March Madness 2013: Bubble Teams That Don't Deserve an At-Large Bid
There are some teams on the brink of inclusion in the NCAA tournament that simply do not deserve to be there.
Each team's overall profile has different pros and cons at this time of year. Some teams have great conference records, while others have a few elite wins to hang their hat on. Meanwhile, those same squads want to ignore terrible losses at various points in the season.
A squad like Michigan can overcome a loss to a Penn State late into the season thanks to a great overall record and very impressive wins. Not everyone is so fortunate.
These schools will have their resumes debated at great length over the next couple of weeks. However, they should not be dancing on Selection Sunday.
With a 22-7 overall record and a 11-3 mark in conference, it is easy to understand why experts project Southern Miss to be close to a bid. The RPI of 36 is also pretty impressive compared to other bubble teams.
However, a closer look at the games won and lost does not look kindly to the Golden Eagles.
They had five games against teams likely to reach the tournament (Arizona, Wichita State, Louisiana Tech and Memphis twice) and lost all of them.
In fact, the best win of the season is against Denver at home in November. Sure, the team has a lot of wins since that point, but none of them are quality.
Conference USA is very weak this season. Southern Miss is in second place, followed by UTEP in third. The Miners went only 7-7 in non-conference play.
This should be a one-bid league this season, and Memphis is going to get the only one if it wins the conference tournament.
Although Baylor does not have any terrible losses, early home losses to College of Charleston and Northwestern could be damaging.
Still, the biggest defeat occurred on Monday in a road game against Texas. Not only was this only the Longhorn's 14th win in 30 games this season, but it continued a troubling trend for Baylor.
This was the fifth loss in six games for the Bears and the eighth out of the last 11. They are certainly not making a good impression at the end of the year.
It is the selection committee's job to pick the best teams in the country at this point of the year. This is why injuries come into play when evaluating a team as a whole. It is hard to say that Baylor is one of the top 37 at-large teams in the country based on the recent play.
Wins over Oklahoma State and Kentucky still look good, but it should not be enough to get the team in the tournament. A loss to Kansas on Saturday and it is all over.
After a home win over Missouri, there is little to like about Ole Miss' profile. This and a season sweep over Tennessee is really the only thing keep this team in the March Madness discussion.
Sure, the Rebels have a 10-6 record in the mediocre SEC, but those wins have been built up against the incredibly weak bottom of the conference.
The team's last four games were against teams with a combined 16-48 conference record. Amazingly, that resulted in only a 2-2 stretch for the Rebels.
In the most recent game, Ole Miss fell to in-state rival Mississippi State 73-67. Not only is this the second loss to a team below 200 on the RPI rankings, but the Bulldogs lost by over 40 in the previous two home games.
Few squads are playing their way out of the NCAA tournament at this stage more than Ole Miss.
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