Bubble trouble: Could upsets hurt USF women?
Just as we'd detailed how nearly everything had gone right for USF's women's basketball team through a long week on the NCAA Tournament bubble, Saturday's games brought two upsets that could take away at-large berths from teams previously in the projected field.
VCU's loss to James Madison in the Colonial semifinals and San Diego State's loss to Utah in the Mountain West championship introduce two new teams in the RPI top 40 to the at-large mix. Could both VCU and San Diego State get the NCAA nod ahead of USF? It just depends on what the selection committee values most.
-- RPI: Both teams will drop with their losses, but VCU (32) and San Diego State (36) are well ahead of USF (45) according to CollegeRPI.com.
-- Overall record: VCU (26-6) and San Diego State (23-7) both have stronger overall records than USF (22-10), though neither comes from a respected conference, or boasts a schedule as tough as the Bulls.
-- Record vs. RPI top 50: Here the Bulls have a solid advantage. USF has a 5-6 mark against top 50 teams, with wins against Rutgers (18), DePaul (31), Iowa (37), Villanova (38) and Texas Tech (47), all away from Tampa. VCU is 0-2 against top 50 teams, while San Diego State is 2-3, with wins against Texas (17) and TCU (46).
-- Record vs. RPI top 100: Again, USF has almost twice as many games against top 100 teams. USF is 9-11 against the top 100, VCU is 5-5, though its biggest two wins are against the James Madison (60) squad that just beat them. San Diego State is 7-4, but four of those wins are against New Mexico (80) and BYU (90).
-- Again, to be clear, these three teams aren't likely battling for the last NCAA spot -- it's just two more teams that USF has to compete with because they didn't get automatic bids. USF fans should definitely pull for Bowling Green (28-3) to beat Ball State in Sunday's Mid-American championship game ...
(Update: USC was able to upset Cal in the Pac-10 semis, which won't impact USF unless Stanford doesn't win the Pac-10's automatic berth.)