Tuesday, January 15, 2008

B101's Bracket Bag - Jan. 15

Some of the best questions we get each week aren't from people posting in the comments section, but from those who send us questions via e-mail. In a new semi-weekly feature to B101, we will some of these questions posed by our readers.

Matt writes:
First off I just wanna say I love the work you guys do and enjoy reading your site every time it's updated.

As an FSU alum, I do have a gripe with this week's selections. I know you took out the Noles recently with the loss of our 3 big men. While Alabi (3.9 pts, 2.2 rebs) is still out for the year, Ryan Reid is set to come back from his academic suspension tomorrow night against Duke, and Julian Vaughn was just cleared by doctors to play the rest of the season.

If those injuries/suspension aren't factored into the equation I cannot fathom the Noles not being at least in the last 8 teams left out. There are numerous teams in your field (and in the last 8 out) that don't have anything close to the resume FSU has.

While we don't have GREAT wins there are solid wins against (RPI) Minnesota, @GT, and @Florida in a game that wasn't even close from start to finish. As for the losses, 3 are @Butler, @Providence, and @Clemson in a 2 OT thriller Saturday night. The other 2 sound bad (Cleveland St. and USF in Daytona) on the surface but both are top 80 RPI teams and both came in the first week and a half of the season.

Some teams I have a gripe with...

First... Nebraska! Their RPI is at #136, they have no road wins, and their SOS is literally one of the worst in NCAA history! Sure they have decent home wins against Oregon and Arizona St., but if there's anything the Noles know from experience is the committee doesn't seem to care too much about quality home wins. The Huskers would need to go AT LEAST 11-5 in the Big 12 to even be considered, and I'd bet a large amount that's not gonna happen.

Villanova (a 7 seed?) They have 1 good home win against Pitt, and 3 semi-bad losses. I can see them barely being in the field, but a 7-seed is kinda ridiculous.

Louisville....what on their resume puts them so far ahead of FSU that makes them a 10 seed and FSU not even in the last 8 out? Their wins are comparable to the Noles and their losses are worse.

There are quite a few other teams that I have questions about, but I'll stop there. I look forward to your response.

B101: Yeah, about that Nebraska pick…..

In all seriousness, though, Matt, you make a decent case for Florida State, but right now, the Noles are simply not worthy of a bid. FSU has two awful losses (regardless of RPI, losses to Cleveland State, and South Florida especially, won't help a resume come Selection Sunday), only one really impressive win (Minnesota and Georgia Tech are decent wins at best), and they are still somewhat banged up.

Your Nebraska argument is a no-brainer after the Huskers’ loss tonight at Colorado. We kept them in the bracket because we thought they could beat the Buffaloes and then beat Baylor at home this week. A split in our minds meant they would be out, so next week they’ll be out.

With all due respect, you are being a little harsh on Louisville, whose losses are in no way worse than FSU’s losses. Louisville’s losses are to BYU (who could win the MWC), Dayton (a four seed this week), Purdue (the fifth best team in the Big Ten), and Cincinnati (3-1 in the Big East so far). Only the Cincinnati loss came at full strength; they played BYU and Dayton without David Padgett and Juan Palacios and played Purdue without Padgett, Palacios, and a suspended Derrick Caracter.

We agree that FSU has the best win of the two teams with their victory over Florida, but Louisville’s wins over West Virginia and at UNLV are pretty solid as well. Plus, the Cardinals are now back to full strength and are playing their best ball of the year, winning seven of their last eight. We will keep an eye on FSU over the next week or so to see how they do as they start to get healthier as well and, if the ‘Noles can put together a couple of wins, they will make it onto a “Last Four” list at the very least in the near future. It won’t be easy for them though – as I’m sure you’re well aware, they host Duke and play at Wake Forest this week.

The Villanova point you made is good one as well. We admit that the Wildcats are pretty high at a seven. A couple of things went into that decision. First and foremost, we couldn’t put 'Nova on the 8 or 9 lines (where they probably belong) because we would have had too many Big East teams on the 1-4-5-8-9-12 line. We do think that they are better than a 10 seed (where we could have moved them to keep the numbers right) based on their win over Pitt, which looks even better now after the Panthers’ win vs. Georgetown on Monday night. Looking ahead, 'Nova also has a good chance of winning its next three games (home vs. DePaul, at struggling Syracuse, and at Rutgers). If they do that, they’ll be 4-2 in conference and a little more respectable seven seed.

Do you have a question for a future Bracket Bag? E-mail us at bracketologyblog@yahoo.com


Anonymous said...

A win over Florida is better than a win over West Virginia? Why?

Bracketology 101 said...

Heading into this week, Florida and West Virginia were pretty even in terms of seeding (WVU was a 9 seed, Florida was a 10), but FSU's win over Florida is slightly more impressive because it came on the road. Louisville beat WVU at home.

Matt said...

Thank you for such a detailed response to my email. After our home loss to Duke we definitely have plenty of work to do to make the dance.

As for Louisville's losses I guess we can agree to disagree.

Considering BYU hasn't beaten a Top 150 team all year (outside of Louisville) I'm not sure how you expect them to win the Mountain West. Unless of course they get permission to play their remaining 14 games in Provo.

As for Cincinnati, the fact that they were 3-1 (now 3-2) in the Big East just goes to show how down the whole conference is this year (excluding Pitt and Marquette). Their non-conference schedule includes losses to Belmont, Bowling Green, and UAB! Louisville losing to them on the road would be one thing, but losing AT HOME to the Bearcats is completely unacceptable.

Lastly, Purdue may not turn out to be a horrible loss but it's definitely no better than our losses to USF and Cleveland St.

All that said, if Louisville can take care of Marquette tonight at home, I'd imagine they'd sneak into the current field, but a loss should send them completely off the board.

sprawlnuts said...

I don't think that Cleveland St. loss looks that bad at all, unless FSU is up against Cleveland St. for an at-large (don't laugh). It will not be an anchor since given CSU's play so far, they will at least end up in the top 100 of the RPI if not top 50 (assuming they can win the Horizon regular season). Don't knock CSU just because they haven't been around the block recently.

Regarding Matt's email too, if Fla does end up with 10 wins in a weak SEC, don't count on them getting in unless they get 2 solid wins with 1 on the road. The 300 or so OOC schedule strength will kill them, just like it did FSU a few years ago.

Bracketology 101 said...


You're right on about Cleveland State. FSU's loss to the Vikings got a lot more forgivable after CSU's upset of Butler on Thursday night. That win finally gave some credibility to Cleveland State's unbeaten conference record, and put them in the running for a spot in the bracket next week as the Horizon automatic.

You're correct about Florida, too. The Gators will need at least two signature conference wins (out of their projected 10 or 11) in order to get a bid, and at least one will need to come on the road. One cause for concern for Florida fans: the Gators did not look good (despite what the final score said) in losing at Mississippi on Wednesday.