The Bubble: 2017

Might as well start a thread. Here appears to be some good news.
Locks: Kentucky
Teams that should be in: Florida, South Carolina
Work left to do: Tennessee, Arkansas

The Wildcats are 18-5, coming off three losses in their past four games (one of which was a huge missed opportunity at home against Kansas, and the latest of which was a decisive beatdown at Florida), dealing with a banged up De’Aaron Fox, and answering restless fans’ questions about why star guard Malik Monk was (gasp!) smiling at the end of the Gators’ 88-66 loss in Gainesville. (The Florida fans were singing “Happy Birthday” on Monk’s 19th; it caught him off guard.) The Watch will admit to being slightly tempted in the matter of Kentucky’s lock status, or, rather, the lack thereof. But that would be an overreaction. The Wildcats will be fine.

Florida [18-5 (8-2), RPI: 8, SOS: 14] A year ago, during coach Mike White’s first season, Florida hovered just out of view, beating bad teams and losing to good ones and never really altering their NIT trajectory all season. The Gators occasionally flashed some brilliant defense early on before finally ending up ranked seventh in points and points allowed per possession in SEC play. They were … blah. What’s funny is how similarly this season seemed to be going right up until the moment White’s team bum-rushed Kentucky on Saturday. It’s officially time to take notice, and doing so reveals a team with elite RPI and schedule numbers, a top-10 adjusted efficiency rank per, and the No. 5 spot in ESPN’s BPI formula. This team is legit. Now we know.

South Carolina [19-4 (9-1), RPI: 19, SOS: 47] Out-guarding Florida on a nightly basis takes some doing, but South Carolina has continually pulled it off, punishing opponents with the SEC’s stingiest per-trip defense, one that ranks overall alongside the Louisvilles and Virginias of the world. The problem has been offense, or a glaring absence therein, which is how results like a 54-point effort in a late-December loss at Memphis came to be. Still, the combination of smothering defense and Sindarius Thornwell’s offense has usually been enough.

Tennessee [13-10 (5-5), RPI: 35, SOS: 2] Buckle up, Vols fans: This is going to be a weird one. Teams with 10 losses by the first week of February tend not to merit much bubble consideration. The same is true of teams whose losses to top-150 teams (10) outnumber said wins (eight). But when those teams have UT’s schedule – which the RPI sees as No. 2, with a top-10 nonconference schedule rolled in – things get slightly more complicated. Rick Barnes’ team gave itself a massive boost the week by knocking off Kentucky and then Kansas State in Knoxville, before a recent stumble at Mississippi State. UT’s hopes seem destined to go to the wire – and, in the meantime, will fluctuate more on a game-by-game basis than almost anyone.

Arkansas [17-6 (6-4), RPI: 36, SOS: 73] Mike Anderson’s team might be the sneakiest inclusion in any prospective NCAA tournament bracket. Has anyone outside Fayetteville mentioned the Razorbacks all season? There are no marquee wins here, and a stinker of a loss at Missouri, but three road wins in league play (at Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Texas A&M) have sustained the resume of a quiet 10-seed-type team.



No offense, but there is already a thread discussing this.

I think Vandy has popped the bubble.

If we don’t play better than the past few efforts, we will Be on the NIT bubble. this season is his worst coaching effort to date.