Joe Sheehan takes a look at who’s on the bubble at Basketball Prospectus. The guy obviously knows his stuff, but I’m not sure if I agree with his Big East bubble teams.
His BE locks are (with KenPom ratings in parenthesis): UCONN (3), Louisville (8), Pitt (4), Villanova (20), Marquette (23), Syracuse (21), and West Virginia (9).
Bubble: Georgetown (24), Providence (76), and Notre Dame (36).
I don’t have a problem with Georgetown and Notre Dame, but why Providence and not Cincy? Providence’s rating is 76 and UC’s is 82 (Seton Hall is also right there are 78).
I think it’s safe to say that the selection committee probably relies more on RPI, but 1) KenPom ratings are probably better and 2) I don’t believe there’s any way I can access RPI online for free. Anyway, let’s do a little comparison, Providence vs. Cincy, using KenPom’s great data:
|vs. KenPom top 50||5-9||3-7|
|vs. KenPom top100||7-12||6-11|
|Offensive rating||64 (ncaa rank)||43|
It looks to me like the two teams are pretty equal. The advantages for the Friars is their slightly better overall and BE record and their two wins against the Bearcats. The advantages for UC is a slightly better SOS and (again, slightly) better performance against top teams.
The point is not that one team is better than the other; just that, if one of them is considered a bubble team, they both should be.