RotoWire Bracketology: Version 1.0

RotoWire Bracketology: Version 1.0

This article is part of our RotoWire Bracketology series.

With March just two days away, it's time to take a closer look at this year's top bubble candidates. A week remains on the regular season schedule for most power conference teams, followed by an action-packed week of conference tournaments. Though most teams will have opportunities to gain and lose ground, here's how my bracket would look if the season ended today:

FIRST FOUR BYES

VCU
(KenPom 47, BPI 38, RPI 25): The Rams have a great record, but their best wins are all at home and losses to Illinois and Georgia Tech in non-conference hurt. With an expected loss at Dayton on Wednesday, VCU will need two A10 tourney wins to be safe.

Syracuse
(KenPom 51, BPI 31, RPI 75): I've had the Orange in my bracket since their five-game win streak, but the only chance they have to make the tournament is by beating Georgia Tech and then at least one in the ACC tournament.

Seton Hall
(KenPom 57, BPI 58, RPI 47): Non-conference success is keeping the Pirates in this position, but only one road win in the Big East will be something that drops them out, especially if they can't get a decent win in the conference tournament.

Providence
(KenPom 56, BPI 53, RPI 52): While the Friars have a worse non-conference schedule than Seton Hall, they have road wins at Georgetown, Marquette and Creighton. As long as they close out as favorites in their last two, they'll be in a good spot as long as they don't lose the first game in the Big East tourney.

LAST FOUR IN

Marquette
(KenPom 32, BPI 29, RPI 68): The Golden Eagles are in this position because they got swept by Providence and don't have as good of road wins as the Friars. For their case, the RPI is more helpful, but wins at Xavier and against Creighton in the last two would help greatly.

TCU
(KenPom 40, BPI 52, RPI 60): There's no way around a 6-10 record in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs need to win their last two games, which is doable, to have a chance. To help, a home win against Kansas State would give them a season sweep of a fellow bubble team.

Kansas State
(KenPom 37, BPI 42, RPI 69): On the other end of the Frogs, are the Wildcats. Similar to TCU, they need to win their last two games to make it. Finishing with seven wins in conference play won't cut it, especially with a poor non-conference ranking.

California
(KenPom 48, BPI 45, RPI 51): If the Golden Bears don't win their final two games (at Utah, at Colorado), they'll be in a precarious position. Having not beaten any of the top teams in the Pac-12, Cal has little room for error.

FIRST FOUR OUT

Wake Forest
(KenPom 33, BPI 33, RPI 43): Amazingly, this team has no losses to KenPom top 51 teams. But it's hard to put the Demon Deacons in the tournament without any good wins. To have a chance, they need to either beat Louisville at home or on the road at Virginia Tech. The rankings say one thing, but zero elite wins will be what keeps the Deacons out.

Georgia
(KenPom 52, BPI 65, RPI 53): The status of Yante Maten is obviously huge, but the Bulldogs can make a mark by beating Auburn and Arkansas in their last two. If not, the road may be too long to reach the Big Dance.

Rhode Island
(KenPom 53, BPI 41, RPI 40): Home losses to La Salle and Fordham remain a major blow for the Rams. They'll need to win their next two (St. Joseph's, Davidson) and then possibly two in the A10 tournament to get on the good side of the bubble.

Vanderbilt
(KenPom 43, BPI 51, RPI 46): The Commodores have come out of nowhere to get in this spot, mainly due to road wins at Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Florida. However, they'll travel to Kentucky and host Florida in their final two. With a win in one, the 'Dores will be in a good spot, but two losses means they'll need two wins in the SEC tournament.

NEXT FOUR OUT

Tennessee
(KenPom 55, BPI 63, RPI 62): There's nothing much to say about the Vols, as they have lost four of their last five. They'll need to win their last two (LSU, Alabama) and then probably two in the conference tourney, similar to Vanderbilt.

Indiana
(KenPom 49, BPI 30, RPI 87): The chances are super slim for the Hoosiers, who travel to Purdue and Ohio State in their last two. They need at least two more wins, if not three (Big Ten tourney included), to have a chance at March Madness.

Texas Tech
(KenPom 35, BPI 37, RPI 98): Losing close games will get you a good KenPom ranking, but won't get you into the tournament. The Red Raiders need to win their next two (Texas, Kansas State) and then at least one in the Big 12 tourney to have a chance.

Clemson
(KenPom 34, BPI 35, RPI 61): Similar to Texas Tech, Clemson has a good ranking because of close losses. Even winning their final two games, the Tigers will need two in the ACC tourney, and possibly more. Going 6-12 in conference play is not a good recipe for making the NCAA tournament.

*Rankings pulled from KenPom, BPI and RPI before games on 2/27.

**KenPom doesn't account for injuries and while ESPN says BPI does, it's hard to see that in Indiana's ranking.

To view a compilation of all of the bracket predictions in the world, check out the Bracket Matrix. As of note, this bracket was in the top 10 percent of brackets in 2016 and top 20 percent in 2015.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Zdroik
Adam, a 2019, 2018 and 2017 Finalist for FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year, is RotoWire's assistant soccer editor. He also runs RotoWire's Bracketology, as well as writes on other various college basketball content. He has previously worked at ESPN and Sporting Kansas City, and he is a former Streak for the Cash winner and Michigan State graduate.
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