NCAA Bubble Watch

Story posted February 8, 2017 in Sports, CommRadio by Joe Esquivel-Murphy

The regular season for college basketball is coming to a close and the NCAA tournament is just around the corner. Some teams are in desperate need of a better resume and the teams listed below are in need of improving their resume.

California: 17-6 (8-3) RPI: 39 KenPom: 53 SOS: 42

Key wins: USC, Utah

Key loss: San Diego State, Seton Hall

The California Golden Bears have had a pretty successful season this year, considering that they lost their top three scorers from last year to graduation, NBA, and transfer respectively. The return of Ivan Rabb made the Golden Bears a potential tournament team, but he alone could not carry the team.

Their record is pretty impressive, but their best win is against USC and have a loss to another bubble team in Seton Hall. Their computer numbers are solid, but only have two more chances left in securing a spot in the field with games against Arizona and Oregon still left on the schedule.

Clemson: 13-10 (3-8) RPI: 53 KenPom: 42 SOS: 26

Key wins: South Carolina, Wake Forest

Key losses: Georgia Tech, Oklahoma

The ACC has been the best conference in college basketball this season and a team with a terrible conference like Clemson could potentially make the tournament. Their number of losses is quite high and an early season loss to Oklahoma looks worse by the day.

South Carolina is a good win, but the Tigers let games against North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame slip by. A road victory against Duke would help Clemson’s bubble status immensely.

Illinois State: 20-5 (12-1) RPI: 35 KenPom: 43 SOS: 135

Key win: Wichita State

Key losses: Murray State, Tulsa

The only mid-major school on the list, Illinois State has the most amount of wins on the bubble with 20 and are tied for first with Wichita State in the Missouri Valley. The problem with the Redbirds is their 41 point conference loss to the Shockers leaves the nation in doubt of how good this team is.

The remaining five games on the schedule will provide little challenge as none of the remaining teams carries a RPI higher than 140. A loss, though, would severely damage their chances as they have not faced a team all season in the RPI top 25.

Indiana: 15-9 (5-6) RPI: 73 KenPom: 41 SOS: 56

Key wins: Kansas, North Carolina

Key loss: Fort Wayne

Indiana is in an interesting spot as one set of computer numbers favor their style of play, but another does not believe in the 171 ranking of the non-conference schedule. With that being said, the Hoosiers possess the two best wins of teams on the bubble, with victories against Kansas and North Carolina.

Indiana needs at least a split of their remaining matchups against Purdue as they are the last remaining tests that could sway the selection committee.

Seton Hall: 14-8 (4-6) RPI: 36 KenPom: 53 SOS: 37

Key wins: South Carolina, California

Key losses: Marquette, Stanford

Seton Hall is an intriguing team as they do not have great wins, but their losses are not that terrible. The Stanford loss is a bit of an eyesore, but upsetting South Carolina definitely works in their favor. The Pirates have plenty of chances to improve their resume as Creighton, Villanova, and Xavier all come to New Jersey.

The next stretch of games is pertinent for these teams as any slipup will put these teams off the bubble and waiting to see who they will be playing in the NIT.


Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email