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tommy
02-26-2013, 02:03 AM
In an effort to put all the bubble talk in one thread, thought I'd start one.

Iowa State. This loss tonight vs. Kansas really hurts. The Cyclones are very much a bubble team. #50 RPI, #72 in SOS, #41 in KenPom. Only two wins against certain tournament teams, those being a home win over K-State last month and one at home a few weeks ago over Oklahoma. Overall just 2-6 against the Top 50. Iowa State could really have used a signature late-season win against a marquee team, and though I know the refs were harshly criticized in this one, at the end of the day it's scoreboard, and they came out on the short end. Three games left -- at Oklahoma, home to Oklahoma State, and at West Virginia. They probably have to win two of those three, plus win a game in the B12 tournament to feel good about their chances.

Villanova. Also, right on the bubble, so tonight's one point loss to Seton Hall really hurts. #54 RPI but the #37 SOS will help, being in the Big East. Out of conference they have losses to Alabama (bubble team), Columbia, LaSalle (likely in), and Temple (bubble). No OOC wins over tournament teams. Highlight of the season was the back to back wins in January vs. Louisville and Syracuse. Other than those, the best win might have been last weekend over Marquette. They're 3-3 vs. Top 25, 4-6 vs. Top 50, 6-9 vs. Top 100. Two big games remain: at Pitt and home to Georgetown. Can't lose em both and go out in the first round of the BET. That'd be curtains for the Wildcats.

davekay1971
02-26-2013, 05:47 AM
Great idea and great timing for starting this thread. Only at about this point in the season do I think you can really start calling locks and then get a clear idea of who's on the bubble.

For the ACC, which I obsess about to the point of not paying enough attention to the rest of the world:

The only absolutely-in-even-if-they-lose-every-remaining-game locks are Miami and Duke.

UNC and NCSU are very much on the inside of the bubble, barring a collapse. However, we can always hope that UNC collapses and ends up on the edge of the bubble again. NCSU's schedule down the stretch is very favorable, and they should win the majority, if not all, of their remaining games (although it would be completely State-like to drop just enough games to make their selection Sunday uncomfortable). UNC's schedule is more challenging, but with about one more win, certainly two more, they're in the "lock" category.

Virginia and Maryland are the ACC's only two true bubble teams right now, with UVa on the inside of the bubble, and Maryland definitely on the outside. That stinks for us, since the Duke game will be UVa's big opportunity to put themselves securely in the field. The remainder of their schedule, however (at BC, at FSU, home vs Maryland) is winnable, so even when Duke beats them like a rented mule, they can still win their way into the tournament. Maryland has a much tougher road. Not only do they really need to win out (just about), they have to do it with 3 road games and a home game against UNC. Ouch. Since they're in the Big 1? anyway, I don't much care what Maryland does, except I hope they win that home game!

tommy
02-27-2013, 10:43 PM
How come nobody's talking about Tennessee as a bubble team? (full disclosure: I called Tennessee "utterly mediocre" in another thread just yesterday. I actually looked at their resume today, and it's a lot better than I thought. I retract "utterly mediocre.")

Let's look at this team. They're 17-10, 9-6 in the conference, which I know is not a very good conference this year top to bottom. Their RPI is 53, and their strength of schedule is 26, the best of the bubble teams. I think they're going to win at least two, if not all three of their remaining regular season games. If they were to sweep all three (at Georgia, at Auburn, and home to Missouri) not only would they reach 20 wins in the regular season, but they'd also go into postseason play on a 9 game winning streak.

As they sit now, they're 3-4 against the RPI top 50, 8-9 against the Top 100, and 11-10 agains the Top 150. Those are all good numbers when comparing them to other bubble teams.

They have a signature win, that being the other night over Florida, who's been in the Top 10 all year. Their worst losses have been to Georgia (RPI #123) and Arkansas (#82). Comparing those to the bad losses suffered by other bubble teams, those don't look so bad at all.

The rest of their losses have been to the following teams: Oklahoma State in November, at Georgetown by one point, also in November, at Virginia by 8, Memphis by 5, Ole Miss by 18, at Alabama by 3, at Kentucky by 10, at Ole Miss by 6. All of those teams are either in the tournament or on the bubble, albeit a couple of them on the outer surface of the bubble. So they really only have two bad losses all year, and comparatively speaking, even those two aren't that bad.

How is this team not even in the discussion? Not on Lunardi's or Palm's bracket or even close to it? Are they on double secret probation or something and I didn't know about it?

Duvall
02-27-2013, 10:46 PM
Good news is, Maryland can stop worrying about those road games.

1 24 90
02-28-2013, 06:55 AM
How come nobody's talking about Tennessee as a bubble team? (full disclosure: I called Tennessee "utterly mediocre" in another thread just yesterday. I actually looked at their resume today, and it's a lot better than I thought. I retract "utterly mediocre.")

Let's look at this team. They're 17-10, 9-6 in the conference, which I know is not a very good conference this year top to bottom. Their RPI is 53, and their strength of schedule is 26, the best of the bubble teams. I think they're going to win at least two, if not all three of their remaining regular season games. If they were to sweep all three (at Georgia, at Auburn, and home to Missouri) not only would they reach 20 wins in the regular season, but they'd also go into postseason play on a 9 game winning streak.

As they sit now, they're 3-4 against the RPI top 50, 8-9 against the Top 100, and 11-10 agains the Top 150. Those are all good numbers when comparing them to other bubble teams.

They have a signature win, that being the other night over Florida, who's been in the Top 10 all year. Their worst losses have been to Georgia (RPI #123) and Arkansas (#82). Comparing those to the bad losses suffered by other bubble teams, those don't look so bad at all.

The rest of their losses have been to the following teams: Oklahoma State in November, at Georgetown by one point, also in November, at Virginia by 8, Memphis by 5, Ole Miss by 18, at Alabama by 3, at Kentucky by 10, at Ole Miss by 6. All of those teams are either in the tournament or on the bubble, albeit a couple of them on the outer surface of the bubble. So they really only have two bad losses all year, and comparatively speaking, even those two aren't that bad.

How is this team not even in the discussion? Not on Lunardi's or Palm's bracket or even close to it? Are they on double secret probation or something and I didn't know about it?

I saw that Lunardi moved them to the "First Team Out" after the Florida win the other night so they are now trending upward.

TexHawk
02-28-2013, 07:52 AM
How come nobody's talking about Tennessee as a bubble team? (full disclosure: I called Tennessee "utterly mediocre" in another thread just yesterday. I actually looked at their resume today, and it's a lot better than I thought. I retract "utterly mediocre.")

Let's look at this team. They're 17-10, 9-6 in the conference, which I know is not a very good conference this year top to bottom. Their RPI is 53, and their strength of schedule is 26, the best of the bubble teams. I think they're going to win at least two, if not all three of their remaining regular season games. If they were to sweep all three (at Georgia, at Auburn, and home to Missouri) not only would they reach 20 wins in the regular season, but they'd also go into postseason play on a 9 game winning streak.

As they sit now, they're 3-4 against the RPI top 50, 8-9 against the Top 100, and 11-10 agains the Top 150. Those are all good numbers when comparing them to other bubble teams.

They have a signature win, that being the other night over Florida, who's been in the Top 10 all year. Their worst losses have been to Georgia (RPI #123) and Arkansas (#82). Comparing those to the bad losses suffered by other bubble teams, those don't look so bad at all.

The rest of their losses have been to the following teams: Oklahoma State in November, at Georgetown by one point, also in November, at Virginia by 8, Memphis by 5, Ole Miss by 18, at Alabama by 3, at Kentucky by 10, at Ole Miss by 6. All of those teams are either in the tournament or on the bubble, albeit a couple of them on the outer surface of the bubble. So they really only have two bad losses all year, and comparatively speaking, even those two aren't that bad.

How is this team not even in the discussion? Not on Lunardi's or Palm's bracket or even close to it? Are they on double secret probation or something and I didn't know about it?

The SEC is just strange to me. They have a few teams hovering around 40-50 in the RPI. According to most brackets I see, their only locks are Florida and Missouri. Mizzou is in 6th place in that conference, and has to play the hottest team (Tennessee) on the road in the last game of the season. They have only one true road win all season, and that was at 7-20 Mississippi State. Their RPI is 43. They will likely finish at 11-7 before the SEC tournament, which seems strong enough, but I'm not sure they shouldn't be on the bubble.

Then look at Kentucky, RPI is 49. 2nd in the conference, 1 game back, with an outside (though not likely) chance of tying Florida for the lead. They are generally considered in the last 4 in/out. Maybe that's just perception of them sans-Noel, but they have head-to-head wins over Missouri, Tennessee, and Ole Miss.

tommy
03-01-2013, 02:45 AM
OK so I'm kinda a bubble geek. Anyone else out there like to look at this stuff and really compare these teams?

In case anyone is interested, I created the chart below to try to track the bubble teams, and to compare them side by side. I include 18 teams as bubble teams, and I think at this point there are 6 spots available. In addition to the 31 automatic qualifiers, I think there are 31 teams that have sewn up -- or close to sewn up, barring a serious collapse -- at-large bids. That would be 62 spots spoken for, leaving six for the bubble teams to fight for.

The teams are listed in no particular order. I include their overall record, conference record, RPI, strength of schedule, their best wins and the RPI's of those victims, their worst losses by RPI, what I guess their last 10 might look like, and then their records against the current RPI Top 50, 100, and 150. Don't shoot me if I'm off on something or transferred data incorrectly in a spot here or there. And of course there are multiple sources of RPI, so I just had to choose one. All the sources are relatively close. OK so here's the table.






Temple
UVA
Iowa State
Villanova
Boise St.
Ariz. St.
Kentucky
OleMiss
IndianaSt.
Charlotte
Xavier
UMass
Maryland
Baylor
St.John's
So.Miss
Alabama
Tennessee


Record
19-8
20-8
19-9
17-11
17-8
20-9
20-8
21-7
17-12
18-9
16-11
17-9
19-9
17-11
16-11
21-7
19-9
17-10


Conf Rec
8-5
10-5
9-6
9-7
7-6
9-7
11-4
10-5
9-8
6-7
8-5
7-6
7-8
8-7
8-7
10-3
11-4
9-6


RPI
41
61
54
55
48
88
46
57
70
60
87
56
75
64
62
35
63
53


SOS
43
121
73
35
71
124
69
127
61
102
85
67
108
33
34
89
103
26


Best Wins
Syracuse12
St Louis 34
Duke1
UNC 23
Ok 19
KSt 22
Louisville7
Syracuse 12
UNLV16
Colorado29
UCLA 41
Missouri 42
Tenn 53
Missouri42
Tenn 53
Miami 2
Wichita 28
Butler 31
LaSalle 38
Memph18
Butler 31
LaSalle38
Ohio 71
Duke 1
NC St 24
Ok St 26
Kentucky46
UConn 30
NDame 40
Denver76
UTEP 97
Kentucky46
Tenn 53
Fla 5
Wichita 28


Worst Losses
St Bon 110
Duquesne 219
ODU 324
GMason154
TTech221
Columbia 261
Utah 177
DePaul 184
Utah 177
TxA&M 84
Baylor 64
So Car 201
TxA&M 84
Missouri St 210
So.Ill 197
GW 131
Fla St 80
Wofford 236
Wake 149
GW 131
St Bon 110
BC 137
FSU 80
Charleston 156
Northwestern 134
UNC Ash 196
San Fran 157
UCF 105
N Mex St 70
Auburn 215
Tulane 152
Ga 123
Ark 82


Proj Last 10
7-3
7-3
5-5
5-5
6-4
4-6
7-3
6-4
5-5
6-4
5-5
4-6
5-5
4-6
4-6
7-3
6-4
8-2


vs Top 50
3-3
4-2
2-6
4-6
2-5
4-4
1-4
1-4
3-5
2-5
4-2
1-5
2-4
2-7
3-5
0-4
1-3
3-4


vs Top 100
9-5
7-2
5-7
6-9
6-6
5-7
6-8
5-6
6-5
6-7
4-6
7-7
3-7
4-9
4-8
3-6
7-5
8-9


vs Top 150
12-7
10-5
9-8
12-10
7-6
6-7
8-8
9-6
9-8
8-9
10-10
8-9
7-9
9-10
8-10
6-7
10-7
11-10


























































As I look at these teams side by side -- and I know a lot can change in the next couple weeks, it seems to me that Temple and Kentucky have the two strongest resumes. Both have solid records and RPI's. Temple has a couple of very nice wins; Kentucky has no truly bad losses, compared to the other bubble teams' losses. Temple has 9 wins against the Top 100 and 12 against the Top 150. While Kentucky can't match those numbers, theirs are right in the ballpark as compared to the other bubble teams. I think the Wildcats, right now, are in the field. OK that's two of the six.

After tonight's win over Duke, Virginia is in. Their SOS is not good, and they have the ghastly loss to Old Dominion. All true. But they have 20 wins in the ACC, they're 10-5 in the league, their RPI is 61, they also have wins over UNC and NC State, and Wisconsin to boot, and their records against the Top 50 and Top 100 are very good. With the late season signature win over Duke, I've got to believe the Wahoos would be in if the tournament started today.

Next up, meaning in the field, should be Tennessee. Only 17 wins total, but 9-6 in the league. RPI of 53 -- good for a bubble team, and an excellent SOS of 26. This team is hot too, including the late season signature win over the Gators. Their bad losses aren't that bad, relatively speaking. They have 8 Top 100 wins and 11 Top 150 wins -- that's good too. I think the Vols are being undersold by Lunardi, Palm, and those guys.

OK two more. Now they get pretty shaky. Villanova really hurt themselves on Monday night with their loss to Seton Hall. Still, at 9-7 in the league, with an RPI of 55 and SOS of 35, you can't write them off. They had the two consecutive big wins in January over Louisville and Syracuse, which nobody has forgotten. They do have 12 Top 150 wins. The loss to Columbia was really bad, I know. But in comparing the overall resume against who's left, I think Villanova may just sneak in there.

Last one. I'd go with Iowa State. 19 wins already, 9-6 in the league. Many believe they really got hosed the other night against Kansas, so that would've been their 10th Big 12 win, and a big signature win. Still, RPI is a solid 54, SOS of 73 is better than most of their competition on the bubble. They do have wins over Oklahoma and K-State, and decent records against the Top 100 and 150. They'd be my last team in at this point, but not by much. At all.

What about the rest?

Boise: Only 17 total wins coming out of that conference, only 2 Top 50 wins. Maybe if they win out and lose in the conf championship game or something like that, but I need to see some more from them before they earn a bid.

Arizona State. Close. Could've really used a win at UCLA the other night, but didn't get it. The 20 wins already looks good, but the SOS is hurting them. So is the RPI. Also, when your best win of the year is over Colorado, even though they beat the Buffs twice, it makes me go "eh!"

Ole Miss: Also close. 21 wins already is nice, as are the 10 SEC wins. Bad SOS really hurts though, as does the fact that they only have one Top 50 win.

Indiana State: they were a lot closer in my mind before they laid an egg and got beaten by Drake the other night. Hate the Drake. Overall record is mediocre but their RPI and SOS were good before that Drake game. Best thing they have going for them is that they beat Miami, and their wins over Top 100 and 150 are fine. Not good enough at this point in my mind.

Charlotte: Pretty far outside at this point. The blowout loss to Dayton the other night, their 3rd straight L, hurt a lot. SOS is 102, only two Top 50 wins. The win over Butler was nice, but I don't think so for the 49ers.

Xavier: Also just not a strong enough overall resume. Only 16 wins total, RPI is 87. They also have a win over Butler, and one over Memphis, but have a real bad loss to Wofford too. 4-2 vs. Top 50 helps, but overall they just don't have enough compared to the Temples, Kentuckys, and Villanovas.

UMass. Better RPI than Xavier, and SOS too, but overall profile just not strong enough. Only one win vs. Top 50. That doesn't get it done.

Maryland. They were outside looking in before they lost to Georgia Tech the other night. 19 overall wins is good, as is the win over Duke and the one over NC State, but the SOS is lousy and those wins I mentioned are their only two over the Top 50.

Baylor. They could be closing strong. only 17 wins but that SOS is very good and they have a couple of pretty good wins. What's hurting them is that they only have two Top 50 wins, and they're 4-9 against the Top 100.

St. John's. Only 16 wins overall, but also very strong SOS. Best wins are over UConn and Notre Dame -- not that great. Meanwhile they lost to UNC Asheville and San Francisco. San Francisco without Bill Russell walking through that door. Not good enough.

Southern Miss. 21 wins looks good, 10-3 in their league, but they just haven't beaten anybody. Deal breaker.

Alabama. Close. 19-9 overall, 11-4 in the league. Problem is the bad SOS. They only have one Top 50 win, though the Tennessee win could turn into a Top 50 pretty soon here too. If they make a strong closing push, they could get in.


So what do you guys think? Worth updating this thing? Anyone care this much? Anyone want to debate the merits of any of these teams? Have at it!












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CDu
03-01-2013, 08:32 AM
As I look at these teams side by side -- and I know a lot can change in the next couple weeks, it seems to me that Temple and Kentucky have the two strongest resumes. Both have solid records and RPI's. Temple has a couple of very nice wins; Kentucky has no truly bad losses, compared to the other bubble teams' losses. Temple has 9 wins against the Top 100 and 12 against the Top 150. While Kentucky can't match those numbers, theirs are right in the ballpark as compared to the other bubble teams. I think the Wildcats, right now, are in the field. OK that's two of the six.

I don't think Kentucky's resume is that good, actually. They are only 1-4 against the RPI top-50 and 5-4 against the RPI 51-100. That's not the resume of a team that deserves to be in. Furthermore, one has to take into account that they lost their best player midseason, so that resume is probably even overstating how good they are.

Basically, all Kentucky has done is beaten the bad teams on their schedule. They have not done well against tourney-caliber teams, and have only been mediocre against teams that shouldn't make the field.

Contrast that with UVa, who has a winning record against the top-50 and a stellar 7-2 against the top-100. Yes, UVa has 2 horrible losses, and they have 6 losses against teams outside the top-100 (3 outside the top-150). But those were all early. Since January, they're undefeated at home and have wins over Duke, State, and UNC.

Bob Green
03-01-2013, 09:40 AM
After tonight's win over Duke, Virginia is in. Their SOS is not good, and they have the ghastly loss to Old Dominion. All true. But they have 20 wins in the ACC, they're 10-5 in the league, their RPI is 61, they also have wins over UNC and NC State, and Wisconsin to boot, and their records against the Top 50 and Top 100 are very good. With the late season signature win over Duke, I've got to believe the Wahoos would be in if the tournament started today.

The Virginia situation personifies how difficult a task the Selection Committee faces. Duke is a probably #2 Seed who still has a chance at a #1, but Virginia is being discussed as on the bubble even though they whipped Duke last night. Everything comes into play as the committee looks at the whole "body of work" of each and every team, but I believe Virginia is solidly in the tournament with their win.




So what do you guys think? Worth updating this thing? Anyone care this much? Anyone want to debate the merits of any of these teams? Have at it!

The chart is definitely worth updating as we discuss the "Bubble" from now until Selection Sunday.

Wander
03-01-2013, 09:45 AM
I don't think Kentucky's resume is that good, actually. They are only 1-4 against the RPI top-50 and 5-4 against the RPI 51-100. That's not the resume of a team that deserves to be in. Furthermore, one has to take into account that they lost their best player midseason, so that resume is probably even overstating how good they are.


Even so, it's now March, and Kentucky still controls its own destiny in the conference - if they win their last three games, they're the regular season SEC champions. I think they're on the right side of things.

tommy
03-01-2013, 10:47 AM
I don't think Kentucky's resume is that good, actually. They are only 1-4 against the RPI top-50 and 5-4 against the RPI 51-100. That's not the resume of a team that deserves to be in. Furthermore, one has to take into account that they lost their best player midseason, so that resume is probably even overstating how good they are.

Basically, all Kentucky has done is beaten the bad teams on their schedule. They have not done well against tourney-caliber teams, and have only been mediocre against teams that shouldn't make the field.

Contrast that with UVa, who has a winning record against the top-50 and a stellar 7-2 against the top-100. Yes, UVa has 2 horrible losses, and they have 6 losses against teams outside the top-100 (3 outside the top-150). But those were all early. Since January, they're undefeated at home and have wins over Duke, State, and UNC.

First of all, I agree, and stated as much, that Virginia is in if the selections were made today. Resume looks a lot better after last night.

Not to defend Kentucky, but while it's true they lost Noel and are obviously weaker for it, after getting blown out in their first game without him (by Tennessee, who has a good shot to get in the tournament themselves) they've won their last three, including one over tournament team Missouri. If they can win two of their last three, especially if one of them is the finale at Rupp against the Gators, then even if they only win one game in the SEC tournament they'd be sitting there with 23 wins. I don't think too many 23 win teams from major conferences get left out, especially ones with Kentucky on their chest.

So my question is: of those bubble teams that I have listed, whose resume do you believe is superior to Kentucky's, and why? That's one of the things that drives me nuts about people like Vitale and Phelps: they're always ready and willing to tell us that this team or that team absolutely should be in. But Dick, Digger: in place of who? Who should be out? They never want to do the thinking to come up with an answer to that. CDu, you're obviously a lot more thoughtful about these things than are those clowns, so who do you think deserves it at this point more than Kentucky?

CDu
03-01-2013, 12:23 PM
First of all, I agree, and stated as much, that Virginia is in if the selections were made today. Resume looks a lot better after last night.

Not to defend Kentucky, but while it's true they lost Noel and are obviously weaker for it, after getting blown out in their first game without him (by Tennessee, who has a good shot to get in the tournament themselves) they've won their last three, including one over tournament team Missouri. If they can win two of their last three, especially if one of them is the finale at Rupp against the Gators, then even if they only win one game in the SEC tournament they'd be sitting there with 23 wins. I don't think too many 23 win teams from major conferences get left out, especially ones with Kentucky on their chest.

So my question is: of those bubble teams that I have listed, whose resume do you believe is superior to Kentucky's, and why? That's one of the things that drives me nuts about people like Vitale and Phelps: they're always ready and willing to tell us that this team or that team absolutely should be in. But Dick, Digger: in place of who? Who should be out? They never want to do the thinking to come up with an answer to that. CDu, you're obviously a lot more thoughtful about these things than are those clowns, so who do you think deserves it at this point more than Kentucky?

I would take Temple and UVa first. After that, I'd go with Villanova. Then, I put Iowa State, Boise State, and Kentucky in a close group. If I had to say today, that's the order I'd go with. After that, it gets tough for me. Maybe Southern Miss?

Kedsy
03-01-2013, 12:52 PM
I would take Temple and UVa first. After that, I'd go with Villanova.

The thing about Villanova is its two remaining games are @Pitt and Georgetown. If they lose both (and they'll be underdogs in both), and go 1-1 in the Big East tournament, they'll have a 19-14 overall record (9-9 conference), having lost 4 of their last 5 games. I'm not sure that gets them in. If it goes that way, I'd pick Kentucky, Iowa State, Mississippi, and Tennessee ahead of them.

CDu
03-01-2013, 12:54 PM
The thing about Villanova is its two remaining games are @Pitt and Georgetown. If they lose both (and they'll be underdogs in both), and go 1-1 in the Big East tournament, they'll have a 19-14 overall record (9-9 conference), having lost 4 of their last 5 games. I'm not sure that gets them in. If it goes that way, I'd pick Kentucky, Iowa State, Mississippi, and Tennessee ahead of them.

Sure, lots could happen in the next 2.5 weeks. I'm just talking about resumes right now.

nocilla
03-01-2013, 01:29 PM
Don't forget bubble shrinkage. How many mid-major teams can earn an at-large bid if they lose their tourney? I guess it's hard to predict but say Gonzaga loses in the WCC tourney or Maryland wins the ACC.

tommy
03-03-2013, 01:20 PM
I'll do a fuller update later, but yesterday was a really bad day for the SEC. Bubble teams Tennessee, Ole Miss and Kentucky ALL lost to lower echelon conference teams, hurting their chances in a big way. And Alabama, trying to fight their way onto the bubble, played Florida tight for awhile before bowing. That was a great opportunity blown.

tommy
03-07-2013, 06:47 PM
OK so updating the bubble situation, at least from my perspective. I think that 31 teams have basically sewn up at-large bids, assuming they don’t win their conference tournaments. If either they or the conference favorite or another one of the teams I’m counting as “in” win the conference tournament, then that would leave six spots for the teams below to compete for.

First, the chart to help compare teams side-by-side, and below, my analysis of each team’s performance lately and their chances going forward.




Temple

UVA

Iowa St.

Nova

Boise

Ariz. St.

Kentucky

Ole Miss

Ind. St.



Rec

22-8

20-9

19-10

19-12

20-9

20-10

20-9

22-8

17-13



Conf Rec

10-5

10-6

9-7

10-8

8-7

9-8

11-5

11-6

9-9



RPI

43

64

51

53

37

94

52

57

74



SOS

73

128

55

21

54

121

71

134

64



Vs Top 25

2-2

2-1

2-4

4-4

0-3

0-2

0-4

0-1

1-1



Vs Top 50

3-3

4-2

3-7

5-7

3-6

4-4

1-4

1-3

3-5



Vs Top 100

9-5

7-2

6-8

7-10

7-7

6-8

6-9

6-6

7-6



Vs Top 150

13-7

9-5

10-9

13-11

11-7

6-8

8-9

10-6

9-9



Last 10

8-2

6-4

6-4

6-4

6-4

4-6

7-3

5-5

4-6









Ark

Charl

Xavier

UMass

Md

Baylor

St John’s

So Miss

Bama

Tenn



Rec

18-12

19-10

17-12

18-9

20-10

17-13

16-13

22-8

19-11

18-11



Conf Rec

9-8

7-8

9-6

8-6

8-9

8-9

8-9

11-4

11-6

10-7



RPI

72

79

81

54

83

63

67

44

61

56



SOS

72

119

67

75

108

26

30

101

81

51



Vs Top 25

1-4

0-3

2-1

0-2

1-2

1-5

1-6

0-3

0-2

1-3



Vs Top 50

3-5

2-5

5-2

1-5

2-4

1-8

3-6

0-5

0-4

2-3



Vs Top 100

6-10

6-7

5-7

9-7

3-8

4-10

4-9

4-6

7-9

8-9



Vs Top 150

9-11

7-10

11-10

9-9

5-10

9-12

8-12

8-7

10-11

11-11



Last 10

6-4

3-7

6-4

6-4

5-5

3-7

4-6

6-4

6-4

7-3






OK so here goes.

Temple: I thought they were in a week ago, and all they’ve done is continue to win, beating Rhode Island and Fordham to get to 22-8 overall, 10-5 in the league pending the regular season finale against VCU. RPI is solid, SOS is OK, and they have the wins over Syracuse and St. Louis and Villanova, and a 7 point loss at Kansas. They’re 3-3 against the Top 50 and their 9-5 mark against the Top 100 is the best of any of the bubble teams. They’re in. I don’t even consider them to be a bubble team anymore, at least at this point.

Virginia: You know, I had them in following the big win over Duke. But wouldn’t you know it, the Wahoos couldn’t stand success, and laid an egg against BC, losing by a point. Jeez. OK they still have the 20 wins, including 10-6 in the league. But their SOS is lousy. Really bad. This is the definition of a bubble team. Being 7-2 against the Top 100 looks good, but nevertheless, I strongly suggest that they win both at FSU on Thursday night and at home against Maryland to close out the regular season this weekend, or even the palms on Mr. Jefferson’s statue are going to start to get a little sweaty. Or a lot. Man, do they wish they could get a do-over against Old Dominion. I say UVA wins these last two, or does well enough in the ACC Tournament, to get in.

Iowa State: I had them as my last team in as of last week. Their Jekyll and Hyde act has continued, as they got trounced by Oklahoma on Saturday, only to turn around and beat #13 Oklahoma State on Wednesday night by 11. What gives? The win over the Cowboys gets them to 20-10 overall, 10-7 in the Big 12. RPI is good, SOS too with these last two games now being factored in. Taking care of business on Saturday against West Virginia is imperative. This team is right on the bubble, but I think they have a good shot. I’ll count them as “in” for now.

Villanova: followed up a bad loss to Seton Hall with a solid performance in losing to Pitt in OT and then the big, big win over Georgetown on Wednesday night. That gets them to 19 wins going into the Big East Tournament, and they’ve now beaten Syracuse, Louisville, and Georgetown. SOS is very solid – the best of the bubble teams -- as is the RPI, for a bubble team. They have four wins over the RPI Top 15, and are 4-4 against the Top 25. That’s the best of any bubble team, as is their 13 wins against the Top 150. This team, right now, would be in.

Boise State: Had a really nice win over Colorado State over the weekend, but then lost a tough one by 4 at UNLV on Tuesday night. That one really would’ve helped. The Colorado State win got them to 20 and their RPI is very good. A win over San Diego State on Saturday would really strengthen their case, but they’re going to have to put in work in the MWC Tourney as well. Jerry Palm currently has them in as a 10 seed, above teams like Temple and even Cincinnati. I don’t agree with that. But when I compare them to the rest of the bubble teams, I think they may just sneak in as the last team in or second to last.

Arizona State: Big trouble here. They looked to be in good shape two weeks ago, sitting at 20-7 and 9-5 in the league, but they haven’t won since. Washington beat em at Tempe, then the Sun Devils lost at UCLA in OT (no shame there) but then the killer was the loss on Saturday to woeful USC. I know, USC beat Arizona on that trip too, but still. Now ASU closes out at Arizona, and I’d be surprised if ASU can stay within ten points of the Wildcats. That’ll be a four game losing streak going into the Pac-12 tourney, with bad looking RPI’s and SOS, and no great wins this year. Say goodnight, Gracie.

Kentucky: I thought they were in good shape last week, but Saturday’s loss at Arkansas – just part of an awful day for the SEC -- has put them in a precarious situation. They have no wins against the Top 25, and just one against the Top 50. The Wildcats just haven’t beaten anybody this year. They still have their 20 wins, but of course most of those were with Nerlens Noel. Prior to the Arkansas loss, the Wildcats had won three straight after the initial Nerlens-less blowout loss to Tennessee, so maybe the committee would have been thinking they still deserve the bid because they’ve shown they can win without him. Now they’ve got to go to Georgia before hosting Florida to close out the season. Win two, they’re in. Lose both, they’re out. 1-1 and their performance in the SEC Tournament will likely decide it. Right on the bubble. Right on it.

Ole Miss: Spit the bit on Saturday, losing at bottom feeder Mississippi State, before getting a four point win the other night over fellow bubble team Alabama. They do have 22 wins, and are 11-6 in the league, but their SOS is terrible and they have only 1 win against the Top 50, and some really bad losses. Don’t feel like a tournament team to me.

Indiana State: They were edge of the bubble last week, before they lost to Drake and Evansville, both by double digits. They open the conference tournament with a rematch with Evansville. Stick a fork in em.

Arkansas: I added them in this week, but they’re still not likely to get in. They beat Kentucky last weekend, but followed that up with a 30 point whuppin at the hands of Missouri. Sooo-eee indeed. They do boast wins over Florida, Missouri, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, but their numbers overall just don’t roll my socks up and down, and they’re barely over .500 in a mediocre SEC. They have to make a big run in the SEC Tournament to really get into the conversation.

Charlotte: Was on the outer edge of the bubble last week, and then got worked over by St. Bonaventure over the weekend before winning a squeaker over Duquesne. Yes, they have 19 wins, but they’re still below .500 in conference, their SOS is weak, and they don’t have any marquee wins. They’re not getting an at-large bid.

Xavier was also on the outside looking in as of last week, and they still are. Their closing schedule has been very tough. Their last five are VCU, Memphis, UMass, St. Louis, and at Butler. They probably needed to win four of those five to be a serious contender for a bid. But they’re 2-2 in the first four of them. Since my last post on this, they lost at home to fellow bubblemate UMass, which really hurt, but then they turned around and beat 16th ranked St. Louis in OT on Wednesday night. Still the Musketeers have only 17 overall wins, their RPI is bad, and their SOS ain’t so hot either. They’re 5-2 against the Top 50, including 2-1 against the Top 25, which helps. They really needed a very strong finishing kick, but I just don’t think it’s been strong enough.

UMass has played only once since the last update, that being the win over Xavier. Nice, but still they’re only 18-9, 9-6 in the league. RPI is OK, SOS not great, but their bigger problem is lack of quality wins: just one in the Top 50. Yes, they’re 9-7 against the Top 100, but I don’t think that’s enough. I don’t see it for these guys at this point.

Maryland: Few tears will be shed here for the Terps falling off the bubble, as they’ve lost three of their last five, including setbacks at the hands of Boston College and Georgia Tech. Nice stretch run. They needed to beat UNC on Wednesday night, at home, to try to get back on the bubble, but they lost by double figures. Even a win at Virginia on Sunday will do little to help at this point. Sure, they have 20 wins, but their RPI and SOS are really bad and they have only three Top 100 wins. Buh-bye.

Baylor: Some oh-so-smart guys were talking Baylor up last week as being a team to watch sneak into the tournament, despite their record. Now, not so much. Scott Drew’s team has lost their last two, to K-State and at Texas, which means they’ve lost five of their last seven going into the finale against Kansas. Good luck there, Scott. A loss would drop the Bears to 17-14 overall, 8-10 in the league. Their SOS is really good, but they just don’t have enough quality wins, and just way too many losses. Like 1-8 against the Top 50. Bottom line on these guys is they played a lot of tough teams, but they didn’t beat very many tough teams.

St. John’s: Since my last update the Johnnies lost to trying-to-get-on-the-bubble Providence on the road and then were blown out at Notre Dame. That’s three straight losses, five of their last six, six of their last eight. Committee no like that. Oh, and they close with Marquette. St. Johns overall is only 16-13, and while they have a solid SOS, like Baylor, they just haven’t beaten enough of those good teams that they’ve played. They’re done.

Southern Miss: They were the “darlings” of the bubble-watching media for a hot minute there, but after beating ECU they inexplicably were upended by Marshall on Tuesday night. How do you lose to Marshall when you’re trying to make a drive for the tournament? They have 22 wins and a very good RPI, but just not enough quality wins. Like, none in the Top 50. They haven’t convinced anyone, well at least they haven’t convinced me, that they can beat tournament-quality teams. Why not? Because they haven’t beaten a single NCAA-bound squad all year. Later to these dudes.

Alabama: The Tide was making a late season push, winning 10 of 12 at one point, but they’ve now lost three of their last four in the mediocre SEC. They were beaten at LSU, handled Auburn, then since my last post were beaten at Florida and then in a big one, lost by 4 at Ole Miss. These teams are both fighting for a spot, and Mississippi beat em. Bama has 19 wins, 11 in the league, but the league stinks. SOS is bad, RPI not so hot either, because they have no Top 50 wins since Kentucky fell below 50. A win over Georgia on Saturday, while it would be nice, is not going to be nearly enough. They’ll need to do some heavy lifting in the SEC Tournament.

Tennessee: They’ve been my bubble team to watch for a little while now, but last Saturday’s loss at Georgia really hurt. If the committee weights RPI and SOS heavily, the Vols could still get in, especially if they do well in the conference tournament. But Saturday’s season finale at home against Missouri is a must-win, not only because Missouri is a quality team, but a loss potentially drops the Vols back into a tie in conference with the likes of LSU and Georgia (and Arkansas) which are not the kinds of neighbors that a tournament team has. Right now, I’d put the Vols in, along with Boise, as the last two in.

Bob Green
03-07-2013, 07:20 PM
Virginia: You know, I had them in following the big win over Duke. But wouldn’t you know it, the Wahoos couldn’t stand success, and laid an egg against BC, losing by a point. Jeez. OK they still have the 20 wins, including 10-6 in the league. But their SOS is lousy. Really bad. This is the definition of a bubble team. Being 7-2 against the Top 100 looks good, but nevertheless, I strongly suggest that they win both at FSU on Thursday night and at home against Maryland to close out the regular season this weekend, or even the palms on Mr. Jefferson’s statue are going to start to get a little sweaty. Or a lot. Man, do they wish they could get a do-over against Old Dominion. I say UVA wins these last two, or does well enough in the ACC Tournament, to get in.

Virginia is down 11 points with 11 minutes to go against FSU. They are doing their best to lose their way right out of the tournament. The ACC is starting to look like a four bid conference.

OldPhiKap
03-07-2013, 07:34 PM
UVa looking to be in a tough spot with six to go. kY losing to UGA. Hard to find 34 at large teams worth taking.


Edit-- spoke too soon, UVa charging to cut it to one with 2:07!!!

Grey Devil
03-07-2013, 07:54 PM
Michael Snaer does it again! Drives the lane with FSU down one and lays it in with 4.4 to go. Fouled in the act.

Down goes UVa...

OldPhiKap
03-07-2013, 08:01 PM
Michael Snaer does it again! Drives the lane with FSU down one and lays it in with 4.4 to go. Fouled in the act.

Down goes UVa...

Fun game down the stretch

tommy
03-08-2013, 10:51 AM
Virginia and Kentucky both really, really hurt themselves last night by losing very winnable games. Kentucky in particular I've got to believe is on the outside looking in. Now I think they almost have to beat the Gators this weekend to have any chance at an at-large bid. Lose, but then get to the finals of the SEC? Maybe, but I wouldn't bet on it.

UVA is iffy too. Two bad losses post-Duke means, I think, that they've got to win at least two games going forward. If they can beat Maryland in the finale, then maybe -- maybe -- one ACC Tournament win will get them in. If they lose to the Terps, they may need to get to the ACC Finals to secure a bid. Sheesh. Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory . . .

MChambers
03-08-2013, 10:55 AM
I thought it was great that ESPN had Seth Greenberg analyze the teams on the bubble. After all, he has lots of experience in that situation.

superdave
03-10-2013, 07:33 PM
Virginia and Maryland are squarely on the bubble. UVA has a pretty good shot at getting in. Maryland has significant work to do.

An ACC snapshot-

Virginia -
21-10, 10-7.
BPI 41, RPI 71. SOS 133. KenPom 19 (43 O, 21 D).
Beat the Big 3 - Duke, Unc, Ncsu. Lost to Wake, GT and some lesser known squads like Mason, Delaware, ODU. Take away those silly losses and they could be a 6-7 seed.

Maryland -
20-11, 8-10.
BPI 55, RPI 79. SOS 123. KenPom 65 (108 O, 46 D).
Beat Duke, Ncsu. Only bad losses are to BC, GT. They just feel like underachievers to me. Alex Len is a lottery pick. They either need to ride him to a birth, or he's a scrub, honestly.

Today's game was typical of their seasons. Virginia rises to the occasion, Maryland does not. Neither is a very good team, but sometimes Virginia plays like a good team. I think they sneak in. Lunardi currently has them in at a 12.

Super "I've always wanted to title a thread 'Bubbles'" Dave

OldPhiKap
03-10-2013, 07:40 PM
Nice win by Virginia.

pfrduke
03-10-2013, 08:40 PM
In bad news for bubble teams, Middle Tennessee is about to get beat by Florida International. They should (well, maybe could) be in as an at large, so this may be a bid stealer.

JasonEvans
03-10-2013, 09:34 PM
In bad news for bubble teams, Middle Tennessee is about to get beat by Florida International. They should (well, maybe could) be in as an at large, so this may be a bid stealer.

I dunno. They are a classic "beat a lot of bad team" team. Middle Tennessee's best win is over RPI #56 Ole Miss. In other words, they don't have a single win against a likely tournament team. Their record against the RPI top 100 is 2-3. Sure, they have beaten a lot of teams and have a gaudy record as a result, but, unlike other mid-majors who play a tough non-conference schedule, Middle Tennessee just hasn't tested themselves. The selection committee seems to want to reward teams who challenge themselves. Middle Tennessee, at 28-4 but with 20 wins against teams outside the RPI Top 150, has not challenged themselves at all.

I will be quite disappointed if they get an at-large bid as I don't think they have come close to earning it.

That said, they have an RPI of 24 and Pomeroy rates them as the #28 team, so I suspect they will make the dance. Pity...

-Jason "if you don't challenge yourself, you better darn well win your tournament" Evans

Kedsy
03-10-2013, 11:22 PM
I dunno. They are a classic "beat a lot of bad team" team. Middle Tennessee's best win is over RPI #56 Ole Miss. In other words, they don't have a single win against a likely tournament team. Their record against the RPI top 100 is 2-3. Sure, they have beaten a lot of teams and have a gaudy record as a result, but, unlike other mid-majors who play a tough non-conference schedule, Middle Tennessee just hasn't tested themselves. The selection committee seems to want to reward teams who challenge themselves. Middle Tennessee, at 28-4 but with 20 wins against teams outside the RPI Top 150, has not challenged themselves at all.

I will be quite disappointed if they get an at-large bid as I don't think they have come close to earning it.

That said, they have an RPI of 24 and Pomeroy rates them as the #28 team, so I suspect they will make the dance. Pity...

-Jason "if you don't challenge yourself, you better darn well win your tournament" Evans

Should schedule, in and of itself, be the whole ballgame? Isn't the entire point of the RPI to normalize win/loss record? And the reason Pomeroy adjusts his raw efficiency numbers is so we can theoretically compare apples to apples, right?

Three fourths of the RPI measures your schedule (half measures your schedule directly and a quarter qualifies the direct measurement). If a team comes out of that calculation as the #24 team in the nation, is it fair to dismiss that by saying their schedule isn't good enough? If MTSU played a better schedule and maintained its record, it'd be a top five team, so in a way it's already penalized. Why double-penalize by saying the team didn't "earn" its record?

MTSU's league appears to still have a round robin, so they only have 11 out of conference games to schedule. Those 11 this season included games against Florida, Mississippi, Vanderbilt, Akron (24-6, 1st place in MAC), Belmont (26-6, 1st place in OVC), Texas Southern (17-14, 1st place in SWAC), UCF (20-11, 4th place in CUSA), Savannah State (18-13, 3rd place in MEAC), Tennessee State (18-14, 3rd place in OVC), and UAB. According to Pomeroy, that's the 43rd best non-conference schedule in the country. That's not "challenging yourself" for a low-major?

Put another way, if MTSU replaced Alabama State and one of its games against Louisiana-Lafayette with Duke and Gonzaga then according to the RPI, MTSU's overall schedule would be ranked around 55th in the country. Assuming losses in the two added games, MTSU's RPI would still be hovering around 30. Would you say MTSU didn't deserve a bid with that resume?

BigWayne
03-11-2013, 01:06 AM
Should schedule, in and of itself, be the whole ballgame? Isn't the entire point of the RPI to normalize win/loss record? And the reason Pomeroy adjusts his raw efficiency numbers is so we can theoretically compare apples to apples, right?

Three fourths of the RPI measures your schedule (half measures your schedule directly and a quarter qualifies the direct measurement). If a team comes out of that calculation as the #24 team in the nation, is it fair to dismiss that by saying their schedule isn't good enough? If MTSU played a better schedule and maintained its record, it'd be a top five team, so in a way it's already penalized. Why double-penalize by saying the team didn't "earn" its record?

MTSU's league appears to still have a round robin, so they only have 11 out of conference games to schedule. Those 11 this season included games against Florida, Mississippi, Vanderbilt, Akron (24-6, 1st place in MAC), Belmont (26-6, 1st place in OVC), Texas Southern (17-14, 1st place in SWAC), UCF (20-11, 4th place in CUSA), Savannah State (18-13, 3rd place in MEAC), Tennessee State (18-14, 3rd place in OVC), and UAB. According to Pomeroy, that's the 43rd best non-conference schedule in the country. That's not "challenging yourself" for a low-major?

Put another way, if MTSU replaced Alabama State and one of its games against Louisiana-Lafayette with Duke and Gonzaga then according to the RPI, MTSU's overall schedule would be ranked around 55th in the country. Assuming losses in the two added games, MTSU's RPI would still be hovering around 30. Would you say MTSU didn't deserve a bid with that resume?
You bring up some good points. Will be very interesting to see what happens with Middle Tennessee. Could be a surprise. They have really good RPI numbers and show up high on kenpom and some other numerical lists, but their SOS numbers look different than most of the other teams close to them in these rankings. Most of the bracketology people have them out at this point, but who knows what the committee is thinking. The last few years, it has become apparent they don't just do what Joe Lunardi says.

JasonEvans
03-11-2013, 09:01 AM
Kedsy,

MTSU's record against likely tourney teams is 0-3. What have they done to show themselves to be a tournament team? They have beaten a lot of really, really bad teams. Yes, it takes some skill to win a lot of games, even against bad teams, but every time Mid Ten has stepped up a little bit in quality, they have lost... unless you consider beating Ole Miss to be something of an achievement.

By the way, it is worth noting that in both of their games against good teams, Fla and Belmont, they got whupped by 15+ points.

-Jason "if they do get into the tourney, they will exit quickly, I suspect" Evans

Kedsy
03-11-2013, 10:51 AM
Kedsy,

MTSU's record against likely tourney teams is 0-3. What have they done to show themselves to be a tournament team? They have beaten a lot of really, really bad teams. Yes, it takes some skill to win a lot of games, even against bad teams, but every time Mid Ten has stepped up a little bit in quality, they have lost... unless you consider beating Ole Miss to be something of an achievement.

By the way, it is worth noting that in both of their games against good teams, Fla and Belmont, they got whupped by 15+ points.

-Jason "if they do get into the tourney, they will exit quickly, I suspect" Evans

Well, now you are making a slightly different argument. Before it was that they didn't challenge themselves schedule-wise, which I don't think is true if they played the 43rd best non-conference schedule. That schedule included three SEC teams, two of which MTSU beat (and both those vanquished SEC teams were 20+ win teams a year ago, when presumably the games were scheduled).

Incidentally, all three of the losses you mention were on the road and at Akron, MTSU took the game into overtime. Also, they beat SWAC regular season champion Texas Southern, who presumably would have been favored in its conference tournament (and thus a "likely tourney team") but is ineligible due to NCAA violations.

You call Belmont a "good team" -- do you think they should have made the tournament if they hadn't won the OVC? Best wins are South Dakota State and MTSU, both at home. Belmont also lost to a UCF team that MTSU beat. Or how about St. Mary's? Best wins are Harvard and Creighton -- both at home -- and the only other team even close to an NCAA bid who they scheduled was conference foe Gonzaga, against whom St. Mary's lost twice. Yet Lunardi not only has them "in," he calls them a #10 seed. How about North Carolina? Only win against likely tournament team was UNLV at home. Overall record against likely teams is 1-6. Against bubble teams (Virginia, NCSU), UNC is 2-2, with both wins coming at home. Lunardi has them as a #7 seed. Unlike St. Mary's and UNC, though, MTSU apparently can't get a likely tournament team to play at MTSU's home court. Should that disqualify them from getting a bid?

Bottom line to me is if you have a decent enough non-conference schedule to have a good RPI (and Pomeroy, etc.), you shouldn't be penalized because your conference alignment drags down your overall schedule strength. A 28-win season against a decent schedule ought to count for something, even if you don't get a "signature win."

Wander
03-11-2013, 10:58 AM
MTSU's record against likely tourney teams is 0-3. What have they done to show themselves to be a tournament team? They have beaten a lot of really, really bad teams. Yes, it takes some skill to win a lot of games, even against bad teams, but every time Mid Ten has stepped up a little bit in quality, they have lost... unless you consider beating Ole Miss to be something of an achievement.


This is the "Davidson argument." In 2008, Davidson went 0-for-whatever against tournament teams. We all know what happened in the tournament. Of course, they didn't lose in their conference tournament, so it wasn't an issue, but the lesson from that is: consistently beating the teams you're supposed to beat matters and is the sign of a good team.

(also, considering that Ole Miss is a team they'll be competing with for a final bubble spot, that win matters quite a bit, I think)

Nugget
03-11-2013, 12:23 PM
Should schedule, in and of itself, be the whole ballgame? Isn't the entire point of the RPI to normalize win/loss record? And the reason Pomeroy adjusts his raw efficiency numbers is so we can theoretically compare apples to apples, right?

Three fourths of the RPI measures your schedule (half measures your schedule directly and a quarter qualifies the direct measurement). If a team comes out of that calculation as the #24 team in the nation, is it fair to dismiss that by saying their schedule isn't good enough? If MTSU played a better schedule and maintained its record, it'd be a top five team, so in a way it's already penalized. Why double-penalize by saying the team didn't "earn" its record?

Wasn't there an adjustment to the RPI a couple of years ago to give extra weighting to road wins and less of a penalty for road losses? How does that play into things for a team like MTSU, whose conference schedule would otherwise weigh down its RPI? How much can they make up in RPI points by winning their conference road games against "bad" teams?

Nugget
03-11-2013, 12:52 PM
Well, now you are making a slightly different argument. Before it was that they didn't challenge themselves schedule-wise, which I don't think is true if they played the 43rd best non-conference schedule. That schedule included three SEC teams, two of which MTSU beat (and both those vanquished SEC teams were 20+ win teams a year ago, when presumably the games were scheduled).
c
Incidentally, all three of the losses you mention were on the road and at Akron, MTSU took the game into overtime. Also, they beat SWAC regular season champion Texas Southern, who presumably would have been favored in its conference tournament (and thus a "likely tourney team") but is ineligible due to NCAA violations. . . .

Bottom line to me is if you have a decent enough non-conference schedule to have a good RPI (and Pomeroy, etc.), you shouldn't be penalized because your conference alignment drags down your overall schedule strength. A 28-win season against a decent schedule ought to count for something, even if you don't get a "signature win."

I gather you were looking at Ken Pom's non-conference ratings?

According to Palm's numbers for the RPI ratings on CBSsports.com (interestingly, his comments track Jason's -- that MTSU just doesn't have enough Top 100 wins to be a historically viable choice), MTSU fares even better than #43 based on the RPI non-conference ratings: their non-conference RPI is #18, which includes playing an RPI non-conference SOS of #11. So, it is definitely not fair to accuse MTSU of "not challenging themselves" out of conference.

I still think they probably won't make it, given that the teams competing at the bottom of the bracket like Kentucky, Tennessee, Boise St., and Virginia all have had bigger "signature" wins in the later part of the season and the recency bias that affects all decision-makers.

You also make a good point about St. Mary's. Other than beat a reeling Creighton at home and pass the "eye test," what have they done better than MTSU (besides prove they can lose to Gonzaga)? They certainly didn't challenge themselves out of conference, playing the #121 non-conference SOS. I suppose, at the end of the day, however, the numbers count less than the fact that Dellavedova hit the massively clutch buzzer-beaters at BYU and in the WCC tournament vs. San Diego.

loran16
03-11-2013, 01:16 PM
You also make a good point about St. Mary's. Other than beat a reeling Creighton at home and pass the "eye test," what have they done better than MTSU (besides prove they can lose to Gonzaga)? They certainly didn't challenge themselves out of conference, playing the #121 non-conference SOS. I suppose, at the end of the day, however, the numbers count less than the fact that Dellavedova hit the massively clutch buzzer-beaters at BYU and in the WCC tournament vs. San Diego.

Umm, okay the SMC - MTSU argument needs to stop.
Pomeroy schedules: SMC - 114, MTSU 200
Losses:
SMC:
125 Pacific Neutral
84 GTech Neutral
70 UNI Road
4 Gonzaga 2x

MTSU:
1 Florida (Semi-Away)
58 Akron Away
47 Belmont Away
133 Arkansas Away
180 FIU Neutral
(So in sum, 2 bad losses for MTSU, one bad loss for SMC)

Top 100 Pomeroy wins:
SMC:
71 BYU x2
15 Creigthton Home
89 Santa Clara x2

MTSU:
45 Mississppi Home
#92 Vandy Neutral

Now MTSU is a deserving team of admission based upon team quality if you trust in Pomeroy. but compared to SMC they've got 3 less good wins, 1 more bad loss, and played in a clearly worse conference with near similar performances. Those are not small differences.

Kedsy
03-11-2013, 01:26 PM
I gather you were looking at Ken Pom's non-conference ratings?

According to Palm's numbers for the RPI ratings on CBSsports.com (interestingly, his comments track Jason's -- that MTSU just doesn't have enough Top 100 wins to be a historically viable choice), MTSU fares even better than #43 based on the RPI non-conference ratings: their non-conference RPI is #18, which includes playing an RPI non-conference SOS of #11. So, it is definitely not fair to accuse MTSU of "not challenging themselves" out of conference.

I still think they probably won't make it, given that the teams competing at the bottom of the bracket like Kentucky, Tennessee, Boise St., and Virginia all have had bigger "signature" wins in the later part of the season and the recency bias that affects all decision-makers.

You also make a good point about St. Mary's. Other than beat a reeling Creighton at home and pass the "eye test," what have they done better than MTSU (besides prove they can lose to Gonzaga)? They certainly didn't challenge themselves out of conference, playing the #121 non-conference SOS. I suppose, at the end of the day, however, the numbers count less than the fact that Dellavedova hit the massively clutch buzzer-beaters at BYU and in the WCC tournament vs. San Diego.

Yes, I was using Pomeroy. I figured MTSU's RPI out-of-conference SOS was pretty good too, but I didn't know where to find it. I didn't think of Palm.

To me it seems silly to pin everything on something like "top 100 wins," like a win against #104 doesn't count, even if that team was #88 when you beat them. It's not MTSU's fault that they're the only team in the Sun Belt that's in the top 100 and that they only get to play 11 non-conference games and Tennessee State and Vanderbilt slipped to #107 and #127 in the RPI.

loran16
03-11-2013, 02:18 PM
Yes, I was using Pomeroy. I figured MTSU's RPI out-of-conference SOS was pretty good too, but I didn't know where to find it. I didn't think of Palm.

To me it seems silly to pin everything on something like "top 100 wins," like a win against #104 doesn't count, even if that team was #88 when you beat them. It's not MTSU's fault that they're the only team in the Sun Belt that's in the top 100 and that they only get to play 11 non-conference games and Tennessee State and Vanderbilt slipped to #107 and #127 in the RPI.

Oh agreed with this. But if you had to choose between the two based upon ability, you'd go with a ranking system like Pomeroy, which has SMC easily ahead (though MTSU would be an at-large by Pomeroy's measure).


mind you, even in this MTSU comes behind SMC - as their best non top 100 Pomeroy team is in the 130s (SMC has one near top 100 opponent - a win over Harvard). If you MUST go with RPI, SMC has 8 top 115 wins to MTSU's 5 with better wins. Better losses too.

JasonEvans
03-11-2013, 05:16 PM
To me it seems silly to pin everything on something like "top 100 wins," like a win against #104 doesn't count, even if that team was #88 when you beat them. It's not MTSU's fault that they're the only team in the Sun Belt that's in the top 100 and that they only get to play 11 non-conference games and Tennessee State and Vanderbilt slipped to #107 and #127 in the RPI.

It may not be their fault, but it is not like we can give them credit for beating a good team. Bottom line -- a win over Vandy just wasn't a good indicator of a quality team this year.

Look MTSU did try to play a few decent teams, but the way I see it, it was not enough. I am sure they could have found their way into some tournament or scheduled a couple more games against teams that were certain to be legit tourney contenders. 2 or 3 more games against teams in the top 100 would help their case immensely.

-Jason "beating bad teams, even a lot of them, is not enough" Evans

Kedsy
03-11-2013, 07:13 PM
It may not be their fault, but it is not like we can give them credit for beating a good team. Bottom line -- a win over Vandy just wasn't a good indicator of a quality team this year.

Look MTSU did try to play a few decent teams, but the way I see it, it was not enough. I am sure they could have found their way into some tournament or scheduled a couple more games against teams that were certain to be legit tourney contenders. 2 or 3 more games against teams in the top 100 would help their case immensely.

-Jason "beating bad teams, even a lot of them, is not enough" Evans

We can agree to disagree, but if Palm is right and MTSU played the 11th toughest non-conference RPI SOS then I think your position is unreasonable. We shouldn't require a team to have a top five schedule in order to make the tournament. I'd argue that a top 50 schedule should be sufficient, but certainly 11th ought to be good enough, assuming they come out of that schedule with a high rating (and MTSU has, in both the RPI and Pomeroy). Based on your criteria, a low-major will pretty much never be able to get an at-large bid.

Nugget
03-11-2013, 08:50 PM
We can agree to disagree, but if Palm is right and MTSU played the 11th toughest non-conference RPI SOS then I think your position is unreasonable. We shouldn't require a team to have a top five schedule in order to make the tournament. I'd argue that a top 50 schedule should be sufficient, but certainly 11th ought to be good enough, assuming they come out of that schedule with a high rating (and MTSU has, in both the RPI and Pomeroy). Based on your criteria, a low-major will pretty much never be able to get an at-large bid.

Here’s Palm’s page with RPI SOS sorted by non-conference SOS ranking. http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/bracketology/sos?&_2:col_1=2&_3:col_1=6&_3:col_2=6

I copied out the Top 15 below. Duke’s got the highest-ranked non-con schedule by a large margin (the gap from us to #2 Belmont is as big as the difference between Belmont and #13 Northwestern St.).

I suppose there is some degree of self-reinforcement here – maybe one reason that Savannah St., Florida and Texas Southern’s non-con SOS rankings are so high is that they played MTSU, which won 28 games? And then that feeds back into making MTSU’s SOS look better?

1 Duke 0.6321
2 Belmont 0.6051
3 Miami 0.5998
4 New Mexico 0.5949
5 Pacific 0.5932
6 Savannah St. 0.5916
7 Florida 0.5907
8 Long Beach St. 0.5885
9 Texas Southern 0.5848
10 Northern Iowa 0.5847
11 Middle Tennessee 0.5813
12 Minnesota 0.5807
13 Northwestern State 0.5772
14 Oral Roberts 0.5757
15 Kansas 0.5739

Kedsy
03-11-2013, 09:18 PM
I suppose there is some degree of self-reinforcement here – maybe one reason that Savannah St., Florida and Texas Southern’s non-con SOS rankings are so high is that they played MTSU, which won 28 games? And then that feeds back into making MTSU’s SOS look better?

I'm not 100% certain, but I don't think that's exactly how the RPI SOS works. I mean yes, anyone who played MTSU gets a boost in its non-con SOS (your first question), but I don't think it feeds back. Because as I understand it, SOS is the aggregate winning percentage of your opponents. The only way it could feed back is if opponents' SOS contributed to your SOS. And while opponents' SOS is part of your RPI, I don't believe it's part of your SOS. I know that sounds confusing, but if you parse it out I'm pretty sure the answer to your second question is no it doesn't.

Having said all that, in my opinion the fact that MTSU's non-conference SOS is 11th ought to be good enough to get a team with a top 30 RPI into the Dance.

JasonEvans
03-12-2013, 10:56 AM
Having said all that, in my opinion the fact that MTSU's non-conference SOS is 11th ought to be good enough to get a team with a top 30 RPI into the Dance.

We all know it is possible to "game" the RPI and most of the SOS measurements. You do it by playing a lot of decent but not great teams in your non-conference slate and making sure to avoid really horrible ones. To me, the real measure of a SOS is that when I look down at your schedule, I see a fair number of quality teams on there who are solid tournament teams.

I am not certain, because there is a lot of math to make it all work, but I believe the following scenarios would be fairly similar schedules from a SOS metric standpoint.

Team A plays 10 games- 3 against teams in the Top 25, 2 against teams in the Top 26-50, and 5 against teams outside the top 250.
Team B plays 10 games - 2 against teams in the 50-100 range, 6 against teams in the 100-175 range, and 2 against teams in the 175-200 range.

If you ask me, there is no comparison in those schedules. Team A really faced some top flight competition! Team B just did not.

Look, for a team in the top 50 or 75, beating a team that is ranked 175 or a team that is ranked 275 is about the same thing. Neither stands much of a chance of toppling you. But, fill your schedule with those teams that are 175 and it can look like you played a tough schedule compared to a team that has a few super-gimmies against teams ranked around #300.

You guys keep pointing to MTSU's 11th best SOS and saying it is good enough, but I keep on looking at it and saying, "but they didn't beat any good teams!!" Their only top 100 win is Ole Miss!!!!! THEY HAVE ONE VICTORY OVER TEAMS IN THE TOP 100!!!! How can you say they deserve a seat at the Dance when they haven't beaten anyone else who will be there!!?!?! What's more, the only 2 times they played NCAA Tournament teams, Florida and Belmont, they got beaten by 15+ points.

I truly think some of ya'll are getting too caught up in "metrics" and looking at their SOS without looking past it to see the actual teams they played... and the teams they beat.

The NCAA tournament is pretty much nothing but games against teams in the top 60 or so in the RPI. Sure, there may be a couple auto-qualifiers outside that range, but unless you are a #1 seed who has earned the right for an easy opening round game, you are getting a top 50 opponent. MTSU versus the Top 50 is 0-2. Every single other Bubble team has a top 50 win... most of them have several of them. Every single other bubble team has multiple top 100 wins. Not MTSU. Their lack of quality wins sticks out like a sore thumb. If you can't beat the best, don't tell me you deserve to play with the best.

-Jason "I am enjoying this-- especially because I am convinced the selection committee will agree with me and leave MTSU at home" Evans

Wander
03-12-2013, 11:07 AM
We all know it is possible to "game" the RPI and most of the SOS measurements.

Reminds me of an xkcd comic: http://xkcd.com/940/. Hover your mouse over the comic and the following hidden text comes up: "I felt so clever when I found a way to game the Fitocracy system by incorporating a set of easy but high-scoring activities into my regular schedule. Took me a bit to realize I'd been tricked into setting up a daily exercise routine."

At any rate, would you agree that it's harder to game Pomeroy than the RPI? Because they're 31st in that, ahead of many other bubble teams.

JasonEvans
03-12-2013, 11:56 AM
At any rate, would you agree that it's harder to game Pomeroy than the RPI? Because they're 31st in that, ahead of many other bubble teams.

Yup, harder but still not impossible. I just keep on coming back to the fact that they beat no one who will get an at-large bid. Heck, unless Ole Miss plays well in the SEC tourney, The Rebs won't even on the bubble. So, MTSU would have zero victories over bubble teams or better. You gotta beat someone to make the dance. They didn't.

-Jason "I sound like a broken record, don't I?" Evans

Kedsy
03-12-2013, 11:59 AM
We all know it is possible to "game" the RPI and most of the SOS measurements. You do it by playing a lot of decent but not great teams in your non-conference slate and making sure to avoid really horrible ones. To me, the real measure of a SOS is that when I look down at your schedule, I see a fair number of quality teams on there who are solid tournament teams.

Yes, we've all had this conversation before, about whether a schedule with some top teams and some bottom teams is stronger or weaker than a schedule with a bunch of middle teams. Obviously there's no clear right or wrong answer to that question, although of course everyone's entitled to their opinion in that regard.

What bothers me in this debate is the idea that we can use the numbers if we agree with them, but when our eyes tell us the numbers are "wrong" we should disregard them. The committee adopted computer rankings because the eye test was a poor way to fill the field. Either we should use the numbers we have or if we don't think they're right we should get new numbers. The RPI is the system the committee has said for years is the yardstick (although fortunately they seem to be slowly moving away from that), so if MTSU has a strong RPI and RPI SOS it's not right for the committee to say MTSU didn't play a good schedule and is thus undeserving. Especially since it's not just the RPI but every other computer system as well that suggest MTSU is good enough to make the field.


You guys keep pointing to MTSU's 11th best SOS and saying it is good enough, but I keep on looking at it and saying, "but they didn't beat any good teams!!" Their only top 100 win is Ole Miss!!!!! THEY HAVE ONE VICTORY OVER TEAMS IN THE TOP 100!!!! How can you say they deserve a seat at the Dance when they haven't beaten anyone else who will be there!!?!?! What's more, the only 2 times they played NCAA Tournament teams, Florida and Belmont, they got beaten by 15+ points.

I truly think some of ya'll are getting too caught up in "metrics" and looking at their SOS without looking past it to see the actual teams they played... and the teams they beat.

The NCAA tournament is pretty much nothing but games against teams in the top 60 or so in the RPI. Sure, there may be a couple auto-qualifiers outside that range, but unless you are a #1 seed who has earned the right for an easy opening round game, you are getting a top 50 opponent. MTSU versus the Top 50 is 0-2. Every single other Bubble team has a top 50 win... most of them have several of them. Every single other bubble team has multiple top 100 wins. Not MTSU. Their lack of quality wins sticks out like a sore thumb. If you can't beat the best, don't tell me you deserve to play with the best.

Well, first of all, Akron is a probable NCAA team and MTSU played them in Akron and took them to OT. Mississippi also has a decent chance to be an NCAA team, unless of course MTSU beats them out. Moreover, Mississippi is currently #56 in the RPI (#45 in Pomeroy), so it's silly to say every other bubble team has a top 50 win and MTSU doesn't, unless you think there's some huge difference between #49 and #56. And of course the same for the top 100 (one of the teams MTSU beat is currently ranked #107, for example).

Also, you seem fine using the RPI to determine things like "top 50 wins," but that's inconsistent. Schedule strength, calculated in a way you think is incorrect, makes up 75% of the RPI. So unless you've analyzed the schedules of all those vanquished top 50 teams (to make sure they pass the eye test and are "really" top 50), the bubble teams may not have beaten "real" top 50 teams at all. Where does that leave us?

Finally, you appear to want making the NCAA tournament to be almost solely about big wins. TCU has a big win against Kansas, does that make them more worthy than MTSU? Of course not. "Deserving" to play in the NCAA tournament is about who had the better season, not who won the biggest single game (except I guess when it comes to conference tournaments, where it becomes about who won the conference final). MTSU's entire season put them in the top 30 of both the RPI and Pomeroy (OK, currently #31 in Pomeroy), despite the handicap of playing in a conference that drags down its SOS (and thus its overall rating). It doesn't seem right to add additional requirements because you don't believe the ratings.

hurleyfor3
03-12-2013, 12:09 PM
At any rate, would you agree that it's harder to game Pomeroy than the RPI?

I think Billy Donovan has figured out how to game Pomeroy. They have a lot of wins with scores like 66-40 and 75-36. You can beat South Carolina that way but I doubt you can do it against most of the Top 25, except perhaps Wisconsin.

loran16
03-12-2013, 12:45 PM
I think Billy Donovan has figured out how to game Pomeroy. They have a lot of wins with scores like 66-40 and 75-36. You can beat South Carolina that way but I doubt you can do it against most of the Top 25, except perhaps Wisconsin.

That's not gaming Pomeroy. They've been doing that to their conference - they didn't schedule those games. if other teams could beat their conference by 20 points per game, they'd do it to.

robed deity
03-12-2013, 12:54 PM
That's not gaming Pomeroy. They've been doing that to their conference - they didn't schedule those games. if other teams could beat their conference by 20 points per game, they'd do it to.

While that's true, it is evident that slower paced teams have a slightly inflated pomeroy rating. Florida plays at a slow pace and blows mediocre teams out, which accounts for the high pp statistics. Florida is a really good team, but I'm not sure they are really the best team in the country, as kenpom has had them most of the year. Similarly, I'm not sure Denver and UVA (both slow paced teams) are as good as their ratings suggest.

hurleyfor3
03-12-2013, 12:55 PM
That's not gaming Pomeroy. They've been doing that to their conference - they didn't schedule those games. if other teams could beat their conference by 20 points per game, they'd do it to.

OK, maybe Billy isn't literally trying to game Pomeroy, but I maintain they are not as impressive as their dork poll numbers suggest. EVERY game they've played where the margin of victory was less than 12 points has been a loss. I'm rather amazed, as I don't even think 1991 unlv accomplished that. It doesn't imply a deep ncaa tournament run.

Reilly
03-12-2013, 01:06 PM
... Mississippi is currently #56 in the RPI (#45 in Pomeroy), so it's silly to say every other bubble team has a top 50 win and MTSU doesn't... .

Ole Miss is #33 in the www.sports-reference.com "SRS":

http://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/seasons/2013-standings.html

MTSU is #48 per s-r.

Wander
03-12-2013, 01:55 PM
Yup, harder but still not impossible. I just keep on coming back to the fact that they beat no one who will get an at-large bid. Heck, unless Ole Miss plays well in the SEC tourney, The Rebs won't even on the bubble. So, MTSU would have zero victories over bubble teams or better. You gotta beat someone to make the dance. They didn't.


Hey, for the record, I strongly agree with you that playing a tough schedule means absolutely nothing if you don't do well against that schedule. I think I just differ in that I put more value in consistently beating the decent-to-mediocre teams than you do.

As always, we can't consider this in a vacuum. We have to look at what other teams are doing. And the big catch in doing that is that asking "Who did you beat?" is only half the equation; to me, "who did you lose to?" is equally as important. Virginia has much better wins than MTSU does; they also have 2 losses that are about as bad or worse that MTSU's worst loss, and 7 or so losses that are about as bad or worse than MTSU's second worst loss. Like Kedsy said, people can reasonably differ over which is better - having both good wins and bad losses, or having lots of mediocre wins - but I don't think one answer is super obvious over another. To be honest I'm undecided on MTSU.

sporthenry
03-12-2013, 02:47 PM
Finally, you appear to want making the NCAA tournament to be almost solely about big wins. TCU has a big win against Kansas, does that make them more worthy than MTSU? Of course not. "Deserving" to play in the NCAA tournament is about who had the better season, not who won the biggest single game (except I guess when it comes to conference tournaments, where it becomes about who won the conference final). MTSU's entire season put them in the top 30 of both the RPI and Pomeroy (OK, currently #31 in Pomeroy), despite the handicap of playing in a conference that drags down its SOS (and thus its overall rating). It doesn't seem right to add additional requirements because you don't believe the ratings.

Well this is going to be the crux of the bubble. Do you put a team in who was very consistent against mediocre opponents but hasn't beaten an at-large team? Or do you put a wholly inconsistent team who has multiple wins against top 25 teams but also losses versus some terrible teams.

Personally, I prefer a team who can beat the big boys. I don't see how you put MTSU over a team like ISU. Perhaps it is b/ MTSU hasn't had as many chances but they got blown away by UF and then have 3 other games versus teams who are probably on the wrong side of the bubble. So they can beat or compete with other 12 seeds, ISU can beat and compete with 2,3,4 seeds.

OldPhiKap
03-12-2013, 02:59 PM
Well this is going to be the crux of the bubble. Do you put a team in who was very consistent against mediocre opponents but hasn't beaten an at-large team? Or do you put a wholly inconsistent team who has multiple wins against top 25 teams but also losses versus some terrible teams.

Personally, I prefer a team who can beat the big boys. I don't see how you put MTSU over a team like ISU. Perhaps it is b/ MTSU hasn't had as many chances but they got blown away by UF and then have 3 other games versus teams who are probably on the wrong side of the bubble. So they can beat or compete with other 12 seeds, ISU can beat and compete with 2,3,4 seeds.

I agree that, for at-large berths, you want folks who can go out and compete with the big guys.

Consistency is great as well, which is what the tournament championship should typically produce. So they know what they need to do to get in.

Kedsy
03-12-2013, 03:26 PM
Well this is going to be the crux of the bubble. Do you put a team in who was very consistent against mediocre opponents but hasn't beaten an at-large team? Or do you put a wholly inconsistent team who has multiple wins against top 25 teams but also losses versus some terrible teams.

Personally, I prefer a team who can beat the big boys. I don't see how you put MTSU over a team like ISU. Perhaps it is b/ MTSU hasn't had as many chances but they got blown away by UF and then have 3 other games versus teams who are probably on the wrong side of the bubble. So they can beat or compete with other 12 seeds, ISU can beat and compete with 2,3,4 seeds.

By ISU, I assume you mean Iowa State? I just looked at Iowa State's schedule, which includes two (2) out-of-conference games against top 50 RPI teams (both losses for Iowa State). It also includes eight conference matchups against top 50 RPI teams, and Iowa State won three of the eight, winning home games against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State (but losing road games against all three teams) plus two losses to Kansas.

First of all, I don't see a 2 or 3 seed there that Iowa State competes with. Although K State, which is Iowa State's only top 25 win, and Oklahoma State are both #4s in Lunardi's latest bracket. Second, all of Iowa State's top 50 wins are at home and all are against conference opponents (with which presumably Iowa State has some familiarity). MTSU can't get that sort of game from within its conference. And the only top 50ish team MTSU apparently was able to convince to visit them was Ole Miss, and MTSU won.

Finally, you say you'd rather have a team with some good wins and some bad losses, but how far does that go? If Iowa State had four more medium/bad losses, giving them a 17-14 overall record (8-10 Big 12) would you still put them in over MTSU? They'd still have exactly the same number of wins against the big boys. Assuming your answer is "no," then it's just a matter of degree -- you're still looking at the whole season and you're saying all other things being equal you'd pick the team with better wins, right? It's like a tie-breaker. So now it's just a matter of how you tell if all other things are equal. Which supposedly is where the computer rankings come in. If we compare Iowa State and MTSU in the RPI, MTSU is ranked #29 while Iowa State is #47 (it's closer in Pomeroy: #31 for MTSU and #36 for Iowa State). To me, that doesn't look so equal that we'd have to pull out the tie-breaker, but obviously reasonable minds can differ about something like that.

Ultimately, I don't really feel strongly about MTSU's at-large candidacy. What I do feel strongly about is if you choose a computer system to avoid being overly subjective, you probably shouldn't ignore the computer when it doesn't agree with your eye test.

WakeDevil
03-12-2013, 04:12 PM
This Jason says another Jason doesn't know what he's talking about. It's not easy to compare an MT to a VA, so he developed a system he explains in the column.

http://www.thebiglead.com/index.php/2013/03/12/middle-tennessee-and-st-marys-should-be-at-large-selections-because-their-profile-is-better-than-the-bubble-teams/

When we try to account for Simpson’s paradox, understanding that Middle Tennessee and St. Mary’s played fewer top teams and a higher percentage of teams below 100, we see that both teams still outperformed their bubble comrades at every level from teams ranked 51-100, to those ranked 101-200, to the 201+ category. Neither of them played a team in the 26-50 category in RPI, so we have no comparison to draw there.

For the top group, St. Mary’s has one win in four opportunities, roughly in line with the bubble teams, while Middle Tennessee went 0-2. A-ha! See Middle Tennessee is not worthy!

Not so fast. Middle Tennessee lost to Florida in a road/neutral game in Tampa populated by a pro-Gator crowd, and at Belmont. No one traveled into their arena, except for Ole Miss, one of those bubble teams, and Middle Tennessee won that one. So if we want to really compare Middle Tennessee’s record against top 25 teams, it needs to be truly comparable, by accounting that their games were on the road.

Those 14 bubble teams that the committee will be debating went 1-33 against the RPI top 25 in road/neutral games. No, seriously, they have. That’s dreadful. Middle Tennessee going 0-2 doesn’t seem like a strike that knocks them down now, nor does St. Mary’s losing at Gonzaga and again in Vegas.

sporthenry
03-12-2013, 10:45 PM
When we try to account for Simpson’s paradox, understanding that Middle Tennessee and St. Mary’s played fewer top teams and a higher percentage of teams below 100, we see that both teams still outperformed their bubble comrades at every level from teams ranked 51-100, to those ranked 101-200, to the 201+ category. Neither of them played a team in the 26-50 category in RPI, so we have no comparison to draw there.

My whole problem with this though, is that it also fails to take into account the human factor. On paper, the UVA and UMD losses are similar to if Gonzaga lost to BYU or Saint Mary's depending upon whether you want to use Kenpom, RPI, Sagarin, etc. But this fails to take into account such things as Duke was just playing their 3rd game in 6 days against ACC talent including beating their arch rival. Or that at UVA was right before their big game versus Miami.

Gonzaga got to play some horrid teams who don't really pose a threat to them in teams like Portland or Pepperdine. So their trap games were a Portland or a Loyola Marymount. That would be like Duke getting Elon or Cornell before or after some of their biggest games. For the record, Duke beat Elon 76-54 and Cornell 88-47. And their "big" game would have been Duke's 5th or 6th biggest game in their conference.

So I'm willing to take a team that might underperform in the 50-100 or 100-200 range b/c of the strength of their schedule. His WAMAL is an interesting concept b/c he at least seems to recognize that the difference between 200 and 300 isn't huge while the difference between 5 and 50 is huge, at least for our purposes but I'll have to look into it more.

But I really can't get behind something that is willing to put MTSU ahead of a team like Nova. I'd love to see MTSU go from beating Marquette, a top 25 team and then have to play Seton Hall. According to kenpom, Seton Hall is better than any other team in the Sun Belt and the best team MTSU would have faced since December.

Now sure, a big win doesn't put TCU in the tourney just the same as consistency in conference doesn't put Norfolk State in there, neither side is really arguing that so bringing them up is more of a straw man. But when all else is about equal, I think the big win should put you over. And a win versus Syracuse and a loss to Seton Hall is better than a loss to Syracuse and a win versus Seton Hall.

sporthenry
03-12-2013, 11:08 PM
First of all, I don't see a 2 or 3 seed there that Iowa State competes with. Although K State, which is Iowa State's only top 25 win, and Oklahoma State are both #4s in Lunardi's latest bracket. Second, all of Iowa State's top 50 wins are at home and all are against conference opponents (with which presumably Iowa State has some familiarity). MTSU can't get that sort of game from within its conference. And the only top 50ish team MTSU apparently was able to convince to visit them was Ole Miss, and MTSU won.

Finally, you say you'd rather have a team with some good wins and some bad losses, but how far does that go? If Iowa State had four more medium/bad losses, giving them a 17-14 overall record (8-10 Big 12) would you still put them in over MTSU? They'd still have exactly the same number of wins against the big boys. Assuming your answer is "no," then it's just a matter of degree -- you're still looking at the whole season and you're saying all other things being equal you'd pick the team with better wins, right? It's like a tie-breaker. So now it's just a matter of how you tell if all other things are equal. Which supposedly is where the computer rankings come in. If we compare Iowa State and MTSU in the RPI, MTSU is ranked #29 while Iowa State is #47 (it's closer in Pomeroy: #31 for MTSU and #36 for Iowa State). To me, that doesn't look so equal that we'd have to pull out the tie-breaker, but obviously reasonable minds can differ about something like that.

As for a 2 seed that ISU has competed with, how about Kansas? They played them to OT both home and away. And K-State/OSU could conceivably jump up to the 3 line mainly b/c the 3/4 seed lines seem very fluid.

As for the computer systems, I don't think anyone is saying to follow them blindly. If anything, that has been a huge problem with the committee and people have wanted to use the eye test to supplement the computer candidacy. I know I pull up computer rankings quite a bit on here but I just to use them as a starting point and more so for groupings such as previously when I tried to identify similar teams to Maryland or UVA. I'm not really comfortable saying that this team at 30 must be better than the team at 35 especially when we have acknowledged that his system isn't flawless with the Wisconsin problem. And that doesn't even take into account people using the system without even knowing how the numbers are derived (not saying you and I was guilty of this until recently). Oh and for the record, Sagarin has ISU at 36 and Middle Tennessee at 55 and BPI has them at 34 with MTSU at 46.

But I agree that when looking at the teams, it comes down to how much emphasis you put on the consistency of beating the teams you are supposed to compared with getting top wins. The article linked earlier about WAMAL seemed like a good starting point b/c it accounts for both consistency as well as strength of opponents in the sense that it doesn't throw in all top 25 wins into the same basket but that seemed to heavily favor mid-majors beating teams they were supposed to and didn't really value big wins as much as I would and didn't really take into account that playing 3 average bubble teams is much tougher than playing 1 bubble team and 2 terrible teams.

But this is the beauty of college basketball, we are arguing about MTSU and ISU who will both be home by the first weekend so in the big scheme of things, this really doesn't matter much.

Reilly
03-13-2013, 10:13 AM
... But this is the beauty of college basketball, we are arguing about MTSU and ISU who will both be home by the first weekend so in the big scheme of things, this really doesn't matter much.

And a couple years ago, we were arguing about VCU who also would be home by the first weekend so it didn't really matter much except they didn't go home and so it did matter .... which makes it all the more beautiful.

pfrduke
03-13-2013, 01:24 PM
I don't think Providence was actually on the bubble, but we can definitely put a stake through their at large campaign after a 17-point loss to Cincinnati to open the Big East tourney.

tommy
03-13-2013, 02:56 PM
Interesting discussion about the merits of Middle Tennessee State and the philosophy and priorities of the committee. Seems like it's going to come down to whether the committee is inclined to give credit to a mid or low major for scheduling games against high level teams, or whether it wants to see them actually beat some of those teams. Credit for trying, or for succeeding? Kind of like the coach, when asked about whether his team has any three point shooters, responding "we've got plenty of three point shooters. What we don't have is any three point makers!"

It may or may not be instructive to look at what the committee has done in the recent past. For instance, last year, look at a team like Iona. The Gaels were the best team in the regular season in the MAAC last year, going 24-6 in the regular season and 15-3 in the league. But they were upset in the semifiinals of the conference tournament by Fairfield, who then lost in the finals to Loyola (Md.) who of course got the automatic bid. But what about Iona?

Going 1-1 in the MAAC tournament left them at 25-7. Their RPI was 42 -- pretty good. SOS though was only 163. Why? They only played two games against the top 50 (and they lost them both). They were 5-1 against the RPI 51-100. Nonconference SOS was 44.

What about the eye test vis-a-vis the schedule? They did blow out Maryland, but that was in November, and Maryland stunk last year. The only other game against a BCS squad was the season opener in November against Purdue, which the Gaels lost by a point. The Boilers turned out to be pretty good, winning a NCAA Tournament game and ending up at #44 in the RPI. Iona beat Richmond, but they didn't make the postseason, and they beat Nevada, who was the best team in their league but got upset in their conference tournament and had to settle for the NIT. Iona also beat St. Joseph's, an NIT team. Not much else. Other losses included Marshall, Hofstra, Manhattan, Siena, and Loyola (Md.).

Of course the admissibility of any team depends on the teams in that particular year that they're being compared to. I would think that Jason would have said "no way" to Iona. They didn't beat anybody who mattered, and didn't demonstrate the ability to beat teams the quality of which they'd be playing in the tournament.

The committee extended the Gaels an at-large bid, seeding them 14th -- as low as any at-large team has ever been seeded-- and they lost to BYU in a first round play-in game. This team didn't appear to schedule particularly difficult teams out of conference, and the one tournament team they played -- Purdue -- they lost to. But they got in anyway.

Kedsy
03-13-2013, 04:06 PM
But what about Iona?

Going into the Tournament last season, Iona had a #40 RPI and #57 Pomeroy rank. Based on those ratings, they had a much worse resume than MTSU this season (#29 RPI; #31 Pomeroy). Still, I'm not sure how much predictive power last year's Iona bid has. It really depends on the resumes of the other bubble teams.

pfrduke
03-13-2013, 04:24 PM
ASU survives what could have been an elimination game for them - don't think they're anywhere close to safe yet.

Sad to see Stanford go down, although they had a furious rally to force overtime. They were my dark horse bet to win the Pac-12 tourney, as their scoring numbers looked a lot better than their win-loss record.

Reilly
03-13-2013, 08:20 PM
MTSU #48 (2013)
Iona # 67 (2012)
VCU # 70 (2011)

Latter two numbers after season complete.

Reilly
03-13-2013, 08:34 PM
Teams that ended up in the top 50 in the SRS at S-R that did not get an NCAA invite:

2012 (Stanford - 33, Ariz - 42, Wash - 43, Mia - 44, Minn - 45, UCLA - 46, SHall - 48, Oregon - 49)

2011 (MD - 24, VT - 32, St. M- 39, Wich St - 41, Wash St - 43, Minn - 46, NMex - 47, NU - 50)

2010 (ASU - 32, Dayton - 36, Miss St. - 40, UConn - 41, Memph - 48, VT - 49, Ill - 50)

17 of the 33 teams w/ a final SRS in the 40-50 range did not make the tourney ... 40s seems to be where it gets dicey ...

pfrduke
03-14-2013, 02:32 PM
Is Minnesota a tournament team? They have great wins - Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan St. - and a few more decent ones - Memphis, Stanford, Illinois, Iowa - but they have 12 losses, including 7 of their last 10 games, and got beat by such impressive teams as Nebraska and Northwestern. Losing in the first round of the B1GT to Illinois (companion on the bubble) probably didn't help.

JasonEvans
03-14-2013, 03:29 PM
Is Minnesota a tournament team? They have great wins - Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan St. - and a few more decent ones - Memphis, Stanford, Illinois, Iowa - but they have 12 losses, including 7 of their last 10 games, and got beat by such impressive teams as Nebraska and Northwestern. Losing in the first round of the B1GT to Illinois (companion on the bubble) probably didn't help.

I think the Golden Gophers are pretty safe. They are an up and down team, but they have been up enough to get a bid. Heck, I bet they get something like a #10 seed.

-Jason "their RPI is 24 and their SOS is #2. Pom has them #24 with the toughest schedule in the land. Plus, they have 3 wins over the RPI top 15... darn impressive" Evans

CDu
03-14-2013, 03:33 PM
I think the Golden Gophers are pretty safe. They are an up and down team, but they have been up enough to get a bid. Heck, I bet they get something like a #10 seed.

-Jason "their RPI is 24 and their SOS is #2. Pom has them #24 with the toughest schedule in the land. Plus, they have 3 wins over the RPI top 15... darn impressive" Evans

Yeah, their RPI* is just so good that there would have to be a really good reason for the committee to leave them out. I don't think they're all that close to the bubble.

* As much as I hate RPI as a tool for rating teams, it still seems to be - by far - the tool most used by the committee each year.

tommy
03-14-2013, 05:54 PM
After blowing a 12 point lead with 10 minutes to go and losing to first team All-Pac 12 players Larry Drew and Shabazz Muhammad and UCLA, Arizona State is unquestionably now out.

Iowa State and Tennessee, who I thought were in pretty-to-very good shape coming into their conference tournaments, only look stronger with today's wins. Southern Mississippi won too, but they're still on the very outside of the bubble IMO. A LOT needs to happen for them to have any real shot at this point.

JasonEvans
03-14-2013, 07:59 PM
Iowa State and Tennessee, who I thought were in pretty-to-very good shape coming into their conference tournaments, only look stronger with today's wins. Southern Mississippi won too, but they're still on the very outside of the bubble IMO. A LOT needs to happen for them to have any real shot at this point.

Lets be clear -- Tennessee beat a woefully bad Miss St team. A loss would have been disastrous. I am not sure a win means all that much other than it probably continues to keep them just barely on the good side of the bubble, as opposed to dropping off it (which a loss would have done).

Same thing for Southern Miss. I am fairly sure they are on the outside for now. Beating a bad UAB team means little. They really need to beat a decent UTEP club and then at least play a close game with Memphis in the Conf USA championship to have any hope of being in the dance.

Iowa State's win over Oklahoma is far more impressive. Iowa St is certainly in at this point. I wonder a little bit if that puts Oklahoma a tiny bit on the bubble. The Sooners are going to make it to the dance, but they are likely looking at a 11 or 12 seed, I suspect.

As an aside, does anyone else think Virginia needs to beat NC State to feel comfortable on Selection Sunday?

-Jason "Baylor, not even on the bubble right now, really needs to beat Okie St tonight to even be in the bubble conversation" Evans

tommy
03-14-2013, 08:08 PM
As an aside, does anyone else think Virginia needs to beat NC State to feel comfortable on Selection Sunday?

I do. They're right on the bubble. I've gone over their numbers previously. Some really nice wins but just a lot of bad looking losses too. They're praying for no bid stealing to occur or else they're in serious trouble.

OldPhiKap
03-14-2013, 08:13 PM
I do. They're right on the bubble. I've gone over their numbers previously. Some really nice wins but just a lot of bad looking losses too. They're praying for no bid stealing to occur or else they're in serious trouble.

UVa is clearly a team that has its destiny in its own hands. Win, they probably move on. Lose, can't blame anyone but themselves.

I like Bennett, and with Maryland leaving that leaves UVa as the big DC/Tidewater school. Hope they get whomever we don't get. Screw the Twerps.

But I digress.

Nugget
03-14-2013, 09:00 PM
Lets be clear -- Tennessee beat a woefully bad Miss St team. A loss would have been disastrous. I am not sure a win means all that much other than it probably continues to keep them just barely on the good side of the bubble, as opposed to dropping off it (which a loss would have done).

Same thing for Southern Miss. I am fairly sure they are on the outside for now. Beating a bad UAB team means little. They really need to beat a decent UTEP club and then at least play a close game with Memphis in the Conf USA championship to have any hope of being in the dance.

Iowa State's win over Oklahoma is far more impressive. Iowa St is certainly in at this point. I wonder a little bit if that puts Oklahoma a tiny bit on the bubble. The Sooners are going to make it to the dance, but they are likely looking at a 11 or 12 seed, I suspect.

As an aside, does anyone else think Virginia needs to beat NC State to feel comfortable on Selection Sunday?

-Jason "Baylor, not even on the bubble right now, really needs to beat Okie St tonight to even be in the bubble conversation" Evans

Agree -- Tennessee's win just means they aren't disqualified - I'd think they were right about the cut line. They might not have to win tomorrow, but they'd be advised to do so.

Southern Miss has to at least get to the CUSA finals to even be in the discussion.

I think Oklahoma's numbers are too strong for them not to make it.

I think Virginia is on the outside looking in. I suspect they have to beat State to even stay in the discussion and probably that alone won't be enough. I think their 7 losses to teams outside the top 100 (no one else under consideration from the bubble has more than 3) and their cover-your-eyes awful non-conference SOS of #299 are just too obvious defects in their record for certain members of the Committee, even though they will have a few more top 50 wins than the teams they are being compared against. They really shot themselves in the foot by losing to BC and Florida St.

wilson
03-14-2013, 10:02 PM
I think Virginia is on the outside looking in. I suspect they have to beat State to even stay in the discussion and probably that alone won't be enough. I think their 7 losses to teams outside the top 100 (no one else under consideration from the bubble has more than 3) and their cover-your-eyes awful non-conference SOS of #299 are just too obvious defects in their record for certain members of the Committee, even though they will have a few more top 50 wins than the teams they are being compared against. They really shot themselves in the foot by losing to BC and Florida St.Agreed here. Virginia's resume this year (perhaps ironically) looks an awful lot to me like some of VA Tech's resumes in recent years, which featured some impressive wins that were outweighed by bad losses, aggregating in a poor overall schedule with not enough bright spots.

wallyman
03-14-2013, 10:46 PM
Too bad awful Vandy team beat uneven Arkansas one for right to play Kentucky. An Arkansas win might have knocked Ky out of the NCAAT. Very unlikely Vandy can win, but would be a really bad UK loss if it happened.

JasonEvans
03-15-2013, 09:38 AM
Question-- no way do La Tech or Denver get consideration for an at-large bid after losing in the WAC tourney, right? Denver is in the top 40 in Pomeroy's rankings but that is not going to be good enough, is it? Denver has one bad loss but all their other losses are to top 100 RPI teams... but they only have 3 Top 100 RPI wins and none over the top 50.

-Jason "naaah, neither one of them are making it" Evans

JasonEvans
03-15-2013, 09:40 AM
Question-- no way do La Tech or Denver get consideration for an at-large bid after losing in the WAC tourney, right? Denver is in the top 40 in Pomeroy's rankings but that is not going to be good enough, is it? Denver has one bad loss but all their other losses are to top 100 RPI teams... but they only have 3 Top 100 RPI wins and none over the top 50.

-Jason "naaah, neither one of them are making it" Evans

By the way, Jerry Palm, in his daily bubble discussion (http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/blog/news-update/21884605/huge-day-on-the-bubble-ahead), pointed out the following:


And the WAC got wacky with both top seeds Louisiana Tech and Denver losing. LT is almost certainly not an at-large team, but they have more good wins than Middle Tennessee State.

-Jason "I am telling ya, Middle Tenn ain't making it" Evans

loran16
03-15-2013, 09:44 AM
Question-- no way do La Tech or Denver get consideration for an at-large bid after losing in the WAC tourney, right? Denver is in the top 40 in Pomeroy's rankings but that is not going to be good enough, is it? Denver has one bad loss but all their other losses are to top 100 RPI teams... but they only have 3 Top 100 RPI wins and none over the top 50.

-Jason "naaah, neither one of them are making it" Evans

No they're both out. Neither have any good wins really for the committee to consider. Denver is as good as a few at large teams will be - that's what Pomeroy shows - but their resume is lousy.

wallyman
03-15-2013, 09:11 PM
In tonight's good news, UK's pathetic loss to Vanderbilt should keep them out of the tournament if there's any justice in the world.

HaveFunExpectToWin
03-15-2013, 09:16 PM
In tonight's good news, UK's pathetic loss to Vanderbilt should keep them out of the tournament if there's any justice in the world.

I prefer to think of it as a fantastic win by my Dores (won 8 of the last 11 iirc). Thats 2 years in a row that Vandy has bounced UK from the tourney. I now have slight hope that Vandy can win 2 more and make the NCAAs, but it's doubtful. At the very least, I hope UK's hopes were just dashed.

OldSchool
03-15-2013, 09:19 PM
In tonight's good news, UK's pathetic loss to Vanderbilt should keep them out of the tournament if there's any justice in the world.

If Kentucky misses the Dance, it will be interesting to see if that has any effect on their recruiting ability. For one-and-dones the one thing they want to do most during their one year is compete for the NCAA championship.