Bracketology update: Why every 2018 NCAA Tournament bubble team could burst
Each team that gets 'snubbed' gives the committee a good reason to do so
Fans of teams that get snubbed out of the NCAA Tournament always feel like their team's omission is one of the most egregious miscarriages of justice in the history of sport. And the history of justice.
However, the one thing that's always true is that each team that got left out gave the selection committee a good reason to omit them. Whether it ranges from a soft schedule to soft results, there's something about every bubble team that is not quite good enough.
And make no mistake -- there are also some fine qualities of the teams that are left out and some flaws in the teams that crawl onto the bottom of the bracket. However, no whining will be tolerated. If your team got left out, it has no one to but itself to blame.
Look at every team on the bubble in my Sunday morning bracketology projection, and each has a flaw that could keep them out -- even the last four in. Here's why, on a case-by case basis …
Soft conference schedule and soft non-conference schedule does not make for a great combination. Splitting road and road with Gonzaga worked out better for the Gaels than home and home would have. If not for the win over the Zags, their wins would be similar to those of USC.
FIX: Beat Washington State. The Cougars were not good this year. Since this was in a tournament, losing also meant missing out on a chance to play a better team in the next round.
The Sooners authored one of the all-time tank jobs, although arguably not even the worst this season. Almost all of the good they did prior to mid-January has disappeared.
FIX: One more win -- really, any win -- would have had Oklahoma more comfortably in the field. Beating Texas at home would probably have been easiest.
The Orange played a good non-conference schedule, and that may be what keeps them in the field. They had a lot of chances to pick up higher quality wins, but did not hit on enough of them.
FIX: Beat Notre Dame at home. Syracuse caught the Irish shortly after Bonzie Colson got hurt and still couldn't get the win.
The Golden Eagles also had a lot of chances at quality wins by virtue of being in the Big East. They are a game below .500 against the top three quadrants. That is not necessarily fatal, but not good either.
FIX: Either beat Georgia at home or DePaul on the road. Those are both games Marquette should be able to win.
The Cards played 18 games against quadrants 1-2 and managed only five wins. They are lucky the quadrant system is in place. Last year's system would show them as 0-11 vs the RPI top 50. They would be gone for sure.
FIX: This one is easy, but painful. Finish off Virginia.
The Trojans have what looks a lot like a typical resume of one of the better non-major conference regular season champions, except those other teams usually have a lot of road wins. USC beat a couple of good teams, but nobody that is at-large quality. Middle Tennessee bombing in its conference tournament hurt USC almost as much as it hurt the Blue Raiders.
FIX: Beat UCLA at home.
The Blue Raiders, like USC, do not have any sure tournament wins, but probably could have survived a loss deeper in its conference tournament. Still, not having that eye-catching win could have had them left out.
FIX: Beat Auburn or Miami. They played both teams tough, but could not finish the job.
The Sun Devils tank job was even worse than Oklahoma's because they were losing to Pac-12 teams instead of Big 12 teams, and most of those are not going to the NCAA tournament. In fact, 9 of the 11 teams that beat ASU will not be in the field. If the Sun Devils get in, having nine losses to non-tournament teams would be a record.
FIX: Just one more win and it is a different conversation. Beat Stanford at home. Or Oregon. Or Utah.
They didn't have Bonzie Colson for a couple of months and their resume is lacking in the quality win department, but they also have three bad losses. Two of those came before Colson was injured. Their RPI in games with and without Colson is each in the mid-60s. Sure, they probably are better with Bonzie in the lineup, but the results do not necessarily bear that out.
FIX: Beat Ball State at home. They lost that one before Colson got hurt.
The Cowboys are this year's version of Syracuse from last season in the sense that they have a handful of pretty good wins, but the rest of the resume is so bad that the team has an RPI in the mid-80s. It is also similar in that everyone seems to think the good wins overwhelm everything else. It wasn't true last year and it won't be this year. Teams with their positives get left out surprisingly often. Teams with their negatives have never once made the field.
FIX: OSU swept Kansas, but was swept by TCU, Kansas State and Baylor. Beating Baylor at home fixes a lot of problems.
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