Bubble Insider: Bubble Busters?
Struggles of mid-majors breed BracketBusters drama
When it comes to schools outside the "big six" conferences, gauging the bubble teams is a much harder exercise. To date we've been basing our assessments on record, RPI and strength of schedule (SOS), while using adjusted scoring margin (ASM) as a predictor of future success. All of those numbers still apply outside of the big six, but making predictions becomes much trickier. Why? In short, because the numbers have a tendency to lie.
Take this year's Siena team for example. Given our predefined "magic number" of 50, at 21-6 and with an RPI of 29, Siena seems like a shoo-in to make the NCAA tournament with an at-large bid, should it need one. However, the Saints' RPI is skewed by the nation's third-toughest nonconference schedule. And while Siena went toe-to-toe with Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh and Kansas, the games all ended with Goliath scraping the Saints off his heel. The Saints are 0-4 against the RPI top 50. A tough schedule is great, but if you want to impress the tournament committee, at some point you have to win those games.
COLLEGE HOOPS ON ESPN INSIDER
ESPN Insider delves into the bracket and the bubble every week:
Inside the Bracket
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- Jansport Men's Michigan Wolverines Blue Tournament Basketball T-shirt