Battle of Bubble: George Washington or Monmouth?


Battle of Bubble: George Washington or Monmouth?

George Washington coach Mike Lonergan expressed a very black and white view of the Colonials' NCAA Tournament situation heading into Friday's Atlantic 10 Tournament quarterfinal matchup

"If we lose (Friday) we're going to the NIT. I have no problem saying that," Lonergan said. "If we win (Friday) I truly believe we'll be in the NCAA tournament."

Following Friday's 86-80 loss to Saint Joseph's, Lonergan surely hopes he was wrong. If nothing else, he changed his stance.

"You know, I still feel good about it. I think we have a chance if they judge our body of work," the coach said.

"We went 11-2 in the non-conference. I mean, we lost the game today. Hey, it would have been our fourth top-50 win. A lot of these teams that people say are in have one or two top-50 wins."

At the end of Friday's broadcast, NBCSN announcer David Kaplan repeatedly said he felt the Colonials should be in the field of 68 as one of the 36 at-large teams. "For me, GW is already in, but we'll see," Kaplan said.

Even if Kaplan is wrong, GW will play in the NIT, but the NCAA's remain the goal. Here's how the various bracketologists viewed GW's spot on the bubble before Friday's action. Note the Colonials went 1-5 against the four A-10 schools (Dayton, Saint Joseph's, Saint Bonaventure, VCU) most projections have in the field.

CBS: Among last four in (UConn, Tulsa, GW, Wichita State)

College Basketball Talk: Seventh team out (Saint Mary's, Vanderbilt, Syracuse, Florida, Michigan, Valparaiso, GW)

ESPN: Eighth team out

USA Today: Ninth team out

One school not mentioned in this bubble talk, Monmouth. The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference won America's hearts this season with its lively bench, but the computers also took a fondness thanks to some notable early season wins. The Hawks lost in the MAAC championship game to Iona, meaning they're also sweating out Selection Sunday. Most have Monmouth on the good side of the bubble.

"I'll put our wins against Monmouth's wins any day of the week," Lonergan said Thursday. "They're a big story, but I truly believe if we do the right things here, whether we have to win one game or two, the people in that room (the selection committee) that know basketball, it's not going to be about who has the best player in the country or who has the bench, it's going to be about the deserving teams."

For the purposes of determining which team is more deserving, here's a side-by-side comparison of GW and Monmouth

Record: GW (23-10), Monmouth (27-7)

Road/Neutral: GW (9-7), Monmouth (17-6)

RPI: GW (65), Monmouth (54),

Strength of schedule: GW (98), Monmouth (165)

Top 50*: GW (3-6), Monmouth (2-2)

51- 100: GW (1-1), Monmouth (3-2)

101-200: GW (10-2), Monmouth (6-0)

Plus 200**: GW (9-1), Monmouth (16-3)

Last 10: GW (5-5), Monmouth (8-2)

Common opponents: GW (3-1), Monmouth (3-2); Colonials defeated Army while Hawks lost at West Point.

• GW defeated Virginia (2), Seton Hall (28), at VCU (42); Monmouth beat Notre Dame (32), USC (48) at neutral sites

• GW lost at Saint Louis and then defeated the Billikens Thursday in the A-10 Tournament; Monmouth's three sub-200 losses all came on the road, including at Canisius (223) and Manhattan (231)

What does it all mean? At a base level, this comparison seems much closer than a perception that is Monmouth securely in the field while GW is in trouble. It also doesn't suggest the Colonials should move on at the Hawks' expense.

That the MAAC program has more top 100 wins in fewer games played helps their cause. Those three 200+ losses doesn't, though both schools had three losses outside the top 100.  The Colonials have the clear strength of schedule edge, but the those 17 wins by the Hawks record away from home, wow.

Lonergan didn't mention Monmouth after Friday's loss, but spoke expansively about his team's situation.

"But we lost to a team with an RPI of like 30, so it doesn't kill you, but I truthfully thought if we won we were definitely in. ... If Virginia wins the ACC and Seton Hall wins or comes in second, something like that, I hope that's looked at. ...We lost two games in a row, once all season. We didn't lose to any low major -- one mid-majors, one mid-conference teams, and I think we played a good schedule. ...But if our worst losses are at Saint Louis and at DePaul, a Big East team with Big East refs, then hey, it's out of our hands, but I feel pretty good about what we accomplished, and we'll see what happens.

"I feel bad for our guys because we did blow a couple opportunities, but so does everybody else in the country."

MORE COLLEGE HOOPS: A confident UVa team is hitting its stride in March

Report: Former Terp Diamond Stone included in federal documents detailing NCAA violations

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Report: Former Terp Diamond Stone included in federal documents detailing NCAA violations

A bombshell article published Friday morning by Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports details potential NCAA violations involving more than 20 schools and 25 players.

Several of the biggest names and programs in college basketball were referenced in the Yahoo! report, including former Maryland Terrapin, Diamond Stone.

According to documents and bank records that are part of an FBI investigation, Stone received $14,303 while a freshman at Maryland, a clear violation of NCAA rules. 

Former NBA agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports was the primary handler dishing out incentives, which included cash advances, entertainment expenses and travel expenses for high school and college prospects.

Other players referenced in the documents include Dennis Smith who played at North Carolina State, Isaiah Whitehead from Seton Hall, DeMatha star Markelle Fultz who played at Washington and Edrice "Bam" Adebayo who went on to play at Kentucky. 

Player's and their families from Duke, Michigan State, USC, North Carolina, Texas and Alabama were also included.

Stone played for the Terps during the 2015-16 season before declaring for the 2016 NBA Draft. He was selected 40th overall by the New Orleans Pelicans and traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. 


Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon postponed Friday morning's media availability, but he did release the following statement through the school.

"Late last night we were alerted of a report associating one of our former student-athletes with an agent. We are extremely disappointed, and we will fully cooperate with any investigation. I do not have a relationship with Andy Miller or anyone from his agency, and at no time have I ever had a conversation with Andy Miller or his agency regarding any Maryland basketball player. We remain steadfast in upholding a program of integrity that reflects the values of our University community."

Stone did end up signing with a different agency.

While this is still under investigation, large consequences for the NCAA can be expected.

The NCAA also released a statement following the news. 

These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America. Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules. Following the Southern District of New York's indictments last year, the NCAA Board of Governors and I formed the independent Commission on College Basketball, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, to provide recommendations on how to clean up the sport. With these latest allegations, it's clear this work is more important now than ever. The Board and I are completely committed to making transformational changes to the game and ensuring all involved in college basketball do so with integrity. We also will continue to cooperate with the efforts of federal prosecutors to identify and punish the unscrupulous parties seeking to exploit the system through criminal acts.

2018 Bubble Watch: Teams are lining up on the edge of the bubble

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2018 Bubble Watch: Teams are lining up on the edge of the bubble

The 2018 bubble watch has been relatively subdued with the plethora of upsets throughout the latter half of the college basketball season. At the same time, teams that are providing these upsets have slowly worked themselves from being a question mark at the bubble to now solidly in the tournament (ie. Virginia Tech).

Of the major conferences, the Big Ten is up in the air on how the end of February/ beginning of March will play out. Remember, to host their tournament in Madison Square Garden, the conference elected to move it a week earlier than the rest of the power leagues. Will it affect how many teams they have in the big dance? Right now they have four teams in but two more are hovering at the bubble.


Aside from the Big Ten, several other teams are striding the line. Many of which have done so all season long. 

Of the teams listed, they are battling for roughly 10 spots in the field of 68.

All rankings and records are as of Thursday, Feb. 22 at 12:00 pm

Oklahoma (16-11, 6-9 Big 12)
RPI: 32     BPI: 43      KenPom: 43    SOS: 12
Could Trae Young’s Oklahoma actually miss the NCAA Tournament? Yes. The Sooners have dropped six straight games and nine of their last 11. Yes, they have racked up the most high-quality wins in the country, but they are in a tailspin. They have beaten Kansas, TCU twice, Texas Tech, and Wichita State, but some of their losses are bad and they are piling up. Of their final three regular season games, two are against bubble teams that are desperate for a respectable win. If they lose out and then don’t make it past the first round of the Big 12 tournament, they are 16-15 (6-12).

St. Mary’s (CA) (25-4, 14-2 WCC)
RPI: 29     BPI: 20      KenPom: 22     SOS: 137
Early season losses to Georgia and Washington State are not as okay as they appeared back in non-conference play. Added to it was their surprising loss to San Francisco has now put the Gaels falling down the slide. Its hard to imagine though a 25-4 team not making the tournament.

Kansas State (20-8, 9-6 Big 12)
RPI: 55      BPI: 47     KenPom: 46     SOS: 73
The Kansas State Wildcats are your typical bubble team. They have beaten everyone in the Big 12 aside from the ranked teams.  They have some good wins but lack a high quality or ‘Quadrant 1’ victory. Their win over Texas on Feb. 21 give them a head-to-head over another team attempting to steal a bubble spot.

Providence (17-11, 8-7 Big East)
RPI: 37     BPI: 72      KenPom: 69     SOS: 20
Being in the Big East will always give a team a strong SOS, but the Providence Friars have lost to teams they should not have. While they have impressive wins over Xavier and Villanova at home, they have a DePaul loss at home that counters one of those wins. Their looming contest against Xavier has now developed into a must-win on Feb. 28.

NC State (19-9, 9-6 ACC)
RPI: 57     BPI: 51      KenPom: 50     SOS: 61
A team that has benefited from a strong conference has been the Wolfpack from NC State. Out of the ACC, NC State had a horrid schedule and even dropped games against Northern Iowa and UNC Greensboro.  However, they have made up for that with some of the most impressive wins in the ACC. They beat Duke, Clemson, and North Carolina on the road to climb back to the bubble watch.

Baylor (17-11, 7-8 Big 12)
RPI: 59     BPI: 37      KenPom: 36     SOS: 23
Beating Kansas and Texas Tech at home are really the only reasons the Baylor Bears are in consideration at the bubble. But, they are in the deepest conference in college basketball this season, which gives them a ton of decent wins that they can add to their resume. The Bears realistically have to win out to get into the dance.

St. Bonaventure (21-6, 11-4 A10)
RPI: 25     BPI:  58     KenPom: 68     SOS: 91
As a borderline bubble team, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies have followed that with a nine-game winning streak and a crucial victory over Rhode Island. As long as the Bonnies take care of their own business and make no worse than the semis in the A10 Tournament, they should be good. Guards Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley are overdue for a tournament berth.


Syracuse (18-10, 7-8 ACC)
RPI: 46     BPI: 52      KenPom: 51     SOS: 22
A month and a half ago, the Syracuse Orange had no business being in the bubble conversation. Still, their four best wins are over Miami, Virginia Tech, Louisville, and then Buffalo. They have some work to do in their final three weeks.

Louisville (18-10, 8-7 ACC)
RPI: 52     BPI: 35      KenPom: 37     SOS: 29
The Louisville Cardinals are in a worse spot than Syracuse, they only have one would be ‘Quadrant 1’ win at Florida State from nearly two months ago. With all the drama surrounding this program through the entire 2017-18 season, you have to give it to David Padgett for keeping them in the race.

USC (20-9, 11-5 Pac-12)
RPI: 36     BPI: 50      KenPom: 52     SOS: 49
The Pac-12 could be in extreme trouble. If USC does not make the push into the NCAA Tournament, there will only be two teams from that conference dancing. With an interesting resume, there is not much that jumps off the Trojans record. Then again, there isn’t much that takes away from it either.

UCLA (19-8, 10-5 Pac-12)
RPI: 47     BPI: 60      KenPom: 54     SOS: 66
Their win over Arizona solidified their claim to the bubble. Win-out situation upcoming for the Bruins who have been hurt by a weak Pac-12.

Texas (16-12, 6-9 Big 12)
RPI: 54     BPI:  39     KenPom: 41     SOS: 16
The Longhorns have such a good schedule. They’ve played all of their games close, but few close games against high-quality teams have translated to wins.

Marquette (16-11, 7-8 Big East)
RPI: 58     BPI: 45      KenPom: 48     SOS: 18
The Golden Eagles were sitting pretty until a four-game losing streak and a loss to St. John’s took them out of the conference race. Not much room for error with Marquette as they move closer to Selection Sunday.

Nebraska (21-9, 12-5 Big Ten)
RPI: 60     BPI: 61      KenPom: 57     SOS: 101
A win against Michigan and a six-game winning streak in the Big Ten has the Cornhuskers alive despite a sub-.500 SOS. They still need a Big Ten tournament upset to get in.

Washington  (18-9, 8-6 Pac-12)
RPI: 48     BPI: 109   KenPom: 95     SOS: 37
The only reason the Washington Huskies are in this conversation is because they beat Arizona and Arizona State back-to-back.

Utah (17-9. 9-6 Pac-12)
RPI: 49     BPI: 70      KenPom: 60     SOS: 65
Another bubble team that hasn’t done much. They’ve won the games they should have and only have snagged an upset on Arizona State.

Other teams:

Florida (17-11, 8-7 SEC)
RPI: 64     BPI: 34      KenPom: 29     SOS: 39

Georgia (15-12, 6-9 SEC)
RPI: 70     BPI: 84      KenPom: 71     SOS: 48

LSU (16-11, 7-8 SEC)
RPI: 74     BPI: 64      KenPom: 63     SOS: 47

Temple (15-12, 7-8 AAC)
RPI: 44     BPI: 83      KenPom: 85     SOS: 9


Games to Watch This Week:

UCLA at Utah 2/22 – 9:00 pm (ESPN)

Baylor at TCU 2/24 – 12:00 pm (ESPN2)

LSU at Georgia 2/24 – 2:00 pm (ESPNU)

Louisville at Virginia Tech 2/24 pm – 1:00 pm (CBS)

Syracuse at Duke 2/24 – 6:00 pm (ESPN)

Kansas State at Oklahoma 2/24 – 6:00 pm (ESPN2)

No. 12 Auburn vs. Florida 2/24 – 8:30 pm (SECN)

Penn State at Nebraska 2/25 – 5:15 pm (BTN)

NC State at Florida State 2/25 – 6:00 pm (ESPNU)

Oklahoma at Baylor 2/27 – 9:00 pm (ESPN2)

Davidson at St. Bonaventure 2/27 – 9:00 pm (CBSSN)

Providence at No. 4 Xavier 2/28 – 6:30 pm (FS1)