Potential tournament trouble for defending champions

The majority of college basketball teams are well into conference play and with less than half the season to go a few local teams are in danger of missing the “Big Dance”. 
By Bret Walts

Bubble Trouble

Indiana and Louisville, two of the best teams last year, are going to have to get their game up if they want to go dancing this March. Jerry Palm of cbssports.com currently projects Louisville to be on the bubble as an eleven seed in this year’s tournament and the Hoosiers to miss out on the tournament for the fourth time in the Tom Crean era. Here’s a look at what each team needs to do to go dancing.

Louisville – For Louisville, it is pretty simple. Beat the teams they should beat and win home games. Thus far this season, Louisville has lost to every decent team they have played (North Carolina, Kentucky and Memphis). To make the tournament the Cardinals absolutely cannot afford a bad loss in their weak conference. UofL has five remaining games against tough opponents and they need to pick up a couple wins in those games to avoid being snubbed on Selection Sunday.

Indiana – The defending Big Ten Champions are in a transition year after losing four of their five starters but, like Louisville, they were expected to remain competitive. Like the Cardinals, they have lost to every decent team they have played and only have one victory over a team in the Top 100 in RPI. Luckily for the Hoosiers, they have plenty of opportunities to pick up solid victories playing in arguably the best conference in the country (Big Ten). Indiana needs to capitalize on home-court games against solid opponents and avoid bad losses to make the tournament.

Looking over both Indiana and Louisville’s resume, the Cardinals have the least room for error. Indiana has more opportunities for big wins and will have a strong SOS heading into the tournament while Louisville will not. However, Indiana has already dropped five games on the season which means they have much more work to do than the Cardinals at this time.

College Basketball Rating System

A new wrinkle in The Blotter’s weekly college basketball updates will be a homemade formula to calculate the best teams in the nation. The formula uses offensive and defensive efficiency to determine the best all-around team in the country as well as RPI and SOS to wipe out any skewed numbers from a weak schedule. The formula also penalizes teams for turnovers and awards teams for a solid winning percentage. Check out the results of this unique rating system:

1. Wisconsin – 1.626
2. Iowa State – 1.568
3. Arizona – 1.564
4. Syracuse – 1.538
5. Oklahoma State – 1.534
6. Michigan State – 1.528
7. Kansas – 1.522
8. Villanova – 1.512
9. Ohio State – 1.501
10. Wichita State – 1.500
12. Louisville – 1.475
15. Kentucky – 1.473
55. Notre Dame – 1.324
68. Butler – 1.276
71. Indiana – 1.270
76. Purdue – 1.259

Weekly Top 25 Rankings:

Rank

Team

Record

Previous

1

Arizona Wildcats

17-0

1

2

Syracuse Orange

16-0

2

3

Wisconsin Badgers

16-0

3

4

Michigan State Spartans

15-1

5

5

Wichita State Shockers

17-0

8

6

Villanova Wildcats

15-1

7

7

Florida Gators

13-2

10

8

Iowa State Cyclones

14-1

6

9

San Diego State Aztecs

14-1

11

10

Iowa Hawkeyes

14-3

17

11

Oklahoma State Cowboys

13-2

12

12

Baylor Bears

13-2

9

13

Kentucky Wildcats

12-3

15

14

Ohio State Buckeyes

15-2

4

15

Massachusetts Minutemen

14-1

18

16

Kansas Jayhawks

11-4

19

17

Cincinnati Bearcats

15-2

21

18

Memphis Tigers

12-3

NR

19

Saint Louis Billikens

13-2

23

20

Pittsburgh Panthers

13-1

25

21

Colorado Buffalos

13-2

13

22

Louisville Cardinals

13-2

16

23

Creighton Bluejays

14-2

NR

24

Oklahoma Sooners

13-3

NR

25

UCLA Bruins

13-3

NR

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