Tuesday, January 19, 2010

B101's Bracket Bag - Jan. 19

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 semi-weekly feature to B101, we will answer some of these questions posed by our readers.

Today's question comes from none other than SI.com's Andy Glockner, who we feature each week in our Questions For The Competition column.

Glockner writes:
I like reading your weekly question critiques of my and others' work. It's definitely food for thought. One note on your Qs this week for me - Cal is my auto bid team from the Pac-10. To avoid as many Virginia-type situations as possible, I go with the best RPI for teams tied in the loss column for first place. Note that Arizona State isn't in the bracket this week. If you care about answers to a couple other Qs, I think you're underrating UConn's SOS (as the committee always overvalues that) and they have been very competitive in their losses to top teams. Saint Mary's is a questionable inclusion, but the pool of possibilities at that point is so weak, you can make an argument for and against all of them. I've seen the Gaels a couple of times and think they're decent. BYU is much better than New Mexico, and the nonconf profiles aren't so gappy to mitigate that difference.

Keep up the good work...

Andy Glockner

B101: Thanks for the e-mail. We really respect your work as well, and that's why we analyze and discuss it on the site every week. Of all the "season ending today" bracketologists, we think that your brackets are often the most accurate and well-thought out. We will have to agree to disagree with you, though, about some of the teams you mentioned. We find it impossible to believe that just because they have the No. 1 SOS, the committee would give UConn a 7 seed if the season ended today. A solid SOS is of course important, but don't you have to beat someone to get a bid? Would the committee come out and say that UConn deserves a bid because of close losses? By that rationale, Marquette should be a 7 seed, too (and not out of the bracket altogether). They have a ton of close losses, they have the exact same overall and conference record as UConn, they have a very respectable 23 SOS, and they have two nice wins over Georgetown and Xavier. How are they out and UConn is a 7 seed? Furthermore, how is UConn, based on what they have accomplished (or not accomplished) seeded higher than teams like UAB, Texas A&M, New Mexico, and Richmond? Those teams actually beat people; UConn just played them close.

We agree that St. Mary's is not an outlandish pick, but what have they done to earn at-large other than pass your eye test? And how are they a 9 seed and not one of your last four in? The committee always stresses the importance of who you beat and where you beat them, and the Gaels have a very weak resume based on those criteria. There are plenty of teams that you left out (Florida, Northwestern, etc.) that have much better resumes. Plus, didn't St. Mary's pass the eye test at the end of last year with a healthy Patty Mills back in the lineup? That didn't help them very much on Selection Sunday.

In terms of New Mexico and BYU, we would argue that there is actually a considerable gap between their OOC resumes so far. New Mexico's best OOC wins are against Texas A&M, Dayton, Texas Tech, Cal, and Louisiana Tech - all of which are either in or almost in your bracket this week. BYU's best OOC wins are against Arizona State, UTEP, Nebraska, and Nevada. None of those teams, according to your bracket, are at-large worthy. Doesn't that consititute a big gap? We concede that the Cougars deserve credit for being a game and a half better in conference, but do they deserve five seed lines worth of credit? We don't think so.

Thanks again for your e-mail and we hope to hear from you soon. Maybe Lunardi and Palm will chime in next week. We won't hold our breath.

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