Northwestern NCAA Tournament Bracketology Update, February 23, 2012

Plus-one to Tubby Smith for wearing a bow tie, -.25 to Tubby Smith for not knowing how to tie an actual bow tie. (That's a clip-on, right? Clip-ons are NF.)

Every day, Sippin' on Purple will be taking an updated roundup and look at Northwestern's chances of making the NCAA Tournament. We promise not to jinx it.

Maybe we did jinx it.

Bracket Matrix: 11.7, 70 of 82 brackets (same as Monday, although this includes many brackets that updated Tuesday before Northwestern's loss to Michgan)

Kenpom: 54 (up one from 55 yesterday)

RPI: 47 (up one from 48 yesterday)

Sagarin: 53 (up one from 54 yesterday)

Big Ten standings: Eighth, first round opponent slated to be Minnesota (same as yesterday)

In or out, consensus: In, but barely

Feeling: #itdoesntmatterifwedontwin. A couple of guys were using that hashtag in the comments of Loretta8's rooting interests post, and it's completely true. Almost everything not related to Northwestern last night fell into place, with lots of teams losing to keep the bubble wide open: Minnesota passed up a chance to come even with NU in the Big Ten standings and seriously up their tourney resume by knocking off MSU at home (which also would've comparatively lowered the value of NU beating Minnesota), but blew a late six point lead and got outscored 12-3 in the game's final stretch, South Florida - arguably NU's biggest bubble rival - let Syracuse score 26 unanswered to blow an early lead, West Virginia lost to Notre Dame, Temple and George Mason avoided losses in overtime, and LSU got a solid in-conference win over Georgia to help NU's strength of schedule. All this was good for NU, but as the hashtag notes, it doesn't matter if Northwestern doesn't take advantage of it by winning the games it needs to. It's certainly refreshing to be reminded that not all hope is lost.

Other bracketology news: Before the Michigan game, I thought that a loss wouldn't be huge, a thought that was quickly erased in my blind postgame rage by fatalism and depression. Well, that pre-game mindset has largely proven to be right: bracketologists both big and small didn't punish Northwestern severely for the loss, as it was a game NU could have been expected to lose. I forgot to include Andy Glockner's Monday update, where he had NU in the first four. Sports-Ratings.com appears to have a pretty solid formula that gives NU a 67 percent chance of dancing - I feel it's somehow notable that sites that base their work off of plugging in numbers into an algorithm seem to favor Northwestern more than the analysis of individual bracketologists looking at the game - I think tis might have to do with Northwestern's strong strength of schedule.
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