Confidential Bubble Watch: March 2, 2015
Can you believe it? Two weeks from today, we will be doing our brackets. The question, of course, is how many ACC teams will be on those particular brackets.
ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi continues to have Pittsburgh and Miami out of the mix right now. Eamonn Brennan, who does ESPN’s bubble watch also has Pitt and Miami in the “work left to do” category.
The Confidential was perplexed by Pitt’s exclusion. But with the recent loss to Wake Forest, the Panthers are digging their own deep hole. At 8-8 in conference and 19-11 overall, Pitt is the definition of mediocre right now. They have two good wins–Notre Dame and North Carolina. Losses to Hawaii, Clemson, and Wake Forest drag that resume down though. Even so, Pitt has the RPI (37) and SOS (32) to get into the field.
The best news is that Pitt gets a chance to help its cause with games against Miami and Florida State. Miami has its own bubble problems, while Florida State has disappointed at 15-15. Still, 10-8 in the ACC with a respectable overall RPI/SOS should be worth a bid in a bloated field every year. Every. Single. Year. So win out Pitt and you will solve your own problems.
Miami has bigger problems. Unlike Pitt, Miami does not have the RPI (65) or SOS (80). Moreover, losses to Eastern Kentucky, Green Bay, and Wake Forest (the Demon Deacons having a big impact on the ACC bubble this year) hurt badly. They largely offset the great wins against Florida, Illinois, and Duke. That leaves little else to justify sliding Miami ahead of the other bubble teams. Wins over Pitt and Va Tech to close the season at 10-8 in the ACC would make things very interesting. Even so, Miami would probably want to win a game or two in the ACC tournament to hedge against a rash of small conference tournament upsets leading to a smaller at-large pool.
Needless to say, if you are into bracketology, the ACC, and the bubble watches, the Pitt-Miami game on Wednesday should be must-see TV. It will be a brawl on Wednesday, as both teams try to avoid quasi-elimination. Indeed, the loser of that game likely falls out of the picture barring a deep ACC tournament run.
What do you think? Are Pitt and/or Miami safely “in” or “out”? Let us know here or on Twitter.