Bubble Boys

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

FSU enters today's game against Wake Forest squarely on the bubble. And this is the time of the year where Bubble City starts to get crowded. Who are some other teams trying to avoid a bubble burst--aka who should we root against?

Just a week ago the Noles still had a 65% chance of making the tournament according to Team Rankings. Now that number is down to 27.6%. Losing 5 out of 6 games, including to Miami at home, will do that to you.

But as many of you know, FSU's odds of dancing do not exist in a vacuum. No, life in a bubble is one in which the actions of those around you is nearly as important as your own. While it's true that bubble watching becomes a moot point if FSU can't find a way to win at least 4 of their last 6 games, what happens to fellow bubble teams could determine whether 4 or 5 will do the trick, and how much work must be done in the ACCT.

So, here's a breakdown of other games to keep an eye on this weekend and/or early next week, in addition to the Garnet and Gold (all RPI numbers come from rpiforecast.com, as of Friday night). This isn't a complete list and I'm sure we can add many more in the comments as the day goes on, but it should get us started:

  • Missouri (17-7, 5-6 in SEC): RPI - 44; SOS - 60; Non-Con SOS - 114; Odds of Making Tourney - 39%; The Tigers play at home today against fellow bubble team, Tennessee. Missouri has more work to do and a loss at home would be quite damaging.

  • Tennessee (15-9, 6-5): RPI - 51; SOS - 9; NCSOS - 34; OMT - 62%; Tennessee is a lot like FSU in that the losses are starting to pile up, but they are being helped by great SOS numbers. A road win against Missouri today would be another RPI boost and potential differentiator come Selection Sunday, while a loss would put them right on the edge of in/out. Honestly, it's good for FSU that one of these teams has to lose, especially if the loser continues to lose. Both teams play in the weak SEC and close out the season with a possible elimination game against each other on March 8th. It's close, but I say root for Tennessee to win both games.

  • Minnesota (16-9, 5-7): RPI - 41; SOS - 4; NCSOS - 37; OMT - 55%; Minnesota's RPI is decent, largely because of their SOS. But they have lost 4 of their last 5, including to Purdue and Northwestern, neither of whom will make the Dance. They play at Northwestern on Sunday and losing to the Wildcats again could be devastating to their chances. This is the rare case where I say root against a team who directly affects FSU's SOS. Go Wildcats.

  • Georgetown (15-9, 6-6): RPI - 54; SOS - 25; NCSOS - 38; OMT - 48%; The anti-Minnesota, Georgetown looked left for dead a couple weeks ago but have won 4 straight to play themselves onto the bubble. However, a loss at St. Johns on Sunday would take them right back to being in trouble. St. Johns is a marginal bubble team themselves, but they have a lot of work to do to have a legit shot. Go Red Storm.

  • Stanford (15-8, 6-5): RPI - 45; SOS - 29; NCSOS - 79; OMT - 67%; The Cardinal are being buoyed by a road win against UConn that keeps looking better and better. Outside of that win, there isn't a lot on the resume and they are coming off a tough loss against Washington, a team who won't make the Tourney. Now they play an even worse team, at Washington State on Saturday. A loss would send Stanford tumbling to right around the cut line with several more losable games down the stretch. It's a bit of a long shot, but go Cougars!

  • Cal (16-8, 7-4): RPI - 50; SOS - 49; NCSOS - 105; OMT - 60%; Cal was barely on the bubble radar (their best win until February was @Stanford) but then they upset previously undefeated Arizona. So here they are. Still, FSU fans know better than most (except for maybe Seth Greenberg) that a win against a top 5 team at home won't get you in the dance in and of itself. So the Golden Bears still have work to do. They play @Washington on Saturday and if the Huskies can do the same thing they did to Stanford, it would bring Cal right back to the cut line. Go Washington!

  • Baylor (15-9, 3-8): RPI - 59; SOS - 12; NCSOS - 46; OMT - 30%; At one point in time Baylor was 12-1 and ranked in the top 25. Now they are 3-8 in the rugged Big 12, with two of those wins coming against woeful TCU. The good news about playing in a tough conference is there are plenty of chances to get resume building wins. The bad news is, you actually have to win. The Bears have a two-game home stand this Saturday/Monday against Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Win both and Baylor is back on the right side of the bubble. Lose both and we can stop talking about them. Go Wildcats and Cowboys!

  • West Virginia (15-10, 7-5): RPI - 66; SOS - 48; NCSOS - 191; OMT - 33%; West Virginia has several problems. One, like FSU, is just the sheer number of losses. Two, is a pretty bad Non-con SOS. Which means the committee could be looking for reasons to leave them out, instead of include them in the field. However, the Mountaineers are 7-5 in arguably the toughest conference in the nation, have wins over Iowa State, Kansas State, and Oklahoma, and are winners of 4 of their last 5 games. Saturday they play at Texas and a win would put them comfortably in the field. Let's hope they don't pull the upset, Hook 'Em Horns!

Just an FYI, FSU's numbers are: 14-10, 5-7: RPI - 65; SOS - 47; NCSOS - 91; OMT - 28%. I think the magic number to make the tourney is 20 wins. That would be winning 4 of our last 6 down the stretch, plus 2 in the ACCT, or 5 of 6 and 1 in the ACCT. However, that's what I think would be a lock. 19 wins could very well allow us to sneak in as an 11, 12, or 13 seed, depending on how the teams above (and many others) finish out the season.

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