St. Bonaventure was good on the road, take a look at this — Middle is a staggering 12-1 in true road games.

Cons: Kermit Davis’ squad probably wishes it had another shot at a trio of neutral-site games against teams currently ranked in the RPI top 40 (Auburn, Miami and USC). A win in just one of those contest would have provided a major boost. And possible danger lurks this week at the C-USA Tournament in Frisco, Texas. The Blue Raiders could face Marshall, a team that just swept them, in the semifinals.

Next game: vs. Southern Miss. or FIU, Thursday

Providence Friars

19-12, 10-8 Big East (No. 5 seed); RPI: 43; KenPom: 71; “Super Average”: 54.8; SOS: 24

Pros: The Friars own victories over both Villanova and Xavier, ranked second and third in the RPI. They’re also 5-1 against Group 2, highlighted by top 50 home victories over Big East rivals Creighton and Butler and a potentially tie-breaking neutral-floor win against Washington

Cons: Despite those quality wins, the Friars have been inconsistent, going just 3-8 against Group 1 and 8-9 against Groups 1 and 2 combined. Most damagingly, they also own three Group 4 losses, though only a road loss to UMass came against a team ranked outside of the top 200. In general, Providence struggled away from home only going 6-8 in road/neutral games.

Next game: vs. Creighton, Thursday

Saint Mary’s Gaels

28-4, 16-2 WCC (No. 2 seed); RPI: 36; KenPom: 25; “Super Average”: 36.3; SOS: 184

Pros: Metrics, both of the results-based and predictive varieties, love the Gaels, thanks to their overwhelming number of wins, highlighted by a road victory over Gonzaga. That win is one of the 10 Saint Mary’s recorded in 11 true road games

Cons: The Gaels have played five total games against Groups 1 and 2 to date, with that victory over Gonzaga serving as their only Group 1 win. Randy Bennett’s team also owns two Group 3 losses, though neither of those came against a team ranked outside of top 200. However, the Gaels’ schedule was rather weak, as a whopping 25 of their 28 wins fall under Groups 3 and 4

Next game: vs. BYU, Monday

UCLA Bruins

20-10, 11-7 Pac-12 (No. 4 seed); RPI: 38; KenPom: 49; “Super Average”: 45.8; SOS: 54

Pros: The Bruins’ picked up a trio of Group 1 wins away from Pauley Pavilion (Kentucky in New Orleans, at both Arizona and USC), and they’ve also managed a 4-2 record in Group 2 games, though all of those wins came at home.

Cons: UCLA’s overall Group 1 mark of 3-6 and combined Group 1 and 2 record of 7-8 are disappointing. The Bruins have also managed a pair of Group 3 losses, though neither came against team ranked outside of top 150. And despite the Bruins’ top tier road wins, their overall record in true road games is a poor 3-7. (This mark jumps to 6-8 when factoring in neutral-site contests.) A sweep by Colorado, a team that’s fallen out of the picture, might also come back to haunt them.

Next game: vs. Cal or Stanford, Thursday

Texas Longhorns

18-13, 8-10 Big 12 (No. 7 seed); RPI: 48; KenPom: 40; “Super Average”: 40; SOS: 16

Pros: The Longhorns own five Group 1 wins, with three of those coming away from Austin (Butler in Portland, Alabama in Birmingham, Oklahoma on the road). Texas also hasn’t lost to a team ranked worse than 88th in the RPI.

Cons: While Shaka Smart’s team has some quality wins, its overall Group 1 record of 5-10 and Group 1 and 2 mark of 8-13 leave much to be desired. The same goes for a 4-7 record in true road games and 5-9 mark in all games played away from home. In conference play, the Longhorns only defeated Oklahoma and Iowa State on the road. They were also swept by Baylor, who currently sits just outside this projection.

Next game: vs. Iowa State, Wednesday

Marquette Golden Eagles

18-12, 9-9 Big East (No. 7 seed); RPI: 57; KenPom: 50; “Super Average”: 48.2; SOS: 26

Pros: The Golden Eagles took advantage of the strong Big East, sweeping likely at-large squads Seton Hall and Creighton and defeating Providence on the road. They also posted a 7-6 mark in all games played away from Milwaukee.

Cons: Like so many on this list, Marquette’s 4-7 record in Group 1 games and 8-10 mark against Groups 1 and 2 illustrate that they didn’t take advantage of all of their opportunities. The Golden Eagles have also lost to St. John’s, Georgia and, most damagingly, DePaul, with the latter two defeats dropping into Group 3. A 5-5 record in true road games is also not optimal.

Next game: vs. DePaul, Wednesday

USC Trojans

21-10, 12-6 Pac-12 (No. 2 seed); RPI: 34; KenPom: 46; “Super Average”: 44.7; SOS: 45

Pros: The Trojans won four of their nine games played against Group 1, with all four of those wins coming away from home). They also split eight games against Group 2 (going 2-2 both home and away). USC also did fairly well away from the Galen Center, going 9-6 in games played away from home, though they only managed six victories in 11 true road games.

Cons: USC’s best wins both came in Hawaii over Christmas week (over Middle Tennessee and New Mexico State), so they don’t have a victory over a team likely to be in the field. They were also swept by crosstown rival UCLA and their loss to SMU, once a respectable one, has taken a hit thanks to Shake Milton’s injury and the Mustangs’ subsequent collapse. Andy Enfield’s team also lost to Princeton (a Group 4 team that didn’t qualify for the Ivy League Tournament).

Next game: vs. Oregon State or Washington, Thursday

Arizona State Sun Devils

20-10, 8-10 Pac-12 (No. 9 seed); RPI: 58; KenPom: 38; “Super Average”: 46.5; SOS: 69

Pros: The Sun Devils’ early neutral-site win over No. 3 Xavier and road victory over No. 5 Kansas are still paying dividends here in early March. Arizona State has also managed respectable records against Group 1 (3-4), Groups 1 and 2 (7-8) and road/neutral opponents (7-6).

Cons: While this isn’t supposed to matter now, Arizona State has finished poorly, dropping four of its last five — a skid that followed a three-game winning streak in early February. But those struggles are a symptom of a team that never seemed to adjust to conference play. After starting the season 12-0, Bobby Hurley’s team has gone 8-10 since. The Sun Devils also own two Group 3 losses, though only one came against a team from outside of the top 100. ASU was swept by both Stanford and Oregon and is only 4-6 in true road games.

Next game: vs. Colorado, Wednesday

Alabama Crimson Tide

17-14, 8-10 SEC (No. 9 seed); RPI: 59; KenPom: 53; “Super Average”: 52.2; SOS: 5

Pros: The Crimson Tide have the quality wins to get in the field, as they’ve gone 5-6 against Group 1, with four top 25 wins. And that schedule quality is reflected all the way down to Alabama’s worst games. The Tide have played just two games against teams ranked outside of the RPI top 200.

Cons: Again, Alabama didn’t take advantage of all of its opportunities, going just 9-12 in all games played against Groups 1 and 2. Making matters worse, only three of those wins came away from home. The Tide also have a pair of Group 3 losses, though only the one against Minnesota came against a team outside of the top 100 (and that’s a loss that looked far better back in November). Avery Johnson’s team also hasn’t traveled well, going 2-8 in true road games and 6-9 in all games played off-campus. They’ve also finished poorly, dropping five in a row heading into the SEC Tournament.

Next game: vs. Texas A&M, Thursday

Currently Out

Syracuse Orange

19-12, 8-10 ACC (No. 11 seed); RPI: 40; KenPom: 51; “Super Average”: 47; SOS: 12

Pros: The Orange have picked up a trio of Group 1 wins, including two late ones over top 25 teams (Clemson at home and Miami on the road). Add a victory over Virginia Tech to those and Syracuse has three wins over teams likely in the field.

Cons: Those three Group 1 wins are the only ones Syracuse has picked up in 10 chances. They’ve also only gone 6-10 against Groups 1 and 2 combined. A pair of Group 3 losses (Georgia Tech and Wake Forest) might also cost Jim Boeheim’s squad. The Orange have also struggled away from the Carrier Dome, going 4-6 in true road games and 5-7 when factoring in neutral-site contests.

Next game: vs. Wake Forest, Tuesday

Louisville Cardinals

19-12, 9-9 ACC (No. 9 seed); RPI: 46; KenPom: 34; “Super Average”: 40.5; SOS: 21

Pros: Like Syracuse, the Cardinals also own three Group 1 wins, all of which came in true road games. Louisville has also avoided bad losses — the Cards’ worst setback came against 55th-ranked N.C. State. David Padgett’s team swept Virginia Tech and has three wins against teams likely in the field.

Cons: This is another team that couldn’t convert its chances, going 3-10 in Group 1 games and 4-12 in games against Groups 1 and 2. Louisville also lacks a true marquee win. It’s best victory by RPI came against 44th-ranked Florida State. They’ve also struggled away from Louisville, going 5-7 in road/neutral situations.

Next game: vs. Florida State, Wednesday

Baylor Bears

17-13, 8-10 Big 12 (No. 6 seed); RPI: 61; KenPom: 33; “Super Average”: 42.7; SOS: 18

Pros: Home wins over fifth-ranked Kansas and 22nd-ranked Texas Tech and a neutral-site win over Creighton highlight the Bears’ quartet of Group 1 victories. Baylor also has just one sub-100 loss (Iowa State). Scott Drew’s team also managed to sweep Oklahoma State.

Cons: Baylor’s not all that great playing away from home, going just 2-9 in true road games (though they went 2-0 in Kansas City in November). The Bears are yet another team that failed to take advantage of the many opportunities offered it — going 4-10 in all Group 1 games and 7-13 in Group 1 and 2 contests. Those loss totals included sweeps at the hands of Kansas State and TCU.

Next game: vs. West Virginia, Thursday

Utah Utes

19-10, 11-7 Pac-12 (No. 3 seed); RPI: 47; KenPom: 62; “Super Average”: 59.7; SOS: 61

Pros: The Utes managed three Group 1 wins, all of which came on the road against bubble competition (Arizona State, Washington, Oregon). Utah also picked up a nice home non-conference win over Missouri. There’s no shame in Utah’s line Group 3 loss — UNLV in a virtual road game — or in the fact they went 7-7 in road/neutral games.

Cons: The Utes’ overall Group 1 (3-5) and Group 1 and 2 (7-9) marks illustrate that they couldn’t defeat quality opposition consistently. Sweeps by Arizona Wildcats and USC look like the biggest missed opportunities heading into the Pac-12 Tournament. Finally, Utah’s 206th-ranked non-conference strength of schedule won’t stack up well in the committee room (even if it’s better than many of the ones you’ll see below).

Next game: vs. Oregon or Washington State, Thursday

Oklahoma State Cowboys

18-13, 8-10 Big 12 (No. 8 seed); RPI: 88; KenPom: 57; “Super Average”: 35.8; SOS: 57

Pros: The Cowboys somewhat quietly managed five Group 1 wins, highlighted by a sweep of Kansas, a win at West Virginia and a semi-road victory over Florida State. They also managed to avoid bad losses — a sweep by 62nd-ranked Kansas State is the worst you’ll find on their selection sheet.

Cons: Mike Boynton’s team struggled in true road games (3-7), though they did pick up a pair of neutral-site wins. The Cowboys are yet another team that didn’t win consistently enough against quality foes — going 5-10 in all Group 1 games and 9-13 against Groups 1 and 2 games — and sweeps by TCU, Kansas State and Baylor reflect this. A non-conference SOS rank of 283rd also doesn’t help matters.

Next game: vs. Oklahoma, Wednesday

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

17-13, 8-10 ACC (No. 11 seed); RPI: 66; KenPom: 28; “Super Average”: 45; SOS: 42

Pros: The Irish have four impressive victories on their profile: a Maui Invitational championship triumph over Wichita State; a win at Syracuse; and home victories over Florida State and N.C. State. They also have Bonzie Colson back from injury, just in time for the ACC Tournament.

Cons: Notre Dame picked up a trio of Group 3 losses, all to teams from outside of the top 100. They’ve also struggled away from home, going 5-7 in true road games and 7-8 in all road/neutral contests, and against quality competition winning just twice in 10 chances against Group 1 foes and going 6-10 when combining Groups 1 and 2. Sure, many of those losses came when Colson and Matt Farrell were out, but injuries are more seriously considered in seeding, not selection.

Next game: vs. Pittsburgh, Tuesday

Washington Huskies

20-11, 10-8 Pac-12 (No. 7 seed); RPI: 63; KenPom: 97; “Super Average”: 82.2; SOS: 51

Pros: Like Arizona State, the Huskies defeated Kansas (in Kansas City). They also picked up quality home wins over Arizona and Arizona State and a vital road win over USC.

Cons: Predictive-based metrics don’t like the Huskies at all, as they rank in the 90s or worse in all three the Committee uses. Washington is also a poor 3-7 in Group 1 games and 5-10 against Groups 1 and 2. The Huskies were also swept by a trio of Pac-12 foes — Oregon, Utah and Stanford. A double-overtime loss at Oregon State (UW’s only Group 3 loss and only one to a team from outside of top 100) is bad and somewhat reflects the Huskies’ 4-5 mark in true road games.

Next game: vs. Oregon State, Wednesday

Boise State Broncos

22-7, 13-5 Mountain West (No. 2 seed); RPI: 42; KenPom: 52; “Super Average”: 52.3; SOS: 118

Pros: After going the longest time without a Group 1 win, the Broncos’ victories over Loyola of Chicago and Oregon now qualify for that status. As a result, they’ve gone 2-2 against Group 1 and 6-5 against Groups 1 and 2. Boise State’s has also played decently away from home, going 8-6 in road/neutral-site games.

Cons: Leon Rice’s squad has three sub-100 losses, all coming away from home, with two falling under Group 3. 18 of the Broncos’ 22 wins came against teams from outside of the top 100, which makes sense since they had the 216th-ranked non-conference SOS. Also, defeating Nevada just once in league play would have made Boise State’s case a bit stronger.

Next game: vs. Utah State or Colorado State, Thursday

Oregon Ducks

20-11, 10-8 Pac-12 (No. 2 seed); RPI: 67; KenPom: 65; “Super Average”: 63.8; SOS: 76

Pros: The Ducks picked up Group 1 wins over Arizona, Arizona State and Washington, with the latter coming two on the road. They also managed a respectable 7-8 record against Groups 1 and 2, which includes sweeps of the Sun Devils and Huskies.

Cons: On the flip side, Oregon managed three sub-100 losses, all of which fall under Group 3. Also 13 of their 20 victories came against teams from outside of the top 100, reflected in their 224th-ranked non-conference SOS. The home loss to Boise State hurts, as does a 4-6 record in true road games. When expanded to include neutral-site contests, that mark drops to 5-8. That’s troubling since all three of the Ducks’ neutral games to date were played in Portland.

Next game: vs. Washington State, Wednesday

Nebraska Cornhuskers

22-10, 13-5 Big Ten (No. 4 seed); RPI: 64; KenPom: 56; “Super Average”: 57.7; SOS: 96

Pros: The Cornhuskers defeated Michigan, now 13th in the RPI, at home and recorded a pair of Group 2 wins. It’s difficult to ignore Nebraska’s overall and conference win totals and decent computer numbers, particularly in the predictive metrics.

Cons: Nebraska lost far more frequently than they won against quality opposition, going 1-6 in Group 1 games and 2-9 against teams in Groups 1 and 2. The Huskers also didn’t schedule well in November and December, with their non-conference schedule ranking 271st. And the gaudy win total doesn’t hold up upon further inspection. Of Nebraska’s 22 wins, a whopping 18 came against teams ranked outside of the top 100. The Huskers’ best non-conference win came against 99th-ranked Boston College. They also struggled away from Lincoln going 4-7 in true road games and 6-9 in road/neutral games.

Next game: None

Penn State Nittany Lions

21-13, 9-9 Big Ten (No. 7 seed); RPI: 76; KenPom: 30; “Super Average”: 49.3; SOS: 74

Pros: Predictive metrics really like the Nittany Lions, who own three wins over Ohio State and a split with Nebraska.

Cons: In pretty much every other metric, Penn State falls short. They went just 3-8 against Group 1 and 5-10 against Groups 1 and 2; 4-7 in road games and 7-9 in road/neutral contests. They also racked up four sub-100 losses and 14 sub-100 wins, with the 261st-ranked non-conference schedule playing a significant role in the latter figure.

Next game: None

Mississippi State Bulldogs

20-10, 9-9 SEC (No. 7 seed); RPI: 69; KenPom: 61; “Super Average”: 63.3; SOS: 93

Pros: The Bulldogs’ own a pair of Group 1 wins (at Texas A&M and over Arkansas at home) and no Group 3 or 4 losses.

Cons: In a year of bubble teams with bad non-conference schedules, Mississippi State fits right in, ranking 296th. They also struggled mightily against stronger competition, going 2-7 against Group 1 games and 5-10 against Groups 1 and 2. However, they feasted on weaker competition, picking up 15 wins over teams ranked outside the top 100 and eight over teams ranked outside the top 200. They also struggled away from Starkville, winning just two of their 10 true road games.

Next game: vs. LSU, Wednesday

What say you? Which of these teams do you think deserve the final 10 spots in the field?

I’ll be back tomorrow with (a much shorter) update, incorporating tonight’s Metro Atlantic Athletic and Southern conference tournament finals and the West Coast semifinals.