Bracketology: NCAA Bid Case for Texas vs. St. Bonaventure

Doug Upstone

Monday, February 26, 2018 3:43 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 3:43 PM UTC

Of all the bracketology reports we have done, this one featuring Texas vs. St. Bonaventure offers the starkest contrast. If one of these teams makes the NCAA field and the other does not, we will understand what matters most.

The NCAA Tournament selection committee has a real differential between the strength of the conferences. At the present time, we also have quite a divide in the RPI rankings, just with a flip of who has the stronger club as you will see below.

Both ESPN's Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm from CBS have St. Bonaventure has one of the Last Four In, each as an 11 seed. Palm has Texas in the same group, while Lunardi has the Longhorns just outside of the 69-72 grouping. Information from KenPom.com and others are supposed to have more influence this time around, and at the moment that would favor Texas, which is 43rd in his rankings with the Bonnies 66th. Let's take a further evaluation of both teams.

Texas Longhorns

Conference: Big 12 (1st according to Sagarin Ratings)

Record: 17-12 SU (12-13 ATS)

Current RPI: 51

Best Wins: Texas Tech and Oklahoma (twice)

Worst Losses: None (Just a lot of them)

5Dimes Odds To Win NCAA Tournament: +20000

NCAA Tournament History: 35-36

Key Games Remaining: @Kansas and West Virginia

The Longhorns could really strengthen their case by winning their two remaining regular-season contests, but that is a tall order for Texas. Injuries and other issues have hurt coach Shaka Smart's team, which has curtailed its effectiveness, especially on offense where the Horns are 243rd nationally at 71.5 points a game.

The Horns get their due playing in the Big 12, and they will finish the season with a Top 25 schedule. They will also have a chance to improve or falter against the Top 100 in the RPI, as this is how they have performed.

  • 1-25: 2-5 SU
  • 26-50: 4-2 SU
  • 51-100: 1-5 SU

These numbers are rather confusing, which further clouds the Longhorns' case. If Texas wins both games this week, the Horns should be in. If these lose both, it would seem they would have to win the Big 12 tournament to be invited.

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St. Bonaventure has clinched a top-four finish in the A-10, giving it a bye into the quarterfinals of the A-10 Championship. In addition, the Bonnies' 10 game win streak is tied for second-longest in Division I. #Bonnies pic.twitter.com/AOIL47XhAq

— Bonnies MBB (@BonniesMBB) February 25, 2018
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St. Bonaventure Bonnies

Conference: Atlantic 10 (10th)

Record: 22-6 SU (13-12 ATS)

Current RPI: 24

Best Wins: Rhode Island and @ Syracuse

Worst Losses: Niagara and @St. Joseph's

5Dimes Odds To Win NCAA Tournament: +75,000

NCAA Tournament History: 6-8

Key Games Remaining: @Davidson and St. Louis

Having watched St. Bonaventure play four times, the Bonnies are one of the best 45 teams in the country, period. In early January they had the rough time where they lost four of five, all on the road, but they are 10-0 (6-4 ATS) since. The NCAA basketball odds do seem out of whack and are purely based on the conference, not how St. Bonaventure would matchup with Texas if both had to win six games.

Though Davidson only has a 90th ranking in the RPI, everyone who knows basketball understands winning at Davidson is not easy. If the Bonnies win their last two contests, they should be in no matter what. Plus, consider who is directly above them in the RPI.

Michigan is 23rd in the RPI, is one spot worse at this time in the strength of schedule (86 vs. 85), and when comparing records against the Top 100this is what it looks like.

  • 1-25: Bonnies 1-2 SU, Wolverines 2-4 SU
  • 26-50: Bonnies 2-0 SU, Wolverines 0-0 SU
  • 51-100:Bonnies 3-1 SU, Wolverines 5-2 SU
  • Total: Bonnies 6-3 SU, Wolverines 7-5 SU

Michigan is a sixth seed by both Lunardi and Palm.

Who Has Stronger Case and Gets In?

While the semantics matter when looking at the overall picture, Texas' case is not as strong at St. Bonaventure's. At some point, winning has to count more than losing -- and let's not forget winning on the road. When the Bonnies have not played at home they are 10-5 SU, compared to the Longhorns at 5-8 SU. Did Texas face better competition? Yes, but it still lost.

If Texas splits or goes 2-0 this week and reaches the Big 12 championship game, the Horns probably deserve to make the tournament, just not at the expense of St. Bonaventure.

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