Tuesday, February 23, 2010

B101's Questions For The Competition

Questions For The Competition is a weekly column that addresses our issues with the brackets of other bracketology "experts." This week's questions are reserved for ESPN's Joe Lunardi, SI.com's Andy Glockner, and CBSSports.com and CollegeRPI.com's Jerry Palm. Keep in mind that these questions are about each expert's most recent bracket, all of which were released before Monday's games.

Most bracketologists took the easy way out this week and put St. Mary's and San Diego State in their fields. A case could be made for the Gaels, but the best argument for including them has nothing to do with what they've done wins-wise - instead it's the overall weakness of the bubble. Their win at Utah State is nice, but they lost twice to Gonzaga, lost at Portland, and we don't see them upsetting the 'Zags in the WCC tourney. Their RPI isn't that impressive (47), and their win over the Aggies is the only victory they have over a tournament team. The Aztecs are an even more puzzling inclusion for brackets done as if the season ended today. They are in third place in the Mountain West, but their best two wins (New Mexico and UNLV) came at home and they have no OOC resume to speak of. SDSU plays at BYU on Thursday, which means if they lose (which we expect they will), everyone who has them in this week will have them out next week. That's a little short-sighted, no? Instead of SDSU and St. Mary's, we have UConn and Minnesota (teams who have actually beaten people) in the field. Not only are they more attractive right now, they have the potential to be much more attractive down the road.

Joe Lunardi (ESPN) - Feb. 22 Bracket
Do you know that you have a potential Purdue-Wisconsin Sweet 16 match-up in your bracket this week? Because we know, reader MattLion knows, and fellow bracketologist Shelby Mast from Bracket WAG knows (he even sent us the screen grab in case you changed it). Did you not even bother changing it because you knew we would call you out anyway? Do you want Matt Reeves' e-mail? You can enroll in his Bracketing Principles 101 class.

We know you're in bed with the A-10, but how is Dayton still in after losing at Duquesne?

How do you still have two Colonial teams in? If you like ODU as an at-large so much, then why don't you ignore the fact that they are tied in conference with Northeastern (who lost at home to Louisiana Tech last week) in just put the Monarchs in by themselves?

How does Temple win two games and go down to a 5 seed? How does Tennessee win two games and go down to a 6?

How does Vandy lose at home (to Kentucky, but still...) and go up to a 3 seed?

Minnesota's not even worthy of a spot on the Last Eight Out list? Mississippi, Arizona State, and Memphis are in better shape right now than the Gophers? How exactly? Who have the Sun Devils beaten?

And finally, Jim Calhoun didn't have a "question" for you, per se, after the Huskies' win over West Virginia on Monday - it was more of a comment (courtesy The Hartford Courant): "I think you're way off with numbers," Calhoun said when he started talking about tournament projections. "I don't care what Lombardi [says], or whatever name the guy is."

Don't worry, coach, his name's not important.

Jerry Palm (CBS, CollegeRPI.com) - Feb. 22 Bracket
First of all, are you sure you didn't post last week's bracket by mistake? You didn't?? Well, then how in the world do you explain...

The fact that you still have SIX A-10 teams in? SIX?! STILL?! How is Rhode Island, after their loss at Saint Louis, still a 7 seed? Not only do you have Dayton in (for some reason) after they lost to Duquesne, you have them a 9 seed? How is that possible?

How is Baylor a 4 seed? How is Illinois a 12?

St. Mary's is a 10? They're that safe if the season ended today? Please explain.

Andy Glockner (SI.com) - Feb. 22 Bracket
Did you think we weren't going to catch you fixing your original bracket, which had Marquette playing in Milwaukee in the first round? Not only did we see it, reader "Joe" posted a comment about it on B101 within hours. You can edit, Andy, but you can't hide (from us or from our readers).

How is Texas still a 4 seed? How is Richmond a 5? Isn't Wake Forest a little low as a 7?

How many games does Charlotte need to lose in a row to fall out of your bracket? Too afraid to give the A-10 fewer than five bids?


Bracket Project said...

I'm sure in Joe's mind that potential matchup between Purdue and Wisconsin is fine because he likes to repeat that the NCAA changed its rule and now allows teams from the same conference to meet as early as the second round of the tournament if said conference has more than nine participants or all other bracketing options have been exhausted. However, I can think of a couple of ways to fix this as well as the potential second-round rematch he has between Kentucky and Louisville (The NCAA likes to avoid first and second round rematches).

Bracketology 101 said...

We know that these match-ups are technically "OK," but overall they are a result of oversight and laziness on Lunardi's part. As you said, there are several easy fixes to these problems, but rather than spend a little extra time putting his bracket together, he seeds teams sloppily and hides behind the NCAA's rule change. He definitely did not "exhaust all other options" before potentially matching-up Wisconsin and Purdue and Kentucky and Louisville.

Murph said...

I can't believe I am answering for Lunardi, but I think his defense for the Vandy bump up is that there wasn't a good team for that last 3 spot (as I think you have said re: G'Town). He had Vandy as his top 4-seed in his previous bracket, so that acted as a procedural tiebreaker.

Can I say again that I can't believe I am defending Lunardi?

Bracketology 101 said...

Defending Lunardi? We're very disappointed in you, Murph. (Just kidding.)

We agree that the last spot on the 3 line was hard to fill, but think Georgetown (and a couple of other teams) deserved that spot more than Vandy. The Commodores aren't an outlandish pick there by any stretch, but them being on the 3 line is another example of Lunardi's random seeding. He has routinely dropped teams for no apparent reason after two-win weeks, bumped teams up who have lost games the previous week, or even held teams on the same seed line after two-loss weeks. That's the main reason we singled Vandy out.

Paymon said...

I must agree with Glockner, and think Texas (assuming no more injuries) will have a protected seed. Why do they have that seed?

* Defeated Pitt on a neutral floor
* Defeated Michigan St.
* Top 10 adjusted defensive efficiency; Top 30 adjusted offensive efficiency
* They only have 1 really bad loss (@ Oklahoma)
* They have and / or will have a better resume than: Vanderbilt, Butler, Tennessee, Wake, Gonzaga, MWC #2, Xavier

It's very realistic for Texas to win 3 of 4 and to get to the Big XII tournament semis. If they do that, they will be a clear top 16 team.

PS Can we have a side bet on this? If you come down to DC, dinner on me. If I come to wherever you're at, dinner on you.

Anonymous said...

I love that Joe is showing so much love to the A-10. I hope the selection committee shows love to the A-10, CAA, and St. Mary's as well. I'm a Duke fan and I would rather face a Rhode Island or Dayton in the second round or sweet 16 rather than Louisville, Oklahoma State, or Marquette.

Anonymous said...

How about a question for B101. Why is Minnesota in your field? They lost to non tourney teams Miami and Portland in OOC along with the bad losses to Michigan, Indiana, and Northwestern. The Gophers will be lucky to finish 2-2 with that remaining schedule. B101 was wrong to put the Gophers in the bracket. Minnesota will not make the tournament.

Bracketology 101 said...

We're not saying that Texas can't get to a 4 eventually, but they don't deserve a 4 if the season ended today (which is how Glockner does his bracket). The Longhorns have lost six of their last 10 games, and in the last six games they've played against tourney-caliber teams, they are 1-5. That doesn't sound like a 4 seed to us.

We'll get back to you on the dinner...

Paymon said...

Based on your seedings, Texas is predicted to be the 24th-best team in the field.

You provide the two good arguments for why they should not be a 4 seed in Glockner's bracket.

I do, however, see them in the 4/5 range in a "season-ends-today" projection. Their overall body of work is still better than the ACC #2, Butler (when was the last time they played a clear tournament team?), Xavier, BYU, and Gonzaga.

Bracketology 101 said...

We admit that Minnesota is a risky inclusion, but we like the Gophers' chances to get themselves at-large worthy down the stretch. We think they have a good shot to knock off Purdue at home tonight given the way they played at home against Wisconsin last Thursday, and a case could even be made that Minnesota belongs in with a loss to Purdue and a win at Illinois this weekend. If the Boilers win tonight, they'll almost certainly get to 10-8 in conference and they'll be in everyone's field next week.

Bracketology 101 said...

Keep in mind, too, that our seeding of Texas also factors in their remaining schedule, which includes games at Texas A&M and at Baylor.

Joe said...

Did you see Glockner's follow up column? http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/andy_glockner/02/23/bracket.questions/index.html?eref=sihp

The answers to his first two questions are contradictory.
1) Kentucky will be placed in Milwaukee since it is closest.
2) Syracuse will go out west because it makes more sense not to inconvenience two teams by shipping Syracuse south and sending one of those teams out West.

In that case wouldn't it make more sense to send Kentucky south so as not to inconvenience a Big Ten team?
Why he completely ignores sending the fourth #1 out west, I have no idea. He's all over the board.

Anonymous said...

Kentucky is actually closer to Syracuse than Houston.

Joe said...

Exactly anon. He explained it away by saying both Kentucky and Houston are "midwest sites." MAybe he just needs a geography lesson.

matt r said...

I have no problem with putting Syracuse out west, it is a long plane ride either way. There is no miles measurement or flight time clause in the principles... you either are geographically close are you aren't and as long as Kansas is in St. Louis as overall #1, Syracuse will have to just go with whatever they get. They picked a bad year to host a regional. Not sure why these teams even volunteer to be "host institutions" unless they get a pay day out of it.

And I agree that it is a bit contradictory. Putting Kentucky in Milwaukee for an 8-hour drive vs 11-hour drive to NO/JAX doesn't really sway me (_much_ closer, really??), especially with so many high-seeded Big Ten teams. Kentucky has been in NO or JAX for weeks with us, and was in NO for the NCAA's mock bracket with the media a few weeks ago.


matt r said...

Also just noticed Lunardi fixed the Big Ten issue (Purdue and Wisconsin in the same half region). I think we can call B.S. on his 'Updated Feb 22' at the top.

Anonymous said...

So are you saying if Minnesota beats Purdue, they can lose to Illinois and Michigan? It seems like you put more weight on big wins than bad losses, cause Minnesota has many more bad losses than good wins. I don't think a win over Purdue makes up for all those bad losses. If Minnesota were to go 2-0 this week, then I would start drinking the B101 Minnesota Koolaid. But I don't see it happening and see the Gophers in the NIT.

Wally Horse said...

I agree with Matt R. It makes no sense to put Kentucky in Big 10 country when there are 2 sites in SEC country. Kentucky fans travel very well and would fill the arena in New Orleans. Duke has to hoping that Kentucky does not get put in Jacksonville with them. All those Kentucky fans would be rooting against the hated Blue Devils. It makes more sense to put 2 Big 10 teams in Milwaukee.

RetepAdam said...

How does Vandy lose and go up in the seedings?

The same way they lost and went up in the AP Poll.