We got yer bubble right here

In a story about how the new RPI formula might affect the NCAA Tournament, the Kansas City Star argues Vermont could be an eight seed and says Holy Cross is a bubble teams now that "wouldn't have gotten a sniff last year."

Which is nice of them to say, but begs a question: What exactly is it about Vermont that makes them a lock and an 8 seed, but Holy Cross is a bubble team, maybe? I know all about Coppenrath and Sorrentine. Two big scorers, one maybe an NBA prospect. Sorta like the 94-95 Colgate team with Adonal Foyle and Tucker Neale.

But we invite teams to the tournament, not individual players. This is not the scouting combine we are talking about.

This is not to argue against UVM. Let 'em in; seed 'em high. We're all for mid-majors getting respect.

But we look at UVM's schedule, and we have to ask: How is what they have done that much better than what Holy Cross has accomplished?

Yes, they beat the Crusaders in December. By five points in Worcester. Which might, or might not, happen again if the two teams met tomorrow. Arguably Holy Cross is much better than they were then, given the emergence of the two freshmen, Pat Doherty and Tim Clifford.

But UVM lost at American, where HC won. But certainly HC's OT loss at Boston College should count as much as UVM's 7-point loss at Kansas.

Don't get us wrong. Vermont only has three losses. But we think we could easily make the argument that the top four in the Patriot League are every bit as good as the top four in the America East. Matter of fact, once you get past Vermont and Boston College, is there a team in the America East you can argue is better than Bucknell, American and Lehigh?

Northeastern, 14-8 with losses to Harvard, Binghamton and Maine (not to mention Holy Cross)?

Albany, 11-11 with losses to Binghamton, Long Island, UMBC and Wagner (not to mention Lehigh)?

Maine, also 11-11 with losses to Morgan State, Bethune Cookman and UMBC (take away a win over Maine-Farmington and the Black Bears are below .500)?

Of course the problem for Holy Cross is the bottom half of the Patriot League. Army, Lafayette and Navy -- which sank its RPI so low early that its recent resurgence is not fairly reflected in its ranking-- pull down Holy Cross' RPI to bubble status, instead of the lock to make the tournament status we think they deserve at the moment.

All that could change of course. Even as soon as Sunday, when Lehigh comes to Worcester hell-bent on avenging a loss at the buzzer two weeks ago.

But if Holy Cross should win out, but lose in the Patriot League final, and not get a bid. Or if the Crusaders win out and get stuck with anything below a 12 or 13 seed, then folks in Worcester will certainly be justified in breaking out the old "nuts and bolts" cheer.

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