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Stanford Bubble Guide, 2/27

A look at what to root for today

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Stanford D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Before the win over Utah, Stanford was Joe Lunardi’s first team out of the field. He mentioned that their win wouldn’t be enough to move them higher just yet. Their NET rank of 29 makes a strong case, though.

As Jerod Haase said, Stanford mostly needs to focus on winning. But that’s for the players. We can focus on great things like figuring out which teams need to lose!

Stanford Wins Necessary: 3

More than likely, 3 more wins will get the Cardinal a bid. That can probably come in any combination of regular season and Vegas games. Anything less, and they’ll likely be NIT bound. Anything more, and they should be safe, and perhaps even bypassing the First Four. But 3, that would mean they are probably (but not definitely) in, and all these scenarios come into play.

Quadrant Straddlers

Three of Stanford’s best wins are by teams who are on the border between Quads 1 and 2. A road win over Washington is more snugly into Quad 1 than it previously was, as they’re now 63rd and the cutoff is 75. UCLA sits in 78th, though, so the road win over them is currently Quad 2. For neutral site games, the cutoff is 50th. Oklahoma currently sits at 49th, so the win from Kansas City is just barely Quad 1 at the moment. Stanford will need to cheer for these teams to help hand them some Quad 1 love.

Bubble Competitors

In alphabetic order:

Alabama, Arkansas, Cincinnati, East Tennessee State, Georgetown, Indiana, Liberty, Memphis, Mississippi State, NC State, Northern Iowa, Oklahoma, Providence, Purdue, Rhode Island, Richmond, Rutgers, South Carolina, UCLA, USC, Utah State, Wichita State, Xavier

There is room for roughly 10-12 of these 24 (including Stanford)

2/27 Rooting Guide

Root for the bolded teams

Arizona vs USC

A loss for USC helps Stanford not only on the bubble, but also in the conference standings. They enter Thursday with identical 8-7 records in Pac-12 play, in a share of the 6th seed.

Cal vs Colorado

The numbers suggest Cal winning is slightly better for Stanford. It might be enough to convert their lone Q3 loss into Q2. But Colorado needs to stay strong, in the case where Stanford beats them this Sunday. If it feels dirty to cheer for Cal, the Buffs are a decent option, too.

St. Mary’s vs Santa Clara

Stanford played Santa Clara earlier this year. They aren’t on the verge of jumping quadrants, but this would ever so slightly help Stanford’s strength of schedule and NET ranking. St Mary’s could conceivably fall into bubble discussion, too, with a couple WCC losses.

Cal St Fullerton vs Hawaii

Stanford played Fullerton, so this is for that little NET boost

Liberty vs Kennesaw State

The chances for a Liberty at-large seem unlikely, but this would officially end them.

Arizona State vs UCLA

An ASU win means UCLA’s bubble hopes get dimmer. But a UCLA win means Stanford might get an extra Q1 win. The numbers suggest ASU winning is slightly more beneficial, but it’s a toss up, really.

Temple vs Wichita State

The Shockers are in fairly good shape, but a couple losses could put that into doubt.

Wisconsin vs Michigan

This one is a bit muddled, but the numbers say Stanford should cheer for Michigan. Wisconsin has played Indiana, Purdue, NC State, Rutgers, and Richmond. Wisconsin’s on the border of being counted as a Q1 win for teams who hosted them, which include NC State and Rutgers.

Ohio State vs Nebraska

OSU has played the Big 10 teams and Cincinnati, so anything that makes them look weaker is great. Nebraska already looks weak

South Dakota St vs North Dakota St

North Dakota St is on the border between Q2/Q3 for games played in Fargo, which is where they beat East Tennessee State this year. ETSU is not normally listed on the bubble since they’re their presumptive conference champ. But any slip-up would likely mean a bad loss for them, and would put them right in this conversation.

Oral Roberts vs Western Illinois

This seems irrelevant, but Oral Roberts is straddling the Q3/Q4 line, and Wichita State has a win over them. Don’t miss cheering on the Leathernecks in this thrilling game of the day!