NCAA Soccer – Tournament Week Bubble Cheat Sheet

Who needs what to be safely into the field of sixty-four? There’s still a lot of uncertainty on the table heading into the last week of play before the Big Dance, but here’s my best guesses for the clubs currently ranked 32-56 in the RPI, AKA “on the bubble”.

Arizona State – Win over Pepperdine, but not much else at this point. Still, defeat against Arizona unlikely to push them out of the field.

Auburn – Crazily enough, their fate could hinge largely on what Texas Tech does in San Antonio this week. If the Red Raiders put together a big run, Auburn’s win over them could edge them into the field. More than likely though, the Tigers need to get something against Tennessee on Wednesday.

Cal State Northridge – Going to be one of the most polarizing cases on Selection Monday in all likelihood if they’re on the bubble. Matadors need at least one win to move into the bubble range, but could they make it if they lose in the Big West Tournament final? Win over Michigan, draws against Tennessee and Portland definitely work in their favor, but they really need a lot of chalk in conference tournaments to extend the bubble.

Central Michigan – Should be in with win over West Virginia, draw with Marquette. How far would they drop with a bad loss though? May want the auto bid to be safe.

Colorado College – Another dicey team that probably wants to avoid the bubble. They do have wins against Denver and UCF, but how much is that going to help against some of the teams they could be on the bubble against? I think they need at least one win.

Dayton – Needs the auto bid.

Denver – Probably in, but really counting on their one win against Portland to see them through. Loss in WAC Tournament could be a bad one, so they probably want to take care of business.

Illinois – Wins over Ohio State and Michigan probably trump the results of many bubble rivals, but they’re also close to the bubble cut line. Defeat to Minnesota could push them out, while victory probably stamps their Big Dance ticket.

La Salle – Will be a real interesting case if they need an at-large bid. Draw with Temple in regular season finale may have been fatal to those hopes. Win over West Virginia should get them in, but a bad loss in A10 Tournament could knock them off the bubble.

Long Beach State – An interesting case for sure. Didn’t make the Big West Tournament, but has wins against Baylor and Michigan. I think they’re in given the above, but you never know.

Louisville – Eliminated on penalties in Big East Tournament quarterfinals. Best result is a draw against Georgetown, so I just don’t see them making it.

LSU – They don’t have a profile that compares well against most bubble rivals. Needs two wins at least.

Maryland – Tons of quality wins, so they’re in.

Miami (FL) – Lost in ACC Tournament Quarterfinals. Wins over Florida and Florida State and strong draws mean they’re certainly in if they don’t somehow fall off the bubble.

Miami (OH) – Needs the auto bid.

Minnesota – Best result is a win over Wisconsin, which isn’t going to get it done. They need at least two wins in all likelihood, and may need to win the auto bid depending on future matchups.

North Texas – Draw over Baylor is good, but just seem to be too far out of bubble range, with little room to move up.

Oregon State – Treading a very fine line. Like Denver, they look to be very reliant on a win against Portland, but they also have draws against Arizona State and Washington in the bank. Still in their best interest to beat Oregon though.

Princeton – Needs the auto bid in all likelihood. Win over Dartmouth counts as a Top 40 win, but that’s not likely to be enough in this bubble.

Rutgers – Wins over Ohio State, Darmouth, Louisville, and a draw with Notre Dame. Losing so early in the Big East Tournament wasn’t great, but I think they’ll be in. Just.

South Florida – Best results are two draws over Louisville, which speaks volumes. Will win over Georgetown in Big East Semi-Finals be enough? I’m not sure, so they probably need to win it all.

Stephen F. Austin – Needs the auto bid.

Washington – Almost assuredly in thanks to win over Notre Dame. Loss to Washington State won’t hurt them enough to bump them out.

Washington State – One meaningful result, and one meaningful result only. It’s a huge one though, as the Cougars’ draw at UCLA might be enough. Getting at least a point against Washington should seal the deal.

Wisconsin – Win over Notre Dame and draw with Ohio State means they should be good regardless of what happens in Bloomington.

4 thoughts on “NCAA Soccer – Tournament Week Bubble Cheat Sheet

    1. Chris Henderson Post author

      The bubble is essentially the range of teams that the selection committee will choose from for the last handful or so of at-large teams for the field. The number will fluctuate depending on results of conference tournaments, most often in mid-major conference tournaments with teams already all but guaranteed of getting an at-large bid no matter what. If in these conferences a team that would not get an at-large bid manages to win the tournament, the bubble would shrink by one spot.

      50’s probably a bit conservative as far as the bubble edge is concerned. Probably a few spots below that, depending on how conference tournaments shake out.


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