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Bubble Q and A with CBS’ Expert Jerry Palm

Just as we did two seasons ago, we were able to get a hold of the very busy Jerry Palm of CBS Sports to chat with us for a few minutes about the Bonnies’ NCAA at large hopes. Palm currently has the Bonnies as an 11 seed in his Midwest region, matched up with 6 seed Michigan in an opening game. He does not have SBU in the “play-in” game in Dayton, and thus does not have them as one of his “last four in” the field today. Obviously, all of that could change in the next week plus, or even tonight with Davidson game looming. We thank Jerry for his time last night and we encourage you to check out his bracket projections here.


Q: Give fans a comparison of the strength of the bubble this year compared to years past. Is there any way to gauge if the bubble is more or less “competitive” in this year vs. others? Simply: Is this a “good year” to be on the bubble?

A: Every year is the same since the field expanded to 68.  The characteristics of the teams near the bottom vary from year to year, but the overall quality is similar.

Q: The Bonnies are currently ranked 24th in the RPI, 8-4 vs. Quad 1-2 teams and have a non conference SOS of 55 and a SOS of 88. Make a case for, and against, SBU as of today as an at large team. What’s their resume strengths and weaknesses? 

Case for – good road record, including win at Syracuse.  Wins over Buffalo, Vermont is a nice win also.  Good record against better opposition.

Case against – not enough higher quality wins.  Four losses to non-tournament teams, especially Niagara and St. Joe’s.

Q: How will the selection committee view the Bonnies losses to Niagara (at home) and on the road at Dayton and St. Joseph’s?  Will they note that the Niagara loss was without Jaylen Adams and take that under consideration? Conversely, will they factor in that SBU beat Maryland with Justin Jackson?

They are losses to non-tournament teams.  Davidson also.  Injuries are a factor in seeding, not selection.  Losses are losses, regardless.  Cannot ignore them, cannot assume a loss would have been a win.

Q: How do the Bonnies road/ neutral floor wins compare to other bubble teams right now (TX, L’Ville, USC, Providence, etc.)

Every team they are competing with has at least one win away from home at least as good as the Bonnies’ one at Syracuse, which I consider to be their best.

Q:Bonas played TCU close in a loss without Adams. Does the committee factor in margin of win/loss to any degree?

They do, but if all you have is competitive losses, then you have nothing.

Q: SBU has won their last ten straight. Lots of fans wonder if “how you finish matters?” Does the committee consider this?

They do not, and have not for over a decade.

Q: SBU finishes with a home game vs. Davidson tonight and a road one vs. Saint Louis on Saturday. Safe to assume between the two the home loss would be more damaging even though Davidson is a better club?

Losing to St. Louis would be more damaging because that is not a good team.

Q: In 2016 the Committee said Bonas was left out in large part due to a lack of quality non conference wins. This year they’ve beaten Vermont, Maryland, Buffalo and Syracuse away from home. Thoughts on those non conference wins given the committee’s added importance of winning away from home?

It’s better, but TCU would have been better still.

Q: Quickly: How do you feel about the committee’s new team sheets? Does it “simplify” the process or muddle it, in your opinion? 

It does for them, if not for casual fans.  The team sheets are not really changed.  All that has changed is which games go into each of the columns. Adding a home/road element is simply putting on paper what they were largely doing in their heads anyway.

A member of the class of 2008, Nolan spent four years as a student assistant with the program. He has written professionally for such outlets as espn.com/insider, Athlon Sports Magazines, Cox Sports Online and Blue Ribbon Previews. Ian was named one of the “140 Personalities to Follow in College Basketball” on twitter by The Sporting News.

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