See this to learn what the BubbleGrid all about.

Much of the remaining bubble debate has been over Middle Tennessee State, which has a gaudy 28-5 record but very little meat on the resume. Their power numbers are decent though not spectacular (31 Pomeroy, 53 Sagarin, 13 LMRC), suggesting they have at least taken care of business against the vast majority of their schedule that is outside the RPI top 100.

The Crashing the Dance selection model is built using the selection committee's picks from the past 13 seasons. It assigns a score from 0 to 100 to each team - 0 means that team's profile doesn't look like that of an at-large team and 100 means that it does. (A score in between indicates a mix of good and bad attributes.) The teams are then ranked by their score to find the 37 at-large teams.

Keep in mind that no bubble team exists in a vacuum; you have to compare their profile against the other teams fighting for at-large bids. That said, looking to the past helps us get an idea of how the committee generally looks at teams with this type of profile.

The two things that stand out to me in their profile are a lack of RPI top 50 wins (though their best win is just outside that arbitrary threshold) and 12 of their 28 wins coming outside the RPI top 200.

I could find only 5 similar teams in the 13 years of data used to build the CTD selection model that were either at-large (AL) selections or were automatic qualifiers (AQ) but would have been selected at-large (based on their seed):

SeasonTeamTypeSeedW-Lvs. t50vs. 201+
2003UNC WilmingtonAQ1124-60-213-0

There are only two teams with at least 28 wins and no top 50 wins - the above 2012 VCU team and 2011 Belmont. Both won their conference tournament, so an at-large comparison isn't exact, but VCU was just ahead of the last at-large team (Iona) on the seed list. Belmont was a 13 seed, which was behind the final at-large teams (all of the First Four at-large games were 12 seeds). We can reasonably conclude that neither would have been selected if they didn't win their conference tournament.

Last year's Iona may be a good comparison. Here are the nitty gritty details of that team and this year's MTSU:


The profiles are remarkably similar. The CTD selection model didn't think either profiles were at-large quality; Iona's selection score assigned by the model was 0 (out of 100). Middle Tennessee's conference performance is slightly better, but the biggest difference is Iona's 5-3 record against the RPI top 100 compared to 1-3 for Middle Tennessee.

Middle Tennessee does have a home win against fellow bubble dweller Ole Miss, though I tend to put less emphasis on one game out of more than 30 than others do. I don't have a strong opinion on the high-major vs. mid-major vs. low-major debate. The differences between teams around the cut line are by nature slight, and good arguments can be made for and against all of them.

  • Hover over a value for more information
  • Shaded teams are predicted to be in the field
  • Teams with a * are the projected automatic qualifier (AQ) for their conference. Bold shaded teams have clinched the AQ berth
  • Teams are listed in order of their selection confidence by the CTD model. In other words, the last shaded non-AQ team is the last team in, and the first non-shaded team is the first team out.

Data is through games of Friday, March 15.

1-251-501-1001-200RoadGood road winsBad home losses
Temple> 99.923-924110498-4#51 Villanova
#56 Massachusetts
#70 Charlotte
#115 Canisius
#137 St. Bonaventure
#229 Duquesne
Illinois> 99.921-1246-37-345-6#6 Gonzaga
#33 Minnesota
#168 Northwestern
Oregon> 99.925-833081116-5#21 Nevada Las Vegas
#23 UCLA
#90 Washington
Colorado> 99.921-112409085-7#48 Oregon
#78 Stanford
#180 Oregon St.
Wichita St.> 99.926-803183117-5#27 VCU
#73 Air Force
#74 Indiana St.
#106 Evansville
Iowa St.> 99.922-1124-48-144-9#68 Baylor
Cincinnati> 99.922-1115-49-245-5#43 Pittsburgh
Belmont *> 99.924-601-16498-5#72 Eastern Kentucky
#78 Stanford
Oklahoma> 99.920-1123-49055-7#68 Baylor
Villanova> 99.919-1345-38-327-7#46 Connecticut#274 Columbia
Boise St.> 99.919-1024-38055-8#26 Creighton
#76 Wyoming
St. Mary's> 99.926-601-240119-2#69 Brigham Young
California98.920-112506-456-5#14 Arizona
#48 Oregon
#66 Denver
Mississippi90.824-802-18276-6#59 Tennessee
#84 Louisiana St.
La Salle85.621-912-36-278-6#27 VCU#199 Central Conn.
Kentucky78.321-1112-27-214-8#52 Mississippi
#97 Texas A&M
Virginia73.221-112418453-8#34 Wisconsin
#63 Maryland
#140 Delaware
Tennessee17.920-121309-104-7#97 Texas A&M#139 Georgia
Southern Mississippi15.323-800-45-199-7#100 East Carolina
Middle Tennessee128-500-31-21111-3
Massachusetts0.721-1002-49158-4#44 La Salle
#85 Xavier
#146 George Washington
Alabama< 0.120-1100-48144-8#112 Dayton
#138 Mercer
#177 Tulane
Iowa< 0.121-1204-55-423-8
Baylor< 0.117-1422-95-6-44-7#54 Kentucky#135 Coll. of Charleston
#168 Northwestern
Akron *< 0.124-601-14177-4#65 Ohio#134 Kent St.
Bucknell *< 0.127-501032512-4#99 Loyola MD#107 Lehigh
Stephen F. Austin *< 0.123-301120611-3#40 Oklahoma
Louisiana Tech< 0.125-60113-1710-5
Valparaiso *< 0.125-700-22-1710-5#67 Detroit#225 Loyola Chicago
New Mexico St. *< 0.122-1001-24-206-8