One of the most fun parts of the college basketball season is trying to figure out who is going to make it into the tourney off the bubble, and who’s going to fall short. Vegas often puts major odds on these types of bets, and the style of play of the teams who get in or just miss also determines the long term odds for stronger teams.
A strong seeded team that has trouble defending the outside perimeter loves to watch a bubble team that can shoot 3’s just miss. Here’s an overview of Clemson and Georgia Tech from the ACC who are on the bubble and Tech’s rival, Georgia from the SEC:
Clemson: It’s hard to figure this team out, but the word “collapse” is coming up an awful lot. They started out a stunning 17-0, and yet are now 19-8 and on the outside looking in. Their strength of schedule is strong, but that’s the problem: they haven’t beaten anyone, and that loss to Wake Forest hurt, and just losing to a Boston College team they beat earlier in the year might be the final nail in the coffin. The chances of an at large bid are even worse because of how bad they’ve looked down the stretch. Still, if they win their last two games and set themselves up to do well in the ACC tourney they have a chance. Their last games are against Miami, and Virginia Tech. Even in their free fall Clemson should beat Miami, though Tech will be a tough game. Best Guess: Bet on them to miss to complete one of the most memorable collapses in recent memory. Not only do they have to win the next two games, they have to do some actual damage in the ACC tourney, and this team has lost its way.
Georgia Tech: Florida State and Clemson’s late collapses may have helped Georgia Tech’s chances at an at large bid more than any other team. Tech has several quality victories, though a very suspect conference record that is going to keep them on the bubble until the very end. While an upset over North Carolina would cinch it, that’s not going to happen, so the Boston College game becomes very important. If they win, they probably have enough to get in. If they don’t, then that extremely suspect ACC record could be just enough to bump them out. Best Guess: they beat Boston College, which should be enough to get them in, but just barely. If they lose out, they had better do some damage in the ACC tourney or this gets really interesting.
Georgia: Their non-conference schedule was soft, meaning that loss to Georgia Tech early in the season could have been a big win. They need a strong conference finish, and beating Mississippi State was a great start, but they need at least one, and maybe even two, wins to finish, and Tennessee and Kentucky stand in the way. Best Guess: Great effort, but just not enough to hit it. Assume they barely miss out.