With March Madness quickly approaching, one of the biggest annual sporting events is getting closer.
The NCAA basketball tournament is a much-anticipated annual tradition for UNC basketball fans. Currently, the team has qualified for the last ten tournaments — the fourth-longest active streak in the nation.
But that streak is in jeopardy. After not living up to preseason expectations and some recent losses (including a shocking home loss versus a bad Pittsburgh team), the team finds itself on the fringe of the NCAA tournament, better known as the “bubble."
Being on the bubble is uncharted territory for UNC basketball fans. Even with last year's team, which failed to live up to expectations, there was a general consensus that getting in was a safe bet.
So, what does it mean to be on the bubble? The first requirement is simple: You have to win games. The best way to remove yourself from the bubble is to stack up victories. Most of the teams who find themselves on the bubble are there because of inconsistent play. Putting together a consistent string of victories is the quickest way for UNC to remove itself from this crowd.
Bubble teams and their fans should also begin to monitor the performance of other bubble teams. A loss doesn’t necessarily knock you off tournament contention depending on other bubble teams' performances. Rooting against your bubble foes can form exciting allegiances between fanbases.
In the meantime, there are some terms that fans of bubble teams need to familiarize themselves with as tournament season approaches.
KenPom, NET rankings and RPI
These are all rankings that take into account several factors, like average opponents' winning percentage, game location, efficiency and even luck to further evaluate teams.