SB Nation just released their latest edition of Bubble Watch for the 2011 NCAA tournament, where they try to decide which teams will earn the last few at-large bids into the NCAA tournament. We already know that local teams like Georgetown and George Mason will be making the tournament, but how do other (quasi) local teams like Maryland, Virginia Tech and Richmond stand? Well, if the tournament was a baseball game, the area would have a hall of fame average; .333. But one out of three isn't great for making the NCAA tournament.
The team that made it in may surprise you. The Richmond Spiders are one of their last four teams into the tournament. Here's why.
Richmond owns perhaps the best win of any bubble team, a thorough 11-point victory over Purdue, who sits on the two line in my current projection, at the Chicago Invitational Classic over Thanksgiving. However, the Spiders also own some confounding losses, with ones against Georgia Tech in the Bahamas and Patriot League regular season champion Bucknell at home the two that stand out the most. Still, since that loss to the Bison, Chris Mooney's team has taken care of the weaker teams on its slate. Another positive mark on the Spiders' profile is an impressive 11-4 record away from home. On the minus side, they weren't competitive in their losses to the top two teams in the league, Xavier and Temple.
Is it possible that their victory over Purdue is better than the win that Virginia Tech got over Duke last weekend? They seem to think so, because Virginia Tech is the first team listed among the "first four out." So they still have a chance to make it over one of the teams ahead of them, but they have to play well in the Conference tournament.
As for the Terps, they don't even appear in this latest edition of the bubble watch. Not in "next four in," "The last four out" (which for some reason aren't the same thing), or even the Next in line. That's 16 teams listed that won't make the tournament, but still have a better chance than Maryland. Not so good.