updated through Friday morning - Wolfpack still alive - Cal, Arkansas, St. John's out
I continue to think that NC State has very real hopes of getting an at-large bid if it reaches the ACC final, and exceedingly slim hopes of reaching the tournament if it goes out in the ACC semi-final. If that's to happen, a lot will depend on what happens with other teams. In particular, other teams that need to lose. Based on the latest Bracketology and Bubble Watches from ESPN, this is the current rootability. From Bracketology, teams currently rated "Last 4 Byes" or below are shown - there is probably no way State steals a bid from anyone above that. From Bubble Watch, only teams on the "Work to Be Done" list are considered - teams in the "Should Be In" are probably not relevant, since they are almost certain to get in due to this potential bubble carnage before a theoretical fast-closing Wolfpack team.
Pull for: Pitt (Last 4 byes), Tennessee (last 4 in) - A loss bad enough to drop these teams out (i.e., a first round conference tournament loss) probably also drops them out of the top 50 RPI, and potentially hurts State as much as it helps. Pitt probably safe after beating Wake; would like to see them beat Carolina, and Tennessee make the SEC semi (where they will get killed by Florida).
RPI Update: Did not previously give much thought to RPI opponents. Cincinnati and Missouri provided somewhat expected RPI help Thursday; Northwestern provided very unexpected RPI help. Long Beach State (who even remembered them?) stayed alive and will be favored in the Big West semis Friday. NC Central will be heavily favored in the MEAC. Tennessee will be heavily favored against South Carolina. No obvious RPI implications in Thursday or Friday ACC games.
- ACC - pull for carnage. I'd rather face Clemson in the semis than have a chance to get an RPI scalp against Duke. The best way to make the NCAA tournament is to keep winning, no matter who it is against.
- Stanford (UCLA, Pac-12 semis), Nebraska (Ohio St, Big 10 quarters), Xavier (Creighton, Big East semis)- Last 4 byes. Stanford should be locked up, and moved up, after beating ASU last night. Ohio State's win means Nebraska cannot have a bad loss, and Xavier getting to Creighton means the same thing, so these teams are in great shape (i.e, even if they lose State isn't catching them unless the Pack goes all the way to the final).
- St. Joseph's (1st on last four in); Dayton (2nd on last four in) - Play each other in the A-10 quarters. Winner is probably a lock. Does losing to another bubble team push you back, compared to teams not currently in whose seasons are over? With a bad loss off the table, State probably needs two wins to catch the loser of this game.
- BYU - (3rd on Last 4 In; "Work to Do") - season is done after losing to Gonzaga in WCC final. Do they jump the loser of Dayton/St.Joe's? How many teams can jump over them? Is NC State one? (Probably not, unless we win on Saturday.)
- Providence - (4th on Last 4 In; Seton Hall in Big East semis) - Providence stayed alive and killed St.John's chances Thursday. Instead of chance to lock things up, and little downside, against Villanova, Providence gets a no-upside game against Seton Hall. Lose and they will probably fall out, but winning probably keeps them right where they are (or sees them slide behind teams with better Friday wins), but does earn an auto-bid shot on Saturday.
- Minnesota - (1st on First 4 Out; Wisconsin, Big 10 quarters) - Win and they are in; a loss doesn't hurt, and leaves them very much right where the cut-line will be drawn.
- Florida State (2nd on First 4 Out; Virginia, ACC quarters) - Cuts all kind of ways. FSU is probably in with a win over Virginia. That hurts NC State by reducing available spots, and probably hurts doubly because no matter what they say, the committee does not want to let two ACC teams in that started the weekend on the outside. But a win pretty much guarantees FSU finishes in the RPI top 50, which is another quality win for State. And, it makes it easier to actually win the ACC tournament, which solves everything.
- Southern Miss (3rd on First 4 Out; LaTech, ConfUSA semis) - Making the tournament final is probably enough for USM, because their RPI is around 30. A good argument could be made that they are already in. There are no other legit bubble teams in this conference, so hope for USM to win out.
- Missouri (2nd on Next 4 Out; Florida, SEC quarters) - done unless they beat Florida, in which case they are almost certainly in. Since we did not beat them, there is little real value in Missouri staying in the top 50 (currently 48th).
- California (4th on First 4 Out); Arkansas (first on next 4 out); St.John's (third on Next 4 Out); Green Bay (fourth on Next 4 Out) - These teams are all done for the season. Emphasis on DONE. It is hard to see how they move up enough to be relevant. We can (should) pass them with a win over Syracuse, but that does not get you in the door.
- Status (as of Friday morning) - State has to pass at least nine teams to go from off the board to in. St. John's, Cal, Arkansas, and Green Bay are four. If USM can win conference USA, that's five. If Missouri and FSU lose before midnight Friday, that's six and seven. (All this assumes State can make it to Saturday - lose before then and this entire page is meaningless.) That is probably the best we can do without winning Saturday, unless some big upsets happen (e.g., Seton Hall over Providence).