N.C. State's NCAA tournament prospects improved with Friday's win over Virginia in the ACC tournament.
That much we know.
A win today over North Carolina would cement the Wolfpack's spot in the field of 68. Two more wins in the ACC tournament and it wouldn't have to worry about the selection committee because it would have the league's automatic bid.
There are 37 at-large bids, with what looks like 31 "safe" teams. That leaves 17 teams on the bubble for six spots.
I still have Miami, Northwestern and Oregon on the bubble, but those teams can't feel too good about their chances. Conversely, Xavier and BYU probably feel good.
In N.C. State's favor, it has the second-highest-rated nonconference strength of schedule, according to Jerry Palm of CollegeRPI.com, of the 16 teams. The Pack's 6-9 record against the top 100 is also a plus.
Going against N.C. State is its 1-7 mark against the top 50, with a ninth top 50 game (No. 3 UNC) today. Texas (48) stayed in the top 50 after Friday's loss in the Big 12 tournament to Missouri, but Miami (59) and Virginia (52) did not after both lost in the ACC tournament on Friday. The top 50 remains fluid, though, and will until all of the conference tournament play.
Three results from today's conference tournament games could shrink the available bids in the at-large pool.
In the Pac-12, Arizona and Colorado are playing for the league title. Arizona is a bubble team, and Jeff Bzdelik's old Colorado team was NIT bound before beating Utah, Oregon and Cal (the Pac-12's only "safe" team) in succession. That final matchup moves regular-season winner Washington onto the bubble.
In the Atlantic 10, Temple and Saint Louis are safe, but Temple lost to UMass on Friday and either the Minutemen or St. Bonaventure would steal a bid if they were to win the A10 tournament. Saint Louis plays Xavier today in the semifinals, so either UMass or St. Bonnie's will be in the title game.
Marshall, a bubble team, is playing Memphis, a "safe" team, in the Conference USA tournament championship game today.
A comparison of the 17 teams on the bubble:
|RPI||W-L||SoS||top 50||top 100|
Note: SoS is nonconference strength of schedule
And, the "best" wins by the bubble teams:
Iona: Nevada (63), St. Joseph's (70)
South Florida: @ Louisville (18), Cincinnati (40)
BYU: Gonzaga (25), Nevada (63)
Northwestern: Michigan State (5), Seton Hall (67)
Oregon: Washington (69), Colorado (71)
Texas: Temple (17), Iowa State (33, twice)
Miami: @ Duke (4), FSU (2)
N.C. State: Texas (49), Virginia (52)
Xavier: @ Vanderbilt (30), Cincinnati (40)
Ole Miss: Alabama (34), Miami (59)
Seton Hall: Georgetown (13), UConn (32)
Mississippi State: @ Vanderbilt (30), Alabama (34)
Drexel: VCU (38), George Mason (83)
Dayton: @ Temple (17), Saint Louis (29)
Washington: Oregon (30), Arizona (73, twice)
Arizona: @ Cal (36), New Mexico State (65)
And the list of the 31 "safe" teams (note: for counting purposes, the regular-season conference winners — Syracuse, Michigan State, Kansas, UNC, Kentucky, New Mexico, Memphis — presume their respective conference's automatic bid):
Big East (7): Marquette, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Cincinnati, Louisville, West Virginia, UConn
Big Ten (5): Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue
Big 12 (4): Missouri, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State
ACC (3): Florida State, Duke, Virginia
SEC (3): Florida, Vanderbilt, Alabama
Mountain West (3): UNLV, San Diego State, Colorado State
Pac-12 (1): Cal
C-USA (1): Southern Miss
Atlantic 10 (2): Saint Louis, Temple
Missouri Valley (1): Wichita State
West Coast (1): Gonzaga
All RPI numbers and records according to CollegeRPI.com