That popping noise you heard last night was Northwestern's last minute chance for an at-large bid dying.
- 13-1/22-5 Ohio State: Even in a worst case scenario they would still get the #4 seed in the BTT and finish 13-5/22-10. Losses at Michigan and at Penn State wouldn't be too damaging. A home loss to Rutgers and a road loss to Indiana would obviously hurt the Buckeyes' seed. In that worst-case-scenario the BTT loss would be in the 4 vs 5/12/13 game. A loss to #12 or #13 would really hurt the seed but a loss to #5 wouldn't really move the needle.
- 13-2/25-3 Michigan State: Even in a worst case scenario they would still get at least the #5 seed in the BTT and finish 13-5/25-7. Losing at Northwestern, at Wisconsin, at home to Illinois, then losing a neutral site game to the 12/13 winner would be a terrible way to end the season but the Spartans would obviously still make the tournament.
- 12-2/23-4 Purdue: Ending the season on a seven game losing streak would obviously suck but even at 12-6/23-9 the Boilermakers would still make the tournament.
Need to win BTT at MSG in NYC:
- 2-11/12-14 Illinois: Winning out until the B1GCG would only get the Illini to 21-15 (at best) and that wouldn't be enough.
- 3-12/13-15 Rutgers: Winning out until the B1GCG would only get the Scarlet Knights to 20-16 (at best) and that wouldn't be enough.
- 3-12/14-14 Minnesota: Winning out until the B1GCG would only get the Gophers to 21-15 (at best) and that wouldn't be enough.
- 3-11/12-15 Iowa: Winning out until the B1GCG would only get the Hawkeyes to 20-16 (at best) and that wouldn't be enough.
- 4-10/11-16 Wisconsin: Winning out until the B1GCG would only get the Badgers to 18-17 and that wouldn't be enough.
- 6-8/15-12 Northwestern: Winning out until the B1GCG would get the Wildcats to 22-13. That record would be enough for some teams, but those teams do not have NU's weak SoS and three sub-100 RPI losses.
- 7-7/14-12 Indiana: Winning out until the B1GCG would only get the Hoosiers to 21-13. Like Northwestern, that record would be enough for some teams, but those teams do not have IU's four really bad losses (at #148 Wisconsin, vs #168 Indiana State, at #183 Illinois, vs #198 Ft. Wayne).
So that leaves four teams on the bubble. (NOTE that I define "the bubble" as inclusively as possible. Any team that either could possibly get an at-large bid in a best-case-scenario or miss one in a worst-case-scenario is "on the bubble".)
11-4/20-8 Nebraska: The Cornhuskers' win last night over the Terps helps a lot because Nebraska's biggest problem is a critical shortage of quality wins. They only have three wins over RPI top-100 teams:
- vs #37 Michigan
- vs #62 Maryland
- vs #74 Boston College
In addition they have a road win over #102 Northwestern that has been and could potentially again be a top-100 win but that is dependent on Northwestern's performance.
Their remaining regular season games are @ #183 Illinois, vs #108 Indiana, and vs #86 Penn State. IMHO, a loss in any one of those would be significantly problematic for the Cornhuskers. Given their lack of quality wins they need all they can get (vs PSU) and a bad loss (ILL/IU) would be seriously damaging.
We project them to win out and get the #4 seed in the BTT at MSG in NYC. If they do, they could probably afford a loss to the #5 seed (assuming it is Michigan) but I'm not sure that they could afford a bad loss in NYC.
9-5/20-7 Michigan: The Wolverines have two nice OOC wins (vs #52 UCLA, @ #56 Texas) that significantly help their cause. Even with those two, they only have four top-100 RPI wins: Those two, vs #62 Maryland, and at #14 Michigan State. The Wolverines should be fine, but they don't have as much margin for error as it might seem. They finish with a home game against Iowa tonight then three games that might all be seen as close to toss-ups: vs #16 Ohio State, @ #86 Penn State, @ #62 Maryland. If they were to lose all three they would finish 10-8/21-10 and have work to do in the BTT at MSG in NYC.
8-6/18-9 Penn State: The Nittany Lions' three game winning streak has kept their bubble hopes alive but now the going gets really tough. Tomorrow night they host an Ohio State team that will probably have revenge on their minds then Sunday they travel to Purdue. Even after that things don't let up much with a home game against Michigan then a road trip to Lincoln. Like most of the B1G's bubble teams the Nittany Lions have a critical shortage of quality wins but they finish the season with four games against teams in the top-53 of the RPI so they will have opportunities to rectify that situation. The question is: How many more losses can they afford?
6-9/17-11 Maryland: The Terps have so many heartbreaking losses this season it is almost comical. They lost:
- to #44 St. Bonaventure by 2 on a neutral court
- @ #36 Cuse by 2
- vs #12 PU by 5
- @ #37 M by 1
- vs #14 MSU by 6
- @ #86 PSU by 4
- @ #53 UNL by 4
- @ #108 IU by 3
That is eight losses in games decided by two possessions or less. The more sophisticated computer models like the Terps a lot more than RPI because RPI doesn't look at MoV, just who won. More sophisticated models do consider MoV and that helps the Terps but it seems like the committee is fixated on RPI and their tier system which is based on RPI. Still, IMHO if the Terps won out until the B1GCG that would get them a closer look from the committee and that closer look would reveal all those near misses and I think they would get in.