Strength of the Bubble

How strong is this year’s bubble compared to years past?

Looking at the last 4 teams in the tournament field since 2006, according to BracketMatrix.com, and their corresponding Offensive and Defensive efficiencies, according to KenPom.com, we can compare the teams on the bubble in 2014 statistically.

Here is the chart of every “Last 4 In” team over the last eight seasons:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 3.51.51 PM

Now, here is the average adjusted Offensive and Defensive Rating for those 4 teams in each of those eight seasons and the overall average for all the years combined:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 3.51.59 PM

2010 appears to be the strongest year in terms of both offense and defense. That year, Florida was a surprise making the field. The Gators made the tournament over Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, and Illinois. Florida lost to BYU in the first round as the No. 10 seed.

Finally, here are this year’s bubble teams. If their offensive rating is green, that means the team’s Adjusted Offensive Efficiency on KenPom is better than the average bubble team over the last eight seasons. If their defensive rating is green, that means the team’s Adjusted Defensive Efficiency on KenPom is better than the average bubble team over the last eight seasons. Red means worse than the past bubble teams.

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 3.52.08 PM

According to this, Tennessee, SMU, and Louisiana Tech should make the tournament field. As of today, Tennessee and SMU are expected to have their name called tonight on CBS’s Selection Show, while Louisiana Tech is on the outside looking in after losing the Conference USA title to Tulsa.

Also of note, Nebraska is the only team on the list that doesn’t stack up to bubble teams of the past – and should not make the field based on these numbers. The rest of the teams have a chance. St. John’s is the only team putting their hopes on the defensive end.

What do you think? Who should make the field?

Send us your comments below or tweet us at @BEandBeyond

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One thought on “Strength of the Bubble

  1. Pingback: NCAA Tournament Bids: How Many Should Your Conference Expect? | Big East and Beyond

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